The Peripheral season 1 ending explained – what happened to Aelita?

December 2, 2022 (Last updated: last month)
Adam Lock 13
Amazon Prime, Ending Explained, Streaming Service, Weekly TV
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The many subplots finally align in a satisfying conclusion, one that hints at much more still to come. The finale sets up many exciting possibilities for a probable second season, whilst handling the emotional aspects of the narrative in a delicate fashion – an impressive ending indeed.

We recap the Prime Video series The Peripheral season 1, episode 8, “The Creation of a Thousand Forests,” which contains spoilers and explains the ending plus the post-credit scene.

It’s been a great year for author William Gibson, his novel The Peripheral has been adapted into a successful Prime Video series and Apple TV+ has just announced pre-production on a new series, adapting his magnum opus Neuromancer. It’s taken many decades to get Gibson’s work right, but his blend of complex sci-fi and intricate world-building was always going to be worth the wait. The fruits of his labor can be witnessed in the season 1 finale of The Peripheral, “The Creation of a Thousand Forests” – let’s explain the ending.

The Peripheral season 1, episode 8 recap – what happened to Aelita?

In a flashback to 2028, Flynne talks to Conner after his life-altering accident. Conner is filled with regret about his foolish decision to try and save that dog’s life, and he now must live with the consequences of his actions. Conner wishes he could reboot to just before he made that stupid choice, just like in a video game. But life has no reboots. Flynne will try and defy the odds and use this notion to save everyone’s lives in her present.

Back in that very present, Tommy leaves Corbell’s mansion after killing two of the town’s most notorious men. He places the weapons back in their evidence bags and calls in the crime. An ambulance is dispatched, and the home becomes a crime scene. Tommy wipes the blood off his boot, and an officer informs him that of course Corbell is still breathing. There’s also word of shots being fired at the medical center, and Tommy races over. His fiancée is safe, and the couple hug, but she is shaken to hear of Jackman’s passing.

Lowbeer continues to interrogate the three peripherals in future London. The Inspector assumes that they want Cherise to be stopped, and they decide to form an alliance. Lowbeer is aware that Flynne’s timeline is very close to its own doom, as the Jackpot closes in on them. She wants to help, but asks if there are any demands before finalizing the agreement. Flynne wants her mother saving, but Lowbeer admits, Lev’s people have done all they can. Flynne feels used and hurt, returning to her own world as a heartbroken mess. They promised Ella’s survival, but it was all just a ruse. Flynne and Burton explain the circumstances to their mother and she seems to accept them most humbly. Her only hopes are that Flynne will now live her life to its fullest, without her mother as a burden.

Ash meets with Cherise in secret to form her own alliance. She explains the location of the stolen data – it is planted in Flynne’s brain. Ash warns Cherise about Lev and states that he knows all about the data’s whereabouts, adding that Lowbeer cannot be trusted either, she has her own agenda. Ash proposes stopping Lev once and for all, with Cherise’s aid. Cherise thinks the only way to stop this data ever getting into the wrong hands is to completely wipe it out of existence. This will inevitably destroy Flynne and her entire family though.

Flynne heads to the future to speak with Wilf, possibly for the last time. He regrets setting Flynne up and the couple hold hands. Wilf talks of confused memories from his past and how he believes Aelita must be dead by now. Wilf wants to tell Flynne some vital information, but fears they are being watched. Flynne suggests synching up instead, so she can feel his responses. They synch up and Flynne asks Wilf questions, then Wilf reciprocates. It’s a subtle scene that delicately handles their love for one another in a professional manner. Flynne has a brainwave, why don’t they check out Wilf and Aelita’s old hiding spot.

The couple visit this very place, which used to be a forest and is now an empty park. A young Aelita is sat waiting for them, annoyed it took them so long to figure it all out. Aelita states that Ash is watching and asks for Flynne to leave them on their own for the time being. Flynne wearily leaves, and young Aelita gives Wilf a tour of his old home. Wilf has no memories of this place, then adult Aelita arrives to explain why. The implants suppress memory, memories that have come flooding back to Aelita since she removed her own.

Aelita explains that her family and Wilf’s are buried underneath this earth. The Klept, led by Lev’s father, heard of a contagion in Wilf and Aelita’s camp. They retaliated by wiping out all the survivors. They ended up killing five million people in a fortnight. Aelita is gathering her own little army to fight back, all they need is the data stored inside Flynne’s head.

