***Warning: This review contains spoilers from the Black Mirror episode Bandersnatch.***
Black Mirror has always been one to mess with its audience but Charlie Brooker has created a complete gamechanger (see what we did there?) with Bandersnatch.
We don’t know which version of the episode you’re seeing, and as a result these are the events which unfolded uniquely for us.
This is a choose-your-own-adventure, so what actually happens on your screen is completely down to you.
Fionn Whitehead stars in the episode as Stefan, a wannabe game creator who heads to Tuckersoft Games to pitch his game to be sold to the market.
There, he meets Will Poulter’s Colin Rickman, the man behind games including Metl Hedd and Nosedyve – which for those familiar with Black Mirror lore, may recognise.
Throughout the course of the episode, you’re presented with two options – do we choose Sugar Puffs or Frosties? Pick the job offer or turn it down? Does it matter either way?
As it happens, yes and no, really. Within ten minutes of the film starting we found ourselves heading back to the beginning as we’re essentially instructed to not choose the path we originally went for.
But it appears that while at the beginning, the lack of options is intentional so you end up with the same fate, while it develops over time that you have more in common with Stefan than you originally thought, and every action you’ve made has had a consequence.
While Stefan continues to function as the lead character in our game, he becomes aware of our presence and attempts to stop himself from following our instructions.
But our guide lines actually become even more extreme and start appearing to have even more of an impact on the state of the episode and its world. We go from being a bystander picking a song on the bus to whether or not someone lives or dies within the space of half an hour.
In the timeline we chose, Colin jumps to his death in an LSD trip, and then kills Stefan’s dad by smashing him over the head with an ashtray. We were caught out when we tried to bury him and the company Tuckersoft collapsed because the game wasn’t completed in time.
As Stefan descends into madness as a result of our decision making, he ends up in prison carving the White Bear ‘gliff’ symbol repeatedly into the wall.
Oh, and an option we thought we’d been reset on, apparently actually happened – and now we’re even more confused.
But more than that, it’s an absolute ride – and we can’t wait to see what this new way of creating a show can do for the series and even television in general.
The pure joy of this episode is that we have absolutely no idea if this is a normal experience or just the path we chose. For a world full of spoilers, it certainly keeps everyone on their toes.
Honestly, this is Black Mirror at its best, and now I’m going to go and start it all over again.
Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch is available on Netflix now.
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