Last week’s episode of “The Peripheral” introduced us to the intimidating Detective Ainsley and her equally intimidating apprentice, Beatrice, who grilled Lev Zubov and his assistants until they produced Flynne, Burton, and Conner’s peripherals with them in it. Flynne not only found out that the people and the buildings in future London were “fake,” but she also learned that Aelita is a Neoprim. This essentially means that she is out to destroy all kinds of technology in this timeline, and the data that she stole from the Research Institute (the R.I.) has something to do with it. Ash and Ossian stumbled across the theory that Aelita had downloaded the aforementioned data into Flynne’s brain and that it currently exists as a bacterial infection. While all this was going on, Bob made a villainous escape from the Pickett residence and killed Mary in the process. And, last but not least, Tommy Constantine realized that his boss, Sheriff Jackson, was in cahoots with Corbell and was the one who totaled his car, dragged Bob to Pickett, and left him out there to die.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Burton and Conner Are Taken For A Wild Ride By Beatrice
The thing that Ella has feared all this time comes to pass as her vision starts to go away again, thereby meaning that the effects of the medicines from the future were only temporary. As Reece takes her to Dee Dee, we see the escaped Bob tagging along behind them with the intention of holding them hostage, drawing out Flynne and Burton, and then killing all of them. In future London, Detective Ainsley decides to take Flynne, Burton, and Conner to one of the Met Police training facilities so that they can be far away from Lev’s influence. Flynne insists on taking Wilf with them, and, with Ainsley’s permission, he obliges. Constantine goes back to his station and finds out that nothing (as in, literally nothing) has been recorded from his collision with the invisible SUV and Bob’s subsequent escape. That pretty much confirms his suspicions that the sheriff is purposefully gaslighting him into thinking that he’s fabricating the whole incident to cover up the fact that he’s responsible for Bob’s escape.
At the training facility, Ainsley constructs a whole building out of nothing in a matter of seconds and sends Conner and Burton for a combat test with Beatrice. The test requires Conner and Burton to defeat Koids (bipedal robots used by the Met) scattered throughout the eight floors of the building and then battle the “surprise” element of the exercise. Meanwhile, Flynne hangs back with Ainsley and Wilf for her interrogation. Ainsley says that the Met’s data-sorting algorithm (known as the Aunties) has discovered several discrepancies between the future London timeline and the past Texas timeline. For starters, in the London timeline, the Texas War did happen, but Conner, Burton, and the rest fought in it as regular soldiers instead of ones with Haptic implants. And while Conner came out of it unscathed, Burton apparently died. In addition to that, the jackpot is happening far more quickly in Flynne’s world than in London. As per Ainsley, this means the R.I. opened Flynne’s stub a decade earlier than we’ve been assuming and is purposefully running it into the ground to probably learn about what they must do to avoid another apocalyptic event at an accelerated pace.
After knowing about Conner and Burton’s futures in the London timelines, Flynne naturally inquires about her own. Ainsley reveals that she married Constantine and had two children with him too. As Flynne processes all this, Ainsley tells her to get prepared for an interview because, other than Flynne’s marital status, Aisnley knows next to nothing about her. She questions her about her strengths and weaknesses and then asks what she’d do if Ainsley gives her the option of closing the connection between future London and past Texas. Flynne says, “no.” When Ainsley asks Flynne to elaborate on it, Flynne glances at Wilf but fails to say anything. However, she does ask Ainsley if she really has the power to sever the connection between the two timelines. Ainsley uses the fact that Beatrice has successfully beaten Burton and Conner at the final stage as an excuse not to answer Flynne. Bob barges into Dee Dee’s clinic under the garb of being injured. He brutally kills Reece and holds Dee Dee and Ella hostage. Flynne, Burton, and Conner come out of their respective peripherals, read the message from Reece that he has taken Ella to Dee Dee’s, and head over to the clinic.
Cherise Turns Out To Be Way More Dangerous Than Detective Ainsley
With no option left to prove his innocence, Constantine heads over to the impound lot and goes through his car. Inside, he finds Bob’s regular gun and the sonic gun as well. At the same time, he gets a call from Jackson to come over to the Pickett household for an “urgent” matter. When he gets there, he sees Mary’s dead body and the sheriff and Corbell having a heated conversation. Jackson asks Constantine to frame the Fishers for this mess (because they’re the reason Bob is in town), but Constantine objects. So, Jackson essentially says that Constantine is going to lose his job and his reputation if he doesn’t do the needful. Ossian and Ash consider analyzing Ainsley’s DNA because she has already sampled theirs for research purposes. When Zubov asks the duo to hack into Flynne, Burton, and Conner’s peripherals and see what they are seeing, Ash straight up rejects his order because she thinks Ainsley is going to attack them for doing so. Ossian says that since the MET is involved in this whole thing, they should pack up and leave. But Ash doesn’t agree with him because she thinks they’ve got an ace up their sleeves.
