Have you gone down the rabbit hole and into the twisted labyrinth that is Bandersnatch?
Millions of viewers around the world have sprawled on their couch this weekend to watch Black Mirror: Bandersnatch — the new installment of the popular British anthology series launched by Netflix. Unlike other shows, the episode (also described as a film) works like a choose your own adventure video game, where periodically viewers need to select what happens next.
While Bandersnatch is advertised as having five main endings, since the story is slightly altered with each decision you make, the possibilities are actually near endless. As Charlie Brooker said in an interview with the New York Times, “I don’t know how many endings there are. “We don’t know what we’ve created here.”
Fortunately, Reddit detectives are busy at work documenting each ending and hunting down every Easter egg. According to this flowchart created by Reddit user alpine-, every decision, be it big or small, affects Stefan’s destiny.
In my first viewing, I managed to unlock four of the five main endings and several “secret” endings which despite taking well over two and a half hours, made for a compelling watch. In my second viewing, I reached three additional endings with the help of the internet. Cracking the code and finding all of the possible endings for Netflix’s choose-your-own-adventure movie is a chore. It’s still unclear how many endings there are and honestly, I’m not even quite sure if every ending I’ve listed below constitutes as an ending — or simply a detour. Either way, here is my ranking of each ending I’ve found, from worst to best. Let me know which of the endings you prefer.
11 – A Terrible Game
The first and most boring ending of Bandersnatch is telegraphed early on when Colin breaks the fourth wall and tells Stefan he chose the “wrong path.” Under pressure to meet a Christmas deadline, Stefan ends up sacrificing his artistic integrity and publishes a rushed and terrible version of Bandersnatch that receives a 0/5 star rating from the famous TV game critic. While this is the least exciting ending you can get, it isn’t so bad in retrospect given all the terrible things that happen to Stefan in other timelines.
10 – The Broken-Computer Ending
There are multiple scenes/endings in which you are given a choice for Stefan to destroy his computer after locking himself in his bedroom and spending several weeks working on the game with very little sleep. The first choice will allow you to force Stefan to drop his tea on his computer while the second choice allows you to destroy his life’s work with his bare hands.
9 – The Medicated Ending
If you choose to make Stefan see Dr. Haynes instead of following Colin, she’ll give him pills to relieve his anxiety. It’s up to you to decide if Stefan swallows the pills or flushes them down the toilet. If Stefan takes his medication, the story leaps ahead to another ending: It’s Christmas time, Stefan has been heavily medicated for months, and his game has been released on schedule, only his medication interfered with his creative process and Stefan released a game which received poor reviews; the critic calling it “a game made on autopilot.”
8 – The Jeff Minter Cameo
One of the most difficult endings to unlock features the real-life iconic game designer Jeff Minter making a cameo appearance as author Jerome F. Davies who visits Stefan in a dream. The only way to unlock this scene is to choose the “Pick up Family Photo” option, not once but twice. Doing so forces Stefan to finally pick up the book to read instead, which sends him down various paths that lead to the discoveries of his father’s hidden safe.
While Jeff Minter only appears in grainy footage from the documentary and in various photos scattered throughout, it still is pretty cool that a prominent figure in the gaming industry makes an appearance.
7 – The Pearl Ritman Ending
If viewers have followed Colin back to his home by now, they will have already met his daughter, baby Pearl and if viewers decide to chop up Stefan’s dad’s body after killing him, Stefan will be sent to prison before unlocking an addition ending that flashes forward to the present day. Here we see Colin’s now grown-up daughter Pearl working on a reboot of Stefan’s interactive story as a Netflix film. Similar to Stefan, however, Pearl becomes overwhelmed by the daunting task of finishing the project and viewers are given two options: Force Pearl to throw tea over her computer, or destroy it?
6 – The Balcony Ending
When Stefan is tricked into visiting Dr. Haynes, he spots Colin from a distance walking down the street. If you decide to make Stefan follow Colin instead of attending his therapy session, Colin will invite Stefan back to his home where Colin will offer Stefan hallucinogenic drugs. If you don’t accept the drugs and say no, Colin will spike Stefan’s drink when he’s not looking and both men will eventually experience an acid trip leading Colin to share his theories about alternate realities and how nobody has free will and everything is pre-planned. The drug itself has an image of the lion or the PAX demon who Stefan calls the thief of destiny, the enemy he created for his game who kills the main character and forces players to restart. It is also the demon mentioned by the old lady in the Jerome F. Davies documentary Stefan later watches.
