The Peripheral S1E7: “The Doodad” Is Not a Whosawhatsit

The peripherals of Flynne, Burton and Connor standing in a row with Lowbeer to one side in The Peripheral S1E7
Courtesy of Amazon Prime

The following contains spoilers for The Peripheral S1E7, “The Doodad” (written by Jamie Chan & Scott B. Smith and directed by Alrick Riley)

“The Doodad” confirms a number of things that we may have already speculated to be true. At least if Lowbeer is to be believed, it would seem the RI definitely messed with Burton, Connor et al., in that they didn’t even have haptics in the original timeline (though they did fight in the same war), which indicates that the future has been messing with the past for longer than we might have thought. Oh and also the Jackpot is happening at an accelerated rate in the stub. Good times!

Nuland tells Lowbeer that she created the stub, and this conversation makes it very much sound like there is only one stub, though some preceding dialogue in The Peripheral implied that there were multiple stubs. I suppose we don’t know for sure, as there is always the question of whether the person conveying information is trustworthy (and no one from future London is when it comes down to it), but it does seem as though more could be created in the same way that the RI created the one we’re familiar with, using the pyramid doodad?

The peripheral of Flynne looking somber, with Wilf sitting beside her
Courtesy of Amazon Prime

I have to admit that I hoped that was the doodad the episode title was referring to, but it turns out to be the sonic blaster gun that Tommy recovers from his damaged SUV, and ultimately shoots Corbell Pickett with at the end of S1E7. I did not see that coming either, Corbell, and it’s an interesting turn for our deputy friend. We don’t know, of course, if Corbell is dead for sure, but I am pretty confident that Sheriff Jackman is. And I may have yelped with joy when Tommy pulled the trigger.

Sheriff Jackman lies on the floor with several bloody bullet holes in his torso
Courtesy of Amazon Prime

The Peripheral flirts with being the kind of quirky banger of a show that Preacher was, and at times I feel there are some real tonal similarities. I hope if the show gets a second season it can find its groove in that regard a bit better. There remain some moments where it seems to take itself too seriously, and others where it doesn’t take itself seriously enough. Sometimes the two are mixed together in the same scene, as in Bob’s final act at the clinic.

Bob gives a pained smirk
Courtesy of Amazon Prime

It’s hard to articulate well, but I do think there is a sweet spot that The Peripheral manages to hit here in S1E7 more often than not. The dialogue between Beatrice, Burton and Connor was a bit stilted, and the whole training exercise had a way of feeling both shoe-horned in and not given enough space to breathe, but the culmination of Connor falling in love with Beatrice the badass robot lady was delightful.

Connor smiles widely as he falls through the air
Courtesy of Amazon Prime

Speaking of Connor, Lowbeer tells Flynne that in the original timeline he was not maimed in the war. There is a chilling possible implication here. If dogs really were being used in the way we’ve seen (and this wasn’t itself a part of the future messing with the past), and Burton et al. acted the way they did in last week’s cold open due to the RI’s influence, we might surmise that in the original timeline they killed the dog. Which, that’s pretty messed up! So let’s just agree to pretend that granular details like this were also different and not think about it too much more.

OG Flynne married Tommy! That’s more fun to think about.

Tommy faces off with Sheriff Jackman
Courtesy of Amazon Prime

And it turns out that Aelita did indeed download some data from the RI into Flynne’s brain, though she thought it was Burton’s brain, which is important because Burton has those haptic implants that Flynne does not have. So, according to Ash, it somehow turned into bacteria in Flynne’s brain, which kind of seems like a problem but then it also seems like she and Ossian are still super confident about getting that data, so I don’t know how that is going to work (or how much peril Flynne will be in when it comes down to it).

I do feel the need to note that while it makes sense that Aelita thought she was dealing with Burton, it has bugged me a bit from the beginning how quickly literally everyone else in the future snapped to it being Flynne and not Burton in that peripheral. I’m not sure we ever got an explanation of how they figured that out, or if we really need one, but it feels like a little hiccup in the plot.

Lev stands with Ash on one side and Ossian on the other
Courtesy of Amazon Prime

Ash and Ossian being on the side of the neoprims, however, feels like a proper twist (and Lev’s son getting him a knife is in that tonal sweet spot I was referring to earlier). I’m not sure this also means they are on Aelita’s side, because I’m still not fully convinced that Aelita is a neoprim. That felt like speculation from the butcher man who made her peripherals, even if Wilf seemed to take it at face value. She could be in the neoprim camp, but I still find myself thinking that her aim is something else.

Whatever it is, Aelita’s plan feels like it will provide the endgame for Season 1 next week. Where in the world is she? Or what world is she in? She told Wilf back in the pilot that she was off to save the world (but not this world). Maybe she thinks she can save the stub, but it’s hard to see how when the Jackpot is actually happening faster in it. Maybe she thinks she can open another stub and save it? I think that’s where we’re going and things are about to crack wide open.

Dr. Nuland stands in front of a panel of monitors
Courtesy of Amazon Prime

Nuland tells Lowbeer that the data Aelita stole pertains to the RI’s ability to use technology to work against human nature, but there is no reason we should trust her on this. Perhaps it does, but perhaps it pertains to the ability to create stubs in the first place. Or maybe it’s both.

It is nice to see the RI’s philosophical underpinnings stated rather plainly: human nature is bad and they want to change it. I can almost get onboard with that. I’d at least love to get the details of their plans fleshed out a bit more, ideally in another conversation between Nuland and Lowbeer.

Lowbeer stands upright, looking to the side
Courtesy of Amazon Prime

If you didn’t enjoy that scene, I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe this show isn’t for you. But as for me, I can’t get enough of scenery chewing competitions, and if nothing else The Peripheral has them in spades.

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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