Tommy warns Flynne of a coming terrorist attack. Homeland Security have contacted Tommy, mentioning the threat of a plan to blow up the Spring Creek missile silo. On hearing this news, Flynne journeys back to London 2100 and she meets with Ash. Ash has betrayed her and orchestrated the whole scheme. Flynne is furious, finally realizing that the data is stored in her own head and has been causing her seizures. Flynne decides to fight back.

The Peripheral season 1 ending and post-credits scene

Her plan is quite complex, with many moving parts. She asks for Conner’s assistance and that of Lowbeer’s too. She wants to open up a new stub, a reboot if you will, to avoid the coming apocalypse. Lowbeer says she can’t start a new stub, but there are stub portals scattered around England. These are heavily guarded, yet they can help Flynne with her plans. Flynne is sent to a stub portal, hidden within a church. She fights the guards and unlocks a new stub. Cherise watches the whole event play out and speaks directly to her enemy. Flynne crushes the pocket watch device, implying that Cherise won’t be able to track her now.

Back in the present, Flynne asks Conner to shoot her, so it all looks authentic, to throw Cherise off the scent. Flynne counts back from ten, reliving precious memories from her life and then Conner pulls the trigger. It is unclear whether Flynne was killed in this timeline or not, but in the next moment she awakens in her peripheral, next to Lowbeer. Lowbeer is ready to get to work.

In a post-credits scene, Lev and Dominika head for dinner with Lev’s parents. They are shocked to be met by three important Russians instead. Lev speaks with these three men. They discuss the Research Institute, and Lev instantly begins to apologize for his scheme involving Aelita. He says how he recruited an asset to work inside the Research Institute, which he believed was an acceptable plan. His apology is met with great laughter, the men have played a prank upon him. But they still have serious orders for Lev, he is to kill the asset and anyone linked to the asset. This doesn’t bode well for Flynne and her family.

What did you think of The Peripheral season 1, episode 8, the ending, and the post-credit scene? Comment below.

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13 thoughts on “The Peripheral season 1 ending explained – what happened to Aelita?

  • December 3, 2022 at 3:22 am

    It makes no sense to me that if Connor kills Flynn that she can then reappear in her peripheral to work with Lowbeer.
    I get that Flynn’s death in her own timeline would be a heroic sacrifice to stop Cherish from having to accelerate the Jackpot but it would also screw all future timelines up as well. It seems it would reboot all future as well. Flynn being dead has a dead brain where all the previously stolen RI data is stored. Seems game over for that particular future. I just don’t understand how Flynn, without the headset, dead on the road can then continue to occupy and control her peripheral in the future. That was what I was, hoping this recap would explain, but it didn’t.
    Also, that I need an explanation, reveals a huge flaw in the story, telling aspect of the finale. I really expected that this recap would reveal to me some thing I had missed but it didn’t.

  • December 3, 2022 at 12:46 pm

    Only the future of that stub changed. Flynn is dead in the original stub, not in the main timeline trunk, meaning all that her brother was trying to protect is lost- his sister is dead in that timeline. Since Flynn created a new branch in the stub timeline that Flynn continues forward but this really isn’t a reboot since her family and friends in the original stub will need to go on without her- can she get back to that timeline and help fix it..? Flynn should now have two brothers, two mothers, and duplicate friends she should care about helping.

  • December 3, 2022 at 1:14 pm

    Yes I was puzzled by the exact same point. Having read around it this morning, my take is that when Flynne creates the new stub, a new timeline is created so there are the effectively two Flynnes from that branching point. One in the original timeline who walks down the road and is shot, and the other in the new stub timeline who goes to her trailer and uses the headset to meet with Inspector Lowbeer at the end of the episode.

  • December 4, 2022 at 2:03 am

    I feel like the beginning scene is very important. I think she changed the timeline from when Connor got hurt. He never tried to save the dog. That’s just where I think she created the new stub using her own stubs timeline. I think the future of it and that she broke the watch could forshadow that the new stub can become a fork and its own universal timeline. One where the jackpot wouldn’t happen. Lowbear spoke about communicating with stubs before and the personal interests with her daughter? Lowbear could of had a way to transfer her conciousness into her perfieral if its something she wanted to do in hopes to save her daughter using a stub the same way. That’s why I think Lowbear helped. It does leave a potential loophole though beacuse by making the stub from her own timeline their might be two of them now if its her conciousness in the perfieral. Don’t even get me started on Aleita and the unanswered questions arround that beacuse on one hand she could want a new timeline but then seems like she wants revenge. I feel like she might even cut out Wolf’s implants which means he won’t be able to connect to Fylnne or tell she’s alive but come on guys, no way would they give us the slow burn love story if not to throw a curve ball to allow them to be together somehow next season

  • December 4, 2022 at 2:28 am

    Thanks Wiggy, that was just what I was looking for (and I think you nailed it).

