All the hidden things you definitely missed in Black Mirror season five
Wow was I even paying attention at all?!
The fifth season of Black Mirror has just hit Netflix. This season has three new episodes: Striking Vipers, Smithereens and Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too. As you would expect from any Black Mirror season, there is A LOT going on in the episodes – your mind is all over the place by the end. So naturally, there are a lot of classic Black Mirror hidden meanings and messages you might not pick up on when watching the first time around.
Here are all the Black Mirror hidden meanings and references in season five:
*Warning: A LOT of spoilers for Black Mirror season five ahead*
Episode one – Striking Vipers
TCKR Systems creates the Striking Vipers Game
The Striking Vipers game is manufactured by TCKR Systems, which is the same company that make the technology in San Junipero and the name of the hospital in Black Museum.
The small round devices used to play the game are very familiar
Danny and Karl place small round devices on their heads in order to play the Striking Vipers game. These are very similar to devices used in other episodes such as in San Junipero and USS Callister.
The 'Lacie' chocolate bar
Theo gives Danny a chocolate bar for his birthday which is called 'Lacie'. That is a reference to Lacie from Nosedive.
Episode two – Smithereens
There are COUNTLESS references to other Black Mirror episodes
On Chris' phone he uses to pick up people in his taxi it says he has a new fare on Skillane Street. That's a reference to Victoria Skillane, the main character from White Bear.
There's also locations such as Bandersnatch Theatre, Saitogemu Arcades (Saitogemu the company from Playtest), Redfield Theatre (Cooper Redfiled from Playtest), Dahl's Shoes (a supporting character in Hated in the Nation), Huq's Shop (Connie Huq who is creator Charlie Brooker's wife) and Dawson's Burger Bar (Dawson from Black Museum).
There is also Fence's Pizza, the same pizza company from USS Callister. Later in the episode, when the police raid Chris' home there is an empty Fence's Pizza box.
In the Smithereens offices there is a huge screen full of trending hashtags, similar to what you get on Twitter. These include #snoutrage and a reference to Prime Minister Callow from The National Anthem, another Saitugamo reference, #AshleyOWembley (Ashley-O from season five's Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too), #Tucker (TCKR systems in San Junipero, the bar in San Junipero and Tuckersoft in Bandersnatch) and #StJunipersStrike (the hospital in Black Museum).
There is also a clip where we see the contacts list of a Smithereens employee. This is littered with characters from previous episodes such as: Carlton Bloom (The National Anthem), Carrie, Dr Dawson, Nish and Clayton Lee (Black Museum), Cooper (Playtest), Greta (White Christmas), Lacie (Nosedive), Liam (The Entire History of You) among many others.
There are sly digs at CEOs of social media platforms
Billy Bauer is seen going into "God mode" on his laptop when he hears the news about Chris. And despite having tried for months and having no luck, the second Hayley Blackwood is put in touch with the right people she is able to access her daughter's Persona account. Social media CEOs constantly say they cannot access user's profiles, and don't have any on site 'special powers' – this episode suggests they do.
The character of Billy Bauer is not meant to be based on anyone in real life, but Jack Dorsey (CEO of Twitter) also went on a 10 day silent retreat. I'll just leave that one here.
The episode takes us to the same place as Netflix HQ
The Smithereens offices are in Los Gatos, California. This is where Netflix HQ is.
The constant reference to eyes in the episode
The opening scene is a close up of Chris' eyes, and the closing scene is a close up of Billy Bauer's eyes. There are also close ups of the police and detective's eyes and those of the young boys at the scene. "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" plays in the background multiple times during the episode and at the end to drill in the message of people not being able to take their eyes off their phones.
Even the cliffhanger ending is there on purpose and has a hidden meaning
You can't deny after the episode you checked Twitter. Everyone that watched that episode went straight to social media to see what had happened in the cliffhanger ending, despite the main message being to take your eyes away from your phones. Yep, we've been taken for clowns.
Black mirror clowning us with smithereens and proving their point by making us all check twitter after watching pic.twitter.com/Uitc8qytR5
— jeff goldblum (@joon_hatesbacon) June 5, 2019
You really learned nothing from the episode, did you?
Billy Bauer is also referenced in other Black Mirror episodes
At the end of Bandersnatch there is a UKN interview. The news banner references Smithereens and Billy Bauer.
Episode three – Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too
Striking Vipers in mentioned in this episode
When it cuts to the breaking news story that Ashley-O is in a coma, a news banner along the bottom of the screen also says "Saitogemu shares jump on Striking Vipers release". Saitogemu is the company from the Playtest episode.
As well as this, the news banner also mentions a museum owner's body being found in a fire – which is about the ending of Black Museum.
This entire episode is like a heightened version of Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana
It seems fitting Miley Cyrus plays Ashley-O. After all, she is famous for her portrayal of Miley Stewart who becomes global pop star sensation Hannah Montana when she puts on a blonde wig. This seems strikingly similar to the storyline of Black Mirror season five, episode three. Ashley is a normal girl, but her evil aunt has made her into the pop sensation Ashley-O.
The Ashley-O cookie is similar to the one in White Christmas
Ashley has her mind copied into the Ashley-O cookie, similar to how Greta does in White Christmas. In Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too this copied consciousness is used to create a toy of the public's favourite pop star, whereas in White Christmas it is used so a system can do household chores for you. The cookie believes she is really Ashley-O, just like Greta's did.
When Ashley goes into a coma she is rushed to St Juniper's Hospital
This is the same hospital that is in Black Museum, and is also the name of the practise Stefan visits in Bandersnatch. And obviously this name is linked to one of Black Mirror's most popular episodes, San Junipero.
The 'Live, Breathe, Smell' advert
In early scenes, an advert is playing in the background of Rachel and Jack's bedroom. It says "live, breathe, smell" which is the same advert for the technology in The Entire History of You.
Rachel's school is called 'Ritman High School'
Yep, as in Colin Ritman from Bandersnatch.