In last week’s episode of “The Peripheral,” we saw Flynne and Burton making some haphazard decisions. While Flynne blurted out everything that she had experienced in a futuristic London via a peripheral to Billy Ann, Burton had overspent on equipment and weapons because of the impending attack on their farm. And it turned out that Burton was correct to be on the offensive because the Research Institute had employed Corbell Pickett, the local don of sorts, to kill the Fishers. Why? Because Flynne is guilty of stealing something from them during her mission with Aelita. And since that information can apparently upend everything that the Research Institute is doing to analyze the past and stave off another apocalyptic event like the Jackpot. Now, while Burton managed to keep Corbell at bay (who found a roundabout way to snoop on the Fishers via Jasper) by threatening him with death, Flynne and Wilf got their winds knocked out by Cherise’s goons, i.e., Daniel and an android.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Flynne Deals With The Repercussions Of Her Brain Damage
During a flashback sequence set in London, 2075, we see a young Wilf and a young Aelita surviving in a post-apocalyptic landscape before being picked up by health officials so that they can be medicated and then put up for adoption. In the 2100s, we see the adult Wilf conversing with Lev about the peripheral CPUs he has acquired from Aelita’s lab. And Lev brings up two important points. Firstly, Wilf’s DNA is all over the crime scene. So, there’s a good chance that the Met is going to trace it back to him and hold him accountable for Daniel’s death. Lev says that he can send a clean-up crew. But they can be traced back to him if they are caught in the act. Secondly, Aelita is probably dead because, without the implants (that apparently release immunity boosters into the system), she can’t survive in this toxic atmosphere. Meanwhile, Flynne is not doing all that well, as her physical condition is deteriorating, especially after her peripheral was sonic blasted by Daniel.
A visit by Tommy Constantine forces Burton and Flynne to come up with a bunch of lies so that he doesn’t find the stack of bodies buried in their backyard. Flynne protests against this constant lying. But Burton says that they have to keep up appearances or else they’ll attract more trouble. When Flynne tries to make a point about bringing Constantine into their trust circle, Burton rubbishes her opinion by associating her lack of clarity with her infatuation with Wilf. Flynne throws an angry fit that causes a full physical shutdown of her bodily functions, thereby indicating that the altercation with Daniel and the constant to and fro between her present and the future have badly damaged her brain. Burton forces her to get herself checked out by the doctor, who tells her to stay away from all VR-related tech for the time being. Elsewhere, Cherise resurrects Daniel (not in a peripheral but in a robot) and learns about his altercation with Wilf and Flynne and that Wilf is Lev’s employee.
Wilf Has An Eye-opening Conversation With Lev
With Flynne temporarily out of commission, Burton decides to go into her peripheral instead of her so that he can kill all those people who are sending mercenaries to kill them. At the same time, Cherise kind of ambushes Lev while he is distracted by his wife, Dominika, having an awkwardly intimate moment with Wilf. Later, Lev does explain that Dominika loves to play with the “family pet,” and since Lev likes Wilf, he doesn’t mind his proximity to his wife. Anyway, Cherise gives a brief recap of the responsibilities of the Klept, the Met, and the Research Institute and how they can come crumbling down if Lev doesn’t retrieve the item Aelita has stolen. Now, although her accent is extremely heavy, it becomes clear that the Research Institute has technology in its arsenal that can hack into the thoughts of its opponents and even alter their perceptions. We see a sample of that as Lev’s cup of tea vanishes before his very eyes and is replaced by a slice of lemon.
Conner enters Flynne’s peripheral and tries to make a run for it. But Ash boots Conner out of the peripheral. In order to figure out why Flynne isn’t in her peripheral, Wilf walks into the VR memory piece that she is watching. While Wilf informs her about Conner’s little stunt, Flynne talks a little about Lev Zubov. She says that Lev actually used to exist in her timeline and that he and his family were murdered, and their house was set on fire. Wilf insinuates that the two Lev Zubovs only share the same name but aren’t the same person. Wilf then goes to Lev to reveal this information about his family. Lev says that Aelita was being paid to help the Klept create “stubs” (alternate timelines) of their own so that they could perform experiments without any repercussions. The medicine sent to Ella is Alexei’s (Lev’s brother) experiment. And the deceased Zubov family is actually a version of Lev’s. And he’s the one who killed them because he didn’t like the idea of the existence of multiple variants of himself.
‘The Peripheral’ Episode 4 Ending Explained: Flynne Learns About The Jackpot
Flynne has a little conversation with Conner and Burton about taking control of the London timeline by using the tactic she uses while playing simulations. The tactic includes breaking all the rules of the simulation in order to know what its limitations are. Once that’s clear, they can control it however they like. But for that to happen, Flynne needs to get into her peripheral, which is something that Burton is skeptical about because she isn’t healthy. Flynne assures her that she’s fine (even though her hand is cramping up often) and assures both of them that she’s going to get their peripherals printed so that they can inhabit those instead of hijacking hers. On that note, Flynne jumps into her peripheral to test her boundaries. However, this time she gets some help from Macon and Edward, who prevent Ossian from shutting Flynne down as she takes a tour of the city. Ossian achieves momentary success, but Macon gets Flynne back into her peripheral, and she forces Ash to tell her the truth about her timeline’s future.
Accompanied by Wilf, Ash tells Flynne about the Jackpot, i.e., the series of apocalyptic events that led to the extinction of humankind. So, it began with the complete global electrical blackout (which is considered the point of no return). That was followed up by a pandemic (the blood plague), which caused the organs in the human body to fill up with blood until the abdomen burst. Then there was the environmental catastrophe, i.e., droughts, famines, antibiotic failure, and agricultural collapse. That led to the deaths of 7 billion people over the course of four decades. And then occurred the terrorist attack in the U.S., where a nuclear missile silo exploded in Spring Creek, North Carolina, i.e., the place where the Fishers currently live. Now, that revelation brings up the question of the Fishers and the rest of the Marine Corps being the “terrorists” behind the final phase of the apocalypse. Also, does the same thing happen in every single alternate timeline? And are the Fishers and the Marine Corps just pawns for the Research Institute and the Klept?
So, one thing is clear from Cherise’s conversation with Lev and Lev’s conversation with Wilf (notice how they are similarly framed and shot, with the one driving the conversation being on the left and the one facing all the revelations being on the right). Both the Research Institute and the Klept are big fans of experimentation. Maybe the Research Institute wants to do it a little more ethically than the Klept. But they do want to invent weird technology that can manipulate a person’s perception. And the best place to do it is in the alternate timelines known as stubs. Why? Because there are no consequences. However, since the Klept has more control over the stubs than the Research Institute, they’re the ones doing the experiments and profiting off of them as well. And that’s possibly the reason why the Research Institute is antagonizing the Klept. That said, the Klept are facing a major problem: the limited shelf life of these stubs because all of them conclude with an apocalypse. Or are these apocalypses a natural phenomenon at all? Are they being conducted by the Klept once they’ve done experimenting with that stub? If so, it’s only a matter of time before Flynne realizes that and revolts against Lev.