Bandersnatch: Not In Control

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Bandersnatch: Not In Control

Photo courtesy of joe.ie

Photo courtesy of joe.ie

Photo courtesy of joe.ie

Photo courtesy of joe.ie

John Escareno, Co Editor

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Imagine your life wasn’t in your control. All your decisions were someone else’s. You can simply be walking across a bridge, and you seemingly jump off it. It wasn’t your choice, it was the one with the control. In Netflix’s new interactive special, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, you are the one with the control. Literally. 

Last year, the knowledge of this production was essentially nonexistent. All we knew was that Netflix was going to make something insanely creative. Now, most assumed that meant a movie or television show idea completely out of the box. And well, it lived up to that, but in a way nobody expected. 

Before beginning, this is a warning. There will be spoilers for Bandersnatch and most of its endings. Hopefully, there is enjoyment gained from reading this. If you haven’t seen this, watch it, please. It’s honestly an experience everyone with Netflix needs to have. It’s a mess, but, in a really good way. Alright, so, would you like to: 

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In this movie of sorts, you play as Stefan, a boy who wants to be a game designer. He’s recently gone through his mom’s things and found a book. Now he’s basing his game on it. But, as he continues, he finds that making a game is truly a horrible experience. And in the end, no matter what you do or how you do it, it always seems that Stefan’s game is horribly received, getting mediocre reviews. It’s one of the first signs of the main theme of this movie: chaos theory. 

What is chaos theory? It’s a theory that believes, no matter what you do, something will happen. It doesn’t matter if you jump off a cliff, or drown in the tub, you will eventually die. And in Stefan’s case, no matter if he kills his father, or if he works with the game company, it seems his game will never be Grade A. It’s an interesting theme and stands out compared to many of the shows Netflix shoves out every other week.  

So, what is choice? Well, it’s what decisions you make. You, as a person, make. Not someone else’s. Not your parent’s, teacher’s, or coach’s choice, it’s yours. Maybe. Bandersnatch expands on this topic, stating that the choices you make might be influenced by something else, or someone else. Maybe the government, or maybe aliens, or maybe some eldritch gods looking for a chuckle. Think about it, you’ve probably made a bad decision in your life. It was most likely your fault, but there might’ve been a catch. You probably knew something bad would result in your decision, but you went along with it. Maybe the choice wasn’t yours, but, whatever. It’s as if there is someone else controlling you, right? That’d be insane. 

But, in most of the endings, Stefan becomes self-aware, and you can choose how. In one of the crazier endings, you can tell Stefan he’s being watched on Netflix. He then proceeds to fight his therapist and his father. There’d be a quote from him here, but it’s…vulgar, to say the least. Or you can make a reference to an older episode, White Bear. This ending is very, well, boring. It ends with Stefan skulking into his pain and sorrow, now realizing he’s only a toy for a much, much higher power, and his game is once again seen as bad. Another odd ending is Stefan realizing his father and therapist are government workers and goes to kill both. He’s sent to jail, and guess what, his game is bad. 

In the end, Bandersnatch is an amazing experience. It’s about choice, awareness and chaos. It an experience everyone should watch. It takes more than two hours to get most of the endings, so it’ll be a time investor. Just watch this with a few friends, and hopefully don’t get too into it. Many have reported that they themselves have been watched while doing this, but that’s just silly. But in the end, it’s just a movie, right? Nothing to be afraid of. PAC doesn’t actually stand for program and control. That’d be maniacal. So, go watch Bandersnatch. It’s fun, thrilling, and horrifying.