TL;DR – It does what you need to in a show like this and builds the world and the mystery from the start.
Disclosure – I paid for the Prime Video service that viewed this show.
Warning – Some scenes may cause distress.
The Peripheral Review –
It has been a while since I have sat down to a good sci-fi mystery. One that makes you scratch your head and wonder how all the different parts connect. I think the last one that truly captured me like this was Westworld. Which is good timing because you can see those influences in the show we are looking at today.
So to set the scene, we open in London in 2099 as Wolf (Gary Carr) sits on a park bench as holographic galleons recreate a battle on the pond in front of him. As he watches a young girl Aelita (Sophia Ally), approaches the bench without shoes. She wants to save a world, not the one they are in now, that is lost, but another world, one that can still be saved. In the Blue Ridge Mountains in 2032, Flynne Fisher (Chloë Grace Moretz) is helping her sick mother, Ella (Melinda Page Hamilton), when she notices that her medicine is being cut by her no-good brother Burton (Jack Reynor). Confronting him, she instead gets dragged into helping some guys beat a level in a WW2 VR Video Game, something she is very good at. At work, she is given a package for her brother, a new VR machine that she can beta test, and get money for her family. But the immersive VR set in a future London is more real than anyone expected. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
What I liked the most in this first episode was the worldbuilding, with two different worlds on show. The first is the world of 2032, which is both more advanced and dealing with many more problems than what we have here. You can feel that civilization is still there, but it is teetering on the cusp of collapsing into dystopia. There are cops, but crime happens in full view of the community. While in 2099, everything is shiny and grand, with London filled with giant sculptures presiding over the skyscrapers. However, you can feel the shine is covering up the damage underneath.
The cast also fits right into this world, with the lead, Chloë Grace Moretz, capturing that person that is the one person succeeding in holding it all together. Jack Reynor has to play a dual role being both the somewhat delinquent brother and also the avatar of Flynne in the not-so-digital world. I liked the difference in the performance between the two, which is important given some of the scenes in the opening. Then there was Aelita West (Charlotte Riley), who fits that perfect line where you are not sure if she is a devil or an angel whispering commands to Flynne.
The narrative we get in this first episode is just as much mystery as you need, where you are captivated but not overwhelmed. The sections set in 2032 have a way of grounding the narrative, which you need for some of the more outlandish parts of the episode to work. It also helps because it builds the bonds of community that make those moments of violence from the mob boss or the hit squad feel like villainess intrusions. I have not read the novel it is based on, so while I don’t know where the show is heading, I can see the path ahead. Though I was unprepared for some of the turns this episode took and the lack of eyes that would happen by the end in a very graphic fashion.
In the end, do we recommend the Pilot of The Peripheral? Yes, we would. Some confronting moments in this episode will not be for everyone. However, the mystery has hooked me, and I would like to see more of this world.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
Have you seen The Peripheral yet ?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review House of the Dragon on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Peripheral
Directed by – Vincenzo Natali
Written by – Scott B. Smith
Created by – Scott B. Smith
Based On – The Peripheral by William Gibson
Production/Distribution Companies – Kilter Films, Amazon Studios, Warner Bros. Television & Prime Video
Starring – Chloë Grace Moretz, Gary Carr, Jack Reynor, JJ Field, T’Nia Miller, Louis Herthum, Katie Leung, Melinda Page Hamilton, Chris Coy, Alex Hernandez, Julian Moore-Cook, Adelind Horan, Austin Rising, Eli Goree & Charlotte Riley with David Hoflin, Miles Barrow, Gavin Dunn, Harrison Gilbertson, Duke Davis Roberts & Stephen Murphy and Sophia Ally, Cal Watson, Jared S. Bankens, Moe Bar-el, Chuku Modu, Poppy Corby-Tuech, Daniel Cahill & Louis Bernard