What I have learned from watching Ex Machina and Annihilation is that Alex Garland’s aesthetic is creepy tech weirdos murdering underlings in coniferous settings. The guy IS high concept. His new brainchild, Devs, sets the tone right from the jump. Haphazard images, mysterious sparse music and a “there’s something not quite right here vibe.”
With Devs an FX on Hulu original, Garland is directing Mizuno again. I’m excited to see Sonoya Mizuna get to do some actual speaking after playing the alien in Annihilation and Kyoko in Ex Machina (though we did get to hear her a little bit in Manic on Netflix). In the first episode, Sergei (Karl Glusman), an AI coder who works at a pesudo Google-esque company called Amaya, delivers a presentation to Amaya CEO Forest (Nick Offerman) and his deputy Katie (Alison Pill), who are so impressed by that they offer him a promotion to Devs, a top-secret division of the company in a building few have even seen. Sergei lasts only one day on the job and then is found dead in what is characterized as a suicide. Lily Chan (Sonoya Mizuno), a software engineer at Amaya and Sergei’s girlfriend, suspects foul play and starts investigating to figure out what really happened to him.
(Spoilers & Speculation ahead)
I am pretty sure the key is about the meaning and consequence of a fully deterministic world.
-No Free Will at all. I interpreted the fuzz about not caring / no change as “We already seen our own deterministic future.
-The shocking reveal of the show will be about the source of the determination : just physic, Simulation within simulation (13th floor) or another unperceived dimension of reality.
Example: What if you can see before big bang? You remember the question “Are you religious ?” The reveal would change everything about our own existence.
My other theory about the code is they’ve predicted the end of the world. That’s what fits with all of the cryptic things that they say (not caring about the environment, smoking won’t kill you, etc). They built a big quantum computer that can predict backwards and forward in time with visual accuracy, but the code that they showed Sergei on the computer was that their predictions end irrevocably at some point in the near future.
The giant statue of Amaya seems like a fairly direct grab from the works of Simon Stälenhag. Any person that goes to work in the shadow of that thing is basically asking to be gasoline suicided. Also, It makes me wonder if they will go the way of Asimov’s short story, The Dead Past.
I think I have the energy to keep up with a show that introduces mysteries on top of mysteries and there are just enough intriguing things going on to keep me interested for now- the Russian spy aspect in particular. If it plays its cards right, this could be as good as something like Mr. Robot, because it feels that way tonally, but that show did have a lot more commentary going on (society, mental health, etc). I would like to see if Devs has anything to actually say about our world, especially if they’ve built a program that is about to change it.
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