The penultimate episode of “The Peripheral” Season 1 saw Flynne, Burton, and Conner taking a trip to a MET training facility with Detective Ainsley and her assistant Beatrice. While Beatrice put Burton and Conner through a combat program in order to test their skills, Flynne learned about the fact that the Research Institute was probably running her stub into the ground faster than it should. Talking about the stub, the effects of Ella’s medicine wore out, thereby prompting her to take Reece’s help and go to Dee Dee’s clinic to get some medical help. Bob, the assassin, followed them, killed Reece, and held Ella and Dee Dee hostage to lure Flynne and Burton there. Thankfully, Flynne, Burton, Conner, and Leon got the drop on Bob and rescued them. In addition to all that, Ash and Ossian discovered that the data that Flynne accidentally stole for Aelita existed in her brain as a bacterial infection. When Lev Zubov learned about it, he expressed his intention to extract it and then give it to the Neoprims (just like Ash and Ossian wished). And Cherise got in touch with Ainsley to talk about eradicating Flynne and her family, as well as the Zubovs (and everyone associated with him), to avoid the spread of the information they were privy to.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Aelita Reveals Her Masterplan
Just to bring you up to speed, Aelita West (in a futuristic London) was employed by the Klept to steal the Research Institute’s most well-kept secret, i.e., the ability to manipulate behavior. Aelita, accidentally or purposefully, stored it in Flynne’s brain (in a not-so-futuristic North Carolina) as a bacterial infection, thereby making her the #1 target for the Klept as well as the Research Institute, while she herself went underground. The Klept (led by Lev Zubov) got in touch with Flynne through Wilf Netherton and introduced her to the ways of future London in order to learn about Aelita’s motivations. Meanwhile, the R.I. (led by Cherise Nuland) launched an all-out attack on Flynne and her family by employing mercenaries, Corbell Pickett, and then Bob to erase their very existence. Burton and his crew managed to take out both the mercenaries and Bob. But it came down to the local police officer Tommy Constantine to not just gun down Corbell, but Sheriff Jackman as well. Because they were planning to frame Constantine for setting Bob loose (and killing Corbell’s wife) and putting the Fishers behind bars or straight-up killing them.
Since Corbell is a very significant character, the writers force Constantine to shoot Corbell with the sonic cannon (and not the actual gun) so that he can survive. And in the final episode of “The Peripheral” Season 1, we learn that he is actually alive. So, the danger of Corbell accusing Constantine of killing Jackman and attempting to kill Corbell looms over Constantine’s head. But he doesn’t get a lot of time to process that as he rushes to Dee Dee’s clinic after learning about the attack there. Ainsley tries to reach a deal with Flynne regarding Cherise’s plans to essentially nuke her stub and Zubov’s plans to extract the bacterial information in her head. Flynn asks Ainsley to come up with a way to save Ella Fisher, given how the effects of the medicine provided by the Klept have worn off. However, Ainsley says bluntly that Ella can’t be saved and that she has less than a month on her hands. Flynne obviously doesn’t take this information very well. She doesn’t express her anguish in front of Ella, though, and spends a quiet moment with her.
Ash double-crosses Zubov and lets Cherise know about the bacterial information in Flynne’s head in an attempt to stop him from getting his hands on the R.I.’s property. This prompts Cherise to plan a “drastic step,” which not only involves nuking Flynne’s stub (thereby killing the information in her head) but also killing Zubov because that’s what Ash wants her to do as payment for letting her in on everything that has been going on. Flynne and Wilf reminisce about the past and how they feel about each other, Ainsley, Zubov, and Aelita. This somehow helps them figure out Wilf’s secret place. When they arrive there, they finally find Aelita (first in the distance, then in person). She orders Flynne to go away so that Ash can’t spy on them through her. With Flynne gone, Aelita reveals the genocide that Klept committed (to stem the spread of the infection) and then put the implants in the “survivors” to suppress their memory of it. Aelita says that, with the implant removed, she remembers it all. She has motivated others to remove their implants too. And now she wants to lead them in an uprising against the Klept and the R.I., after extracting what’s inside Flynne’s head, of course.
