What Did Flynne “Take” From The Peripheral’s Research Institute?

The Peripheral episode 3 confirms that the Research Institute is hunting Flynne because she stole something from it – and audiences can already begin to guess what that might be. Ever since Aelita West dragged Flynne Fisher into the future and used her awesome video game skills to infiltrate the evil Research Institute, the shady corporation has been gunning for Flynne and her family, hunting them down in their own timeline. The Peripheral episode 3 reveals the R.I.’s beef with Flynne goes far beyond her simply « seeing too much, » however. According to Daniel, Flynne « took something » that T’Nia Miller’s Dr. Cherise wants back, although Flynne herself has no idea what this could be.

Unfortunately, Dr. Cherise remotely slits Daniel’s neck before he can reveal precisely what Flynne stole from the Research Institute. As such, the exact nature of what she took remains frustratingly ambiguous in The Peripheral. Fortunately, viewers can at least make an educated guess as to when and how the robbery happened. Back in The Peripheral episode 1, Aelita led Flynne into the bowels of the R.I.’s London facility. Reaching their destination, she shoved Flynne’s eye (her peripheral one, not the peeper from poor Miriel) against a periscope-esque underground spike, and a green laser made contact with her eyeball. Whatever transferred into Flynne’s mind during this scene must surely be what she « took » from the Research Institute.

What Aelita Reveals About The Secret Flynne Stole

Looking back at Aelita and Flynne’s initial heist in The Peripheral episode 1, the mysterious barefoot Londoner drops a few subtle clues as to what she’s putting inside Flynne’s head. Aelita tells Flynne, « It’s a great gift I’m giving you, » before later adding, « Lay claim to your destiny. » Viewers can probably also infer that the green laser represents some kind of data passing from the Research Institute’s big ol’ basement spike directly into the actual mind of Flynne Fisher via the peripheral. This information could now be laying dormant inside Flynne’s brain ready for Aelita to unlock.

Aelita’s references to gifts and destinies suggest the stolen information will somehow become useful to Flynne, and this ties into Aelita’s « saving a world… I didn’t say OUR world » comment to Wilf from The Peripheral episode 1. Maybe whatever precious data Flynne unknowingly swiped from the Research Institute, it’ll save the 2032 timeline from the Jackpot, the R.I., or both.

What Did Flynne Actually Take From The Research Institute?

The Peripheral has already addressed how the Research Institute examines alternate timelines known as stubs in order to prevent another apocalypse. The company must, therefore, possess intimate knowledge of how the world ends circa 2042, and how that devastation can be prevented. When Aelita shoved Flynne’s face into a green laser beam near the end of The Peripheral’s pilot episode, it’s possible she was linking her up to one of these stubs, secretly showing Flynne the end of the world, and maybe revealing a way to stop the destruction that wrecked 2100’s timeline happening in 2032. The R.I. evidently isn’t happy about this, perhaps because it needs Flynne’s timeline to end, or maybe because the data inside Flynne’s head is required to save the future too.

Another possibility is that once Flynne awakens the hidden secrets gained in that basement, the truth of the R.I. will be exposed. Dr. Cherise may claim her company is responsible for keeping the world safe, but Aelita referring to the R.I. as « radically immoral » implies a darker secret lies behind how this safety is achieved. The gift of knowledge Aelita passed to Flynne could potentially bring down the empire Dr. Cherise has so carefully built in The Peripheral’s future.

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The Peripheral continues Friday on Amazon Prime Video.