As things progress further in Alex Garland’s science fiction/philosophical miniseries (or as he believes, a movie in eight parts), the plot gets clearer as well as more complicated at the same time. This is somewhat in line with the show’s paradoxical philosophy of fatalism and determinism versus free will.
Episode 4 of the show answered many questions about the top-secret project going on inside Amaya’s development division. When Lyndon (Cailee Spaeny) makes a breakthrough ― he taps into the multiverse and projects a different version of Jesus Christ, he is fired from the organization by Forest (Nick Offerman), who is clearly struggling with moral and philosophical dilemmas. On the other hand, Lily (Sonoya Mizuno) is forced to go to a psych evaluation by the firm’s head of security Kenton (Zach Grenier).
Kenton, who now knows that Lily is not the paranoid-schizophrenic she claimed to be, likely drives her to where she would meet her end. Lily, sensing danger, has a physical altercation with him while he’s driving. They crash and Lily escapes.
She then calls the cops to tell them that her boyfriend Sergei was murdered by the folks at Amaya. But things go topsy-turvy and cops arrest her, instead, claiming she had caused “reckless endangerment”. As her ex-boyfriend Jamie (Jin Ha) follows her into the hallway, trying to stop the police from taking her, he’s pushed back inside his apartment by Kenton, who draws the shades, leaving viewers certain that Jamie too was now in danger.
Episode 5’s summary reveals, “Kenton pays Jamie a visit to guarantee his silence, while Katie covertly exploits the Devs system for her own ends.” This, for one, guarantees that Jamie is not going to get killed off so soon. But there really is no telling with Garland.
However, the preview for the episode reveals more.
We see Forest asking Katie (Alison Pill), “Do you think any of them understand what we’re really doing in here?” to which, Katie responds, “I’m not sure you even understand what we’re doing here… You had choices.”
That is the essence of the show. The idea of choices. The show is based on the principle of causal determinism, and to a degree fatalism, which dictates that everything that happens is necessitated by antecedent events and conditions. Every person and every action taken by that person goes on a fixed path. There are no choices. But Katie claiming Forest had choices, implies “free will” in the face of that very idea ― the idea that is the basis for the quantum computing technology they have developed in the eponymous Devs division that predicts human behavior.
The promo also sees Jamie being tortured, likely by Kenton. He’s being drowned, possibly for the sake of figuring out what exactly does Lily know about Devs and the murder of Sergei. At the same time, we see Kenton telling Forest that the terms of their deal were null and void: “I’m not going to prison.” One can only assume that it is about the murder of Sergei and the possible other dirty deeds carried out by him on the behest of Amaya’s clearly unhinged owner.
There is no mention of how Katie covertly exploits the Devs system for her own ends, but there is an odd scene where Forest is standing in the middle of a road, narrowly missing getting hit by two oncoming cars.
If the fourth episode was revealing, the promo for the fifth only makes things murkier.
‘Devs’ drops on FX on Hulu, every Thursday at 12 am.