Are there alternate dimensions and realities out there? It’s an idea that’s stumped scientists for years and the possibility of our future and past playing out in an infinite variety of ways is certainly a fascinating concept. Devs then finally starts to unveil what’s going on this week as we see an episode that works both as an exploration of the past and also as a theoretical experiment into alternate realities.
Episode 5 of Devs begins with Lily waking up to find flowers left for her from Kenton. As she sits pondering what happened in the past, we’re graced with a slick montage of her time with both Jamie and Sergei as they overlap and intersect.
In our present timeline, Jamie is tortured by Kenton, who we learn more about as he used to work for the CIA. While Jamie cowers against the side of the bath, he talks about China and Tiananmen Square, using it as an analogy to prove his point; everything is containable but only if you’re willing to do what it takes. He breaks Jamie’s finger and leaves him lying in the bath, while we see Katie watching this unfold with the machine at Devs.
It’s here we cut back through time as Katie watches various different scenes play out, including pivotal moments in Lily’s life with her break up with Jamie and Sergei telling her he loves her as the most important ones.
The machine swirls and shows the particles again as we focus on Katie this time. A woman delivers a speech about the science behind time-splitting and quantum mechanics, with Katie sitting in attendance too and getting under the speaker’s skin. As Katie walks out, we see several different instances of her exiting the building, with one of them (our current reality it seems) showing Forest following her out and offering her a job at Amaya when she graduates.
At Devs we see the group working, with successful experiments in extrapolating different items. As they keep extrapolating outwards, we see the team speechless as the pixels begin to show Forest’s face and the world around them.
As the scene splits again, we see Forest greeting his child as she returns home while at the same time seeing the crash that took her life. This crucial moment in Forest’s life plays out numerous different ways, settling on the one that causes a horrific crash.
Back in our current, present timeline Jamie phones his Dad and tells them to leave for a week. Katie and Forest meanwhile, sit infront of Kenton and he tells them he’s not going to prison, despite Lily Chan being a threat.
The familiar scene of Lily dying plays out again, this time clearer and with the background of Amaya’s familiar glowing panels in the background. As the scene edits out, we cut back to the hospital room and see Jamie sneaking in through the window and saving Lily, who has clearly been sedated. Leading her to safety, we end with one final shot of Katie as she smiles – is she seeing this unfold?
With numerous establishing shots of the particles materializing and splicing up all these different scenes and characters together, Devs does a great job questioning the true nature of our reality and exactly what we’re watching. The slick edits, showing numerous instances of the same scene playing out at the same time, is really well shot and shows this idea play out beautifully.
Those tiny moments in our life that make us who we are could make us a completely different person if they never occurred, or happened in a different way, and this concept is explored this week really well. Could all these different scenes we’re seeing be a combination of different realities playing out simultaneously? Could it be that Sergei really did kill himself in another reality and the footage is what Amaya have found using the device? Is the end-goal here to bring Forest’s daughter back to life? What reality are we actually seeing playing out?
There are so many questions raised within Devs’ run-time and all of this makes for a fascinating and unusual dive into science fiction. When it comes to Alex Garland however, one thing’s for sure – there’s bound to be a shocking twist or revelation play out sooner or later. The way Devs is going? That’s going to be a big one indeed.