Black Mirror's "Smithereens" Episode Takes a Scary Look at Social Media

Warning: SO many spoilers ahead for the fifth season of Black Mirror!

Black Mirror‘s “Smithereens” episode careens down a social media cesspool. The second episode of the Netflix show’s fifth season finds Chris Gillhaney (Andrew Scott), a cab driver waiting around the London office of Smithereen, a social media giant, in hopes of getting a passenger who works in the building (in case you’re wondering, he uses the fictional Hitcher app to pick up passengers and, yes, the name is a creepy indicator of what’s to come). When an intern gets into the car, little does he realize he’s in for a ride traumatic enough to never trust driving apps again.

After a fast-paced car chase that ends in Chris stuck in the middle of a field and surrounded by the London police, he forces the intern to call his supervisor and get Smithereen CEO Billy Bauer (Topher Grace) on the phone, threatening to kill the intern with his gun if he doesn’t follow through. Meanwhile, the Smithereen Silicon Valley office manages to track down all his information with scary efficiency and keep him on hold while listening to his conversations, finding information even the London police department haven’t tracked down yet. This begins to get to the crux of the episode and its commentary on social media’s control over our lives. In other words, they are always watching, and it’s a hard truth to grapple with on the show. The idea that Smithereen tracks Chris down even faster than the London police is cause for concern, particularly in the wake of the recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

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