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S05.E00: Bandersnatch

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I don’t watch Black Mirror normally. Too depressing. But I’ve always been a huge fan if CYOAs. I think this is genius and it will be hard to watch other shows without making choices. 

I didn’t realize there was a restriction on how to watch it. I’m watching on a Roku and it worked just fine. 

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 Or was it more like I lost the game and it made me go back?

I don't think the best way to look at "Bandersnatch" is at a game that you win or lose. There isn't really right or wrong choices--just endings that have the option of reversal and endings that don't. You can always choose not to go back, even if you haven't hit the credits.

I think the loops do sometimes unlock more possibilities, though. Like I think I had to make Colin jump after I made Stefan jump during the LSD trip in order to get anywhere else, and looping resulted in changing my choices on the who is watching Stefan as well as the safe password options. 

I think if you felt forced into a choice, it may mean that you missed a fork in an earlier looping or branch that would have unlocked the second option. I was faced with the possibility of killing the dad twice, but I never had to do it. 

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I read that there are more then 5 endings and some reviewer just thought that. I'd have to agree because reading the reviews i saw that my endings were slightly different or one i never got at all where Stefan was an actor and got lost in being too method. I also never got an option to follow Colin after he jumped. 

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There is supposedly an ending where you can be killed in the past.  

Spoiler

Supposedly if you go through the mirror twice, you can get killed.  You need to look at the photograph twice.  I did that, and I didn't go to the past the second time.  All that happened was that Stefan has a dream that the author of Bandersnatch tries to kill him.

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14 hours ago, Zuleikha said:

I don't think the best way to look at "Bandersnatch" is at a game that you win or lose. There isn't really right or wrong choices--just endings that have the option of reversal and endings that don't. You can always choose not to go back, even if you haven't hit the credits.

......

I think if you felt forced into a choice, it may mean that you missed a fork in an earlier looping or branch that would have unlocked the second option. I was faced with the possibility of killing the dad twice, but I never had to do it. 

I don't really think of it as a a game to win or lose, but a lot of the loops for me felt very much like when you die in a dungeon in a video game and you reappear at the entrance to the dungeon. I couldn't choose not to go back. Four separate times I made a choice of the two given on screen, and it'd continue for about 10 seconds, then flip to the Netflix percentage loading screen, and go back. So it felt like the choice I'd just made, instead of continuing the story, is what sent me back. Sometimes VERY far, sometimes only a few minutes. Sometimes after the loopback I'd move forward enough to get back to a point I'd been before and it'd have two new choices, sometimes one would be the one I chose last time with a new second choice, sometimes it'd be the same two choices as before.

The first time I was asked to kill dad or back off, he backed off and tried to calm down for maybe two minutes, and then ended up killing him with the ash tray. The second time I got to that scene, I had the same two choices, but I chose kill him because of what happened the first time, and he went straight to killing him with the ash tray. What I didn't do, because I was getting bored of some of the loops was see what happens if I made a certain choice, get sent back, and then make the same one a second time in a row (regardless of whether the other option were new or the same as before). So maybe if twice in a row I'd tried to "back off" he wouldn't have killed him the second time, but by then they'd sort of lost me in caring about what I chose.

I thought the "shouldn't this have more action" was kind of funny but I also didn't like that the options I got were "yes" or "fuck yeah". Similarly with some of the computer smashing scenes. Once my choices were "pour tea over computer" or "hit desk" and I chose hit desk, but later I ended up back there again and the options were "destroy computer" or "pour tea over computer". After a certain point it felt like every time I tried to choose a non-violent option, I ended up sent back and then only presented with violent options. That contributed to the "you must be doing it wrong" feeling.

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 Four separate times I made a choice of the two given on screen, and it'd continue for about 10 seconds, then flip to the Netflix percentage loading screen, and go back.

Whoa! I never had that happen! I had some choices flip me to the two TV screen loopback images but never directly to the percentage loading screen. 

The first time I was asked to kill dad or back off, he backed off and tried to calm down for maybe two minutes, and then ended up killing him with the ash tray. The second time I got to that scene, I had the same two choices, but I chose kill him because of what happened the first time, and he went straight to killing him with the ash tray.

I wonder why that happened. Like I said, when I had Stefan in that position, he backed down and never had to actually kill the dad. 

I think one of the difficulties of reviewing or talking about the episode is that depending on tech and choices, we all had different experiences. My version was very cohesive and satisfying, but yours sounds really frustrating!

