Black Mirror: Bandersnatch Review: Netflix delivers a mindbending addition to series


The Black Mirror: Bandersnatch interactive choose-your-own-adventure feature is sure to drive you insane, but you will enjoy every second of it.

Black Mirror spoilers ahead! If you have not yet experienced this feature, please be wary of the contents of this article. We do not want to ruin this amazing experience for you so please proceed with caution!

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, you are something else. Honestly, it’s hard to find a place to start when explaining Netflix’s latest accomplishment. Just mere hours ago, Netflix dropped the feature-length episode/movie (it can really be either or) and it was glorious.

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Instead of a whole season (which we may still get), Netflix gave fans a choose-your-own-adventure feature-length episode/movie. When you first click on the Black Mirror: Bandersnatch option, a brief description is provided on an old-school television for what we can expect.

Throughout the feature, you are given options and you have to pick between one or the other within ten seconds. If you decide to let Netflix pick all your options for you, the entire feature is about 90-minutes, but if you do the picking, it could be up to 2 hours.

It’s so thrilling and nerve-wracking all at the same time because you want to make the “right” decision, but pretty soon you are so immersed in everything that you just want the story to continue. Honestly, this is the most creative and genius thing Netflix has ever done.

What better way to engage an audience that is already obsessed with this show by giving them control? And making us a huge part of how everything plays out in it. It’s next level epic and amazing–and did I mention addicting?

Every option you pick takes the story in a certain direction. Sometimes the story continues, sometimes the story hits a dead end and reverts back to a certain moment, or you simply reach the intended end of the feature.

The possibilities are endless, and with 5 hours of footage, one could be lost in the world of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch forever.

When the feature begins, we are introduced to the Bandersnatch book. There is a young man by the name of Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead) who lives with his father, Peter (Craig Parkinson). During their morning breakfast, you are presented with your first pair of options–should Stefan eat Frosties or Sugar Puffs? Whether picking one or the other makes a true impact on the story is uncertain, but it definitely preps you for a long series of decision making moments.

The core story of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is about Stefan and his desire to turn the book Bandersnatch into a video game. He has a meeting set with a big company by the name of Tuckersoft, run by a Mr. Thakur (Asim Chaudhry) and also home to video game guru, Colin Ritman (Will Poulter).

Colin is Stefan’s idol and who he aspires to be and depending on options you pick, Colin and Stefan go down an interesting road. But right before Stefan arrives at Tuckersoft, we are faced with our second question–what music should Stefan listen to. I picked “Now 2” and it began playing “Here Comes The Rain Again”.

While these first two questions, may or may not sway the story and how it all plays out, what happens next is when the real fun gets started. I don’t want to give away every detail because experiencing it for yourself is the best way to take it all in. But the combination of the 1980s backdrop, the breaking fourth wall conversations, and the focus on how technology rules our lives is what makes this feature absolutely thrilling.

There are so many different ways the story can go depending on what options you pick. Personally, I got to see two different endings during my 2.5-hour journey through Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. One of the endings presented itself twice, while the other one felt like a true ending because it didn’t provide any more choices and went right into credits. Sometimes the story focused on the success of Stefan’s game, while other times, it went a completely different direction.

The beauty of this unique experience is that you can go through the entire thing, and have things play out one way. But then you can also go back and restart and pick a whole different list of options. Honestly, you can spend so much time lost in this–it’s pretty amazing.

At the heart of the story is Stefan’s desire to make this novel into a video game. It’s something his mother was fond of, but she tragically passed away when he was younger. Many options you are presented will often tie back to that day and determine parts of Stefan’s present.

Throughout the feature, you have the option to drive Stefan completely insane–if you so desire. It’s sort of wicked and cruel that way, but that’s the essence of what Black Mirror is trying to prove to us within the context of the feature. In fact, Stefan himself becomes cognizant of being controlled by something or someone else (ahem, US).

During my personal experience of Bandersnatch, I went through about 7 different loops until I reached what I believe to be the “real” ending. Of course, there are multiple endings, but given how this particular one ended, it felt like that is how it was meant to.

At the heart of this mindbending feature is a story about a young kid aspiring to become something and competing with the madness of technology to achieve it. In this case, it’s up to us where and how he ends up. But let’s just say, some of the paths he can take are pretty darn gruesome and disturbing.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch will send you down a rabbit hole of options, and keep you entertained for hours if you so desire. You’ll make questionable choices (and even start to examine your psyche because of it). The whole experience speaks to the idea of control and how that control seeps into the technology we use. It also reflects upon the concept of desire and power and even a hint of obsession.

Next. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch trailer is here and it is Totally ’80s crazy. dark

And for a series that has based its entire existence on society’s dependency on technology and how it shapes our lives–Bandersnatch illustrates it all quite literally. Now, how ironic is that? Black Mirror got us good.

The most in-your-face wow moments come when a unique breaking of the fourth wall occurs. This happens between us and Stefan who constantly complains of being controlled by something and is unable to overpower the random urges.

It’s a bit jarring yet exciting to experience an episode like this because everything is so literal. It’s as if all the previous seasons and their lessons were preparing us for this experience. Bravo, Netflix, Bravo.

So, whether you pick Frosties over Sugar Puffs, opt to have Stefan kill his dad and chop him up, or decide to throw tea on the computer, there are so many options and so many ways his story could potentially end. But it is an insight into the psyche of a disturbed person, or is it of a person that has been disturbed? Food for thought.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is now streaming on Netflix!