The Peripheral: Empathy Bonus

Thoughts on episode 2 of The Peripheral. Book and show spoilers, notes and musings not a review.

SPOILERS follow, you have been warned.

My first thoughts on the opening sequence were “she’s better at the games coz she’s never done it for real”. And we get that hammered home later with the conversation between Burton & Flynne where he chides her for releasing the sheep in game with a sub-text of “do that in real combat & you’re dead”. But obviously there with the in-your-face-text of explaining what an empathy bonus is and how he thinks they’re only in games, and she doesn’t.

Love the dynamic between Burton & Flynne, I totally buy that they’re siblings. Oddly I don’t remember Burton much from the book, he’s not one of the characters that stuck in my mind, but he’s definitely one of my favourites in this. Connor is also pretty much as I imagined him (not necessarily in a visual sense but in a character sense), and he’s one of the characters that did stick in my mind from the book: him, Flynne and Wilf of the ones we’ve been introduced to.

Wilf’s a bit of a fuck-up at this point tho, and I think the way we’re seeing this in the show is different to in the book (where he’s a POV character so we see more of his thoughts). I remember him being more tedious in the book, here he just seems out of his depth. More so than Flynne who’s definitely out of her depth but has more the feeling that she could be a player.

Liked the bit where we see the local crime boss in his VR game and the way it looks like a VR game whereas in episode 1 you think the future-London looks like a VR game before you know it’s real but this “real” game looks just a bit uncanny valley just like games do today.

Also loved the bit where the sheriff is checking out the floating coffee cup, that’s an awesome scene.

Healing Flynne & Burton’s mother, that’s looking for an empathy bonus, isn’t it? One thing I like about the books is how the titles work on multiple levels and so far the titles of the episodes of this do too.

The Peripheral: Pilot

Thoughts on episode 1 of The Peripheral (Amazon Prime TV series based on the William Gibson novel). Book and show spoilers, notes and musings not a review.

SPOILERS follow, you have been warned.

Feels like this is going to be a good adaptation of the book, tho neither J nor I have read it recently enough to remember everything it definitely had the right feel for what we liked about the book. It did change stuff (the stuff Flynne saw in game wasn’t the same for instance) but it all felt like it rhymed.

Quite a few visual reminders of The Matrix without being totally unsubtle. Like the fight in the car between Flynne/Easy Ice and robot, the way she dropped right into a body in another world on a motorbike, even the jacking in/peripheral process. Obviously the original conceptual influence goes the other way round, but the references here were a nice touch and set up the “but wait, is it real?” moment.

I love the way (which is absolutely true to the books) Flynne is the shit-hot gamer but she uses her brother’s avatar and takes his place in games. Male avatar, gender neutral nick, no-one knows you’re a girl on the quake server (unless you tell them) and sometimes that’s a damn good thing. And one thing Gibson is really good at, and always has been, is writing central female characters for his works who are real people and totally badass.

They’re doing neat things with colour, too, I think. The world Flynne lives in is golden. It sucks but the colouring somehow gives it a sense of nostalgia for a lost youth. The world she goes to in the “game” is sharper & colder and bluer.