The Peripheral ending explained: What happens to Flynne?
There are still plenty of questions to answer if we get a season 2.
Based on an adaptation of the William Gibson novel of the same name, The Peripheral is an eight-part dystopian sci-fi series set in future America, where the world of virtual reality becomes intertwined with real life and leads to some disastrous consequences.
The show was created for TV by American writer Scott B Smith (The Ruins and Siberia), and executive produced by Westworld's husband-and-wife duo Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy.
The Amazon thriller centres around North Carolina girl Flynne Fisher (Chloë Grace Moretz), who lives with her brother Burton (Jack Reynor), a former war veteran. Flynne works a dead-end job in a 3D print shop to pay her ailing mother's medical bills.
Her brother Burton is a professional VR gamer, but when necessary, Flynne stands in – and is an even better player. The pair are hard-up for cash, so when a mysterious gaming company contacts Burton with the offer to make some considerable money by beta testing a new, super-advanced VR game called Sims, they are very tempted and accept.
Flynne steps up to the plate pretending to be her brother and is propelled to the London of 2099. But when the assignment goes badly wrong, she realises the game is more real than she ever could have imagined and what Flynne has uncovered puts her and her family in grave danger.
Speaking to Variety, executive producer Lisa Joy said: "I love William Gibson, and the director Vincenzo Natali who came to us with the idea of The Peripheral. When I first read the novel. I found it particularly exciting because it's one of his most emotional works.
"And not only does it have his signature prophetic kind of futurism, we're seeing the events of The Peripheral play out even today – but the thing that really drew me in was the idea of Flynne Fisher and her world."
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The Peripheral's ending leaves plenty of questions to answer and mysteries to solve, so read on for everything you need to know about the ending of The Peripheral season 1. Be warned: full spoilers to follow.
The Peripheral season 1 recap
While roaming around a futuristic London in the VR world, Flynne lands herself in a dangerous world of espionage.
She is guided by a voice to access the Research Institute's data and steal a secret that is so precious people will kill for it. But when Flynne meets Aelita West (Charlotte Riley), the mysterious figure of the voice. she implants Flynne's eye with stolen RI data in the form of bacterial DNA, the game then begins to feel a little too real.
Post-apocalyptic London in 2099 has been rebuilt in the wake of a series of global catastrophes known as the 'Jackpot', and someone has opened a door from the future to Flynne's time, potentially endangering both timeframes.
We're introduced to further villains along the way who have recruited Flynne to avert the 'Jackpot' apocalypse (The detonation of a silo in her hometown of Clanton County in her own 2032 timeline.)
These include the threatening and mysterious Dr Cherise Nuland (T'Nia Miller) who works for the Research Institute and Zev Lubov (JJ Feild), who is the head of the Klept, a mafia-type organisation, and Wilf Netherton (Gary Carr), who works for Zev.
He recruits Flynne to seek out his missing long-lost sister, Aelita who we know in episode 1 implanted Flynne with the bacterial DNA data. The Klept employed her to steal the Research Institute's most well-kept secret, ie the ability to manipulate behaviour. Aelita may have accidentally or purposefully stored it in Flynne's eye as a bacterial infection – as viewers, we don't know.
And as the show reached its finale, the stakes couldn't be any higher for Flynne, with various timelines and multiple plans in motion.
Lev Zubov (JJ Feild) finds out that Flynne is the holder of RI's missing data that can help the Klept create a new world. His assistant Ash (Katie Leung) seeks revenge on him after he injures her partner Ossian (Julian Moore-Cook). She tells Dr Cherise Nuland that the missing data is in Flynne's eye, which leads to Flynne becoming everyone's number one target.
The Peripheral ending explained
Flynne's plan to save her world, or Stub as it is called in the game, from the 'Jackpot' is to kill herself. She's caught in the grip of RI's Dr Cherise Nuland and the Klept's Lev Zubov, so she seems doomed whenever she does.
But by forging an unlikely alliance with the Metropolitan Police Inspector Ainsley Lowbeer (Alexandra Billings), she devises a plan to die in order to protect her present 2032 Stub. She temporarily gets Dr Cherise off her back by creating a brand new parallel Stub in 2032, in which she continues to live.
Flynne believes her death in the current North Carolina Stub of 2032 would wipe out the bacterial DNA, stopping Dr Cherise from needing to unleash the 'Jackpot' in the original timeline, meaning she can save her loved ones.
Read more: Chloë Grace Moretz on The Peripheral, Jack Reynor bond and TV vs film
As Flynne exits the peripheral, we see a little flashback of her talking to Conner (Eli Goree), telling him to pull the trigger and make it look like Inspector Ainsley has killed her so that the Met Police can take credit for her death. Flynne does this to get Dr Cherise to believe Ainsley is on her side while burying the truth that Flynne and Ainsley are conspiring to take down the Research Institute.
Meanwhile, Wilf (Gary Carr) is reunited with his long-lost sister Aelita, but it is marred by sadness when she explains to Wilf the pair lost their foster family after a massacre at the hands of the Klept.
Her plan now is to seek revenge, and she is hell-bent on taking down the Klept. All they need is the data in Flynne's bacterial DNA, which is easier said than done now that Flynne has died in the current Stub 2032, but is alive in the new parallel Stub in 2032. Unfortunately, viewers are not told if the RI's data has been transferred with her.
The Peripheral post-credits scene
After the credits have rolled, we see a scene in which Lubov meets with other members of the Klept, and he's told he should cut the entire tree down if even one branch of it is giving him problems.
It's a metaphor that hints at the notion that Lubov and the Klept may be coming for Flynne's Stub in the show's second season. Flynne may have averted one crisis for her world by sacrificing herself, but this may only be a temporary solution, and all she may have done is buy the people she loves in that world a little extra time.
While Amazon hasn't officially announced a second season, writing on future episodes is under way, according to executive producer Jonathan Nolan, and there is plenty of set-up for a new season.
The Peripheral is available to stream now on Amazon Prime Video. Try Amazon Prime Video for free for 30 days.
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