By Sorenya Miller
This might be the only show Netflix got right for the summer. I was ready to throw in the towel and give the streaming service a break until I was click baited. For those of you that don’t know what “clickbait” means, a quick google search will show you “(Internet) content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page”. That definition alone supplies you with the main premise of this limited series. In Clickbait, Nick Brewer (Adrian Grenier), a university physical therapist and family man, is secretly abducted until a video on the Internet surfaces with him holding a sign stating that “at 5 million views I die”. The video quickly gains the attention of the public, while his family, friends and the police race to find Nick before he dies.
First of all, how scary is the Internet, and why would anyone click on a link when they know someone will die if it reaches a certain amount of views? How messed up is that? They say curiosity kills the cat and in this case, the cat is Nick Brewster. Right off the bat, the show captures your attention and intensifies the mystery of who is behind the video, and why Nick is the subject of such a horrendous act. Plus, I really wanted to see if he would have been killed at 5 million views. This textbook-type of murder capitalizes on one of the most used mediums of communication, the Internet, which is used by over 4 billion people worldwide. At first I thought Nick was being held for ransom, but there was never a call for money. Then he showed up on video with another sign stating “I abuse women”. With a sign like that, the media perception of him changed quickly from an innocent victim to a perpetrator.
The series then shifts away from Nick to examine the people within his social circle and those working on his case, such as his sister, wife, son, a reporter and a detective. I like how each episode focused on a different character and planted the idea that they might be a potential suspect. Ironically, I always like to have my top picks of who committed the crime, but in this case I could not get it right. On another note, secrets and questionable traits were exposed in each of these character-focused episodes. First in Nick’s familial circle is his wife Sophie, played by Betty Gabriel, who appears as an uptight goody two shoes but is later revealed to be involved in an affair. Throughout the series, the writers do a good job of uncovering the notion that no one is who they appear to be. I must comment that Gabriel does a great job portraying Sophie. As a mother she remains strong for her children, although she is breaking apart on the inside, and as a wife she yearns to find out the truth behind her husband’s kidnapping. I also remembered her from the movie Get Out, where she played a spectacular role as the family maid. Secondly, Nick’s sister Pia, who is the real detective in this show and the only one that thinks her brother is innocent, has a strong connection with Nick after they witnessed a family tragedy when they were younger.
Outside of Nick’s familial circle is the detective Roshan Amiri (Phoenix Raei) and the reporter Ben Park (Abraham Link) working on the case. Both of these guys want to get ahead in their respective careers and will do so by any means necessary. Amiri uses Pia to stay on the case so that he can get promoted to detective, while Park goes so far as to break and enter in order to uncover a story about Nick to help elevate his career status. Although each person in the show has their own motive as to why they want to uncover the truth about Nick’s case, the show reveals that Nick is not as innocent as he claims. Out of the blue, Nick appears to have a mistress and has also been on several dating sites catfishing women.
Furthermore, Clickbait heavily depicts the themes of catfishing and Internet dating. Catfishing is quite common in the online dating community, and the act even has a real-life series with the same name. Nick’s so-called mistress believed that she was in love with him, although she never saw him in real life. The issue of catfishing got so serious in the show that someone took their own life because they were a victim of it. The sad thing is that something like this can happen in real life. As the show progresses, you are left in the dark about the real truth and who committed the crime until the very end. Clickbait is a must watch show because it is well paced, the actors are great, and the message the show sends is very powerful.