Life is full of lots of choices, and if you’re met with a pathway where you should choose between ‘Bird Box’ and ‘Black Mirror’s’ newest interactive story ‘Bandersnatch,’ you should make the choice of the latter.
Known for it’s dark dives into conspiracy, taboo topics, and macabre ideas, ‘Bandersnatch’ follows a young man named Stefan who is on the cusp of breaking into the video game programming field with his newest demo based on a book his mom owned called ‘Bandersnatch.’ Don’t let the ‘Alice In Wonderland’ references escape you.
The first of its kind, ‘Bandersnatch’ offers a choice-by-choice viewing experience, one in which changes the outcome of the story, much like your choices in life choose your outcome. At first it seems silly, you’re choosing your cereal, choosing what record to buy, but then it becomes choosing whether to talk about “your” aka Stefan’s mom’s death, or whether you should jump off a building and kill yourself.
As you watch Stefan slowly slip into madness, you can achieve what Reddit and Twitter users call a “soft ending,” or a “full ending.” You even have a choice to tell Stefan that what’s controlling his mind is Netflix. And with a multitude of choices you can make within the story, there are so many different storylines that you can follow, just like the story of ‘Bandersnatch,’ as a “Choose Your Own Adventure” game/book.
The story, however, tends to lead you in the thought that you have “free will” in the choices you’re making. Then you realize that there’s no such thing as free will with the circumstances provided. Netflix is in control of the story, as is PAX (I will not explain what PAX is as not to spoil) is in one of Stefan’s many outcomes.
The producers and ‘Black Mirror’ co-creator Charlie Brooker have given multiple answers to how many endings you can find, that range from 5 to 10, 12, or Brooker’s response ‘”All of them,'” quoted by The Daily Mail.
The interesting part about this whole experiment with Netflix and a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story viewing is that we are realizing that Stefan is being controlled, but we in turn, as the viewer, are being controlled by Netflix by exploring all these possibilities. If we want to dive in deeper, ‘Black Mirror’ is great at making us think of our own lives and the world around us.
With the paths we’ve chosen in life, each path has lead us to another decision, another fate. And in most situations, the choices we have made, though we can resolve them emotionally by “knowing better next time,” we can’t go back and change them. With our choices that have lead us to our socioeconomic standings in life, those decisions also cause us to be controlled by our financial and social standings. It’s all a big mind-fuck really.
So, while you’re having an out-of-body experience becoming Stefan’s choice-maker, be aware that your choices, just as Stefan’s, can change the course of your life. With that being said, go put your laundry in the dryer.