Episode 4 of The Peripheral begins in a destroyed and run-down London in the year 2075. Young Wilf (who’s still going by the title of Wolf) and Aelita are homeless kids, living in a bus, scouring for food with some other children.
Wolf gets in trouble with the group’s bully when he doesn’t bring as much food as the others. When they see a van and some people distributing food outside, he sends Wolf to check it out. Despite Aelita’s warnings about kids getting snatched, Wolf goes. He throws a stone towards the people and the whole set-up vanishes, it was just a visual projection. Instead, there are two people in yellow suits and masks who chase after Wolf and Aelita, ultimately capturing them.
Back in the future, Wilf shows Lev Zubov what they found at Aelita’s house — her implant and the chips from two peripherals. Lev muses that this isn’t enough. He wonders how long Aelita will last without the immunity boost of her implant.
In Clanton, Flynne notices blood in her eye. Her right hand spasms again and when she looks back up, the blood is gone. Tommy comes by with some beer. He makes it clear to the siblings that he knows something is going on and offers his help, as a friend not as a cop. They tell him everything is fine. Flynne hates lying to him but Burton says she might not be being rational, revealing he knows about her crush. They argue and Flynne bursts out that while Burton was away, Flynne had to hold everything together after their dad died and she had nothing of her own. As she gets more agitated, a bruise grows over her left eye and she suddenly falls into a seizure.
Cherise has her people make a peripheral in the image of Daniel, who died in the previous episode. She then asks him to give her information on Wilf and finds his connection to Lev Zubov.
After arguing about her health, Flynne and Burton visit the local doctor, Dee dee — also Tommy’s fiancé. She tells Flynne that she had a tonic-clonic seizure but there don’t seem to be any aftereffects She still wants to run some more scans though and advises Flynne to stay away from the headset.
At home, Flynne uses a different headset to watch an old home movie of her and Burton with their father as kids. Burton arrives and apologises for the trouble he’s put her through. Flynne tells him not to apologise, saying being in future London is a magical experience.
Burton tells his friends he wants to log into the peripheral and put those people back in line, to ensure they don’t hurt Flynne. Conner seems interested in the idea of being able to control a body.
In Lev’s mansion, Wilf comes across a woman who accuses him of constantly slipping away from her. She makes him dance with her. Elsewhere, Lev watches them but is soon interrupted by the arrival of Cherise. She accuses him of stealing something. When he plays ignorant, she talks about the structure of their world and its three major forces — the Klept Oligarchy (that Lev belongs to) and how it used violence to reinstate order after the Jackpot, the Met police for ensuring the Klept don’t stray too far, and the Research Institute for its technological assistance. She says each of these shouldn’t overstep its bounds. She then refers to one Yuri Samsonov, who overstepped his boundaries and met a tragic fate. She says the R.I. used an assembler swarm designed to look for his DNA, subtly threatening Lev with the same. When she takes her leave, Lev notices his tea cup is gone.
Conner logs into the peripheral and tries to run away but Ash cancels the connection before he can.
Flynne is watching the memory with her father again when Wilf appears. He informs her of what Conner did. They talk about her father and how she wears his jacket. Wilf admits he has a sister. Flynne reveals she looked into Lev Zubov and found one in her timeline, a mafia related man whose entire family was brutally killed. Wilf says there is no connection. Before going, he reveals Aelita is his sister.
Wilf meets Lev and tells him what Flynne found out about his family. Lev doesn’t seem surprised. He says he hired Aelita because he wanted a stub of his own. When Wilf questions why, he says it could be used for any number of purposes such as testing a pharmaceutical medicine. Lev says he was troubled by the idea of other versions of himself so he had his family killed in the other stubs.
Flynne’s hand continues to spasm. She meets Burton and Conner and tells them about Aelita’s model of their house and the tiny models of themselves. Burton asks her how she normally deals with sims. She says that she does the opposite of what she’s supposed to and ends up learning about it and taking control. Burton advises her to do the same in this situation.
Flynne logs in again and decides to go exploring. Ash tries to stop her but Burton gets Mac and Edward to hack into it and stop them from cancelling the connection. Flynne wants bodies for Burton and Conner too. She demands to know why there are such fewer people in the future.
Ash calls Wilf. He meets the two of them at a graveyard. She suddenly sees mysterious objects floating over some of the graves. Wilf describes it as a museum of a sort. The objects show the different phases of what is known as the Jackpot. The first one opens up to show a complete electrical blackout in America that occurs in 2039, just seven years off Flynne’s world. The phenomenon continued to happen worldwide. The second object shows a filovirus pandemic that they called the blood plague. The third shows a total environmental catastrophe in which seven billion people died over four decades. The fourth, Ash refers to as ‘the end’. It shows a domestic terror attack in which a nuclear missile silo was blown up. As dust, ash and flames surround Flynne she yells out at them to make it stop.
Flynne wakes up in her present. Burton and Conner ask her about the bodies. She says she’s working on it.
The Episode Review
At the moment, The Peripheral seems more focused on delving into the two worlds and their connection with each other. There’s a lot of probing into history and explanations of new concepts. Coupled with the sleek production value, it’s immensely fascinating. But it also leaves the impression that there is more talking and discussion happening rather than a forward movement of the plot, as marked by the fact that we still don’t know much about Aelita and everything she did in the first episode.
Episode 4 continues in this vein. It intrigues but it also builds a sense of urgency in the show which is great. Flynne’s health issues seem to put the right kind of pressure on their characters. Corbell hasn’t made an appearance again, which is a bit of a surprise. I would even assume that Flynne wouldn’t be happy hearing about Burton’s meeting with him. But, of course, there are more pressing matters.
The reveal of the jackpot and just how close it is to Flynne and her world not only answers a lot of questions but also raises the stakes by a lot.
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