Ants under the big wheels –Review on “Fifteen Million Merits” (the 2nd episode of Series 1 in Black mirror)

It is another episode which is set in the future with highly-advanced technology. In this world, people need to cycle on exercise bikes so as to power their surroundings and generate currency named Merits. Their activities are constantly interrupted by various advertisements that cannot be ignored without financial penalty.

The main character in the episode Bing is an ordinary person who didn’t have any dreams until he met the girl Abi. He sacrificed all the Merits he had to assist Abi to realize her dream. But the distortion and twist of the seemingly advanced world is far worse than that he can imagine.

Everyone in this world eat the same food and wear the same clothes. The only thing they can do is to change the image of the Avatar in virtual world. It is kind of satire of people in reality that create perfect image in internet to attract attention. Instead, people seldom communicate with each other and they only focus on cycling by themselves. There seems no point in living except consuming Merits by trivial things. Even for those who want to pursue their dreams, they need to pay fifteen million Merits to earn the chance to have a shot. Once they fail, it would be really hard for them to start over. That is exactly what we paid when we pursue the dreams in the realistic world.

Abi dreamed to be a singer, however, the judges ignore her talents in singing and beautiful voices. Instead, they agitate her to develop her career in a pornographic TV station. Under the goading from all the audiences and judges, Abi reluctantly agrees.

Bing suffers by this result and decides to save another 15 million Merits to get the competition tickets to revenge. He wants to show his anger to all the world and fight with this numb and indifferent people. It all goes well. Bing does what he wants to accuse of the life without souls trapped around by all kinds of screens. The exciting and inspiring speech just gives a moment for thinking or shocking for the audience. Soon, they are back to normal and the judge offered a job for Bing to host a talk show. What a huge satire!

Bing has no backup plans and other opportunities any more in his life. He found that what he can do on that stage is complying himself to the rules in the society and be one of the accomplices. What a cruel fact!


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