As a big fan of Alex Garland’s work, episode 4 of Devs perfectly encapsulates everything I love about his style of storytelling. With a great blend of music, plot progression and some really intriguing character work, after several episodes of clearing its throat, Devs finally starts to hit the high notes.
The episode itself opens with the guys at Devs sitting together and doing their best to ignore the alarms wailing overhead. Eventually they do stop as Alison remains calm, indifferent to Forest arriving to assess the situation. He sits in the particle-room again and watches the faint outline of a woman crawling away; apparently this is the future and Katie enters the room and tells him he shouldn’t be watching it.
As they keep talking, Katie and Forest talk about the “tram lines”; the cause and effect nature of the past and future and how this can’t be changed. Interestingly they discuss the very nature of reading the future and how it’s as set in time as the past. It’s a fascinating concept and something that’s stumped man for as long as time travel has been a concept in fiction. As we soon learn, the woman crawling away happens to be Lily and as this glimmer collapses on the ground, her future is apparently written for her to be killed.
Lily wakes up at Jamie’s and as they drink coffee together, she tells him the company are going to come after her and kill her. Outside Lily’s house, Kenton arrives asking a homeless guy where she is. Only, the note in her window is all the proof he needs that Lily has figured out what’s going on.
Eventually Lily does return home, where she finds Kenton waiting. He tells her she needs to go and see a doctor and after some back and forth, begrudgingly she agrees to ride with him in his car. At the office, she and the Doctor discuss more of Lily’s past, including her family set-up. While they do, Jamie whips round his apartment and cleans but as he slams the door shut, something falls off the wall in a dramatic bout of irony.
Lyndon and Stewart stumble upon something in their prediction, with the former bringing the team together to discuss what she’s found. Forest hangs back, with a narrowed expression and his gaze unwavering from Lyndon’s face. As she talks about her theories and algorithms, she plays a recording of a crystal-clear voice from the past, which she excitedly proclaims is that of Jesus Christ.
As the group talk excitedly, Forest calls her out and coldly mentions it’s a “cheap party trick”. He goes on to tell her that this algorithm will change so it’s not “our” Jesus per-se but “a” Jesus, one that could have a number of different variations. Sighing heavily, he tells her she’s undermined the entire project and fires the shocked developer.
Kenton drives Lily away after the doctor’s but en-route she pleads with him to stop the car, sensing what he’s about to do. When he refuses, she grabs the steering wheel and spins the car on the freeway and bolts as it crashes into the side. As she heads back to Jamie’s apartment, she snatches up the phone and reports Sergei’s murder to the police. Frantic, Lily tells him they were wrong and holds his hand for support.
Not long after, the police burst through the door, along with Kenton, who arrest Lily on account of her mental instability. As the police take her away, kicking and screaming, Kenton barges into the house and grabs Jamie. As he closes the curtains and the door, we’re left to figure out exactly what this means.
Devs delivers a really good episode this week and with an injection of action and some decent plot progression. More about Amaya’s shady Devs project is accompanied by some solid pacing, in a much more urgent slice of drama this week. The ethical questions raised in this series about the past and future, along with the cut-throat nature of the company itself, is really intriguing and definitely the big hook.
Although some of the exposition during Lily’s Doctor’s appointment feels a little forced, the rest of the episode does well to ooze this naturally through the screenplay.
Quite what the end-goal is for Devs remains to be seen but with Lily’s future hanging in the balance, the episode ends on an agonizing cliffhanger as we’re left to ponder exactly what the future holds for our troubled protagonist. If this episode is anything to go by though, the rest of the series should be a very intriguing proposition.