WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, streaming now on Netflix.
Rather than a standard, episodic fifth season of Black Mirror, Netflix took fans of the anthology series on an interactive adventure with Bandersnatch, its first full-length feature. It allows viewers to make decisions for a young computer programmer, Stefan (Fionn Whitehead), as he works with a software company in 1984 to bring his video game to life.
Depending upon how you control the geeky teen, Bandersnatch can be completed in just under an hour, or it can continue to the 90-minute mark, with dozens more divergent minor storylines materializing, depending upon which paths Stefan takes. However, there are five main endings set in stone.
THE META ENDING
Early on, once users allow Stefan to work for the software comp;any Tuckersoft, but from home instead of at the office (which sees the game fail commercially), his mental health declines. That's because he blames his father for his mothers death, and the deadline to deliver the final Bandersnatch code is heaping pressure upon him. The tipping point comes when his machine reveals he's being controlled by Netflix.
As he breaks mentally, and snaps at his dad, Stefan is taken to his psychologist, Dr. Haynes (Alice Lowe). After she lashes out at him for his absurd Netflix claims, the viewer prompted to have the teen jump through the window to escape. However, when Stefan attempts to do that, the window doesn't open, which leads a director to yell cut, revealing he's actually in a movie.
The crew tries to tell the teen he's really an actor named Mike, but he believes he's Stefan, which drives the crew to call for medical aid on set. Conversely, if you don't make Stefan try to jump out the window, he and Dr. Haynes engage in a brutal fight, which ends with his father entering to forcibly remove his son from the brawl.
One of Stefan's mentors, the genius programmer Colin (Will Poulter), spends time filling his head with sci-fi theories about alternative timelines and different realities, which helps to make the young man paranoid. That leads the viewer to direct Stefan on how to handle confronting his father. It turns out that, when Stefan was a boy, his father hid a toy from him, and the search delayed his mother's train. She then boarded a later one, which derailed and killed her.
After a drug trip with Colin, an older Stefan discover the toy in his father's safe and, by some mysterious time-travel mechanism, the younger version of him also is able to find his toy after it was hidden. That still results in a delay, forcing Stefan and his mother board the second train, which ends in similar disaster.
Shockingly, with the young Stefan dead in that timeline, the camera cuts to the older Stefan in Dr. Haynes' office, also dead. His father and paramedics are there to confirm the death, which occurred when he closed his eyes during his therapy session.
NEXT PAGE: The Bandersnatch Game Becomes a (Bloody) Hit