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The Peripheral Nods to Some Epic Sci-Fi Classics

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The following contains spoilers for The Peripheral Season 1, Episode 4, “Jackpot,” now streaming on Prime Video.

Prime Video’s The Peripheral is a reality-bending adventure that focuses on ChloĆ« Grace Moretz’s Flynne Fisher as she becomes embroiled in a conspiracy across space and time. Flynne and her brother, Burton, are hired by the mysterious Klept Oligarchy from 2100, who want to mine intel from the past.


In Episode 4, “Jackpot,” the shady Research Institute seems intent on protecting the time stream, while unlocking secrets of their own, which leads to a bloody war in both periods. As the Fishers seek more info on who to trust and the impending apocalypse she’s part of, the series pays homage to some iconic sci-fi properties.

RELATED: NYCC: Prime Video Shows Fans Into The Peripheral


The Peripheral’s Headset Nods to The Matrix & Total Recall

The Peripheral Amazon Prime Show 3

After Flynne becomes a virtual reality gaming expert, a Colombian company sends Burton a unique headset. It nods to the operator machines used in The Matrix, which uploaded people’s minds to a digital construct that passed as the real world. The design and uploading also nods to the headsets used in Total Recall that could affect people’s memories, planting false ones or unearthing the truth. In The Peripheral, however, these headsets are the gateway to the future.

The Peripheral Homages Quantum Leap

The Peripheral Amazon Prime Show 1

In Quantum Leap, Scott Bakula’s Sam jumps into various people’s bodies across the time stream, which the NBC reboot is following up on with a sequel series. The Peripheral nods to that, as Flynne’s mind is thrown into the future to possess a specific vessel. However, in the show, this is called “quantum tunnelling,” with her destination controlled by those hiring her years in the future, as opposed to random leaps.

RELATED: Vincenzo Natali Dishes On Jumping Genres from The Peripheral to Cabinet of Curiosities

The Peripheral Blends Westworld & Avatar

The Peripheral Amazon Prime Show 7

Westworld focuses on hosts (i.e. robots) across various parks that pass for mankind. The Peripheral’s future is filled with bots like these, leaving Flynne unsure who’s human or machine. The gambit is, her host vessel is a robotic version of herself, making her a super-strong killer. This remixes Avatar, where military officers could pilot Na’vi-human hybrids by syncing up their minds with the alien bodies. In Flynne’s case, other operators such as Burton and his crew can pilot the body, too.

The Peripheral Subverts Pacific Rim’s Drifting

The Peripheral Amazon Prime Show 6

Pacific Rim’s drifting focuses on humans melding minds with each other and giant robots called Jaegers. This “neural handshake” allows them to move as one and battle kaiju. The Peripheral makes this more of a hive mind, thanks to “haptic drifting,” where implants link people’s brains to share data and vision. Burton and his military crew used this in the army, which made them more efficient. Sadly, however, Burton ended up beating a guy to death, as one of the other drifters hated the person. The technology is thus a liability, but if someone’s killed, it allows the others to seek revenge. Flynne also uses the drifting by syncing up with her handler, Wilfred, which allows them to feel each other’s emotions too, just like Jaeger pilots.

RELATED: REVIEW: The Peripheral Goes Big, if Too Time-Bendingly Sprawling

The Peripheral Embraces Avengers’ Branched Timelines

Chloe Grace Mortez with a sci-fi headpiece in The Peripheral

Avengers: Endgame divided fans over the time heist, which led to many branched timelines being created and left unaddressed. Only the ones that had the Infinity Stones returned seemed important, crafting an awkward arc not even the creatives properly explained. The Peripheral creates branched timelines as well, when Flynne goes to the future, which are called “stubs.” But rather than leave them unattended, the Klept boss, Lev, uses these realities to test chemicals and pharmaceuticals. He even kills variants of his family, but it’s not due to control like Marvel’s Time Variance Authority; it’s done for fun.

New episodes of The Peripheral debut Fridays on Prime Video.

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