Netflix’s Black Mirror unleashed its much anticipated choose-your-own-adventure episode “Bandersnatch”, where it allows the viewer to make decisions throughout the film, which alters the ending. After watching the episode, I must say, it’s mind blowing. It’s not the best installment of Black Mirror, but it is a one of a kind experience. My mind is still processing the endings, but I do want to break down and rank all the endings I found. If I’m a bit off or wrong about certain aspects, please forgive me as I spent three hours watching through a lot of the possibilities. Here’s my ranking and needless to say: SPOILER ALERT
8) Too safe for good reviews: If you were too scared to see Stefan go completely insane, then you probably clicked on options such as “spill tea on computer” or “take pills” which both result in poor reviews of “Bandersnatch” with an unhappy Stefan watching his game fail. I grouped these all together because ultimately, you decided to play it safe, rather than go down a twisted path.
6) Stefan works for the company: To me, this isn’t even a real ending as Will Poulter’s character, Colin, lets you know right away that you made the wrong move already. This is literally 15 minutes into the episode, so there’s no way you’re content and decide to leave it at that. So is it really an ending? Wrong choice mate.
6) Stefan falls to his death on acid: This ending means you followed Colin back to his apartment for a drug-induced night. While they’re on drugs, they go out to the terrace where Colin says one of them is going to jump. What. And you have to choose who. WHAT? This is one of the first really intense choices you have to make, and I chose wrong as I chose Stefan, thinking he’d have a Birdman moment and start flying. Anyway, you’ll want to go back and choose Colin after making this fatal mistake. Just remember to stay away from drugs kids.
5) Stefan’s father drags Stefan out of his therapist’s office: This is one of the first set in stone endings as Stefan and his father fight his therapist. Stefan learns that Netflix is watching over him and controlling his every move. The fight is actually pretty badass and crazy, but to me, it ends so abruptly and we don’t get to know how the game turns out. Weird, but at least it’s a final ending.
4) Stefan buries his father, goes on killing spree: This was the first ending that I got that didn’t give me the option to go back. I closed my eyes as I clicked “Kill Dad” and watched as the “White Bear” symbol determined pretty much the rest of the ending. He kills his father, Colin’s wife shows up to his door, but then the dog discovers his father’s body. Apparently though, there is a path where Colin comes to his door and you get the option to killing him too. I didn’t get that, but Stefan is sent to jail before finishing the game and he gets poor reviews.
3) Stefan goes back in time to join his mother on the train: This ending was really interesting and it definitely has potential. Stefan gets to the safe and picks the option “TOY” and out pops the white rabbit he was looking for right before his mom’s death. It’s surprising as he travels back in time to that moment so he can board the train with her. Stefan dies in present time because of this decision and the episode ends. I’m surprised this ending led to tying in his mother’s death because it was the only one that did. However, everything about the video game proves to be irrelevant after the episode ends, so it leaves me missing some sort of conclusion to the game Stefan was working on so intently.
2) Dr Hayne’s office is revealed to be a movie set: This is such a cool ending. Instead of the therapist brawl that ensues, you can choose to climb out the window, and it leads to a way more of a meta ending. At this point, Stefan is aware of Netflix making his decisions so he asks his father to take him to Dr Haynes. When Stefan goes to climb out the window, someone says cut, and it becomes clear that the entire episode is being filmed as a director tells “Mike” that he’s doing the wrong action. I know it ‘s supposed to be a bit light-hearted but it’s pretty satisfying and funny because it shows how emotionally stunted the actor was as he got too into his character “Stefan.” If there was more to this ending that involved the video game, maybe it’d feel more satisfying. As a whole, it’s not the best ending, but I found the most joy and watching this ending.
1) Stefan chops up his father, gets in the right mindset and gets rave reviews: I love the Netflix ending. It’s so interesting, but it’s another storyline that sort of ended. This is the darkest of the endings, as you choose to chop up his own father’s body. It started to dawn on me that the uglier more gruesome choices led to more interesting paths, so Stefan kills his father, chops up the body and has plenty of time to finish the video game. This is the only ending where Stefan gets rave reviews, but his moment is short lived as he’s arrested shortly after. Colin’s daughter Pearl takes over the game years later, and we think the episode is over, but when there’s a glitch in the game, we have to choose to destroy the computer or spill the tea, and either way, it ends the episode. What makes this ending the true ending to me is the fact that Stefan concludes that he needed to make people think they had a choice, when in reality, he chose the ending. And in reality, we as viewers think we have a choice, but we’re often pushed to complete certain actions like killing his father and refusing to work with the company. It’s mind-boggling and I loved it.
- My favorite moment from the whole episode was Will Poulter’s monologue about Pac-Man making you think you have all these choices and free will in life, when in reality you simply don’t. Everything he said about alternate timelines was exactly what happens, making his character more self-aware than anyone else’s. When he said “wrong choice” he’s talking more so to the audience. When he said “you’re down the hole” he’s telling the audience you’re deep into the path you’ve selected. His character was definitely a scene stealer for me. Loved the acting. Also it breaks my heart that people were bullying the actor on social media after the episode aired, so much so, that he quit Twitter. People are so cruel.
- The acting in general was all very good. Apparently every path was filmed separately meaning they had to film similar scenes multiple times. I guess I get why because it made every moment to moment choice feel very seamless, but that sounds incredibly difficult production wise.
- Overall, I really enjoyed the experience. While the plot suffers because of all the choices you have to make, I’ve never had the joy of choosing what happens in an episode, and it was exhilarating to have unfold. All of the endings sort of leave you lacking in other subplots and points, but I feel like they did the best with what they were working with.
- There’s also a PAC ending, where Stefan finds out his father and mother are working for the government, but it actually leads back to Stefan having to choose to kill his father, so to me, it wasn’t exactly needed.
- My ranking is purely based on my own opinions, and if you disagreed, that’s totally fine. To me, it was important to have certain moments like what the heck happens with the video game which happens to be the title, so if it didn’t include that, I was just more inclined to rank it lower.
- I want to know other people’s thoughts. What’s your favorite ending?