'Smithereens' ending explained: Who died? The meaning of Black Mirror season 5 episode 2

6 June 2019, 16:52 | Updated: 6 June 2019, 17:03

By Sam Prance

Charlie Brooker explains the ambiguous 'Smithereens' ending in Black Mirror season 5...

Black Mirror fans are so shook by the 'Smithereens' ending that many of them are calling it the greatest Black Mirror episode of all time. Now Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker has explained season 5, episode 2.

Every hidden easter egg and reference you missed in Black Mirror season 5

'Smithereens' stars Andrew Scott (Sherlock, Fleabag) as Chris and Damson Idris (Snowfall, The Twilight Zone) as Jaden. In it, we find out that Chris is working as a cab driver. Chris picks up Jaden and, after finding out that Jaden works for a company called 'Smithereen', he holds him hostage. The episode then becomes increasingly tense, as the police get involved and it becomes clear what Chris' motives are. 'Smithereens' ends with one of them dying but it's unclear who dies.

Who died in in Black Mirror Season 5 episode 2? 'Smithereens' ending explained

Black Mirror season 5: Smithereens ending explained
Black Mirror season 5: Smithereens ending explained. Picture: Netflix

Midway through 'Smithereens', we learn that Chris lost his fiancé a few years before in a drink driving accident. However, at the end of the episode, it's revealed that the accident wasn't a drunk driver's fault. It happened because Chris took his eye off of the road and looked at a notification from the Smithereen social media app on his phone. Chris kidnapped Jaden, in the hopes that he would be able to talk to the Smithereen CEO Billy Bauer.

Holding Jaden at gun point, Chris eventually talks to Billy via phone and tells him how harmful his company is. He asks Billy to stop making Smithereen so addictive and explains how he lost his fiancée. All the while, the police have surrounded Chris' car and are preparing to shoot him. After Chris speaks to Billy, he offers to let Jaden out of his car and reveals that he intends to kill himself. Jaden tries to stop him and the police shoot.

However, it's unclear if the police shoot Jaden by accident, the two of them, or Chris as intended. The screen then cuts to various onlooker's reacting to what happened, before showing Billy seeing a notification about it and then random people seemingly receiving notifications about the incident on their phones. The reactions are so ambiguous that there isn't a concrete revelation as to who dies.

How does Charlie Brooker explain the ending?

Discussing the ending with Den of Geek, Charlie Brooker said: "No it was always deliberately an ambiguous ending, in that instead what we show is it rippling out and becoming a piece of confetti in people’s lives on their timelines that they sort of glance at it, and then put it away. That was always in there and that seemed like the best ending." The most memorable event in the protagonists' lives is just a notification in others.

Mind blowing, right? If that weren't enough, viewers are suggesting that the ending is so ambiguous because it then makes us want to check social media to find out who actually died. By ending like that, it asks us to question how addicted we are to our phones and if we're so obsessed that someone we love could hurt, like Chris' fiancée did.

Okay. Bye. Never using my phone, social media or the internet again.

What did you think of the Smithereens ending?