Episode 5 of Clickbait Season 1 switches perspectives to reporter Ben Park who happens to be the guy who bagged the interview with Emma last episode. Well, his boss Dakota tasks Ben with getting in touch with Sophie Brewer for an interview too.
In order to get close to the house, Ben poses as a delivery driver and essentially breaks into their house, snapping photos and looking around.
Pia and Sophie immediately see Ben standing in the hallway, who reveals the truth about Emma but is understandably shooed out their house.
Back home Ben teams up with his partner Cam, setting up a number of dating profiles too try and find Nick’s on these different websites. I mean, they could always call a 17 year old kid to hack into the system but they’re going this route instead.
It soon becomes apparent that there’s a link with Nick heading all the way back to Oakland High School. Jenny Harrison is the student in question, and it seems one of her colleagues, Tara Wilson, got involved in an argument with Nick Brewer. Things got heated and Tara ended up quitting.
Given the graffiti around school and the numerous threats, it seems like Nick could well have done some pretty nasty things here but we’ll have to wait for the truth to unveil itself.
Back at the station, Dakota encourages Sophie too give an interview to lay off the media frenzy around their home. On the back of Ben breaking in though, he’s kicked off the story and it falls to his colleague to take over instead.
Ben does manage to find another alias Nick was using, which eventually leads to a further victim called Sarah Burton. Now, this woman is actually deceased so Nick turns his attention to her brother, Simon.
When there’s no answer at his door, Ben breaks in, snapping photos and searching through Simon’s personal belongings. He’s almost caught too and when he bundles himself in Cam’s car, the man is understandably angry at Ben’s reckless behaviour.
Well, this recklessness manages to uncover threatening messages between “Jeremy” and Sarah, which Ben inevitably brings to Dakota, demanding he be the one to interview Sophie.
On-air Ben spins the story around and calls out Sarah’s death. He also shows the transcripts to Sophie too and puts her completely on the spot. Ben is proud of his achievements, as we soon find out, and as the final transcript is read and the camera skips across to our different characters, it stops on Simon, as he watches the news grimly.
The Episode Review
Reporters get a bad rep sometimes. In the videogame industry they’re listed as glorified cheerleaders, unwilling to call out criticisms or rampant abuse across the industry.
With sports, Mo Farah wrote in his autobiography that reporters would regularly trespass and snap photos day in and day out of him and his family. In fact, it got so bad that he had to have food delivered while shutting all the curtains in every room. That’s to say nothing of sensationalized news, contorted facts and The Daily Mail, which speaks for itself really.
Clickbait does nothing to help the reputation of journos, with this chapter depicting Ben as worse than Pia. He breaks into two houses, he’s proud of his achievements and shows absolutely no remorse for his actions. I get that this is supposed to show a different side to his character but it’s really hard to empathize with someone like this.
The other problem with this revolving door of characters comes from the central focus. These later episodes have muddied the water and made things unnecessarily convoluted for the sake of big dramatic twists. We’ll have to wait and see if that actually pays off though but for now, it does seem a little contrived.