The Peripheral S1E6: Password Is “F*ck You and Eat Sh*t”

Ainsley Lowbeer, wearing a hat and tie, an open field behind her in The Peripheral S1E6, "Fuck You and Eat Shit"
Courtesy of Amazon Prime

The following contains spoilers for The Peripheral S1E6, “F*ck You and Eat Sh*t”

So I guess the answer to who T-boned Tommy at the end of last week’s episode was both someone we have never met before and Corbell Pickett. Indeed, it’s somewhat odd that we’re only being introduced to Sheriff Jackman in S1E6. It’s enough to make me wonder if I’d missed a previous appearance, except his demeanor is so distinctive that I’m sure I didn’t.

It makes sense, though, that the invisible car was precisely one of those Tommy turned in, taken by his corrupt boss because they’re awesome and useful (particularly for doing crimes). And also, given how The Peripheral has made clear that Corbell Pickett runs the town, the logic is seamless. I still can’t help feeling like we should have been explicitly introduced to this dynamic sooner.

Tommy looking to the side, bloody
Courtesy of Amazon Prime

I think this is the issue I’m having with The Peripheral at this point. As much as I’m still enjoying the show, its structure has started to feel really messy. I suppose it’s a fine line between complex and muddled, and if the series was on the right side of that line in its first three episodes, it’s veered rather to the wrong side of it in three that have followed.

What are the stakes of this story?

Wilf looks on, concerned
Courtesy of Amazon Prime

I was given to think that they were of a grand historical nature, with something like the future of humanity at play. And that’s there, sure, but all over the place The Peripheral keeps explaining the wrong things.

Is Aelita a neoprim? What do the neoprims want? I wasn’t even sure if they still existed. What about the Research Institute? The broadstrokes seem clear enough, but there’s not enough detail to ponder whether they might plausibly be on the side of the good in a world that has gone terribly bad. Which, I don’t think they are, but that could be interesting to think about.

Connor with a stern look on his face
Courtesy of Amazon Prime

Instead, The Peripheral S1E6 gives us another superfluous cold open. This time we learn what happened to Connor, which we could have already pieced together from previously provided information (or we could have been provided this information previously, take your pick). I’m actually not sure if Burton et al. were the Marines Grace showed to Aelita in the cold open last week, or if those were different Marines, which is a shame because that’s the one thing that could be kind of intriguing about all of this. We know Connor and the others pretty well at this point, so did they only refrain from killing the dog merely due to manipulation from the future?

Lev reclines on a sofa, a lamp behind him
Courtesy of Amazon Prime

Ash says they only use the word ‘stub’ to describe the alternate realities contact from the future creates to foster a kind of colonialist spirit. Is this true? Is what we’ve been told by less than trustworthy characters like Lev about how the stubs work true? The account seems oversimplified, but I’m no longer sure whether it’s meant to be a mystery or something The Peripheral is waving its hands at, encouraging us to drop the question and go along for the ride.

Bob sits in front of a plate with meat on it, wearing a collar, while Corbell to the side pours some wine
Courtesy of Amazon Prime

I certainly hope it’s not that, but the ride in “F*ck You and Eat Sh*t” remains a lot of fun. Bob’s shenanigans with the Picketts are a pleasure, but the real highlight of the hour is in the introduction of Inspector Ainsley Lowbeer, portrayed by the inimitable Alexandra Billings. It was apparently important to William Gibson that Lowbeer be portrayed by a trans actor, and while I’m not familiar with the character from the book (because I haven’t read it), Billings gives Lowbeer a presence that immediately fills the narrative. Now that’s she’s entered the frame, she’s in the center of it. And that’s intriguing.

Ainsely Lowbeer looks to the side, clutching the front of her jacket with one hand
Courtesy of Amazon Prime

Indeed, though, Lowbeer is such a presence that now everything feels like it circulates around the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into Daniel’s murder, which is certainly a threat to Lev and Wilf (and perhaps a threat to Flynne, Burton, and Connor) but if the real stakes are in what they’re trying to do (and/or what Aelita is trying to do, in contrast to what the RI is trying to do), it’s becoming a problem that we don’t know more about what that is.

Aelita is the absent center, which worked really well at the beginning of the series but is becoming an issue as it progresses. Reggie suggests she’s a neoprim and Wilf seems to take this at face value. The neoprims have done bad things like attacking Wilf’s school, but what is their ideology and does Aelita truly buy into it? Is there a reason we should care where she is and what she’s doing beyond Lev’s business interests and Wilf’s personal attachment?

Perhaps The Peripheral is leaving questions open to build up to a twist at the end of the season, or perhaps we should just take everything at face value too and enjoy the spectacle of factions from multiple futures fighting one another and using sophisticated tech. If it’s the latter, fine. I just find myself wishing The Peripheral would clarify what kind of show it wants to be.

See you next week.

Written by Caemeron Crain

Caemeron Crain is Executive Editor of TV Obsessive. He struggles with authority, including his own.

Caesar non est supra grammaticos

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