This post contains spoilers for Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. These spoilers may or may not have had Frosties for breakfast.
On December 28th, Netflix overwhelmed viewers with seemingly endless choices — most of them ending in death or jail for the lead character, as the flowchart below suggests — in the interactive Black Mirror movie, Bandersnatch. The story, set in 1984, follows Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) as he tries to create a Choose Your Own Adventure style video game named Bandersnatch, but he has a creeping sense of dread that his choices aren’t his own. And he’d be right, since Netflix viewers were making choices for him, some of those choices as basic as which cereal he should eat for breakfast. It should be noted that if you don’t choose anything, the movie will progress through a default path, showing you several endings, although series creator Charlie Brooker has said this version is not an ideal experience.
So what would be the ideal experience? Reddit sleuths have been trying to figure that out, cataloging endings and Easter eggs and coming up with flowcharts like this one and the one below for just some of the possible combinations of the “about 250” scenes in Bandersnatch:
Perhaps the happiest ending — as happy as the tech-dystopia anthology series Black Mirror can get, anyway — is the “white rabbit” ending. Stefan discusses his mother’s death with his therapist. She died in a train wreck Stefan feels responsible for, and he could have been on the train with her. Despite Stefan’s therapist telling him, “The past is immutable. No matter how painful it is, we can’t change things. We can’t choose differently with hindsight. We all have to learn to accept that,” viewers can, in fact, change the past if they choose the right paths in the decision tree. Stefan ends up on the train with his mother, then the movie returns to the present time, with a paramedic declaring Stefan dead in the therapist’s office and the therapist telling Stefan’s father Stefan had only closed his eyes for a second.
Finding the many permutations and endings of Bandersnatch seems to be a Sisyphean task. Even director David Slade admits he hasn’t been able to find everything. As Slade told The Hollywood Reporter:
“There are scenes that some people just will never see and we had to make sure that we were OK with that. We actually shot a scene that we can’t access”
Knowing Black Mirror and the video game theme of Bandersnatch, that elusive scene is probably the only deathless happy ending and you’d have to enter the Konami code to find it.
One thing is for certain, people are going to be trying to suss out a better ending for Stefan for awhile:
Black Mirror season 5 will premiere some time later this year.