'Bandersnatch,' Black Mirror's Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Episode, Is Now on Netflix

Stuart Hendry, Netflix
Stuart Hendry, Netflix

If you’re looking for some more psychological torment to follow up your recent viewing of Bird Box, Netflix has just the fix for you. As Variety reports, the streaming service just dropped a much-anticipated Black Mirror episode with an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure narrative.

The standalone installment, titled "Bandersnatch," could last as little as 40 minutes or longer than the average viewing time of 90 minutes, depending on the viewer’s choices. Options will be shown at the bottom of the screen, and viewers will have about 10 seconds to make a decision. According to Variety, there are trillions of unique combinations but only five possible endings. If a viewer makes several “wrong” choices and strays too far from the intended outcome, they will be given the option of a do-over.

As the trailer indicates, the episode is set in 1984 and follows a teen programmer named Stefan (played by Fionn Whitehead, of Dunkirk) who wants to turn a choose-your-own-adventure book called Bandersnatch into a computer game. The word bandersnatch was invented by Lewis Carroll, who used it to describe a curious creature in the 1872 book Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, and in Black Mirror, Bandersnatch the game is an Easter egg: According to Bustle, it was briefly referenced in the season 3 episode "Playtest."

In true Black Mirror fashion, things start to get creepy when Stefan learns that the author of the book he's trying to turn into a game went crazy and murdered his wife. Meanwhile, Stefan is also struggling to keep track of what’s real and whether he actually has free will. At one point, he seems to become aware that someone else is making his decisions for him—a plot twist that led Stuart Heritage of The Guardian to deem "Bandersnatch" a “meta masterpiece.”

As for the endings: “One is bleak. One is hilarious. One is abrupt and creepy,” Heritage writes. And those are only three of the five possible outcomes. We don’t want to spoil the fun, so you’ll just have to watch it for yourself and compare notes with friends who may have gotten different versions of the same episode.

In the meantime, the premiere date of season 5 has yet to be announced. However, filming began in March 2018, so we might be seeing some new Black Mirror episodes in 2019.

[h/t Variety]

Why the Crypts of Winterfell Might Be Most Dangerous Place to Be in Game of Thrones

Helen Sloan, HBO
Helen Sloan, HBO

The Crypts of Winterfell have been the center of attention in the first two episodes of Game of Thrones's final season, and it seems like the location is only going to play a bigger part in what's to come. In the upcoming battle against the army of the dead, anyone who can't or shouldn't fight, such as Gilly, her son, and even Tyrion Lannister, has been instructed to retreat to the crypts.

But considering this battle is supposed to be the biggest in the show's history, some fans aren't convinced that the crypts are as well protected as the series' characters seem to think—especially since so people have repeatedly made mention of how safe they are. (Foreshadowing much?) Besides being very close to the site of the battle happening right up above, the location leaves those hidden very vulnerable, as there seems to be only one way in and out of the maze-like corridors.

Many fans have speculated that the battle will be the perfect opportunity to resurrect a few fallen Starks, which could be who we saw Arya Stark running from in the season 8 preview. Beyond that, however, TIME argues that the Night King might be heading straight to Winterfell for one person in particular buried in the crypt.

Before the events of Thrones, there was a war between the White Walkers and humans that drove the undead north, while Stark ancestor Bran the Builder built the wall to keep them there. The publication speculates that cold came to Winterfell and the castle was constructed to contain a being called "the Great Other," who is the Lord of Light's opposite—the god of darkness, cold, and death. Some believe he was buried in or beneath the crypt, and that the oft-mentioned "there must always be a Stark in Winterfell" imperative was part of the magic needed to keep the Great Other in its place. Unleashing the Great Other would certainly be a game-changer in the highly anticipated battle.

Whatever is truly down there, we can likely expect many more creepy scenes from the crypt (if Arya's running scene is any indicator). And we're betting those seeking shelter below Winterfell won't be nearly as safe as everyone hopes.

Game of Thrones Opening Credits Might Confirm Fan Theory About Daenerys

Helen Sloan, HBO
Helen Sloan, HBO

When the highly anticipated final season of Game of Thrones premiered earlier this month, fans were pleasantly surprised at the new opening credits, which showed a more detailed map of Winterfell and King’s Landing. But fans know the series doesn't do anything without purpose and potentially hidden meaning, so surely there are lingering clues in the credits for us to interpret ... right?

According to Inverse, there could be a clue in the gold band of the astrolabe that spins around the Game of Thrones banner. The band now depicts moments from the past seven seasons of the show, with one of the images potentially foreshadowing something about Daenerys Targaryen. A fan theory floating around over the years has argued that Dany is really Azor Ahai, and the new season’s opening credits might just confirm that.

Azor Ahai, a.k.a. the Prince That Was Promised, was the leader in a battle long before the events of Thrones between the White Walkers, the first humans, and the Children of the Forest. Fast-forward to the present, and the White Walkers are once again the biggest threat to humans, so many fans have been hoping the prophecy that Azor Ahai will be reincarnated will ring true. Fans have placed their bets on Jon Snow becoming this long-awaited prince, considering that Melisandre hinted at it when she brought him back from the dead, and because it’s been revealed he’s the true heir to the Iron Throne.

In High Valyrian, the word prince could mean any gender, however. The prophecy says that Azor Ahai will “born amidst salt and smoke under a bleeding star.” Inverse points out the red comet pictured on the astrolabe in the season 8 opening credits is likely the same red comet Daenerys sees in season 2. The Dothraki call this the “bleeding star.” Inverse continues:

“In a way, Daenerys really was born ‘under a bleeding star.’ When she stepped into the flames at the end of season 1, she emerged a new person, the Mother of Dragons. The astrolabe seems to confirm this, too, showing Dany as a fourth dragon, which suggests she was spiritually reborn when her dragons hatched.”

Daenerys actually being Azor Ahai would mean two things are probable: She’ll be the one to defeat the Night King, and she might have to kill Jon—neither of which are entirely unbelievable. While we know the Mother of Dragons will be essential to the remaining episodes of Game of Thrones, we’ll have to wait and see exactly how.