Explained: The Peripheral Season 1 Ending

18 mins read

The stakes in Amazon Prime Video’s The Peripheral season 1 finale couldn’t be greater, yet with many timelines, a variety of schemes in the works, and enough of setup for a potential season 2, The Peripheral leaves a lot to unpack. The situation appeared to be terrible as the season one finale of The Peripheral approached. Flynne Fisher appeared destined one way or another, caught between the Research Institute’s Dr. Cherise Nuland and the Klept’s Lev Zubov, and with the Jackpot pressing down on her timeline, The Peripheral’s protagonist faced a trinity of lethal forces.

The Peripheral Season 1 Finale Explains Why Cherise Must Kill Flynne

Previously in Season 1 of The Peripheral, T’Nia Miller’s Dr. Cherise Nuland knew only that her firm had suffered a data breach when Aelita West deployed a peripheral flown by Flynne Fisher from 2032 to access her hidden basement. Cherise was most concerned about the R.I.’s idea for a brain adjustment implant capable of modifying human behavior. If this secret became known, the reaction from the Klept, Met, and general public would very certainly derail Cherise’s entire well-planned operation.

Explained: The Peripheral Season 1 Ending 1

Cherise ultimately finds the stolen data is stored within Flynne’s DNA, thanks to Katie Leung’s Ash, who is angry after being threatened by Lev Zubov in The Peripheral season 1’s penultimate episode, and concludes activating the Jackpot in Flynne’s 2032 stub is her only choice. Cherise’s extreme thinking is due to the stolen R.I. data taking the form of germs within Flynne’s physical body, rather than her robotic Peripheral or conscious mind in the future. The Peripheral previously established that a silo explosion in Flynne’s hometown of Clanton County was a pivotal event in the Jackpot, thus while the Jackpot wouldn’t entirely destroy the 2032 stub reality, Clanton would be wiped out.

The silo would explode, destroying Flynne’s physical body as well as the data buried behind her eye, keeping the Research Institute’s secrets hidden. Even if Flynne was piloting her periphery at the moment, the outcome would be the same. Cherise has avoided this choice up until now since the R.I.’s 2032 timeline serves as a trial ground for anti-Jackpot efforts. If the apocalypse occurs too soon, all active Jackpot studies that R.I. scientists are currently conducting in the stub will be cut short and wasted. Cherise had no proof the stolen data was trapped inside a physical body within the stub prior to Ash’s betrayal, so the literal nuclear option was never considered.

Sheriff Tommy Has A Pickett Problem In The Peripheral Season 2

Explained: The Peripheral Season 1 Ending 2

Deputy Tommy Constantine looks to have covered up his double killing of Corbell Pickett and the local Sheriff as The Peripheral season 1 finale begins. Unfortunately, Tommy’s “doodad” is not as devastating as he intended, and Pickett survives. The gangster’s survival causes major problems for Tommy in Season 2 of The Peripheral. Pickett, should he awakens, does not appear inclined to file an official complaint against the man who attempted to murder him. Pickett, on the other hand, is the sort to blackmail Tommy for his own gain. Tommy’s final scene in Season 1 of The Peripheral subtly confirms he is the town’s new Sheriff, and Pickett can now gain leverage with local law enforcement.

Doing Pickett’s bidding may not go over well with Tommy in The Peripheral, but he may find an unexpected friend in Pickett’s nephew, Jasper Baker. Jasper semi-accidentally murders Pickett’s gang members in The Peripheral season 1 finale, driven by an overpowering sense of inadequacy and recollections of a nightmare Monopoly game. Jasper has always been concerned about his uncle’s crime and, like Sheriff Tommy, believes that his life would be simpler if Corbell Pickett were dead.

Aelita’s Return Sets Up The Peripheral’s Next Battle

Explained: The Peripheral Season 1 Ending 3

The Peripheral season 1 finale on Amazon eventually pulls Charlotte Riley’s grown-up Aelita West back into the story. Aelita has spent her time away digging out the future’s nasty secrets, which she gleefully shares with Wilf and The Peripheral’s listeners. The previously reported Peripheral people of the future are all outfitted with implants that not only provide them with cybernetic improvements, but also protect them against viruses that emerged during the Jackpot. Aelita verifies that the implants discreetly filter out memories that the establishment desires to keep hidden. The Peripheral ultimately reveals why Wilf recalls so little of his youth, as well as how the Klept truly brought order to the apocalypse.

