‘Black Mirror’: ‘Fifteen Million Merits’ vs. ‘The Entire History of You’

Recently, I’ve started watching ‘Black Mirror’. A very close friend of mine recommended it after we discussed ‘Get Out’; he thought that the show had a similar emotional impact on the viewer as that movie and that I might enjoy it.

He is correct.

‘Black Mirror’ is a very specific show to say the least. I will not get into the specifics of the show itself right now, but I am fascinated by it: both from a filmmaking and storytelling perspective. Even though I’ve seen only three episodes so far, I thought I would talk about two of them and try to compare them. Take in mind: this is a weekly recommendation. You should definitely watch both these episodes as they are both fantastic. Now, let’s get into it.

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‘Fifteen Million Merrits’
  • The world building in ‘Fifteen Million Merits’ is just spectacular. In simply one hour, the producers have created one truly amazing and very interesting world. It’s noteworthy, really: while a great story is going on, you see this fictional world constantly expand and expand; and all in just an hour.
  • The acting in this episode is freaking brilliant. Daniel Kaluuya once again proves that he is one of the best actors currently working and manages to stun us with an emotionally-charged performance. He has a monologue at the end of the episode that is simply breathtaking.
  • The episode explores how technology affects the world and how the world is changing because of it. It’s a very interesting approach and I did like how it turned out, but that limits the story a bit, making it much harder to explore how technology affects certain characters. You do see that, but not as in ‘The Entire History of You’, not to that extend.
  • The episode is brutally real. It deals with a truly scary subject and it left me speechless. I suppose every episode of ‘Black Mirror’ strives to present the brutal truth and nothing else, but since I haven’t seen most other episodes, I’m really well impressed with how this was handled in ‘Fifteen Million Merits’.
  • The only thing I probably didn’t like was that ‘Fifteen Million Merits’ was just a bit chaotic from a storytelling perspective. The themes and motives are a bit scattered around, but not so much that it really frustrates me.

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‘The Entire History of You’
  • This episode explores people; and it does it terrifically. The whole concept of ‘Black Mirror’ is to explore how technology changes us and the world around us and I can’t think of a better way to visualize exactly that. Through one simple story, two generic characters, and one creative technological advance, ‘The Entire History of You’ manages to teach more about people in 48 minutes than most 1000 page books.
  • It is, as ‘Fifteen Million Merits’, brutally real. It leaves you breathless, leaves you thinking, and most importantly: leaves you changed. The story told in the episode could 100% happen in real life one day and that is truly scary. Every character makes brutal and heartbreaking mistakes, but what’s even most brutal and heartbreaking is that those things can, and maybe will, actually happen one day.
  • The episode it extremely impactful. Not only because of the story, but because of how it is shot and edited. The general vibe of ‘The Entire History of You’ sucks you in and the plot does the rest. It will leave you a different man.
  • I loved how concrete and tight the storytelling was. No unnecessary story arcs, no unnecessary scenes, extremely fast development, and focus on just the most central character. The producers have focused on just one story, but they have done it right. You know, there is such thing as too much detail.

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Personally, I think I enjoyed ‘The Entire History of You’ a bit more. Both episodes are genius, but this one just left me a bit more emotionally exhausted, which I weirdly loved. But yes, I most certainly recommend both ‘Fifteen Million Merits’ and ‘The Entire History of You’. Give them a shot. You certainly won’t regret it.

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As always, thank you so much for reading,

Mickey Angelov