Prime Video’s The Peripheral follows a young woman named Flynn entering the world of a new ultra-immersive VR game, only to find herself contending with time travel and world-endangering events.
Episode 1 recap: Pilot
The Peripheral premiere opens in London in 2099, with a man meeting with a young girl called Aelita. The girl is barefooted, the man is concerned, and the world they live in seems bizarre in all its futuristic grandiosity and landscapes.
The girl talks about saving the man and kind of failing to do so. She then talks about saving the world, to which the man responds that it’s already past saving. Aelita says that it’s not the world she’s talking about.
The episode soon cuts to the Blue Ridge Mountains where a young woman named Flynne Fisher lives with her elder brother Burton and her blind mother whom she takes care of.
Flynne suspects Burton has been stealing mother’s pills and scolds him for it, as only the last one of those expensive pills is now left.
Burton hands her a VR set, saying it is how they’ll get the money for the next pill, as the game he’s playing can win him a thousand dollars. However, since Flynne is so much better a player than him, she’s got to clear the level.
And win the game and the money she does, after which she heads out for work. She works at a 3D printing shop where friend and co-worker Billy Ann teases her about her 7th-grade crush Tommy, who’s about to get married soon.
Later, the other co-workers bring Flynne a new VR set that they say has come for Burton. At home, later on, Burton asks her to hook up the advanced VR set and play as him, saying that there’s a lot of money to be earned with it.
Reluctantly, Flynne decides to give it a whirl, transporting in a matter of seconds to London in 2099. There’s a voice of a woman inside Flynne’s head — who’s playing with Burton’s avatar — guiding her everyone move and step.
The objective, as the voice guides Flynne, is to crash a party and seduce a woman. Flynne does that with great ease and while on their way to the woman’s house, the voice tells Flynn to drug the woman.
The situation escalates and the robotic driver spots Flynne drugging the woman. With a great bit of difficulty, Flynne eventually manages to take down the machine, following which she’s guided to the body behind that voice and it’s Aelita.
After some bizarre and what feels to Flynne like cryptic nonsense from Aleita, she returns to the real world with some resulting disorientation. She heads to buy her mother’s pills and the sellers intend to harass her instead.
Conner, who’s an amputee, saves Flynne and fends off the losers. At home, Flynne learns that Burton hasn’t been stealing mom’s pills but actually giving her his pain meds.
She apologizes to him and returns to the VR game. This time, she finds her avatar on an operating table.
She learns that her eye (her Avatar’s eye, that is) is about to be surgically removed and replaced with the one taken from the woman she kidnapped from the party earlier.
They then visit a mystical new building and end up in a room that is equally futuristic and bizarre. Aelita forces Flynn to place the eye on the retina scanner.
That’s when the first clear antagonist of The Peripheral’s story enters the screen.
It’s a well-built, intimidating man who approaches them with hostility, easily manhandling Aelita and Flynne. The latter gives some competition but is pinned down and cuffed.
Flynne relents and degloves her avatar’s hand, only to be shocked that the under the human skin was a robotic skeleton all this time.
She tries to fight the man, who warns her about some real-world consequences for her actions, finally killing her in the game.
In the real world, Flynne has had enough of the game and later heads out for work. There, she’s contacted by a man named Wilf, who’s from the company that sent the VR headset.
Wilf is the same man from the opening scene of The Peripheral premiere. He warns her to plug into the VR so he can do something about her safety from the bounty she has on her head.
Flynne doesn’t believe in the ludicrous tactic to get her to play the game again and reaches home, telling Burton and his friends about the same.
When they fly their drones to run a surveillance check, though, they find that armed men are indeed approaching them, before The Peripheral episode 1 rolls the credits.
Episode 2 recap: Empathy Bonus
The Peripheral episode 2 opens with Daniel, the man who killed Flynne’s Avatar the last time, meeting with Cherise Nuland, the boss of Research Institute.
Nuland calls him out for his mistake the last time and he apologizes.
To make up for it, though, he informs Nuland that the real-life person behind Burton (Flynne’s avatar) has been traced and ex-military personnel are on their way to kill him, along with those living with him.
The personnel approaches Flynne’s home but Burton and his friends one-up them by hacking their surveilling drone’s video transmission, duping them, and ultimately wiping them all out.
Wilf learns that Flynne was almost killed the other day but somehow survived. The Peripheral then introduces another one of its important characters.
Lev, a filthy rich Russian who seems to be a friend and an employer of Wilf, informs him of this, asking him to protect Flynne as she’s the key to finding where Aelita is.
Flynne enters the game again and meets Wilf who tells her that this game is actually the real world, in the future. She is inside what Wilf calls a “Peripheral”.
Her avatar (which is herself this time), is actually a robot that exists in the actual future world, but she travels into this world only with consciousness.
He explains this happens due to quantum tunnelling, later showing the London of the future, with all its hauntingly grand and sparsely populated landscapes.
Flynne is not sold on it all, so Wilf talks about her mother’s illness and tells her she only has 4 more weeks to live.
He then shows her mother’s obituary in a newspaper and gives her a drug that can cure her mother’s Glioma. Flynne returns to her world and gives her mother the drug after confirming that she’s indeed dying of her disease.
She plugs into the headset again and meets Lev, Ash, and Ossian. They explain or try their best at least, the whole spiel of time travel and the concepts like ‘Stubs’ — a name for parallel timelines.
The crux of it all basically is that Aelita had access to the past world while working at Research Institute. They want her to do whatever they (Lev and co.) want with the knowledge she possesses, and Flynne can help them track her down.
Flynne tells them that she’ll only help when they help her with their mother’s fate, who she learns has only a 56% chance of living (the success rate of the drug Wilf gave her).
In Flynne’s timeline, Burton goes to Conner’s and asks for his help with defending his family against more potential attackers.
Meanwhile, Daniel contacts Corbell, a local kingpin of sorts, to kill Flynne and Burton. He thinks it’s an entrapment but later he sees that 2.5 million of the total 10 million dollars promised has been delivered to his bank account.
Meanwhile, Flynne gets woken up by some noises and notices that her mother’s not about.
She calls Burton with fear only to find out that her mother rummaging about the fridge and then claiming that’s she’s cured, now even capable of seeing.
Flynne and Burton look on with surprise and delight as The Peripheral episode 2 concludes.
- The Peripheral has kicked off with a two-episode premiere that instantly promises to be the start of a fine piece of sci-fi television.
- With some bizarrely advanced elements of the future, the show so far manages to not put off the viewers by grounding the story with relatable characters.
- The much more grounded and less futuristic timeline that Flynne hails from also helps make the show feel retain warmth and familiarity amid all the distant and cold cityscapes of 2099 London.
- However, The Peripheral has its fair share of futuristic moments that can get genuinely creepy, which is where it becomes tacitly evident that the Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy are behind this new, potentially just as brilliant sci-fi series.
- The story of The Peripheral so far seems to indicate that the majority of the action might take place in Flynne’s timeline, with more and more attackers approaching her family to collect the bounty.
- However, with Wilf and Lev’s help, Flynne is bound to turn the tides and switch from defence to offence at some point, which makes the anticipation for The Peripheral’s upcoming episodes all the more exhilarating.
The Peripheral episodes 1 & 2
Director: Vincenzo Natali
Date Created: 2022-10-21 05:30