The story sets in a highly-developed world where people live in their own box made of black mirrors, and most of them earn merits by riding bikes like the two main roles: Abi and Bin. In this world, the same class of people wears the same clothes, only a few people can wear what they want and for other people, they can only spend merits to dress their virtual Avatars to whoever they like. The world is like an app store, people spend their merits to buy virtual things and food to get kind of happiness.
The hero Bin lives without any desire as everyone else until he meets Abi, who sings well and who is beautiful. Bin wants to help Abi to Hot Spot where most stars get started so he spend most all of his merits (fifteen million) to acquire a golden ticket for Abi.t thing doesn’t go as Bin, or Abi thought, the judges only want to squeeze Abi’s highest value so as to encourage her to become an adult actress on Wraith Babe. After dithering for a long time, and dragged on a substance called "Cuppliance", Abi finally agrees under the screaming of “Do it” from the audience.
Bin becomes very disappointed after all this mess, but he can’t even avoid watching Abi’s program because of his lack of merits. Bin soon starts earning merits for another golden ticket for himself in order to express his feelings about all these things. But finally, when he stands on the stage and tells all the people how he thinks with great passion and the determination of suicide, the judges tell him that his speech was so brilliant that they would set up a channel for him. Bin feels so unprepared, under the screaming of “Do it” but agrees in the end.
Abi may not make the choice herself because she drinks the “Cuppliance” which refers to a cup of compliance. We can say that Abi makes the choice reluctantly. But Bin doesn’t drink that, so it’s obvious that Bin makes his choice totally by himself with his clear mind. He wanted to change the entire system once in a time, but he compromises with the system and become an upper class in the system.
All through the plot I think Bin is a very sensible man. He knows what he wants, he never watches the TV program he dislikes. He actually knows that being a person on the screen isn’t what he wants but he just becomes. At the end of the episode, we see Bin sitting in a bigger black-mirror cell, looking at more real but fake scenery and drinking orange juice and putting the glass piece which made him well-known into a luxury box, and an industrial penguin take place of the one Abi made by hand. I can’t feel any kind of happiness through all his actions but see depression. It’s that he knows the disadvantage of the system and he hates it, but he simply cannot change it and he is so clear about that if he obey it he gets well with it. If Bin wants to change the whole system, it’s impossible for him not paying anything but feel real things. Maybe what Bin does is kind of clever because apparently a revolution never success without blood.
Does Bin really forget what he wants? To think positively, maybe he wants to get some power first because it’s hard for a man without weapon to win the war. As the saying goes: you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.
In this episode, it seems that nobody achieves what they want. Abi wants to be famous by her singing. She does become a well-known star, but by becoming an adult actress. Bin wants something real, so he wants Abi to become famous. In Bin’s mind, Abi’s song is like the only innocent thing in the world that is full of over-decorated programs. After Bin lost Abi and her singing. Bin wants something new, which is to change the system. He worked desperately hard for it, he eats other’s leftovers and take other’s apples in order to save merits to buy an entry ticket. But he fails again when the judges say “the most heartfelt thing I’ve ever seen”. Bin’s all expression is just a thing to the judges. It does make them impressed but by Bin’s emotion, not the speech itself, which means that the judges don’t even care what Bin says, but pay more attention to the kind of passion that they have never seen. I would refer the judges to kind of dominators of the world in this episode, they don’t see people as people, and rather, they just see people as things that can entertain themselves. They control audience’s taste in order to rule them.
It makes me drown in deep thought that what will happen in the future highly-developed world. The director implies it in different ways.
Firstly, most people can’t express themselves freely. As we can easily see, they wear the same clothes all the time. I suppose people like Bin and Abi are like the middle class people in the society, they even wear the grey suits when they sleep. What the star says is that she likes to wear gold clothes, she thinks gold colour can express her perfectly. Under this condition, most people don’t even chase for something, they just live through days and nights unconsciously. It’s just like people don’t have souls.
Secondly, this society is strictly divided by classes. The relatively lower class people can’t get respect. I found that in the shooting game Bin played, the targets were the cleaners who were fat in yellow. It can be also seen from how the judges react to Abi and Bin, they just care about the interests and show no respect to their performance such as stopping them arbitrarily or say the performance is worthless. Discrimination is everywhere.
Thirdly, our lives are exhaustively monitored. If Bin doesn’t pay, he can’t simply choose to close his eyes to avoid watching the ads. The machine will find that view obstructed and urging Bin to resume viewing. How absurd!
I think that this episode is a visual version of the book 1984 written by George Orwell. It wants to warn us that do not lose our independent thinking. So this is not just an imagination of what will happen if the technology develop to a certain degree, it talks more about the dark sides of the human being.
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