So Bandersnatch, Netflix’ latest Black Mirror release is finally out! Like most people, I became obsessed with Black Mirror. I’ve watched every episode at least three times and was a sucker for the anthology’s sadistic, hauntingly raw, dark and twisted outlook. My favorite episode? Definitely Playtest (that ending gave me chills!), though if I can choose to live out one of the episodes, I’d choose San Junipero without a doubt.
Bandersnatch, was nothing like the other episodes. This one had a theme of its own. As everyone already knows, Bandersnatch was an interactive choose-your-own-fate kind of story. Based on the decisions you make for Stephan (the protagonist), the outcome of his life changes.
To summarize the main plot line, Stephan is a 19-year-old computer programmer who has been working on a game adaptation of the famous Bandersnatch novel—a book that lets readers choose the direction of the story. Stephan pitches this story to Tuckersoft, a computer game development company, and they love the concept. They ask Stephan to deliver the game within a few months, to have it ready for a Christmas release. Based on the choices you make as you watch the show (movie?), the outcome of the game and Stephan’s fate changes. Interesting, right?
In a way, Bandersnatch reminded me of The Butterfly Effect. The minor decisions that were made along the course of a few days had a tremendous impact on the rest of Stephan’s life, in both positive and negative ways. Though the story line wasn’t as complex as The Butterfly Effect and didn’t have quite as many moving parts, it still left those watching with a lot to contemplate. Here are the ten things that I learned from the show (No plot spoilers, but perhaps a few thematic giveaways).
1. First impressions are everything and nothing.
2.What we want and what we need are typically two different things. Getting either one will leave you longing for the other sooner or later. Getting what you need creates feelings of sadness or emptiness, but getting what you want will ultimately lead to guilt.
3. Life is simple. That’s why it’s so complex.
4. Multiple realities probably do exist. Even within our own head, our mentality can shape our reality, or at least how we perceive it.
5. Parents can never really win. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world (coming from a non-parent).
6. In the corporate world, people will always have their best interest at heart. It’s not personal, it’s business. Keep that in mind with every decision you make.
7. Free will is often confused with opportunity. We have free will, but we don’t necessarily have the opportunity/privilege to exercise it.
8. Perhaps the worst result of personal trauma is the indirect lack of trust it fosters. The lack of trust often leads to isolation, which increases the effects of trauma and in turn makes it harder to overcome.
9. Emotions will ruin your life. The only thing that will ruin your life even more is not having them.
10. The worst-case scenario can very well be a best-case scenario in disguise.
What did you think of Bandersnatch? Did you like it? Do you learn things yourself?