On Friday, Netflix released Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, an interactive, “choose your own adventure” film. Starring Fionn Whitehead as an aspiring, yet troubled programmer named Stefan Butler, the episode is set in 1984, and follows Stefan’s attempts to create a video game adaptation of author Jerome F. Davies’s similarly interactive book, Bandersnatch. As cited by CNET, Netflix’s press literature previously suggested there are supposed to be five main endings to the episode, but there are apparently other ways in which the story could end for its youthful protagonist.
WARNING: This article includes spoilers to Netflix’s recently released Black Mirror interactive episode, Bandersnatch. If you haven’t watched the episode, or have watched it but want to figure out the other endings for yourself with little to no assistance, please proceed with caution.
Stefan Works With A Team, Bandersnatch Flops
As noted by Slate, ace programmer Colin Ritman (Will Poulter) makes a comment to Stefan about choosing the “wrong path” by accepting the offer to make Bandersnatch a collaborative effort. This hints at what’s going to happen if viewers choose the affirmative after Tuckersoft boss Mohan Tucker (Asim Chaudhry) makes his initial offer. Following the “wrong path” remark, the episode skips five months forward, where Stefan and his father are watching television. It’s shown that the video game review program MicroPlay gave Bandersnatch the worst possible review due to its by-committee approach and rushed feel – zero stars out of five.
Stefan Takes His Meds, Bandersnatch Gets So-So Review
By choosing “refuse” and having Stefan work on Bandersnatch at home, the young game designer gets the creative leeway he desires but also ends up losing his grip on his sanity, culminating in a scene where his psychiatrist, Dr. Haynes (Alice Lowe), increases his medication. You can either have Stefan take his medication or flush the pills down the toilet, and if you choose the former option, he’ll end up releasing Bandersnatch on schedule, only to get a two-and-a-half-star rating from MicroPlay for coming up with an uninspired product.
18 Posts That Perfectly Sum Up The Experience Of Watching "Black Mirror's Bandersnatch" https://t.co/Mb4bhnTkg5— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) December 29, 2018
Bandersnatch Goes Meta
If you chose the path where Stefan flushed his medication, he will reach a point where he misses his original deadline, watches a Jerome F. Davies documentary that Colin gave him, and comes to the conclusion that someone is controlling his actions. Viewers can actually choose “Netflix” when Stefan loudly demands to know who’s controlling him, and if you keep explaining to him what Netflix is, he’ll end up back in Dr. Haynes’ office, where she will ask whether he thinks his story, if it is really being watched by people from the future, could use some additional entertainment.
Choosing “yes” or “f**k yeah” doesn’t matter, per Thrillist, as both choices lead to Dr. Haynes challenging her young patient to a fight. If you decide that Stefan should jump out of the window instead of fighting, such a choice would result in a voice yelling “cut” and the revelation that the whole experience is actually a film shooting. As for Stefan, this ending reveals that he is an actor named Mike who also appears to be out of it, as he doesn’t realize the “window” he was trying to jump out of is merely a prop.
Killing Dad And Burying His Body
It is explained early on that after Bandersnatch author Davies (a fictional character with fictional books, per the Express) killed his wife, he used her blood to draw a mysterious glyph symbol on the walls of his home. During the scene where Stefan asks who’s controlling him, choosing the glyph would lead him down a murderous path where he kills his father (Craig Parkinson). Opting to bury his corpse leads to more pathways where Stefan could end up killing Colin or Mohan after they check on him, but regardless of the subsequent choices, Stefan ends up in prison, where he passes the time by scratching decision trees on the walls of his jail cell. As for Bandersnatch, it never gets released, regardless of the post-corpse burial choices, as Vulture noted.
Bandersnatch, The Remake
After Stefan kills his father, you can choose whether you want him to chop the corpse or bury it, and choosing the former option results in the game getting released and earning glowing reviews from MicroPlay. However, as explained in a present-day news report, Stefan was ultimately arrested for the murder, which resulted in Bandersnatch getting pulled from stores.
This leads to a scene where Colin’s daughter Pearl announces that she’s remaking Bandersnatch as an interactive game for streaming television consumers. She ends up getting as frustrated over the game as Stefan once was, and regardless whether you have her spill her tea on the computer or violently destroy it, the screen will go black and you’ll get sent back in time to 1984, and left to explore more possible pathways for Stefan.
What If Stefan Found His Toy Rabbit?
For this ending, you’ll need to reach the part where Stefan breaks into his father’s study and has to enter a password to unlock a cabinet. By choosing the password “TOY,” Stefan is able to somehow go back in time as a 5-year-old, retrieve the toy rabbit his father hid from him on the night before his mother’s tragic death, and put it in its usual hiding place under his bed.
The next morning, you’ll be asked if you want Stefan, who has successfully found the rabbit under his bed, to join his mother on the train to his grandparents’ place, which is still the same 8:45 train that got derailed, killing its passengers. Choosing “Yes” leads to a short clip of mother and son riding the train, then shifts back to 1984, where Stefan mysteriously dies while in the middle of a therapy session with Dr. Haynes. This is apparently because, in theory, he would have died at 5-years-old had he been on the same train as his mother.
In its recap of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’s various endings, Slate noted that this is the only one that doesn’t instantly allow viewers to go back and redo their previous choices.
“Stefan embraces his fate and chooses death over struggle—although in video games, death is just the easiest way of getting back to the beginning,” Slate added.
Other Possible Endings
Aside from the aforementioned endings to Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, there are others that could effectively end Stefan’s story while giving viewers a chance to try again.
Spilling tea on the computer (instead of asking Stefan to yell at his father) ends up destroying everything he’s worked on, earning him a strong rebuke from his dad. Likewise, breaking Stefan’s computer while he’s watching the Jerome F. Davies documentary leads to similar consequences.
When Colin and Stefan are on the former’s balcony after their acid trip and conversation about multiple realities, you can choose which man leaps from the balcony. If Colin jumps, he dies and the episode pushes forward, but if Stefan jumps, he dies, and work on Bandersnatch continues without him, with the game’s storyline becoming too dark for MicroPlay’s reviewer to enjoy.
Having Stefan fight Dr. Haynes ultimately leads to a physical fight scene between him and his father, which ends with Stefan in a headlock as he asks viewers, “How’s that for entertainment, you psychotic f**ks?”
As opined by Bustle, none of the endings can really be called happy, but at the end of the day, Bandersnatch stood out from other Black Mirror episodes for being “truly about the journey rather than the destination,” with the moral of the story being that viewers were “never really in control” of lead character Stefan’s fate, despite all the choices given to them.