According to Aelita, the Klept killed off millions of civilians in a mistaken attempt to contain the Jackpot’s expanding epidemic, likely with the support of the Research Institute and Met. These casualties included both Wilf and Aelita’s original families, filling in the blanks of how each kid wound up orphaned on future London’s streets while also offering a rationale for the low population numbers in The Peripheral future timeline. Lev Zubov is almost certainly aware of this fact, and his father’s guilt in killing the Nethertons may reveal the true reason the mafia criminal took Wilf under his wing.

Aelita also introduces Wilf to a group of her new pals, and these nameless characters might be the unknown Neoprims The Peripheral has discussed throughout season 1 – a rebel movement seeking to remove the Klept and Research Institute’s authority. Aelita reveals her people want the data within Flynne Fisher’s brain, and their aim is apparently to get Wilf’s new girlfriend to divulge that desired knowledge with them. The R.I.’s weaponized koid robots will be most beneficial to Aelita, and as Flynne dislikes Cherise Nuland, she may be prepared to work with Wilf’s sister.

Flynne Fisher’s Love Triangle Is Still Unsolved After The Peripheral Season 1

Explained: The Peripheral Season 1 Ending 4

Between the discussion of apocalypses and revolution in The Peripheral season 1 finale, the episode finds time to deepen Flynne Fisher’s continuing romantic triangle with Gary Carr’s Wilf Netherton and Alex Hernandez’s Tommy Constantine. The Peripheral clearly deepens Flynne and Wilf’s love story by allowing them to immediately experience one other’s personal sentiments via haptics. While Flynne suspected her growing attachment was a side effect Burton referred to as “haptic drift,” this now appears unlikely. The Research Institute’s experiments on Burton and his unit caused the haptic drift phenomenon, so whatever Flynne feels for Wilf must be genuine.

Nonetheless, The Peripheral keeps pushing a love narrative between Flynne and Tommy Constantine. When Tommy goes to the hospital after hearing of a gunshot, his attention is drawn to Flynne in the back of an ambulance, rather than his doctor fiancée waiting nearby. Despite his forthcoming wedding, the moment suggests that Tommy’s heart is still longing for Flynne. According to Inspector Lowbeer, Flynne and Tommy married in The Peripheral’s initial timeline, however that scenario was one in which Flynne and Wilf never met, leaving the triangle unresolved until season 2.

How Flynne Tricks Cherise – The Peripheral’s New Timeline Explained

The meat of The Peripheral season 1’s sandwich is Flynne’s brilliant idea to preserve the 2032 stub timeline from Cherise Nuland. The first step for Flynne is to acknowledge that she cannot win. Conner Penske tells Flynne in the first scene of The Peripheral’s season finale that he wishes real life could be reset like a video game level, and this dialogue foreshadows the idea behind Flynne’s plot to beat Cherise. Instead of winning, Flynne restarts the game.

The Peripheral mostly describes season 1’s grand finale strategy through allusion and fragmented flashback scenes, but the primary goal is to keep Cherise from activating the Jackpot while still maintaining both Flynne Fisher and the data within her skull. Flynne infiltrates the secret Research Institute site stubs are managed from as the initial stage in this intricate strategy. Flynne then builds a parallel stub deviating from her own timeline – a splinter of the splinter – before destroying the R.I. pocket watch she used to create it. This essentially indicates that a new stub has been generated that Cherise cannot access.


Despite outwitting Cherise with a secondary stub, Flynne still has a major issue. Agents may still access the planet Flynne comes from in the future, and as long as the Research Institute’s data remains there, Cherise will carry out her plan to trigger the Jackpot early. Flynne sacrifices herself to avert this scenario, giving Cherise no motive to destroy Clanton County in The Peripheral’s original 2032 stub. Flynne’s family and friends are saved, but they must grieve the loss of a loved one.

In another stroke of genius, Flynne makes Conner Penske pull the trigger from afar, and suggests to Inspector Ainsley Lowbeer that the Met take credit for the assassination. Cherise will now believe Lowbeer is on her side and helped bring down the original stub’s Flynne Fisher. In truth, Flynne and Lowbeer would be conspiring together to bring the Research Institute down permanently.

