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The Hardest Ending To Get In Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

Contains spoilers for Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

Though it may have felt like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch snatched them up and took them down a path splintered with forks in the road, sinister short-cuts, and endless opportunities to change course at a given moment, viewers experienced just five "main" conclusions in the immersive, choose-your-own-adventure event film — with variants creating additional, "lesser" endings. Now that streaming site subscribers (and those mooching off their parents' and partners' accounts) have had enough time to experience Bandersnatch in its entirety, Netflix has revealed the most difficult ending to reach. 

The streamer shared with The Hollywood Reporter some eyebrow-raising data on Bandersnatch, amongst which was the insight that the film's "most poignant ending" was the one seen the least by viewers. According to Netflix, the ending in which rising game developer Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead) turns back the clock and boards the same train that his mother died on when he was just a child was the least-experienced ending in Bandersnatch

Apparently after heading to famous game designer Colin Ritman's (Will Poulter) place and hearing him rant and rave about the universe, the vastness of space, and the true meaning of time, Stefan travels back to his childhood, actively choosing to get on the train he knows will ultimately derail and kill his mother. Stefan understands he will die, but he wants to do so alongside his mother. Bandersnatch then snaps to the present day and sees an adult Stefan sitting dead in his therapist's chair. 

It's an incredibly impactful conclusion, for sure, and one that, as THR notes, offers Stefan a sense of control over his life in a film that strips him of a lot of his autonomy. Other endings Bandersnatch features involve Stefan getting locked up in jail after murdering his father, or embarking on a harrowing acid trip with Colin that proves fatal for one of the two young men (depending on the choices the viewer makes, of course). In presenting an ending in which Stefan can set his mind on a specific plan and carry out each step knowing the consequences, Bandersnatch gifts him a bit of authority. 

However, the jury is still out on whether the Stefan-dies-on-the-train ending was just a drug-induced hallucination or whether he genuinely traveled back in time — and the Black Mirror: Bandersnatch creative team left things ambiguous on purpose. Executive producer Annabel Jones explained, "There's a truthfulness in his longing to go back and be reunited with his mother. Because Stefan is so consumed by guilt over his influence or what he perceives to be his hand in his mother's untimely death, he's obsessed with branching narratives because he wishes he could go back and change things." She added, "Hopefully, these things don't feel arbitrary. Hopefully, it seems they are all truthful to Stefan and keeps the whole experience in a cinematic feel, because there is one character and he is always truthful."

Black Mirror creator and writer Charlie Brooker, who also wrote Bandersnatch, once detailed that "the millions of permutations created by [the] interactive script" makes it so that viewers likely won't experience "all of the endings, and certainly not all of the story paths." It's a shame that most people who watch Bandersnatch won't get to see this conclusion, but it's not as though we can't understand why this is the case. 

What may spark Bandersnatch fans' interest even more than learning that the train ending was the hardest to witness is the fact that there are secret scenes within the film that they may never get to see, no matter how ardently they try. 

"There are scenes that some people just will never see and we had to make sure that we were OK with that. We actually shot a scene that we can't access," director David Slade previously revealed, adding that there isn't one correct way to experience Bandersnatch. "It ends once you're finished. There is no specific way. I'll just tell you my favorite scenes. Charlie will just tell you the most logical way to go through it. It won't be the best. Or the way. There is no way."

Outside of the ending-related data, Netflix also dished up some fun statistics on Bandersnatch and how popular each option was amongst viewers. The majority of watchers (73 percent) had Stefan choose to accept the gig at Tuckersoft; over half (60 percent) had him eat Frosties rather than Sugar Puffs for breakfast; and fewer British viewers than international viewers (52.9 percent to 55.9 percent) chose to throw a cup of tea, meaning that the U.K. audiences knew the value of a good cuppa. (They're not ones to waste!) Data that Netflix didn't disclose, on the other hand, was the split between "kill Dad" and "chop up body," noted as the options that most directly and intensely challenges viewers' morals. 

"We're Netflix, we know what percent of folks are taking one path or another," Netflix's director of product innovation Carla Engelbrecht stated. "Most of the time we think choices are generally going to fall in this 40 to 60 range but that there's moments where having it be a bigger split could actually be a great thing for the title. And so on Bandersnatch, there is a moment that I predict is probably going to be more like a 90 to 10 split. Where the vast majority of people when they encounter that choice are not going to want to make the decision. And I promise you, you will know that moment when you encounter it." That moment is, as we mentioned previously, the choice to kill Stefan's dad or not. 

Overall, the fun of Bandersnatch isn't just the interactive elements but also the outcomes they spur and the experience one has "playing" the movie that often feels like a game. As Jones so aptly put it, "We can't dictate which order things are going to go, just like you can't dictate how a viewer is going to respond to every scene and what they're going to take out of it. As long as every experience gives you something different and is entertaining, we hope you'll stay and explore other experiences — whether that be one young man's mental breakdown, grasp on reality or parallel reality path."