With the introduction of Alexander Billings’ Ainsley Lowbeer, things are quickly moving forward. The Peripheral Episode 6 advanced the plot lightyears in a clever hour of television.
Much happened in The Peripheral Episode 6 that pushed the plot forward by leaps and bounds. This is what good storytelling looks like, and Prime Video’s adaptation is making great use of the source material while still forging out its own space. What at first seemed implausible has become reality. Gibson’s work is hard to translate, but he and Scott Smith have found a way to bring the dystopian world and parallel timeline to life. It’s an addictive bit of sci-fi witchery that means good things for Amazon’s ability to produce intelligent content. Mixing compelling characters with slick ascetics and thought-provoking concepts, the prestige series is full of everything that makes a good series great.
Connor’s story is heartbreaking. The rough-edged man only appears hardened because he has to be. The man has a heart of gold and the soul of a warrior. Knowing his decision to save the injured dog was likely orchestrated by those at the Research Institute is maddening. The cruelty inflicted on the dog and Connor is almost unbearable and makes Connor’s frustration much more understandable. The mental and physical pain he feels daily is agonizing. Yet, the promise of a new, fully intact body is tantalizing. Now that Ash has finished it, that possibility is very real.
Connor’s self-sufficiency is commendable, but as the connection with his buddy shows, life isn’t tough just because of his physical challenges. The mental loss is worse for him. He was ready to die in the hospital. Seeing one’s limbs blown up will do that to you. Burton kept him going then and now, but Connor is ready to trade his natural body for a catheter, an IV, and a peripheral body in Lev and Wilf’s future. For now, Burton does not agree to help him, but it will be harder and harder to put him off once he gets a taste of his old body back. With Lowbeer’s insistence on meeting them all, that time is sooner rather than later.
I am ghoulishly obsessed with the idea that Lev’s future refers to all the offshoot timelines as stubs, and poor Connor has three of his own. It’s not a nice thought, but neither is the reason stubs were named in the first place. Ash is kind enough to explain that by calling the offshoot timelines stubs, her timeline dehumanizes them. It makes them third-world countries, pets, and inferiors. Colonialism at its worst. By declaring their superiority over the stubs, they can use and abuse them as they see fit in the name of research or protection of their own timeline. It’s self-serving and disgusting, but it is what makes Aelita both a hero and a villain.
It’s probably not great to kill people, remove their eyeballs and have them implanted in others against their will just so you can steal something, but she and Flynne have more in common than they first thought. Flynne is right to question Wilf on what the R.I. can do. However, if they can and do willingly create the illusion of people and rebuilt cities, what else are they doing that no one knows about? They may have created the tech to make the world look less bleak, but as with most things paternalistic, the actions become more intrusive than effective.
Wilf and Flynne track down the surgeon who did her eyeball transplant, and the encounter gives Chloë Grace Moretz a chance to kick ass. The well-scripted and choreographed scene showcased everything that she does best. She was tough and cheeky and had action-hero skills to spare. After subduing the two butchers, she gets a little more insight into Aelita and is troubled to learn she is a Neoprim. Flynne’s knowledge of the future is shaped by Wilf who she has a growing connection, and Lev, who is her benefactor. Of course, the idea of the terrorist group would be worrying. Knowing that she is likely carrying around something in her head is terrifying. Has she been uploaded wet-style with data from the R.I.? Like the guilty pleasure Johnny Mnemonic, is she a walking flash drive?
The tenderness between Wilf(Gary Carr) and Flynne(Moretz) is fun to watch. Their chemistry is natural and electric. Their developing relationship makes the most of Carr and Moretz’s gifts. They highlight each other’s strengths and are a pair of star-crossed lovers we can get behind.
Deputy Tommy is looking in places he shouldn’t. He’s a good and just man who struggles to understand why so many people are connected to such an evil man. Pickett’s influence has no bounds, it seems. Even the Sheriff is under his thumb. Burton was right to think they should have taken care of Bob themselves. It isn’t that Tommy couldn’t be trusted. It is that he isn’t equipped to handle everything he is mixed up in. He is being sidelined for now, but he knows more than he should, and his injuries won’t stop him from continuing to search for answers. I am interested in his past with Pickett, though.
He knows Pickett is the one who took Bob from his custody. I’m sure he thinks he will never see Bob again, but I feel confident Bob may be making an appearance again soon. That seems to be the theme of the week: sooner. Pickett and Mary are arrogant because they live in an echo chamber where they are the smartest, most powerful people in town. They are smart and powerful, but not as much as they think, and Bob’s trickery proves that. He’s not free yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find he escapes in the next episode. A little shock collar won’t keep him down.
Finally, Ainsley Lowbeer enters the story. For lovers of the book, this has been a highly anticipated event. The ever and cunning investigator pays Lev a visit. He instructs Wilf to tell the truth because she probably already knows the answers to the questions she is asking. He’s not wrong. She is a master manipulator and a brilliant mind. Lev is better off being honest with her than antagonizing her. Lowbeer seems to know everything about Lev’s employees and the peripherals he has been making. When she demands they be presented along with Burton, Connor, and Flynne, they have no choice but to comply. I wonder what the trio will think about walking into this pleasant but lopsided ambush. As with most things, I imagine they will be underestimated initially.
Billings is spectacular as the crafty inspector whose funny banter with Anjli Mohindra’s Beatrice is a delight. Pairings in this series are a vital hallmark, and The Peripheral Episode 6 gave us another good one. Lowbeer crackles with intelligence and simmering danger, and her addition to the group is a good one. Comedic timing and self-confidence for days, she is a good foil for Lev, who sometimes has difficulty seeing others’ worth.
It’s an exciting development, and over halfway in, it’s a welcome one. You can find all our The Peripheral coverage here.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.