The Peripheral: Jackpot   Show Only 
November 4, 2022 12:48 PM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Flynne’s health takes a turn. Wilf visits Flynne in Clanton, deepening their relationship.
posted by Zonker (17 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Tense episode. What's new? Open conflict, RI vs. klept. More about Wolf and Aelita's childhood (shades of Pullman's Gobblers), and the environmental conditions of the jackpot. Edward and Macon proving to be formidable forces, while Ossian and Ash are not in control. Greetings, Dominika, are you going to be a player? Clarity for Flynne about the stakes in her timeline. Gambits. Agency. Nothing is simple.

Except, again, our protagonists: Flynne forgets that the clinician is her crush's fiancee? Not buying it. Burton just up and says "Columbians!" to a civilian? They're both smarter than that, writers, come on!

Nice to see Leon and Conner* talking sense, though, and Lev's villainous nature shining through. Pet? If we go along with Dr. Nuland's metaphor, and the corruption of two of the walls, are we to assume that the third wall of government is as corrupt? Also, the ongoing motivational split between those who care and those who seek dominance--and the reminder that care is seen as a weakness, and that dominance cloaks itself in style and guile. Poor Wilf: he really cares. It just now occurs to me how the dominant future can screw up the past, and the caring present is endangered by their efforts, which benefit the future. Are we taking bets that Flynne and Burton's mom took some of Lev's experimental (and possibly temporarily-acting?) brew? Lev's example of a past profit division was super-specific.

Lots of improvement over Ep. 3, and the stakes are becoming clearer.

* I like him. He cuts through the nonsense.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:33 PM on November 4, 2022

This episode was a little expository and uneven, and I can only assume the realtime hacking battle was some kind of winking reference to Hackers, otherwise it was unforgivably stupid. Feels a bit weird that some of what I thought to be relatively big story beats - Conner's first time in a peripheral, Flynne's handler in the future reluctantly telling her about the Jackpot - were shown in a kind of subdued way.

Still think the overall tone of the show is doing a lot of justice Gibson's writing. Can't wait for the next episode.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 5:57 PM on November 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

I know this is show only so I won't talk about any book details but where is Inspector Lowbeer? The season is now half over, and it needs some Ainsley Lowbeer, stat.
posted by tclark at 9:59 PM on November 4, 2022 [3 favorites]

This seemed like a lower-budget episode. No guns, lots of standing sets and locations, no stunts—but the Jackpot Memorial Park CG fest was terrifying in its symbolism, more so than seeing any of the actual bodies of the 80% die-off. The ideas carried the ep far more this time.

Also, I just re-read Command and Control, and I have a very vivid mental image of what the missile silo attack at Spring Creek would have been like, much more human and destructive than the Terminator 2-lite version on a TV budget.

I basically started watching this show because the Jackpot is an intrusive thought for me. I can’t stop thinking about it. Probably I need more professional help than I’m getting to deal with some version of it as a real-world likelihood. If it gets too much, I’ll stop. The show is a little dumbed down compared to the novel, I imagine, and that helps. I’m not touching the novel with a three-meter pole.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:20 PM on November 4, 2022

where is Inspector Lowbeer?

The good Inspector will pop up. And I suspect that Dr. Nuland will be toast.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:47 AM on November 5, 2022

infinitewindow, I think it's not a spoiler to say that the novel's descriptions of the jackpot are far more elliptical and less visceral than what this show is putting on the screen.
posted by joeyh at 8:03 AM on November 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

Joeyh, that seems like it would be worse--letting my brain take a few dozen words and run with it to the end of the world. Yikes
posted by infinitewindow at 9:42 AM on November 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

I can only assume the realtime hacking battle was some kind of winking reference to Hackers, otherwise it was unforgivably stupid.

The rest of the episode was fine, and in parts very compelling (and in the case of Jackpot, quite horrifying), but the hacker battle was indeed unforgivably stupid, even if they were trying to make fun of Hackers or the CSI Gold Standard for Silly Hacking
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:09 AM on November 5, 2022

i dunno exactly where the book falls in gibson's timeline. i remember Burning Chrome having furious manual hacking.
posted by j_curiouser at 12:58 PM on November 5, 2022

i remember Burning Chrome having furious manual hacking.

Yes, but we know better now just like we know that people won't be taking virtual trains around like in Snow Crash.
posted by Candleman at 12:29 AM on November 6, 2022

Speaking as someone who literally spent years of his life hacking in a dark room packed with 3d printers, the hacking sequence was spot-on.

(I don't think most people are prepared for how absolutely dull and expository "realistic" hacker battles would be. It's like requesting more realistic accounting sequences. It's okay just to have dramatic music and then zoom in on a big number or whatever! I don't need three minutes of fixing mistakes in Excel and emailing around about missing W-2s.)
posted by phooky at 8:18 AM on November 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

Wait hold up something just occurred to me: The future london people MUST have access to actual physical time travel technology otherwise how the heck did they get the future medicine back in time to FLynne's mother? So no, the peripheral stuff is NOT time travel, sure, but sending shit back in time surely IS time travel right?
posted by some loser at 5:04 AM on November 9, 2022

Drugs get "printed" at the pharmacy and they just sent back a printer file.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:10 AM on November 9, 2022 [3 favorites]

How, exactly, were the “hackers” connecting over to future London? That whole thing was ludicrous.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:47 PM on November 9, 2022

The polt hackers were blocking connections and setting up firewalls. In C++ and python. As one does.

And honestly while I can kind of let my suspension of disbelief accept that in a world with medicine "printers", the future could send the "code" for the medicine back in time to be fabbed - the technology exists, it's just the specifics that are unknown. But then there's the stealth cars the first hit squad used - the sheriff seemed to be just as surprised by those as the audience. Were those fabbed from the ground up? They haven't really suggested that the printing services are doing that much, but ... maybe?

Nah, the thing that I keep tripping over is how neat and shiny and beautiful the future post-jackpot London is presented in 2099. Even assuming that fancy semi/fully autonomous robots (koids? I'm not entirely clear on the distinction between the hexagon-faced androids and the vessel that Flynne is inhabiting) did all the heavy lifting in digging out from the crapsack world we saw in Wilf and Aelita's childhood, even assuming that the billionaires who were the ones most likely to survive a society upheaval would want a certain shiny quality of life, would they shine up the whole damn city or just have beautifully manicured estates? I mean I suppose if somewhere between ... what was that, 2072 and 2099, the survivors developed assemblers that just gray-gooed the whole city and rebuilt it pretty and shiny for the surviving humans, I guess?

That's why I'm sort of leaning on the idea that we aren't seeing the actual future, we're seeing some sort of consensual sim/synth/matrix that the survivors jacked in to. My wife thinks I'm crazy.
posted by Kyol at 10:54 AM on December 12, 2022

> But then there's the stealth cars the first hit squad used - the sheriff seemed to be just as surprised by those as the audience. Were those fabbed from the ground up?

My guess is that they're present-day cars, modded out using instructions from the future.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:20 PM on December 14, 2022

I cackled with glee when I realized they were hacking the future.

Whatever their quantum tunnel involves, it transmits enough data back and forth to give Flynne the full VR experience. So we're just accepting the premise of the show that they can connect.

Where it might be stretching things, is if they have all this AI in the future, I think that would have a huge impact on cybersecurity and operating systems and whatever else. Becoming fluent enough with computer technology from 70 years in the future to hack it seems like a big hill to climb.
posted by RobotHero at 7:00 PM on January 8

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