Netflix’s newest Black Mirror experiment, an interactive film called Bandersnatch, has plenty of secrets. With multiple endings and a variety of Easter eggs, fans of Charlie Brooker’s anthology series could easily discover new things about the movie for months and months. Among the easiest to find is the movie’s extremely strange “Netflix” ending, which while being the least coherent of any of the movie’s possible conclusions, is also the most fun.
[Ed. note: the rest of this post contains spoilers for Black Mirror: Bandersnatch]
The Netflix ending can be triggered by a decision late in the film when Stefan calls out for a sign of who’s really in control of his actions. Most viewers will get options to either show Stefan the White Bear symbol that he’s been seeing everywhere, or PAC, the acronym that Colin explains stands for Program and Control, which he thinks is a government conspiracy for social programming. There is, however, a third option that some viewers will get depending on the choices they’ve made. This option is simply the Netflix logo.
If you select this option, a message appears on Stefan’s screen that explains that he’s being controlled by someone watching a movie on Netflix. Stefan is, understandably, disturbed by the news and asks for an explanation as to what exactly Netflix is. After a few tries at explaining it to him, or the option to simply cut off the conversation entirely, viewers will watch as Stefan later tries to explain the whole thing to his psychiatrist.
After a few attempts to explain that he thinks his life is a movie, his psychiatrist responds that the movie must be pretty boring. She then asks if you want to make things more entertaining, which leads, no matter which option you select, to a fight scene between Stefan and his psychiatrist. Suddenly, the movie transforms from the quiet thriller it used to be into an action movie; players are given the choice to either fight or leap out the window.
If you choose to fight, you’re treated to an exciting action scene that includes Stefan’s dad showing up halfway through to join in. After the brawl, Stefan is dragged out of the office screaming and that’s the end. If you choose to jump out the window, however, Bandersnatch reveals its strangest moment yet.
When Stefan jumps out the window, he finds out that he can’t, because the window is part of a movie set. The camera pulls back a bit, the director walks into frame and tries to explain to a bewildered Stefan that he’s supposed to be doing the fight scene now. Stefan looks around in horror as he realizes that all the people around him are actors and he’s been filming a movie the whole time.
Both of these endings certainly undercut the tension the rest of the movie has been working to build, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The real joy of choose-your-own adventure stories is seeing what results your decisions will have that you didn’t expect. Most of Bandersnatch’s reveals and endings are pretty predictable. But with the Netflix endings, the whole movie gets a necessary jolt of strangeness that makes the entire experience more fun.