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7 hours ago, Zuleikha said:

Whoa! I never had that happen! I had some choices flip me to the two TV screen loopback images but never directly to the percentage loading screen. 

 

I wonder why that happened. Like I said, when I had Stefan in that position, he backed down and never had to actually kill the dad. 

I think one of the difficulties of reviewing or talking about the episode is that depending on tech and choices, we all had different experiences. My version was very cohesive and satisfying, but yours sounds really frustrating!

This is incredibly difficult to review because I found that it depends on how you “play/watch” for example if you back off from killing dad and then you reach the screen where it lets you “Time travel”  or go back to a spot you had reached before like video games do your choices are often different the second time or you may not have any choice at all.  

 

I thought this was a fun experience but it was incredibly meta and you had to understand that.  Your choices were often as limited and confusing as Stefan’s.  

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On 12/28/2018 at 3:58 PM, David T. Cole said:

FYI, this does not work on Apple TV natively due to gremlins or something.

I can't get it to work on three different Netflix apps. Apple TV, the app on our TV, and on the Tivo. I give up for tonight. Bleh.

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There were a few times where it presented the choices, and I just said, how do I know, and didn't choose anything.  So, is choosing nothing a 3rd choice, or does it just choose one of the two for you?  And has anyone gone through it enough to know - if you always let it choose for you, do you always get the same things?  Or does it choose randomly each time...?  I'm not sure I want to invest enough time to get a definitive answer, but maybe others have tried it...?

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At least for me, when the choices appeared, one was always highlighted from the start (whatever was on the left). I failed to react quickly enough once and it looked to me like when time was up it registered my choice as that one, the left one, because it was already "selected". It may have looked or behaved differently on different devices, I don't know, but it seemed to me like "not choosing" wasn't actually possible. Failing to push the button to either confirm the choice of left didn't matter. It still graphically acted like left was the selection (made the other choice fade away and kinda blinked once on the left one -- same thing it did when I actively picked the left one).

Someone with a much larger attention span than mine could possibly go through it all once always actively choosing whatever were on the left, and then do it all again never interacting and see if it results in the same thing, but I would expect those to be the same outcome...unless it has some built in programming to complain at you or do something extra meta if your choices time out too many times in a row.

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My only options for the safe password were PAX and PAC—I never saw "TOY" anywhere. I never saw Kitty, Colin's girlfriend, and I had no idea that Stefan's dad was a member of a government agency. I ... am so confused. 

Though, I have to say I really enjoyed what I did choose to experience. It was bleak—because it was Black Mirror—and I really did enjoy Colin's LSD-trip musings.  

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On 12/29/2018 at 11:26 AM, cmfran said:

Agreed. I'm a big BM fan, but me and my wife both got bored with it pretty quickly. Aside from the gimmick, the story was just a bunch of nonsense. We gave up after devoting about an hour to it.

I was more frustrated than bored. Techincally this was a cool concept and the ampunt of work they must have put into it was impressive. But at the same time it really seemed like a play with the gimmick and throw everything against the wall kind of thing (time travel, government conspiracies, crazy acid trips, murder, crazy fight scenes with groin kicks).

I got 2 actual endings with credits. I got the one where we look into the future and see that the game was released but Stefan chopped up his dad. That one had traditional BM credits (with a ton of references to other episodes in the text crawl during the news program). I also got one where Stefan retrieved the bear, gave it back to his kid self, kid took later train with mom then back in the 80's Stefan dies suddenly in the chair talking to his therapist. That one had BM credits on an old TV.

It really did feel like more gimmick than substance and I am not really sure I know much more about Stefan.  Although the Netflix/more action bit was pretty funny, but I didn't get an ending there.

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It felt more like a stunt than a story. And I was skeptical about watching it, considering the depressing nature of most of Black Mirror episodes. 
I felt more distracted than entertained - wondering what I was missing by following one path and not another.

It did seem as if the writers were trying to guide you toward the more violent options - for instance, it felt difficult to avoid the father being killed - I kept getting a reset when trying to keep Stefan from becoming a murderer. 

I may have been more impressed if all roads lead to the same destination (or maybe one of two, not five). 
We are debating going back to try different options. But picking less appealing options just to search for alternative scenes  just reinforces the idea that Bandersnatch is a time-sucking stunt.

