The Research Institute’s Plan Teases The Peripheral’s REAL Story

As the Research Institute’s plan ominously creeps to the fore in The Peripheral, a clearer story comes into view for the Amazon Prime Video sci-fi TV series. The Peripheral’s opening two episodes introduced the enigmatic Research Institute as the show’s prime antagonist force. Based in 2100 London, the R.I. is confirmed to be carrying out secretive work on « stubs » – timelines that diverged into parallel universes due to interference from the future. Despite revealing the R.I.’s interest in the past, The Peripheral episodes 1 & 2 refused to elaborate on why these villains were dipping into history.

The Peripheral episode 3 spends a great deal more time with T’Nia Miller’s sinister Dr. Cherise, and the purpose behind her company’s temporal meddling becomes clear as a result. According to Cherise, an event known as the Jackpot occurred somewhere between 2032 and The Peripheral’s future timeline. The Research Institute studies and examines the past to ensure something like the Jackpot doesn’t happen again. Conversing with the ill-fated Grace over tampered tea in « Haptic Drift, » Cherise explains that the point of the Research Institute’s stub work is to collate data that minimizes the risk of another apocalypse.

How The Research Institute’s Plan Is Secretly Evil

The way T’Nia Miller’s Cherise explains it, the Research Institute are heroes. They examine the past to collect information that’ll help stave off another extinction-level event in 2100 and beyond. What could possibly be wrong with that? Is The Peripheral’s R.I. really evil? It all depends on how the « data » Cherise mentions is being gathered – a detail the shady boss is deliberately vague about.

Back in The Peripheral episode 2, Wilf (or, indeed, Wolf) explained to Chloë Grace Moretz’s Flynne Fisher how stub timelines work. As soon as the future interferes with the past, a splinter stub universe is formed. If the Research Institute is studying stubs, therefore, they can’t just be observing the past passively. The very existence of the R.I.’s stubs proves intervention from the future has taken place. The next question worth asking is exactly how the R.I. uses stubs to stop a Jackpot 2.0. One especially nasty possibility is that Dr. Cherise’s Research Institute treats stub timelines like simulations – altering various parameters to test outcomes and theories. In essence, that would mean the R.I. is endangering entire timelines just to keep their own alive.

The Research Institute’s Plan Sets Up The Peripheral’s Story

Whatever the Research Institute’s plan for stub timelines may be in The Peripheral, it’s unlikely to be pleasant. Aelita did rebrand the company as « radically immoral, » after all, so even if Cherise isn’t using the past timelines as test simulations, her intentions can’t be honest. An overarching story for The Peripheral then comes into view. If the R.I. can access stub timelines, the very fate of Flynne Fisher’s world is under threat from the future. The Peripheral’s early episodes may focus squarely on the Fishers and their friends defending themselves from R.I. assassins and local drug barons, but as the narrative develops, Flynne and Burton may find themselves leading a defense of their entire timeline.

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The Peripheral continues Friday on Amazon Prime Video.

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