Flynne Breaches The Research Institute, Again
With Corbell hospitalized, Atticus, for some reason, tries to become the head honcho. And he starts by disrespecting the hell out of Jasper. But Jasper is evidently not ready to accept it and decides to put an end to Atticus and the rest of the gang by letting them get rammed by a train. While the guys, drunk out of their minds, sleep in the car that’s sitting on a train line, Jasper makes a weird call to Billy Ann. He reminds her of the time she told him that he’ll never amount to anything if he doesn’t stop mistaking weakness for kindness, in order to refer to the fact that he’s about to commit a literal crime because he associates that with “strength.” Billy Ann says that she actually didn’t mean any of that and loves him for his kindness. The realization finally hits Jasper that what he’s doing is wrong. However, it’s too late because the train is right around the corner, and he has left his keys inside the car. Jasper tries to wake the drunk guys up so that they can take the keys and drive off the train line. That doesn’t work as well, and Atticus and the rest get blown to smithereens by the train.
Tommy meets Flynne while she’s heading to her house. Flynne thinks he’s there to talk about the train crash. But Tommy corrects her by saying that he got a call from Homeland Security about some right-wing militia chatter that they’re planning to blow up a missile silo. Flynne realizes that that’s Cherise’s doing, and she is about to start the jackpot because she wants her and the bacterial information in her head to be gone. So, she jumps back into her peripheral and confronts Ash about it. And, yes, this is probably the first time that Flynne learns that the stuff in her head that’s giving her seizures all this time is the thing that the R.I. wants her for and the thing that Aelita put in her head when she pulled off the heist in Burton’s peripheral. Ash explains that she holds a library of information in her brain and that the Klept shouldn’t get to it. That’s why she has asked for Cherise’s help, and she has opted for stub genocide. Since Flynne doesn’t want that to happen, she brings in Conner to help her with this whole situation. If you’re wondering why she doesn’t bring in Burton for the job, it’s because he won’t accept Flynne’s plan.
Flynne essentially wants to open up a new stub and reboot there. And she wants to die in the stub that she’s currently in because then it’ll appear as if the bacterial information has died with her. Flynne’s death will also mean that Cherise will stop going after the Fishers, and she probably won’t nuke Spring Creek. Flynne then goes to Ainsley to reveal what she has learned about this whole situation using game mechanics. She asks her if she can make a stub inaccessible. Ainsley says that she can’t. Flynne asks if she can open a new stub. Ainsley says that it’s kind of illegal, but she knows how it can be done. So, at the cost of sounding repetitive, Flynne says that her death in the current stub will make it seem that Ainsley has assassinated her based on Cherise’s orders and that the stuff she had stolen from the R.I. is gone for good. But when Flynne reboots in another stub, they’ll still have access to all that bacterial information and have the upper hand on the Klept and the Research Institute. Right? Well, that’s my best guess for now, because science fiction can be bloody complicated.
‘The Peripheral’ Season 1: Ending Explained – What Does Flynne’s “Death” Mean?
Based on Ainsley’s directions, Flynne breaches one of the R.I.’s ancillary outposts, kills a bunch of peripherals being controlled by Cherise, and activates the device (a pocket watch) that allows its user to access and open new stubs. In the display, we see the source of the timelines. The mainline shows the years 2028, 2038, and 2052. From the year 2028, we see a branch going out to the year 2032. From the year 2038, we see a branch going out to 2053. There’s also one branch going out of 2052. But it’s kept off-screen for the sake of mystery, I suppose. This shows how the main timeline works and how the alternate, temporary timelines (stubs) are created. Flynne chooses to wake up in the 2032 stub, even though Cherise tells her that its consequences are going to be very grave. Flynne lets her know that she’s going to be the “hunter” now because, when she wakes up, she’s going to know exactly where Cherise is, and she will come after her. Meanwhile, Cherise will probably have no idea where Flynne is going because she destroys the pocket watch. That means, there are no coordinates, no location, and no way to harm Flynne.
