Having not seen any other Black Mirror episode, Smithereens blew me away in more ways than imaginable with its brilliant storytelling and Andrew Scott.
I have been a fan of Topher Grace ever since That 70s Show, and after his amazing performance as David Duke in last year’s BlacKkKlansman, when I heard he was gonna be in an episode of Black Mirror, I was so sure that I had to watch it.
I had not seen a single episode of this show before, but due to the fact that it’s an anthology show, I didn’t have to.
I was overwhelmed by this, I couldn’t contain myself.
I was so excited for this particular Black Mirror episode called Smithereens that as soon as I got time this week, the first thing I watched on Netflix was this episode of Black Mirror.
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Andrew Scott’s Chris is a broken man who underwent something really horrible and he is not coping well with it. He goes to a support group every now and then, but says nothing. He spends his days in his car, as a driver for an Uber-like ride service. Chris only picks up rides from outside the head office of Smithereens in London, which is a very Twitter-like company. Why does he do so? That’s the question that gets answered throughout the episode after he kidnaps an employee (Damson Idris) and threatens to kill him unless he can get a hold of Smithereens’ founder Billy Bauer (Topher Grace).
Having seen promos for Black Mirror, I can tell that Smithereens was not the most-techy episode of the show but rather a contemporary one.
The episode was really humane and I was moved by what it tells about humanity in general.
It was also one of the most solid and cinematic hours of storytelling I have seen all year with the beautiful cinematography of Lukas Strebel and a powerhouse performance by the entire ensemble of cast. Andrew Scott, above all, is just unraveling. His ravishing performance will hit you right in the feels. He is an actor who brings such passion and hard work to every character that he plays, it’s just a delight to watch him on-screen. His monologue about how people are glued to their phones all the time was Emmy-worthy.
Topher Grace does not appear until the climax but he was just great as Billy Bauer and he really helped in selling the little lighthearted moments in the episode.
To sum it up, Smithereens contains abduction, car chases, shootings and such gripping drama that makes for one fine hour of television. It also has a great message to it, which is presented in one of the best ways possible.
One of my absolute favorite moments from the episode is when Billy Bauer shows the kind of power he has and goes all God-mode on Chris. That is one of the finest pieces of social commentary I have seen in a long time.
The episode has some predictable elements in it as you can see by the climax where it might be going. But despite that, it’s really really good and awfully realistic. It not only shows what kind of power companies have over users, but it also shows the fact that people’s online contacts can know so much more about the person than their actual family. It shows the addiction to social media in a captivating way as well as how big of a role the approval by strangers plays in today’s society.
The ending is also one of the best elements of the episode as it shows that even after all that happened that day, all it’s gonna take is just one blip of notification, people will treat it as a piece of their daily news and just move on within a second.
Black Mirror: Smithereens is a fine hour of TV with a powerful message shown in one of the best ways possible. Even if you are a casual TV viewer, this is something you should definitely check out.
As for me, who had not seen any Black Mirror episodes prior to this, I was expecting some really dark, edgy and twisty kind of tech-centric stuff coming into this episode. But, it was rather contemporary, grounded and very realistic. I would love to see more episodes like this and, since the writing is so good, this episode has definitely left me wanting more Black Mirror. If other episodes are anything like this, I’ll end up being a fan after all.
What did you think of Smithereens? What got you in to Black Mirror? Let us know in the comments!