“Jackpot” is plagued with a dreary backstory, an onslaught of jargon, and a strange overall sense of smugness. Even with all these flaws, there is still lots of exciting visual imagery, and that final scene ups the stakes somewhat.
We recap the Prime Video series The Peripheral season 1, episode 4, “Jackpot,” which contains spoilers.
The series has alluded to an event called the Jackpot before, but in episode four, it becomes the very focus of the installment. The Jackpot is the name given to the apocalypse that awaits Flynne (Chloe Grace Moretz) in her future and is a tragic part of the people’s past in 2100 London. This chapter continues to address Flynne’s growing physical impairments in her present timeline while she tries to break the rules and go rogue in her future world. It’s another episode that suffers from far too much backstory and one that is light on any real engaging action pieces.
The Peripheral season 1, episode 4 recap
We’re introduced to London 2075. A polluted and damaged capital city awaits us. Here, young Wilf and Aelita survive in the smog and ruins of London, scavenging for food. They are soon hunted down and taken prisoner, which may lead to them being adopted, as seen in another flashback. It’s great to see an apocalyptic world fully visualized, and the series continues to use inspiring imagery in “Jackpot”.
Then the narrative reverts back to London 2100. Wilf and Lev share a conversation in a much improved yet desolate capital. Wilf updates his boss on their findings in Aelita’s lair and the technology they have retrieved from this place. Lev is suspicious and worries Aelita may be dead without her implant, hinting at the current population’s tricks to survive in this post-apocalyptic world.
Flynne starts to feel the side effects of her perilous video gaming and time-traveling shenanigans. She sees her eye turn bloodshot red for a few seconds, and her hand spasms once more. After an argument with her brother, a bruise sprouts under her eye, and she has a full-blown seizure on the floor. Burton (Jack Reynor) takes her to the hospital and purposefully informs the doctor of the probable cause. He’s quite the hypocrite here. After shouting at Flynne for revealing all their secrets to Billy Ann, Burton has now told someone outside of the circle of trust about the headset. Flynne is advised to stop playing the simulation and is sent off for further scans.
Meanwhile, Cherise reboots her faithful crony Daniel in robot form and asks for the details of his last encounter with Wilf. He updates his boss about Wilf’s connections to Aelita and Lev. Cherise asks for Lev’s current location and then goes to meet with her enemy in person. Again, Cherise states that something of hers has been stolen, but won’t clarify what it actually is. Lev sarcastically tells her to go to the police, and then they talk history. The Jackpot is mentioned in more depth here, implying that world order was only restored by violent force. Is that a concealed threat from Cherise by any chance?
Burton won’t let Flynne journey into the future until they have the results of her scans back. They want to rule out the headset’s involvement before Flynne reuses it. Conner goes in her place and runs around in Flynne’s avatar body gleefully. Ash quickly realizes that this isn’t Flynne they are dealing with and Conner is shut down. Wilf visits Flynne via a home movie VR experience to see what’s going on. Flynne wasn’t aware of Conner’s betrayal though. They discuss her seizure and the lengths they’d go to for their own siblings. Wilf admits that Aelita is his sister of sorts. Flynne confesses to researching Lev Zubov and discovered that his entire family were brutally killed.
Wilf visits Lev in the future and mentions this revelation straightaway. In this scene, we see a darker side to Lev. He tells Wilf that he was paying Aelita so that they could try and tinker with the past. He wanted to test out a whole host of awful experiments on the past to benefit his present situation. Lev admits that he had his entire family killed in the past, to end the lineage and to keep things clinically clean.
Flynne’s hand spasms continue, but she refuses to sit back and watch the others take her place – she’s going back in. Conner and Burton request their own avatars as a compromise and Flynne agrees to sort them out with bodies. They consider their next line of attack. Burton suggests treating the future world like a simulation and asks what Flynne would normally do. She says she would defy expectations and try out lots of different things, to figure out the rule set and finally take full control. They agree to try this different approach. She travels to the future and confronts Ash almost instantly.
The Peripheral season 1, episode 4 ending
Flynne and the gang are prepared this time around. They have their own hackers on the case to stop Ash from kicking Flynne straight out of the avatar. Flynne proclaims that she will be going exploring and storms outside of the gates while Ossian struggles to disconnect her peripheral. Ash follows, asking what she wants. Flynne wants to see London, but she is disconnected before getting anywhere significant. Flynne plugs straight back in though and demands answers. Her first question was, where are all the people?
At the end of The Peripheral season 1, episode 4, Ash takes Flynne to a cemetery, where they meet up with Wilf. They show her some rather bizarre but exciting visuals that demonstrate what exactly happened, quickly summarizing the Jackpot. It was a slow build to the perfect storm, a mixture of terrorism, climate change, war, and famine, as well as an all-too-familiar pandemic. The population declined, and everything came to an end with a large terrorist attack, which goes some way to explain Flynne’s imminent death. As she exits the headset, Conner asks about the bodies. Flynne replies, “I’m working on it.” Although her mind is elsewhere, contemplating their ensuing doom.
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