If you’re like us, watching Black Mirror: Bandersnatch this weekend involved biting off your gel nail manicure and stress-eating an entire box of Little Bites. Between inadvertently ruining Stefan’s (Fionn Whitehead) life and trying to find the secret ending (not to mention the numerous Easter eggs), we constructed a flowchart in our brain of the labyrinthine story — only to get dropped back off at the ultimate choice: Sugar Puffs or Frosties?
Luckily, the fine folks at Reddit have put together a series of Bandersnatch flowcharts to map out its many paths to the various endings. Are you looking for the elusive happy Bandersnatch ending? Do you want to play through all the possible endings? Do you just want to avoid killing Dad? Having fan-made flowcharts handy is probably the only way to keep Stefan (and yourself) from going totally bonkers or literally spilling too much tea. But there are some caveats: the flowcharts, while intended to make Bandersnatch easier, may infuriate you more as you realize that your choices are merely an illusion...or something like that.
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Making you a little bit nuts is exactly how the writers intended the experience of choosing your own adventure (kind of) to be. But if you felt like Bandersnatch was an exercise in futility, imagine living in that futility. Black Mirror creators Annabel Jones and Charlie Brooker spent two years crafting Bandersnatch; a process, they described to Variety, as having “many points where we felt it was driving us crazy.””
“It kept expanding, even when we were in pre-production,” Brooker told Variety of the multiple storylines. “We deliberately pushed what was going to be possible,” until, Brooker says, “[t]he story outline crashed.” Netflix’s in-house software, created just to manage the writing process, literally broke from the weight of Bandersnatch’s innumerable possible combinations of choices.
The seamless quality of the scene transitions, even after making one of the on-screen choices, is a technical achievement for Netflix. The app now caches (or pre-buffers) two separate outcomes, based on viewer’s choices, in order to ensure no break in the live action.
If you’re looking for a Bandersnatch flow chart to aid in your experience, keep in mind that the writers intended the story to have a much more dynamic quality than simply choices A or B. “There are lots of potential paths that Stefan's journey could take and it's up to you for when you feel sated,” Jones told The Hollywood Reporter. In other words, viewers shouldn’t feel determined to reach one of the five possible outcomes, because the process is designed to contain numerous comfortable stopping points. “Going down various branches opens up other potentials, so you may not reach certain things depending on the decisions you make. It's not a simple branching narrative with lots of binary choices — they are all changing your state and what's open to you.”
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