Devs is a show I’ve been enthralled with since the opening episode. Alex Garland has a way of spinning these interesting philosophical and sci-fi ideas into a digestible way that keeps you thinking long after the credits roll, and Devs is no exception. With big ideas around rebirth, technology and alternate realities, Devs has the potential to be one of the best sci-fi series of the year. Unfortunately this week really shows how stretched the material is and much like The Outsider earlier this year, Devs should have been reduced to a 5-part miniseries.
This week’s episode essentially revolves around two one on one conversations. One of these pretty much confirms everything that’s been happening, and the other is a meaningless bit of banter between two characters who have more in common than they first thought. Beyond that, there is literally nothing else of note here worth getting excited about.
Still, despite all this episode 6 of Devs begins with Stewart heading home and finding Lyndon waiting in his camper. They talk about Forest’s machine and it’s here we learn the truth about what he plans to do – Forest wants to revive his daughter and bring her back from the dead.
Meanwhile, Lily wakes up in the motel where Jamie calms her down. They discuss what to do next and he suggests going to media. When she turns this idea down, they eventually settle on going straight to the root of the problem and visit Forest’s house.
Katie happens to be there and she convinces Forest and Jamie to head outside so she can talk alone with Lily. Outside, the duo get talking and it turns out Forest had no knowledge of Kenton torturing him and apologises for what happened. The conversation soon turns to that of loss and trying to come to terms with it. Ironically, Forest and Jamie have more in common than they first thought.
At the same time, Lily and Katie talk about Sergei and what happened to him. Katie tells the truth and admits that Kenton killed him but they covered it up. After dancing around information Lily already knew, she eventually asks just what Devs is. This prompts Katie to talk about reason and mention there are no random instances.
This then ties back into what we saw at the start of the episode (and what a lot of us have predicted from the very beginning) in that the machine can be used to bring people back to life. After this home truth, Katie turns her attention to the future where she admits that a fixed point in time – 21 hours from now – shows that the future is lost and this may be the point where cause and effect disappear.
Lily hears enough and walks out the door. As she does, she spots Jamie playing frisbee with Forest but they drive away while Kenton watches this unfold from afar, sneering in disdain as he mutters, “It looks like you’re all friends now.”
Jamie and Lily head home together, with the latter calling Forest and Katie insane. Meanwhile, Forest calls them brave for heading into the eye of the storm as the episode ends.
Everything in this episode feels disjointed from what we’ve seen before. The robotic movements, the weird pauses between lines and the monotonous way everyone seems to be delivering their lines here is really off-putting. A lot of this stems from the lack of music running through a lot of these scenes. While Katie and Lily talk inside, there’s not a single underlying orchestral instrument used, making their entire conversation play out in silence and radiating monotony.
Meanwhile, Forest and Jamie’s conversation reveals absolutely nothing noteworthy to the series, other than show that Forest isn’t really in control and no one seems to know what they’re doing. The menacing, silent facade of this character is essentially broken this week and because of that, it raises big questions around just who the real antagonists of the series are.
On a more positive note, if the future is lost and Devs can’t see anything else beyond a single fixed point, could this be a sign that Lily is going to destroy the machine? Her falling on the floor and seemingly dying (the last vision from Devs) may well be her final victory; lying down and catching her breath after doing this.
With a couple more episodes to go, there’s plenty of time to turn it around and this may just be a blip in what’s otherwise been a fascinating series but there’s no denying that the episode oozes disappointment from start to finish.