WARNING: IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN BANDERSNATCH, DO NOT CONTINUE!
People ultimately don’t get to pick their future. Although it may seem like we have many options, we only have a few. Destiny puts us on a path that we are suppose to follow. If we go down the wrong one, bad things can happen or we are sent back to a point to make up for the mistake. This is the message behind the episode of “Bandersnatch” from the TV series Black Mirror. The author of “Choose Very Carefully: a Review of Black Mirror – Bandersnatch” from the blog “LibrarianShipwreck” says, “what if the point of Bandersnatch is not that Stefan is living in an episode of Black Mirror, but to warn the viewer that they are also living in an episode of Black Mirror?” This episode is trying to explain what is happening in real life. The episode wasn’t just made to be an entertaining interactive experience. It was made to warn us that we are being pulled down a certain path and that we are the ones really being controlled. Just like Stephan didn’t have free will, we don’t have as much free will as we think we do.
“Bandersnatch” takes on many modern and postmodern elements. Meta-fiction is shown through the breaking of the fourth wall. Unlike most other TV shows and movies, “Bandersnatch” is interactive with the views. It challenges the status quo. It makes the view more involved and forces us to be a part of the story. Another large aspect the show hits upon is irony. If you listen very closely to what is going on in the background and what the characters are saying, you pick up these ironic aspects more. For example, when Stefan goes to his psychologist and he tells her someone is controlling him, she says to him that if someone was controlling him wouldn’t they make it more entertaining rather than having him just sit in therapy. This is very ironic because as the viewer we know that we are controlling him, but he is doing exactly what his psychologist said. He is just sitting in therapy. These elements make the story playful and more enjoyable to the audience.
I really enjoyed watching this episode. I liked being involved in the story and being able make chooses. Although we essentially have limited choices just like any other show, it felt like we had more. It allowed me to be more engaged in the story. It made me feel like it was right in the moment with the characters. I felt as if I was Stefan. I align myself with Stefan because we were making the decisions for him. We got to control everything he did. My class decided to have Stefan jump off the balcony. I didn’t want this to happen because I felt that when he jumps, we jump. When he dies, we die. We were a part of him. The story could not go on without Stefan or without the viewers.
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