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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled An exceptional iDevs /ifinally gives Lily (and us) some answers
Photo: Miya Mizuno (FX)
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The latest episode of Devs turns the entire premise of the show on its head. No longer is this a series about a tech company overreaching, government oversight, and one man’s obsession with reconnecting with his dead daughter. Instead, it’s now about how the universe itself is in danger, and no one knows how to fix it.

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Let’s start with Lily and Jamie. As noble as Jamie’s motives are, Lily is absolutely correct that there’s no real way these two can live as fugitives — especially not when you’re hiding from someone like Forest, who has vast resources and connections with government and law enforcement. They’re out of options, which makes Lily’s so-out-there-it-just-might-work idea that much smarter: She’s going straight to Forest to get the answers she needs.

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When she and Jamie arrive at Forest’s house in the dead of night, we get a confirmation the show has been hinting at for awhile: Forest and Katie are more than just co-workers. It’s not clear when their relationship evolved from mentor/mentee to something more. Forest has immense respect for Katie, but that doesn’t make this development less squicky, as he definitely has the power in their relationship as her boss (and is presumably much older than she is.)

What is interesting is that as soon as Forest realizes that Lily has arrived, he turns the floor over to Katie and leaves the room with Jamie. It’s fascinating that he lets her run the show; it’s also completely abdicating any sort of responsibility for Lily’s predicament. My problem with the show is that I actually really like Forest. I sympathize with him because of the death of his wife and daughter. He seems like a fun guy to hang out with. Forest’s scenes with Jamie in this episode only underline the fact that he comes across as a nice guy—he’s just in over his head.

What is so incredibly insidious about this is Forest probably thinks of himself as a “good” guy. Sure, he ordered Sergei’s death, but the kid was trying to steal secret tech. And yes, he’s terrorized Amaya employees like Lyndon, but it’s in the interest of his technology (which should be said with the same tone you’d talk about someone’s art). I don’t think that Forest is trying to project being a good guy while masking the horror underneath—I think the horror is that Forest actually thinks of himself as “good.”

His Devs technology provides a bit of an escape hatch for him: Sergei is dead, but that was always going to happen. Forest didn’t have any choice but to order his murder. His hands aren’t dirty because the future was pre-determined. It’s an incredibly scary line of thought that could justify any horrific behavior. It simultaneously takes away free will by opening up every unthinkable possibility, delivering the ultimate cosmic get-out-of-jail-free card. It goes back to what Lyndon says at the beginning of the episode: Do you really want someone like Forest (whose main motivation here is somehow resurrecting his daughter) in charge of a technology with such an incredible and dangerous capability? My answer is a definite no.

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Illustration for article titled An exceptional iDevs /ifinally gives Lily (and us) some answers
Photo: Miya Mizuno/FX (FX)

Katie’s outlook is a little more practical than Forest’s, but that means she’s also the one to shoulder the burden of explaining what’s happening to Lily. Forest should really be the one looking into Lily’s eyes and seeing the pain he’s caused; instead he’s off making friends with Jamie and leaving the hard stuff to his girlfriend. Katie is absolutely chilling here, as she delivers answers to Lily’s impassioned questions in almost a monotone. It’s so straightforward that it’s a little shocking; all the acting in this episode is incredible, but Alison Pill really wins the MVP award for this one.

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After some back and forth, Katie drops a bomb, one that changes everything we thought we knew about Devs and Lily’s role in the entire saga: The technology has only ever been able to see forward to a certain point in the future. After that, it’s all static. Whatever will happen will change the laws that Devs operates on, will irrevocably alter the relationship between cause and effect. It’s happening tomorrow night, and Lily will be there. What Katie doesn’t tell Lily is that it also appears that this is when Lily will die.

Illustration for article titled An exceptional iDevs /ifinally gives Lily (and us) some answers
Photo: Miya Mizuno/FX (FX)
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With this revelation, all of our questions boil down to one: What’s going to happen tomorrow night? It seems like someone, presumably Lily, will make a choice that goes against the deterministic universe (or multiverse, as it were), defying the rules that Forest and Katie think govern reality. Could the Devs machine be destroyed in the future, and that’s why it can’t see past a certain point? It’s certainly possible that’s the answer, but then wouldn’t that mean that Devs wouldn’t be able to project into the past, before it was created?

There are so many possibilities here—or is the problem that there aren’t enough? Could the show actually end in a fade-to-black moment that sees the end of reality as Forest, Katie, Lily, and Jamie know it? Or will the show go straight into science fiction and depict a universe where the governing rules of physics no longer apply? I don’t know what to think at this point, except if I wasn’t hooked before, I am completely and irrevocably now.

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Stray observations

  • Stewart lived exactly where I would have predicted he’d live.
  • It’s clear Lyndon isn’t going to let this go. It’s interesting he’d take the risk of contacting Stewart, considering he very well knows the capabilities of the Devs tech.
  • Katie and Forest legitimately like Lily and Jamie, which is a problem for Kenton. What’s he going to do now that he feels threatened?
  • Despite my feelings about Forest, I couldn’t help but love his banter with Katie at the end of the episode. I hate that I like him as much as I do.
  • LILY AND JAMIE, LILY AND JAMIE!!!
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Swapna Krishna is a space, tech, and pop culture writer. Her work has been published at Engadget, Gizmodo, The Verge, Polygon, and more.

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