Alex Garland’s science fiction miniseries ‘Dev’ is at a critical juncture. The show follows the story of a young software engineer, Lily Chan (Sonoya Mizuno), investigating the secretive development division of her employer which she believes is behind the murder of her boyfriend Sergei (Karl Glusman). In the first three episodes, the series built the premise.
Amaya, run by Forest (Nick Offerman), an eccentric-looking man who believes in causal determinism, has created a technology that would paradoxically both change the world, and not change it at all.
Sergei, who was put in the titular Devs team, may perhaps have been a Russian spy committing industrial espionage. When caught, the company’s head of security Kenton (Zach Grenier) murders him on Forest’s orders and frames it as suicide.
Lily, who was initially in shock, comes to realize this death couldn’t have been suicide. With her ex-boyfriend Jamie (Jin Ha), she examines the footage where Sergei allegedly self-immolates. Jamie, however, notices a critical flaw in the video and they realize it was a doctored video.
As per IMDb, the synopsis for episode four reads: “After Lily’s behavior at Amaya, Kenton forces her to see a psychiatrist. Meanwhile, the Devs team disagree over the ethics of their invention, and Forest asserts his commitment to the project.”
Lily’s behavior refers to her pretending she was a paranoid schizophrenic, who had psychotic episodes in the past. She even stood at the ledge of Kenton’s office, pretending to be suicidal. That was, of course, a ruse to divert Kenton’s attention while her friend Jen (Linnea Berthelsen) steals a file from his system.
In the promo for Episode 4, we see Forest tell Katie (Alison Pill) that he was scared. When asked about what, he says, “Us”.
This might very well be about the nature of work being done at the Devs division: developing a method to predict human behavior through quantum computing. The technology — in the previous episode, it successfully (through the examination of behavioral patterns) visualizes American playwright Arthur Miller and model Marilyn Monroe (they were married for a while) having sex — has extraordinary ramifications. In one way, it can change everything about the world.
To be able to predict human behavior is to play God. Forest, despite his absolute belief in fatalism, has every right to fear the awesome powers of this technology.
At the same time, we see Lily saying, “They’re gonna kill me,” likely referring to Forest and Kenton. As the latter takes her (or rather forces her) to visit a psychiatrist, and even proceeds to drive her there, Lily screams, “Stop the car.” Perhaps, she is afraid that the trip to the shrink is just a ruse to get her isolated, and consequently murder her.
The promo ends with Lily telling Jamie, “I stopped seeing them as a tech company. I see them as the Mob.” For all that Lily knows right now, her view of Amaya and its leadership is not far off the mark.
Hopefully, Episode 4 will shed more light on the powers of the Amaya technology and also on what Lily plans to do next, now that she knows Sergei did not commit suicide and that the company’s narrative was decidedly a false one.
‘Devs’ drops on FX on Hulu, every Thursday at 12 am.
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