Thanks to Flynne’s plan, The Peripheral season 2 will now have two 2032 stub timelines. One would be the original, while the second will be the new stub Flynne created by hijacking the Research Institute’s technology. This timeline presumably begins shortly after Flynne decided what her plan would be, otherwise her newly-created alternate wouldn’t know how to proceed, and would more or less continue directly from The Peripheral season 1’s 2032 narrative, with Flynne, Burton, Tommy, Conner, and the other Clanton residents all continuing as if nothing happened, but without Cherise bearing down upon them.

Is Flynne Dead In The Peripheral’s Season 1 Finale?

Flynne Fisher is both dead and alive following the season one conclusion of The Peripheral. Flynne’s rendition Conner shoots Flynne dead to stop Cherise from putting the entire planet into an early apocalypse only to erase the data within Flynne’s body, which The Peripheral has been monitoring from episode 1. Having said that, Season 1 of The Peripheral closes with Flynne waking in a peripheral body beside Inspector Lowbeer in future London, confirming she is very much alive.

This Flynne Fisher is from the secondary stub timeline formed in The Peripheral season 1 finale – a true Flynne Fisher with all of the memories, feelings, qualities, and knowledge accumulated during the previous eight episodes. The Flynne seen at the end of Season 1 of The Peripheral is, tragically, a parallel clone of the character seen thus far. Returning to the opening scene of the season finale, Chloe Grace Moretz’s hero has executed a video game reset, restarting the level from a previous “save game” after her previous incarnation ran out of lives.

The Peripheral’s Toast House Is Falling Down – Post-Credits Scene Explained

Away from Flynne Fisher, The Peripheral’s delicate social structure is falling down. As explained in episode 4, the post-apocalyptic future is underpinned by three forces: the Research Institute, the Klept, and the Met. Traditionally, these factions have begrudgingly cooperated for the sake of peace, but that arrangement looks destined to collapse in The Peripheral season 2.

The Klept has already angered the Research Institute and the Met by attempting to open its own stub, and now The Peripheral season 1’s finale pits the R.I. against the Klept when Cherise and Ash conspire to assassinate Lev Zubov. Their attempt to kill the untouchable oligarch will likely transpire across The Peripheral season 2, and could trigger all-out war between the R.I. and Klept. Thanks to Inspector Ainsley Lowbeer, meanwhile, the Met is secretly gunning for both the Research Institute and the Klept, since both are breaking the rules of the three-way agreement.

The Peripheral’s toast house falling down is further teased by the season 1 post-credits scene. Lev Zubov, who is otherwise absent from the episode, is approached by higher-up members of the Klept mafia. Though the veterans applaud his infiltration of the Research Institute, they cannot afford to be caught, and demand Zubov “cauterize the wound.” Implicitly, this means killing Wilf Netherton, Flynne Fisher, Burton and his allies, Aelita West, and anyone else who connects the Klept to the 2032 stub. Zubov is visibly hesitant at the prospect of murdering Wilf, but his orders mean the Klept will become a bigger threat to Flynne when the Amazon sci-fi TV series returns.

The Peripheral Season 1 Finale Ending Sets Up Season 2

Season 1 of The Peripheral ends with Inspector Lowbeer asking Flynne if she’s ready to “get to work,” and this line directly leads into season 2’s story. Despite Flynne’s efforts to save the original 2032 stub, Cherise remains a threat in The Peripheral. Flynne Fisher and Inspector Lowbeer are both troubled by her ability to open stub timelines and the Research Institute’s plan to fit the future population with neural adjustment implants. If Flynne learns from Wilf how the R.I. altered his memories using technology, Chloe Grace Moretz’s character will have an even stronger reason to fight Cherise.

Because Flynne’s freshly opened stub is no longer influenced by Cherise, the elements leading to the Jackpot remain intact. Flynne must now access the data within her mind in order to avoid the catastrophe, but this presents its own set of challenges. The Research Institute, Lev Zubov and the Klept, and Aelita West all want to share Flynne’s inside information, but having this DNA-based information is harmful to its host’s health. Flynne will attempt to balance her physical well-being with the need for change in the past and present, all while fending off unwanted attention from those seeking her secret knowledge in Season 2.


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