Netflix Releases Black Mirror’s Interactive Episode

ENTERTAINMENT

Netflix slipped its viewers a late Christmas present: a new episode of Charlie Brooker’s technological-dystopia anthology series Black Mirror, in the form of an interactive movie called Bandersnatch. Its arrival didn’t entirely come as a secret — as far back as October, there were rumors it was on the way — but Netflix has been secretive about the storyline and the scope of the project. Just as Netflix seems to be experimenting with high-profile ad campaigns and wide-scale theatrical releases for award-courting movies like Roma, it’s also experimenting with releasing films like Tau or The Cloverfield Project with little to no advance notice, apparently to test what its subscribers will watch without significant buildup or prompting.

But the abrupt drop was more or less the crack of the starter’s pistol to a legion of detectives and decoders over at Reddit, who’ve seemingly revealed every single way the movie can play out. At Reddit, competing to pull apart entertainment has become a regular industry. Users have banded together to squeeze every possible clue out of mysteries from the real-life murder story behind the podcast Serial to fictional conundrums like Jon Snow’s parentage in Game of Thrones. Entire marketing schemes are being designed with these entertainment detectives in mind — HBO’s Westworld spent its entire second season baiting the faithful with stunningly obscure puzzles featuring binary and hexadecimal code glimpsed in passing.