The Peripheral Season 1
Episode No 1 Recap And Review
Episode 1 of The Peripheral begins in 2099 London. A man is sitting on a bench. A young girl comes to him. He asks her what kind of mess she is in now.
The girl Aelita replies that she got him into this mess. They talk about how he saved her once. Aelita claims that she is saving the world now, but not just this one. He says goodbye to the man he calls Wolf. He blinks and the young girl’s face goes blank.
A short scene shows us a table holding a white model of a house, its surroundings and the people inside.
In 2032, we move to the Blue Ridge Mountains in the United States. Flynne Fisher does housework. He gives his mother, a woman who has just lost her sight, a cup of coffee and some medicine. When he notices some pills are missing, he goes to the trailer outside their house and asks his brother Burton about them. He is playing a game with a VR headset. He tells her that something big is coming tonight and it will give them enough money for more medicine. He gives her the earpiece to gain her level.
Flynne enters the game assuming her brother’s identity. He easily wins the game by finding a map that the others failed to find all this time. He tells Burton to wire him the money.
He then walks around town and withdraws cash from an ATM. There he meets Tommy, the town’s sheriff. They discuss her upcoming wedding, and she says that she asked the print shop where she works to make the wedding decorations.
At the print shop, Flynne’s co-worker Billy Ann teases her for still being in love with Tommy. Two guys in the store show Tommy the decorations he wants. Seeing that he has an extra figurine of the groom, one of the boys breaks it. Flynne then finds and keeps the broken figurine.
Then the boys give him a box that came for Burton. It contains a metal device and was paid for by a Colombian company called Milagros Coldiron.
At home, Burton reveals that he was asked to beta test this sim because he passed level 100 in another game. Except it was Flynne who did it, not him. As they are being offered a lot of money for the gig, Flynne agrees to give it a try. Burton sets it up for him and he counts down from it.
When he opens his eyes, he is in the face, in Burton’s body, riding a motorcycle. It is in a bright city with huge statues. A voice in his head greets him. When she says she can feel everything, the voice tells her she can feel pain. He has to do whatever he says to win his vote.
The voice leads him to an extravagant cocktail party at Buckingham Palace hosted by an organization known as the RI, or Research Institute. He takes him to a woman named Mariel and tells her to convince him to take “her” home. Flynne, in Burton’s body, makes it. A voice in the car tells him to take the glass ampoule from his pocket and open it under Mariel’s nose.
Flynne does so and the driver is attacked by the robot, but outruns it. The voice in her head thinks about her power to plant words like seeds in Flynne’s head. When he says the words “I’m here” the wall in front of him opens and he walks in and sees a woman standing there. She is the woman whose voice is in Flynn’s head. He tells Flynn that they will continue tomorrow.
Flynn pulls out his sim card and praises how real it feels. He gets a little dizzy when he gets up, but then decides to take his mother’s medicine. At a bar, he stares at a group of four, and two of them greet him outside.
He gives them money for a pill, but the men claim it’s not enough. When a disabled man with only one arm walks out of a bar, they try to bully him for more “service”. Conner ties his tire to the larger car and threatens the men to drug Flynne. He and Flynne go home.
The other men return to the bar to find an old man in a suit waiting for them. He puts clothes on them as they are insulted by Conner.
At home, Flynne finds her brother bent over in pain in his trailer. He has marks etched into his skin on his arms and back that glow softly and appear to be the cause of the pain.
In the morning, Flynne washes her mother’s hair. His mother reveals that Burton has been giving him pills to help him deal with the pain.
Later in Burton’s trailer, Flynne apologizes for accusing him of stealing the pills. He then frantically enters the sim card, but finds himself in a surgery room unable to move. The woman from earlier is there and tells him that Flynne can’t leave the sim without her permission. Surgeons begin the process of removing Flynne’s eyeball and replacing it with the one they took from Mariel. The woman tells Flynne to control her heart and control her mind to deal with the pain. Flynne does so and the woman allows him to “sleep”.
The next time he opens his eyes, he sees himself sitting in front of a woman in a car. The woman takes him to a building and uses her new eye to get inside. The woman talks about giving Flynne a gift and tells her to put her eye in the lens, not Maria’s. Flynne does so and dodges the pain of the laser in her eye, but the woman pushes her head forward.
Suddenly a man appears and she tells him that he is there to kill them both. He uses a weapon that fires sonic punches to attack the woman and expose her intentions. Flynne removes her hand and in the process notices that the skin peels off, revealing a robotic arm underneath. He helps the fleeing woman, but the man then turns the gun on Flynne. In her own reality, Flynne wakes up and vows never to enter that sim again.
The next day, Billy tries to please Ann Flynne. Flynne confesses her crush on Tommy. He then talks about the sim and theorizes that it is actually the real place where he lives in the robot body.
While at the print shop, Flynne receives a phone call from Wolf, who tries to warn her of impending danger, but he hangs up.
Elsewhere, a policeman spots two suspicious cars and follows them, but they disappear. When he stops his, a man points a gun at him from behind and tells him to stop in the middle of the road. An invisible force overpowers the police. It turns out to be one of the machines cloaked in invisibility.
Flynn closes the print shop as the lights flash and Wolf’s voice is heard from all the cars around him. He claims his life is in danger and there is a $9 million reward on his head.
Burton and his other ex-military friends are sitting around the fire when Flynne arrives and tells him what happened. At first they think it’s a prank, but when they use a drone to check, they see a group of suspicious people coming towards them.
Peripheral begins with a slow and quiet episode that establishes its futuristic world. Flynn and Burton are both compelling characters, while our counterparts in 2099 are shrouded in enough mystery to watch. The show’s entrance is filled with iridescent lighting, fitting for a story like this. I think we can definitely expect some amazing visuals and set pieces in future episodes.
While the episode is quite long, it’s good to let the audience slowly absorb all the information, from the two time zones to the numerous characters and technology. Now that we are well acquainted with Flynn and his world, we can move on to more interesting things.