You have to hand it to someone — anyone, in any profession, really — who knows how to let things run their course. That's especially true in television, where off-the-rails endings can spoil what began with promise. Lost is the obvious example, but Game of Thrones is another easy target.
On the other end of the spectrum? I'd argue shows like HBO's The Leftovers and Watchmen — both Damon Lindelof joints — and Netflix's Maniac (and it may be no coincidence that Justin Theroux was in both of those) and the more recent Tales From The Loop on Amazon Prime Video.
The point is that there's virtue in knowing the story you want to tell, telling that story, and then moving on.
And that brings us to this week's final episode of Devs on FX on Hulu . (Which is where all of FX's on-demand programming lives these days.) Episode 8 will premeire on Thursday, April 16.
FX on Hulu
If you watch Devs, did you even have a choice?
Devs is one part thriller, one part ethics, one part morality — and a whole lot of incredible acting from Nick Offerman, Sonoya Mizuno, Alison Pill and more, all set in a ridiculously beautiful world.
The gist, if you've yet to watch: Sergei (Karl Glusman) works at Amaya, a Silicon Valley company that very much looks and feels like a mashup of Facebook and Google. Lots of smart people. And a weird four-story statue of a young girl, who turns out to be the daughter of the founder, Forest, played by the never-better Nick Offerman. Sergei is invited into the super-secret "Devs" program at Amaya — so secret that Forest doesn't even tell Sergei what he'll be doing there. "You're gonna figure it out." Only he mostly doesn't, because he can't, because Forest's security henchman Kenton (Zach Grenier) kills Sergei, then stages footage of Sergei setting himself on fire at Amaya's amphitheater. And Sergei's girlfriend, Lily (Sonoya Mizuno), wants to know why.
And that's not actually what Devs is about.
To go too much further would mean to spoil answering the real question: "What is Devs?" And even as we've gotten that answer over the first seven episodes of the eight-ep series, we still don't actually know . We know something's going to happen. It will happen. It has to happen. And it's bad. But we're made to believe that there's nothing anyone can do to stop it.
And that's what Devs is about. (Which you actually can read in any number of interviews with writer Alex Garland — this one from Wired is excellent.) It's about determinism. It's about Garland wanting to tackle that little fragment of space and time in a way in which he hadn't before. (Though he says his film Ex Machina very much was a part of it.) It's about exploring whether free will actually is a thing, or whether we're all just marbles rolling down a hill, and we'll land where we land.
Going into the finale of Devs , we know something is going to happen. We just don't know what. For whatever reason Forest and Katie and the Devs quantum computer can't see it anymore. They do know (or at least think they know) that Lily will die.
Perhaps that's the cause behind the effect of them not being able to see beyond a certain point. Maybe Lily prevents catastrophe at the expense of her life. Maybe she causes it. Maybe things will take some sort of turn that only Garland could forsee.
One thing's for certain, though. It's been a hell of ride, and one hell of a story.
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