Black Mirror season 5, episode 2 recap: Smithereens

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Photo: Black Mirror Season 5 production still / Stuart Hendry, Netflix

Chris’ Backstory

The ball starts rolling at Smithereen, with the London office contacting Smithereen COO Penelope Wu (Ruibo Qian) in Silicon Valley. While the US team try to assess whether Billy needs to be disturbed by this, the big guns arrive at the scene of the crime in London. CS Linda Grace (Monica Dolan) is hellbent on making sure there are no accidental deaths at this scene – seems like the police department is reeling from some kind of incident recently.

While Wu tries to pacify Chris, Smithereen’s Silicon Valley analyst, Shonelle (Mirirai Sithole), plays Chris his own Spotify playlist and uses their phone link to listen in on everything Chris is saying. Chris keeps whispering to himself ‘This is my last day’, as ‘Can’t Take My Eyes off You’ plays on his phone.

In the meantime, Haque and her partner track down the owner of Chris’ getaway. The woman is dead but is identified as Chris’ mother. Chris moved in with her a few months ago, and they’re deep in the red. Haque relays her background check on Chris to CS Grace. Chris was involved in an accident – a drunk driver hit his car in 2015, killing himself and whoever Chris was with.

The London police only have part of the information. When Wu gets in touch with CS Grace through the FBI, she comes with a wealth of knowledge gleaned from Chris’ social media activity. In 2015, Chris’ fiancée was killed in the accident, and he became reclusive ever since. Through Chris’ digital imprint, Wu and team know that Chris has only been parked outside Smithereen with the precise intent to capture someone from the company.

The hostage negotiator, David Gilkes (Daniel Ings) thinks he’s hit upon a plan to de-escalate the situation. And, of course, he ends up escalating it! Chris is on to Gilkes’ methods and refuses to back down if Gilkes doesn’t leave. All the while, a police sniper has his gun trained on Chris but is unable to take the shot without risking Jaden’s safety. CS Grace orders Gilkes out of the crime scene when neither Gilkes nor the sniper succeeds.