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Bandersnatch: The Inner Workings of Interaction

Grace West and Alli Williams

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Black Mirror has been captivating audiences and bringing viewers into their “augmented reality” for years, but now the audience has been thrown into the narrative like never before. ‘Bandersnatch’ was Black Mirror’s late Christmas present to us for 2018 instead of another full season. Fans, however, are getting anything but shortchanged with this new form of interactive entertainment.

 

The average season of Black Mirror contains about five hours of content, usually broken into hour-long installments. Even though ‘Bandersnatch’ takes anywhere from an hour to two hours to complete and get one of the true endings, there is reportedly over five hours of footage that players are able to find. So with that many endings and that much content, the rewatchability is very high compared to any other episode of Black Mirror in existence.

 

Here’s how it works:

Every few minutes, the watcher is given 2 choices on the screen and depending on which choice you pick you determine which path you get in the story. However, the first three choices such as sugar puffs versus frosties all this determines is whichever cereal you choose is the commercial you will see on the TV. By choosing between the two cassettes all you are doing is choosing the background music on the train. And from there, the choices become more and more significant.

 

Over the years, the popular series has accumulated a very large following and it was no different with the release of ‘Bandersnatch’. The show has created quite the conversation mostly surrounding the government and whether or not we are in control of our own reality, just like Stefan, the main character, who spends most of the time struggling with his perspective on life. The writers and directors truly did do a great job mapping out the entire journey of these characters. And even if the first few choices don’t have any impact on the overall story, it seems like you get a new ending every runthrough.

 

For example, along the government conspiracy path, the show also manages to touch many different elements that take Stefan through the crafting of his game and through all the possible endings. For example, Stefan struggles with PTSD as a result of a train accident that involved his mother. Because of this, Stefan visits a therapist and takes some sort of medication for his condition. When making choices if you choose for Stefan to take the medication, he will never get a perfect game as the meds dull his creativity. It’s the small choices like this that have a huge impact on the story.

 

Below is a flow chart from Reddit on r/Bandersnatch of all the choices that have been found so far, and how to achieve them.

 

Now, this chart appears very confusing at first glance, but it begins to make more sense as you discover more about the story and Stefan.

 

While the show does have a high rewatchability, for some watching it too many times may make them feel like they are living in the same situation of not being able to control their choices and the entirety of their life not being theirs.

 

Not only was this show hard on the fans, but it was also hard on some of the cast as well. Will Poulter, who plays Colin in the show, announced that he was proud of the hard work that he put into ‘Bandersnatch,’ but on January 2nd, he ultimately made the decision to disconnect from Twitter.

In conclusion, not only was the show a hit with fans, it also has broken down the fourth wall that has separated the small screen and audiences for too long. There are no doubts that there will soon be copycats that would like to follow in its footsteps, but until then, we look forward to seeing what else Netflix has up their sleeves for the seasons to come.

 

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Bandersnatch: The Inner Workings of Interaction