Flynne exits the peripheral, and we see a little flashback of her conversation with Conner, where she tells him to kill her in the North Carolina timeline and make it look like it’s Ainsley’s doing. Flynne walks up to Hawthorne Creek, counts to ten (remembering all the moments she has spent with her loved ones), and Conner pulls the trigger on her. Yes, we don’t see her body drop (and the golden rule of television is that if you don’t see a dead body, then the character isn’t dead). But the fact that a new version of Flynne wakes up in her peripheral in future London, sitting in front of Ainsley and smiling at the detective, means that Flynne did die in the 2028 North Carolina stub and woke up in the 2032 stub. How does she retain the memories of everything from the version of Flynne we have been following? Well, it can be some form of memory retention that could’ve been facilitated by the bacterial information (which is capable of storing data) or the feature of the headset. However, there’s a big possibility that it’s not Flynne at all who wakes up in her peripheral. I am just finding it very difficult to digest the fact that Flynne simply died in one stub, woke up in another, and then jumped back into London. That’s why I am assuming that it’s not Flynne in the peripheral but Cherise. Maybe she hijacked it while Flynne was doing her resurrection routine. Cherise may not know where Flynne will be operating from, but the location of her peripheral is constant. So, she could’ve hacked it and is now using it as one of her own, just like she was piloting all those guards while fighting Flynne. That’s why Flynne’s peripheral doesn’t say anything and simply smiles because talking will probably give everything away. Maybe tweaking the speech programs will help her mask her identity. FYI, it’s just a theory.
What Does The Post-Credit Scene Tell About ‘The Peripheral’ Season 2?
In a post-credits sequence, we see Lev Zubov meeting with his father’s associates (who are very Russian): Nikolai, Kyrill, and Artyom. They initially pull his leg about the Klept’s current predicament after recruiting Aelita and Flynne. However, when Zubov gets way too serious, the trio drops the act and simply tells him to “cauterize the wound.” I am assuming that they want Lev to kill everyone (that includes Flynne, Aelita, Ash, Ossian, and maybe even Wilf) who can put the Klept at risk. If he doesn’t, they tell Lev that his father is going to come down and do the needful, which I am assuming won’t be a pretty sight.
“The Peripheral” Season 2 predictions? A disclaimer before that. As far as I know, director Vincenzo Natali has confirmed that two more seasons of “The Peripheral” are on the cards. But since showbiz is a fickle business, things can get canceled without any warning. We can hope that it doesn’t because there’s so much to explore. However, if it does, just know that you’ve been warned. With that out of the way, I think that “The Peripheral” Season 2 will see Flynne working very closely with Ainsley because she’s basically her only ally. Working with the police usually doesn’t yield great results, and I think Flynne is going to learn that the hard way. Talking about Ainsley, I don’t think that she is going to shake Cherise off her back that easily, and she is going to badger her about the authenticity of Flynne’s death in the North Carolina stub. I am sure that Conner and Burton (the versions in the 2028 stub) are going to stay in touch with Flynne through future London. What about the versions of Flynne’s friends and family in the 2032 stub? Are they going to assist her on her missions too? Or is she going to leave them in the dark because the less they know, the better? Then there’s Aelita, who is apparently coming for everyone, and in order to do that, she needs the bacterial information from Flynne. With Wilf by her side, I think that task will be easy because Flynne trusts him. Additionally, you can put your money on a big falling out between Burton, Conner, and Flynne after Burton learns that Conner executed Flynne without his permission. Is it going to hamper Flynne’s plans? Only “The Peripheral” Season 2 can tell.
“The Peripheral” is a 2022 Science Fiction Thriller series directed by Vincenzo Natali and Alrick Riley.