Cherise pays Ainsley and Beatrice a surprise visit while they are analyzing Conner, Burton, and Flynne’s performances at the training facility. As soon as she gets into Ainsley’s office, she goes after Beatrice and makes a remark about how Beatrice is a one-of-a-kind peripheral that functions autonomously (which is proven by Beatrice’s ability to make instinctive decisions rather than ones based on data). Cherise even shakes Beatrice’s hands. And the fact that the camera draws our attention to it means that Cherise has either extracted something from Beatrice or planted something on her that’ll easily allow her to spy on the MET. Then, Cherise proceeds to analyze Ainsley by bringing up the topic of how Koids are made in the image of their owners’ deceased loved ones. Cherise continues to pry until Ainsley reacts to the mere mention of the word “child.” Which means that Beatrice is a replica of Ainsley’s deceased or estranged daughter. As Ainsley doesn’t want Beatrice to know about this, she asks her to power down and erase the last five minutes of their conversation and asks Cherise to get to the point instead of playing mind games.
Lev drops in on Ossian and Ash as they plan to extract the bacterial data from Flynne’s brain. That’s where the duo and the audience learn that Lev has the ability to understand their cryptic conversations. I really like the line where Lev says that it’s arrogant to think that encryption cannot be broken because, historically speaking, the supposed impregnability of any code has always been short-lived. It feels so relevant because we live in a time when social media platforms and chatting apps are buying and selling data for loads of money while telling us that our privacy is never going to be breached and that our private conversations are end-to-end encrypted. Anyway, coming back to the show, Lev finds out that Aelita intended to store the R.I.’s stolen data in Burton’s Haptics. But, on that fateful night, since it was Flynne who was piloting Burton’s peripheral, it ended up in her brain as bacterial information (it’s sci-fi nonsense, so just run with it). Now, Ash and Ossian are planning to sell it to the Neoprims so that they can burn everything down and build something new in its place. Zubov punishes Ossian for double-crossing him but agrees to help the duo with their plan.
‘The Peripheral’ Episode 7: Ending Explained – What Prompts Constantine To Go After Sheriff Jackson And Corbell Pickett?
After some more mind games, Cherise comes to the point about the R.I.’s stolen data about their experiments on behavioral modulation. Ainsley observes that if that data is made public, it’ll mean that the “mechanism” exists, thereby risking everything that the R.I. has been doing. Cherise says that, while public outrage and legal action are major concerns for her, she is also afraid that if the mechanism falls into the wrong hands, it’s going to be used in an unethical fashion. And by “wrong hands,” she means the Klept and Lev Zubov. So, just to be clear, Ainsley asks Cherise what she wants her to do in this situation. Cherise calmly states that she wants Ainsley to destroy the Zubovs, Flynne Fisher, and everyone associated with them. Ainsley obviously says that that’s impossible. Cherise reminds her of the time she did the same to the Samsonovs when they were found guilty of seditious activities and tells her that it shouldn’t be too difficult for Ainsley to do it all over again. This particular piece of lore shows that, even in the near future, the police are always going to work for the fascists.
Back in the Texas timeline, Ella tries to buy themselves a little time by toying with Bob’s emotions. Because Bob is doing all this to keep his daughter safe. So, Ella tells Bob to remove himself from the equation. If he is dead, those who have employed him won’t have an excuse to go after his daughter. Bob obviously refuses to do so. And this war of words gives Conner, Flynne, Burton, and Leon (who have already assumed the worst from Leon’s inability to connect with Reece and the message from Reece’s phone where he refers to Ella as “mother”) the power to take their positions and kill Bob. Leon distracts Bob by making Reece’s body twitch. As soon as Bob moves, Burton takes the shot. The bullet from Burton’s rifle hits Bob on the side and incapacitates him. Flynne secures Ella and Dee Dee while Burton goes on to shoot Bob. We don’t see him actually shooting Bob but, assuming that the Fishers don’t have any reason to keep him alive, I think he is dead.
Elsewhere, an incredibly frustrated Tommy Constantine goes back into the Pickett household and kills Sheriff Jackson with Bob’s gun. Then he blasts Corbell with the sonic gun which sends him hurtling through the glass windows behind him. Jackson is definitely dead, but the verdict is still out on Corbell because the sonic gun doesn’t necessarily kill people when shot from a distance. If I was Constantine, I would’ve doubled-checked to see if Corbell is actually dead or not because he looks tough. Now, as to why Constantine takes such a drastic and uncharacteristic decision, it can be chalked up to the fact that he has been constantly infantilized by Jackson, he has been threatened with losing his job and his reputation, and he knows if he doesn’t stop these two, they’re going to go after the Fishers. However, how is this mixture of righteousness and trigger-happy behavior going to play out when Constantine actually finds out what the Fishers are involved in? Well, hopefully, the eighth episode of “The Peripheral” is going to have the answer to that.