The Peripheral works best when it feels like a video game itself, with riddles, missions, and a mystery to solve. If you can ignore the paper-thin villains, then this is a fun ride with some delicious sci-fi visuals and an atmospheric tone.
We recap the Prime Video series The Peripheral season 1, episode 3, “Haptic Drift,” which contains spoilers.
There is a lot of futuristic technology at play in The Peripheral, and not all of it has been properly introduced just yet. In “Haptic Drift” the creators eke out more details on those fancy, flashing lights found underneath Burton’s (Jack Reynor) skin, while Flynne (Chloe Grace Moretz) gets a taste for a similar haptic technology in London, 2100. The third instalment continues the on-going search for the elusive Aelita and provides a backstory on our new villain Corbell Pickett (Louis Herthum), with the quality picking up somewhat after a rather lackluster episode 2.
The Peripheral season 1, episode 3 recap
Clanton, 2015, Corbell looks a little younger in the face and appears to be running his own car dealership. He sells a handful of vehicles to a biker gang, but then proceeds to suffocate them by locking them in their new cars. If this doesn’t highlight just how evil Corbell is, a later scene has the dead bikers nailed to crosses for added effect. The showrunners want you to understand that Corbell is a violent and dangerous man, who just so happens to have been recruited to kill the Fisher family as well.
In the present, we’re given a tour of the exterior of Corbell’s extensive mansion, fitted with a luxurious pool. He talks with his young, trophy wife about the 2.5 million dollar deposit and the couple weigh up their options. Do they accept this money and run or do they fulfil their assignment and kill the Fishers for the extra money. Both options have their pros and cons. They decide to research a little further before making a final decision.
Flynne wakes to find her mother reading the morning papers, the future medicine has more than done the trick, curing her of her ailments. Now Flynne owes them for their troubles. But first she needs to tie up some loose ends. She naively tells best friend Billy Ann the entire sorry saga, then meets with Burton to double check just what their cover story is going to be. Burton has his friends fooled, but is furious to find out that Flynne has divulged their darkest secrets to Billy Ann already, the same woman who is married to Jasper, Corbell’s nephew. Nothing stays secret for long in this town and Corbell is the last person they want finding out about their latest shenanigans.
There are more reveals back in London, 2100, as Flynne explains exactly what happened that first night in this futuristic world. Wilf informs her that Mariel (the lady who lost her eye), was an assistant security manager at the Research Institute. Ash asks Flynne about Corbell Pickett and warns her that he is possibly the Fisher family’s next adversary. She requests an hour to notify her brother of this development and heads home.
Wilf visits his foster mother, after a nifty flashback updates viewers on his history. He was adopted, along with Aelita into a wealthy family for unknown purposes. Wilf and Aelita grew up on the streets together and could not be parted. Wilf asks the mother if she has seen Aelita lately. They bumped into each other only a month ago. Aelita spoke in riddles, stating that she was staying at a place ‘where snow last fell in London’.
Flynne updates Burton and he instantly wants to go and kill Corbell. She asks Burton to hold off on any further murders until she has a better plan. This doesn’t stop Burton from meeting with Corbell only minutes later though. He offers the gangster 200k a week to keep out of their business. Corbell laughs off Burton’s threats, saying that he runs this town. But Burton has a team of trained Marines at his disposal. He shows off his powers, having Corbell’s glass shot to pieces by a sniper to prove a point. Corbell shakes on the deal, which in turn is witnessed by Deputy Sheriff Tommy.
Seventy-odd years from now in ghostly London, Flynne wakes to find herself in a cab with Wilf. They want her to retrace her steps and walk the desolate streets of the capital once again. Wilf synchs up with Flynne, so that they can see and feel the same things. This works similarly to the technology that synchronizes Burton and his soldier friends. It doesn’t take long before Flynne is followed though and Wilf has to lie about Flynne’s credential to avoid arrest. This allows for some harmless flirting and the couple share a passionate, first kiss. Flynne is swiftly sent back to her own reality before the authorities get suspicious.
Meanwhile, a second bad guy, Cherise, starts to flex her villainous muscles. She orders Daniel to speed up his pursuit, threatening to kill him if he doesn’t finish off Flynne as soon as possible. Then Cherise has another employee, Grace, killed in truly bizarre fashion. Grace worked with Aelita and passed on some rather precious information to the rogue, for this betrayal she is mauled to death by bees. It’s unfortunate that the new villains in this series are so one-dimensional, but hopefully they will grow on us.
Flynne and Burton discuss haptic technology in the present day. Burton remarks that you need special training to handle the merging of minds and warns her that it can lead to falling in love (of all things). They call this phenomenon “Haptic Drift”, thus the title of the episode. Flynne then solves Aelita’s riddle, realizing that the snow mentioned is actually a person, English physician Dr. John Snow. Wilf and Flynne track down the place where he died, which leads to a side street from Flynne’s first night in London. She uses the code phrase to bypass the brick wall and enters a building that looks like a forgotten set from The Matrix.
Wilf and Flynne discover Aelita’s hidden rooms, where the eye operation took place. They find mini figurines that emulate the Fisher estate and Aelita’s implant is found in a box. Daniel, accompanied by a fighting robot crashes the party with his sonar gun. A fight ensues and Daniel is reprimanded. Flynne asks why they are hunting her down and he responds by stating that she took something from them, although even Flynne doesn’t know what that could be. The robot springs back to life and attacks, but accidentally kills Daniel instead. Cherise watches all this take place from the safety of her home.
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