The season finale of Devs does a pretty good job wrapping up most of its plot points, even if it does leave some interpretation over its ending and an underwhelming finish for some of its supporting characters. Ultimately, the show has acted as a platform for bigger questions surrounding fate, the afterlife and determinism. In that respect, the show has done a good job showing this in its current form, even if it has taken its time to get there.
Picking up where we left off from before, the finale begins with Lily awaiting her fate in Devs. As Stewart whispers, we see flashes of Forest and his daughter as the end nears.
Lily approaches the infamous door that leads to the projection screen we’ve seen so much of and inside, sits Forest waiting for her. He invites her to sit with him where she tells him she doesn’t know who she is anymore. He apologises to Lily but reminds her life is just something we watch unfold.
Forest goes on to talk about the machine and determinism as a whole, showing her the screen of his daughter. Lily tells him she’s just a computer simulation and the two verbally spar over just what this actually means, including Forest believing he’s a messiah. He scoffs at the notion of Lily undermining him and goes on to predetermine everything Lily’s about to do, including taking a gun out of her pocket.
She doesn’t use it just yet though so Forest uses the machine to show her the final moments where the simulation breaks down, including a static shot of Katie waiting outside the room and Lily holding him up at gunpoint. Lily eventually shoots him inside the lift and as he collapses to the ground, the vacuum seal breaks and with it, the elevator tips and crashes to the ground. This links up with the images we’ve seen of Lily crawling across the floor in previous episodes.
As they leave the room for real this time, Lily holds Forest up at gunpoint and leads him to the elevator just like in the previous vision… only she instead throws the gun aside and doesn’t follow through with the prediction, calling him a false prophet. Unfortunately the lift still falls and kills them both as Stewart decides to send the elevator crashing down by hitting the emergency button.
Katie watches this unfold in horror and asks Stewart why he did what he did. “Don’t worry, it’s all pre-determined,” He says matter-of-factly before walking away. As he does, Katie talks to Forest in the visualization chamber where it turns out he’s been transported into the system as a simulation. Given Lily made her own choice, it’s completely changed what’s happened and Forest laughs at the notion as he realizes Lily is the original sin; the original sin of disobedience and defying her “messiah”, which is interpreted as Forest.
As he de-materializes from view, Katie wishes him luck as he heads off to see his daughter. The familiar distorted horn noise picks up again as we cut across to Lily. She finds herself back in her apartment with Sergei still alive. Time appears to have been rewound to the moments before Sergei heads to Amaya for his job interview and subsequently spying. Now knowing what’s going on, Lily looks at the world with new clarity and vigor, heading up to Devs where she finds Forest alive and with his wife and daughter too.
Forest and Lily then talk about this alternate timeline that sees them inside the system, having now been resurrected and re-inserted into this simulation. Only, they’re the only two who realize this as everyone else is just going about their lives like normal. Forest tells her this is a worthy cross to bear in order to live out their best world together, as they let the simulation play out.
After a brief segment involving Katie talking about the simulation to her superiors, Lily makes her choice and finds Jamie, hugging him tightly where the episode ends.
With lots of religious connotations (a cross to bear, the bells, bright lights etc.) and the idea of us living in a computer simulation, Devs presents its finale with enough thought provoking questions to keep us guessing until the end. While Stewart going all Ex-Machina on us and coldly killing two people is a really questionable motive for his character, the idea of Lily and Forest being rebuilt in a simulation but being aware of their own role as a simulated entity inside this is a fascinating concept, something that feels very Matrix-y in its execution.
Devs’ idea of predetermined destinies and multiple realities is an interesting one but it’s a pity the show hasn’t surrounded this narrative with more interesting characters. Stylistically, the series has done well to keep things looking really slick and visually pleasing but it’s hard not to shake off the notion that this should have been a feature film or at best, a five-part mini-series.
Kenton’s roguish antics and the whole Russian spy sub-plot feel inconsequential and busy-work in the grand scheme of things too. There’s a lot of flaws with this show which is a shame, because at the core there’s some really solid material. The finale itself, with its multiple flashes to different realities toward the end, is a great touch and in terms of characters, Forest and Lily both have consistent arcs too.
This will likely be another show that’ll polarize audiences and while Devs certainly has some stand-out moments, it’s hard to look past some of the flaws.
Despite its decent enough conclusion, Devs is a show of what-ifs and buts. It could have been great, and perhaps in another reality it is, but unfortunately in our current universe Devs bows out with a polite round of applause rather than a rapturous, thunderous ovation.