Warning: SPOILERS below for Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is an interactive game that contains five main endings and more than a trillion possible story combinations. Here are all of the endings, how to get them, and what they all mean. Set in the U.K. in 1984, this unique episode of Charlie Brooker's Netflix technology-based anthology requires the player to make choices to guide Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead), a programmer looking to create a choose-your-own-adventure video game based on the book Bandersnatch.
While Bandersnatch's five primary conclusions provide different ways to end the story (and also change the very nature of the story), the game also contains many other endings, some abrupt and some looping the player to make a different choice to continue the story. The player's choices can be as innocuous as choosing what cereal Stefan eats in the morning, but even seemingly simple decisions can lead to different branches of each storyline playing out and can lead to slightly different conclusions. The game actually tracks your decisions and adjusts according to what choice you make to lead you into different story branches; it also sometimes sends you back to make the opposite of a prior decision to see a different branch.
Bandersnatch's surprising first ending comes with one of its earliest choices. At a meeting with Mohan Thakur (Asim Chaudhry), the head of the video game company TuckerSoft, Stefan must choose whether to develop his game in-house and agreeing to do so actually leads to a quick conclusion where his finished game fails to impress the critic at the video game review TV show Microplay. There are numerous other choices to make that lead to different outcomes, but the main game is resolved by the five main endings.
- This Page: How Colin Affects The Endings
- Page 2: The Netflix TV Show Endings
- Page 3: Bury Dad/Stefan In Prison Ending
- Page 4: Chop Up Dad/Modern Day Bandersnatch Reboot Ending
- Page 5: Program And Control (P.A.C.) Ending
- Page 6: The Train Death Ending And The Meaning of Bandersnatch
Colin Is A Key Variable In Bandersnatch's Endings
Colin Ritman (Will Poulter), TuckerSoft's star programmer and Stefan's idol, plays a significant role in how differently the story can turn out. Firstly, Colin vocalizes the many rules and themes of the game; he understands that he's actually a character in a game being controlled by an unseen outside force (he's a non-player character, to boot) and he articulates this knowledge to Stefan. The key moment early in the game is when Stefan's father Peter (Craig Parkinson) takes Stefan to see his psychiatrist Dr. Haynes (their second appointment). The option is given to FOLLOW COLIN and whether or not the player does so affects the outcomes of some of the endings because it matters if Colin is either dead or alive.
If Stefan follows Colin, he is taken to Colin's high-rise flat where he meets Kitty (Tallulah Haddon), Colin's girlfriend, and their baby Pearl (who reappears later in a different fashion). Colin takes Stefan on a drug trip that culminates in Stefan choosing to either leap off the balcony or ask Colin to do it. If Stefan leaps, the game ends with Bandersnatch being released to bad reviews after Stefan's death. But if Colin jumps, he dies and his absence affects the rest of the game.
Before the choice to leap, Colin outright explains the rules of the game in a drug-fueled rant: Bandersnatch is about divergent realities snaking off like roots, and what happens in one path affects the other path. It's also about the illusion of choice; the characters believe they are choosing for themselves but someone else is really controlling their actions under a specific and controlled set of parameters. This is a meta-commentary on the fact that the viewer is actually playing the game and making vital choices. Stefan later realizes his actions are being controlled and he even tries to resist your decisions.
Finally, as Colin explains, time in the game is a construct. Flashbacks allow you to go back and make different choices to change outcomes, so you can go back and try different things to see the different endings. Here, then, are the five main endings of Bandersnatch, how to achieve them, and their variations: