Charlie Brooker discusses “ambiguous” ending to new ‘Black Mirror’ episode ‘Smithereens’


Charlie Brooker has discussed the “ambiguous” ending to Black Mirror‘s ‘Smithereens’ episode, after it ended before solving a huge mystery.

Starring Fleabag‘s Andrew Scott, the episode sees him star as a beleaguered widower who takes a young intern hostage in a bid to find inner peace.

But the episode ends in a cloud of uncertainty as Chris (Scott) and his hostage fight for the possession of a gun before a police sniper takes a shot at the vehicle both men are inside. It also fails to address what a grieving mother discovers within her dead daughter’s social media account.


“One thing we’d been talking about was getting in the back of a car and looking at your phone and not looking where you’re going. That was one thread of conversation,” Brooker told Digital Spy of the ambiguous ending.

“Another was to do with people trying to get into the social-media accounts of people who’ve passed away. But we were struggling with this story where the main protagonist would be somebody who was trying to get into an account.”

He continued: “The problem that I came banging up against was… You can’t just give a glib reason [for a character taking their own life]. It’s not like you’d get in there and find out, ‘Oh, she took her own life because she was upset about something.’ That would feel extremely superficial and cheap, and also weirdly slightly intrusive, even though that character is not real.”

As for the fate of Chris and his passenger, Brooker said: “With the fate of Andrew and Damson’s characters, that was always part of it – we wanted to show that the most important day in these people’s lives becomes a bit of confetti in everyone else’s life. It’s just a momentary distraction.”


Meanwhile, the rest of Black Mirror‘s new season has prompted widespread reaction from fans – with some polarised by Miley Cyrus’ starring role. Brooker also spoke to NME about the task of altering Nine Inch Nails songs for Cyrus’ performance, while NIN are now selling a limited edition run of merchandise to mark the episode.