The bad news is this scenario will result in one of them dying. If Stefan jumps to his death, the story continues with his game finished abruptly without him, and the game critic awarding it 2 ½ stars, stating it had potential but due to the unfortunate event of its creator dying, the publisher rushed out an unfinished product. If you decide to let Colin jump, he will no longer appear for the remainder of the episode but Stefan will have to face his darkest and deepest inner demons.
5 – The Meta Ending
Netflix also makes a cameo appearance in character in Bandersnatch, that is if you chose to answer a question honestly.
When Stefan begins to realize that he is being controlled by an outside force, he turns to his computer for answers and demands to know who is controlling him? Viewers can respond by either choosing the branching narrative glyph (the symbol from Black Mirror’s “White Bear” episode) or tell him he is being controlled by “a streaming platform from the early 21st century.” The latter sends Stefan back to the psychiatrist office where Stefan will partake in an over-the-top fight scene with his psychiatrist and his father, or choose not to fight his dad, and try and jump out a window only to have the camera pull back to reveal that Stefan is actually an actor standing on the Black Mirror set. It’s not the best ending of Bandersnatch but a clever one no less, that seems ripped straight out of a scene from The Truman Show.
4 – The Train
Although you are prompted with only two passwords when unlocking the safe, there are actually four passwords in total, two of which can only be accessed if you visit Colin’s house and complete the psychedelic storyline.
If you choose “T-O-Y” as your password, present-day Stefan finds the rabbit hidden in his dad’s safe, allowing him to revisit his childhood and change the past by hiding his beloved stuff animal under the bed so that his mom won’t miss her morning train. Stefan (now a young boy) will be given the opportunity to tag along or stay home. If Stefan says yes, he and his mom both board the train which will eventually crash leaving them both dead. However, in a surprising twist, the scene cuts back to the psychiatrist office revealing a present-day Stefan dead in his psychiatrist’s chair.
3 – The Post Credits Easter Egg: Nohzdyve
When Bandersnatch is officially over, be sure to stick around until after the closing credits sequence. At the end of the credits, you’ll be treated to a fairly simple scene in which we see Stefan back on the same bus he took when he first visited Tuckersoft at the beginning of the film. This time around, he pulls out an audio cassette featuring music from the game he made so he can listen to the game’s soundtrack while he travels to work. When he presses play on the walkman, a dial-up sound is heard before the screen fades to black.
The scene is fairly mundane but what makes it great is the secret that lies within it; a secret some Reddit detective have uncoded. As The Wrap points out, the sound heard before the screen turns black is actually data for a ZX Spectrum computer — the computer that Stefan was using to make his game. And if you run the audio through a ZX Spectrum emulator, the emulator will spit out a QR code that will guide you to the official website for Tuckersoft where you can play Nohzdyve, one of the games created by Colin in the movie. Unfortunately, if you want to play the game, you have to get a ZX Spectrum emulator first, although I hear this isn’t very hard to do.
2 – The Five Star Ending: Shallow Grave
There are several endings in which Stefan is imprisoned for murdering his father but one ending in particular, gives viewers the option to have Stefan kill his dad and chop up his dead body before disposing of it. This is the only ending that I am aware of that results in Stefan finishing his game and receiving a five-star rating from the TV critic for his hard work. Eventually, Stefan is arrested for the murder and sent to prison for the rest of his life. If you choose not to chop up the body and simply bury the dad’s corpse in the backyard, the body will be found earlier on thanks to the family dog who digs up the shallow grave and Stefan will be arrested before completing his masterpiece.
1 – The Truth is Out There
As mentioned above there are four passwords to choose from in order to unlock the hidden safe. Choosing the password “T-O-Y” unlocks the aforementioned ending which sees a younger Stefan boarding the train. If you choose “P-A-X” as a password, you’ll be treated to a jump scare of the Bandersnatch demon scaring the living bejeebers out of Stefan. If you choose to enter the password “J-F-D” however, you’ll get an appearance by Bandersnatch author Jerome F. Davies. And if you enter “P-A-C” as the password, Stefan will discover a twisted government conspiracy program that Stefan has unknowingly been a victim of for his entire life.
Those are all the ending and secret endings I have found thus far. Let me know if you discovered any other endings not on this list and let me know which ending is your favorite.