  • December 5, 2022 at 2:29 am

    There is a fatal flaw in this plan. Flynn creates the new stub after telling Connor that he must kill her. The problem is the Connor in the new stub and the Connor in the original stub think they have to kill her. He will try to kill her in both stubs because neither version will know which is the new stub. Likewise, how will Flynn even know which stub is the new stub, unless of course she can tell which stub is being accessed by Cherise???

  • December 12, 2022 at 2:46 am

    The fact that an article like this is even necessary highlights a serious flaw in this TV series. Such explanations shouldn’t be necessary; plot points should be self-explanatory from simply viewing the episodes. That they aren’t is a failure on the parts of the series production team, that the writers and directors should fix pronto. If they don’t start making things more clearly understood soon I’ll probably stop watching, and wouldn’t be surprised if many others do as well. Watching a fictional TV series is supposed to be easily-digested entertainment, not a work project requiring internet searches to figure out what in the world is going on.

  • December 12, 2022 at 8:03 am

    I think the “fatal flaw” can be explained. The new stub starts (or better, the copy and split of timelines begins) at the point where the future communicates with the past. It was not at all clear precisely when Flynne started the new stub. If she chose a point before she asked Connor to kill her, then, in the original stub, Connor would have killed her, but in the new stub, Flynne would never have asked Connor to kill her. The part I don’t understand, is how Flynne was able to create a new stub (meaning communicate from the future to her stub) without Cherise knowing. I’d think she’d have to destroy the stub portal, but that was not shown, so….?

  • December 16, 2022 at 9:34 pm

    Totally agree with John…it should have been straightforward but that has not been my initial experience with sci-fi movies/series at first watching e.g. Matrix, Dark etc.

  • December 20, 2022 at 7:56 pm

    @ Photowave. “The part I don’t understand, is how Flynne was able to create a new stub (meaning communicate from the future to her stub) without Cherise knowing. I’d think she’d have to destroy the stub portal, but that was not shown, so….?”

    I think Cherise did know she was creating a new stub, but was powerless to intervene when Flynne disabled the guards and Cherise was said to have lost the ability to track the new stub from the point Flynne destroyed the timepiece. All good fun!

  • January 19, 2023 at 3:11 pm

    Definitely time to read the book! This is a cool show but difficult to track. Some of the edits are really jerky, like the train crash scene and then suddenly it’s broad daylight with Flynne saying to Tommy, “I heard about the train crash”. Like huh? WTF happened in between??

  • February 6, 2023 at 2:15 pm

    So I think what we have here is a classic example of what I would call the “Westworld” problem – appropirate given the showrunners are from WW. Regardless of how you enjoyed it or not, in WW their decision to complicate the show by depicting it in the way they did (if youve watched you know what I am referring to here) is a classic example of them withholding vital information from the viewers until the reveal.

    Thing is they are doing this again here but for an already very complex plot with multiple timelines, witholding vital info and holding all the cards choosing what they present to tthe viewer, deliberately obfuscating the plot, but the plot is already difficult enough to follow here so they arent helping themselves or th eviewer. It suspends disbelief and I dont believe contributes to the plot or enjoyment of the show as a whole.

    Given how many series get cancelled at the drop of a hat I feel this forced cliffhanger ending in the hope of a season 2 just doesnt suit how we consume media on these platforms and detracts from enjoying the show as a whole. More plot points needed upfront and clear explanation for us to get invested. Let alone get invested in a season 2. There were pacing issues throughout and it felt slow at times for no reason. riting needed tightening up as did structure.

    I am not up for a season 2 and loke others will just check out the book and extrapolate an ending from there – its too much of a tim einvestment for too little pay off. A shame as Morets and Norbeer were fantastic. Everyone else I coudl take or leave, mostly leave.

  • May 23, 2023 at 11:23 pm

    Wow. I guess I get some sick thrill out of being confused. I want to WORK for it baby. Love this show. Watched it four times before I felt like I totally understood everything I possibly could. And you know what? I never got bored. Got sucked in every time. I don’t want my mindless entertainment to be too mindless.

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