What About Bob?
Episode 5 of The Peripheral begins a year before Aelita’s disappearance. At the Research Institute, Aelita meets Grace Hogart. Grace is surprised to see her since she had tried reaching out once, only to receive a nasty letter from Aelita in response.
Grace says she’s married to a man now and has two kids. Aelita says she broke her heart. The two of them go out for a drink and talk about what went wrong with their relationship. Grace asks Aelita if she wants an apology but she doesn’t. Instead, Aelita wants to know about her job and the research she does at the R.I.
Grace takes her down to the room with the inverted pyramid, calling it the God font. She tells Aelita about the room’s security and then describes how they have access to stubs which they are using for their own research. Eight thousand studies she says, in various fields. She specifically talks about the Behavioral Mod Department’s study in which they set up a shell company in the stub that made a deal with the military, giving them haptic implants for their personnel.
The implants were then tweaked to affect the brain’s compassion centre. A visual on the wall shows Aelita a group of soldiers on a battleground who have been told that the enemy is going to use injured animals to draw them out. A wounded dog appears. The implant influences them into making a different choice from the obvious one. Instead of shooting the dog, one of the soldiers runs up to it. And gets blown up in the process. Aelita is shocked and protests that these are real people. Grace berates her for being too good a person.
As the two of them walk back out, they are stopped by Mariel. She asks Aelita what she’s doing here, since she doesn’t have access. Grace handles the situation by saying Aelita is her guest and they only came down because Grace had forgotten her jacket. Aelita slyly tells Mariel she has beautiful eyes.
Back in Key West, 2032, an old man comes home to find a parcel waiting for him. He finds a phone and a sonic gun inside. He tests it out and is shocked by the damage it does. He gets a phone call from the new peripheral-Daniel. The man’s name is Robert O’Connell and he has a history of killings on his hands, though he has been living under a different identity. Daniel offers him ten million dollars to kill the Fishers. When Bob declines, Daniel threatens his daughter.
At a bowling alley, a man named Frank is with his three sons. When he sees Bob sitting at the bar, he approaches. After some small talk, Bob says he knows that it was Frank who revealed information about him to Daniel. Frank tries to defend himself but Bob shoots him and his three sons.
In his car, Frank asks for details about the assassination. Daniel tells him the Fishers are going for a medical procedure and shows him the route they will take back home. One of Frank’s sons then tries to kill Frank, but he uses the sonic gun on him and then runs him over with his car.
Billy Ann wakes up and begins doing her chores when she finds a bundle of cash in Jasper’s coat. She accuses him of taking money from the bag Burton sent for Corbell. When he says Corbell gave it to him, she asks what Corbell wants in return. Jasper lies and says it was only a token of gratitude.
Dee Dee, the local doctor, tells Flynne that her tests revealed some bacteria affecting her occipital lobe – the part of the brain related to seeing. She uses a spinal tap to take some fluid from Flynne’s body to study it further.
Meanwhile, Bob calls his daughter. They speak in code with Bob pretending to be a spokesperson from an insurance company. He uses the code to inform his daughter they need to cut ties and that his life may be at an end soon. The tearful daughter tells him she’s pregnant.
Billy Ann is crossing a bridge when she sees Bob standing by his car, with the hood open. She offers help with the engine and despite his refusals, gets down from her truck. As she approaches the car, Burton and Flynne’s car comes up the bridge. While conversing, Bob casually picks up the sonic gun and heads towards their car. Flynne sees it and is able to warn Burton, pushing both of their heads down before Bob shoots. A fight ensues with Bob trying to get at Flynne. Billy Ann gets a shotgun from her truck and shoots Bob, managing to put him down despite him wearing a vest.
Burton calls Tommy who arrests Bob. He then talks to Flynne, once again trying to find out what is going on with her. She promises they aren’t doing anything wrong. He tells her about his first memory of her, when they were in school and a young Flynne had taken the earthworms from the science department and dumped them in the woods because she couldn’t bear the thought of them being dissected. Tommy says that the young girl is still in Flynne. He wants to protect her but he needs her help to know how. Flynne apologises for not being able to say more.
On the way back home, Flynne and Burton talk but he doesn’t want to discuss things in front of Billy Ann. Billy Ann says she knows everything. She promises that Jasper would never do anything to hurt them.
Back home, their mother has found out about the bodies in the backyard. The siblings tell her everything and she cautions them against being too dependent on these outsiders. She asks what will happen once these people from the future stop sending her medicine. Or when Burton stops giving Corbell money. Flynne decides to log back into the peripheral.
She logs back in and berates Wilf for not warning them about the assassination attempt. She tells him what happened and then asks if Wilf was trying to confuse her when he linked the two of them up, if the shared emotions were meant to manipulate her. She asks if trusting him is a mistake. Wilf says no.
Tommy is heading back to the police station with Bob, when the latter begins talking about how this quiet town won’t be quiet for much longer. He reveals he was threatened and paid 2.5 million dollars for trying to kill the Fishers. Since those who hired him will want to cut loose ends, he offers the money to Tommy to let him escape. Just as Tommy is about to respond, an invisible force hits the car, making it roll over. Nearby, a car becomes visible on the roadside. Someone drags Bob out of the wreckage and takes him away. Tommy hears the car but can’t see anything.
Wilf and Flynne sit near the R.I. Flynne claims she wants Cherise to know what it feels like to be hunted. Wilf advises her against it, saying that being the assailant comes with a heavier weight. He talks about an incident from when he was twelve and in boarding school. A group of people known as Neoprims weren’t happy with the power distribution in the country and attacked the school to send a message to the kids’ parents. Wilf was forced to serve them food. He stole a knife and slashed the leader’s throat with it, shooting four others afterwards. He tells her not to do anything unless she’s at peace with what she might have to do.
Flynne walks into the R.I. Cherise comes down to meet her. Flynne wants to know why Cherise keeps trying to kill her. Cherise says she stole something. Flynne claims to not have it but Cherise says that Flynne is still expendable. When Flynne threatens to kill her, Cherise reveals she’s in a peripheral of herself. They fight, resulting in Flynne snapping her peripheral’s neck. She walks out, head held high.
The Episode Review
The Peripheral is at episode 5 now and the show still can’t seem to shake the feeling of going around in circles. Cherise and Flynne’s game of cat and mouse continues but there isn’t much freshness to it. Although to be fair, their confrontation in the episode’s final scene is exhilarating. It was thrilling to watch Flynne snap Cherise’s neck and walk away triumphantly, despite Wilf’s warning about the toll it can take. T’Nia Miller, as always, is a pleasure to watch on screen.
Aelita and her motives continue to be a mystery but it was refreshing to see a more human side to her when she protested against Grace’s work with the haptics.
With Billy Ann stepping up to help the fishers and Tommy offering his help yet again, it’s nice to see the townspeople show up for the Fishers. As we learn about the future exploiting the past, it’s clear that there is a rift growing between the two.
After this episode, I wonder if we’ll see the quintessential small town banding together against a bigger threat later in the show. In the sci-fi context of The Peripheral, it’d be interesting to see how that goes!
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|