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34 minutes ago, shrewd.buddha said:

It felt more like a stunt than a story. And I was skeptical about watching it, considering the depressing nature of most of Black Mirror episodes. 
I felt more distracted than entertained - wondering what I was missing by following one path and not another.

It did seem as if the writers were trying to guide you toward the more violent options - for instance, it felt difficult to avoid the father being killed - I kept getting a reset when trying to keep Stefan from becoming a murderer. 

I may have been more impressed if all roads lead to the same destination (or maybe one of two, not five). 

I kind of agree with that. I mean it kept pushing Stefan to kill his dad, but I don't really know why he did, other than I told him to. Which makes it more like a game than a movie. But even in games I usually have a better idea of what the characters motivations are. 

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I spent a few hours over a couple of days trying to get different stories.  Looks like I got all except Stefan killing the video game company owner and Colin's wife.  I'm pretty sure I know how to get to at least one of those, but I've seen the show enough that I don't think it makes much of a difference in the end, he still ends up in prison, and probably just an extra line or two of dialogue during the TV show about the other murder.  If I'm wrong, and there's more that's different to the story, please someone let me know.  

I may go back and work towards that ending at some point, I was able to do a little bit of FF through some parts, which helped.

I thought it was a cool idea, though it did seem that some of the choices either made no difference, or you had to eventually choose regardless.  But I guess that's what made Stefan's game finally do well.

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On 28/01/2019 at 10:25 AM, Hanahope said:

I spent a few hours over a couple of days trying to get different stories.  Looks like I got all except Stefan killing the video game company owner and Colin's wife.  I'm pretty sure I know how to get to at least one of those, but I've seen the show enough that I don't think it makes much of a difference in the end, he still ends up in prison, and probably just an extra line or two of dialogue during the TV show about the other murder.  If I'm wrong, and there's more that's different to the story, please someone let me know.  

There's a couple of endings that don't have Stefan end up in prison, at least in terms of definitive endings where you don't need to go back to make different choices. There's the Netflix ending and the Train ending. 

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23 hours ago, Lady Calypso said:

There's a couple of endings that don't have Stefan end up in prison, at least in terms of definitive endings where you don't need to go back to make different choices. There's the Netflix ending and the Train ending. 

Yup, seen those.  and Pearl's ending.

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So I finally got around to it. I thought it was going to be tedious, but I enjoyed myself. I actually got 3 endings on my first go, but I was pissed the game wasn't rated better, so I went here and online to find the other ones. I didn't do the kill the dad on the first go so that cut out a lot of other story. I found a flowchart so I'm giving it another shot. The only thing is you can't FF through it to get to the choices. 

The netflix choice was hilarious, but I thought he and the therapist were going to fuck when you click on 'fuck yeah.'

I finally got to the 5 star rating for the game.

I had gotten to the TOY password option but chose PAC instead. I don't feel like going back and starting over so I watched the TOY scene online. I actually think that's the most 'black mirror' ending. 

Major credit to the actor playing Stefan. I think he was in every scene. 

Edited by ganesh

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On 12/31/2018 at 10:19 AM, Sakura12 said:

However when Stefan kills his dad and the Tuckersoft boss they are interviewing Colin about what happened to Stefan to make him snap. 

Interesting.  I thought I got all of the endings.  I didn't get one where he killed the Tuckersoft boss.

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I'm FINALLY catching up on all of the shows that I've wanted to watch for YEARS during quarantine.  I'm wondering since now that Bandersnatch is 18 mos old if they now have all the endings all run together in one sitting as after I completed one ending, it brought me around to subsequent endings w/o me having to enter any additional choices.  But there is one thing I'm curious about:  At the very end of the last ending, Stefan is calling the psychiatrist and it flashes back to her saying, "You've got my number" and it gives us the opportunity to put the number in.  I knew what the number was but I wasn't fast enough to put it in and the recording says, "You have reached a number that is not working".  What would have happened if I had put in the phone number quickly and correctly?

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On 4/25/2020 at 11:59 PM, HerkyJerky said:

 At the very end of the last ending, Stefan is calling the psychiatrist and it flashes back to her saying, "You've got my number" and it gives us the opportunity to put the number in.  I knew what the number was but I wasn't fast enough to put it in and the recording says, "You have reached a number that is not working".  What would have happened if I had put in the phone number quickly and correctly?

If I remember correctly, he mentions the murder and then you get the "is arrested" ending.

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