Sci Fi Fidelity Podcast: Devs

Our genre television podcast parses the deterministic universe of Hulu’s tech thriller Devs, which makes predictive algorithms cool.

Sonoya Mizuno as Lily in Devs
Photo: Kurt Iswarienko / FX

It’s not surprising that Alex Garland, who is known for films like Ex Machina and Annihilation, is the creator behind Devs, a series on Hulu that features his trademark obsessed tech guru that has let his own invention become way too powerful. In this case, the world is one in which predictive algorithms have become so sophisticated in their ability to anticipate future actions that free will is disproven and fate is set. This is perfect fodder for our Sci Fi Fidelity podcast, which loves to explore the nature of time and the ability to change the future or glimpse the past.

As usual with the podcast, we take a look at the first two episodes of Devs to discuss the premise and characters that make up the cast of the show. We note that the premiere really sets up the overall mystery through the eyes of Sergei, a new recruit to the Research and Development division (known as Devs) of the tech corporation called Amaya, but through that company name we’re also introduced to the obsession its CEO, Forest: his daughter, who died young and is creepily honored with a giant statue on the corporate campus.

When we get a glimpse at what’s going on inside Devs, it brings up a lot of questions. Is the worm experiment that Sergei was working on merely a more simplistic version of what the quantum computer is doing inside the secret complex? Was the espionage that unfolded on that very first day something that was anticipated, or was it a colossal personnel mistake? And was the coverup that ensued overly complicated while simulataneously encompassing amateur mistakes? Something bigger is clearly going on!

But really Devs is about Lily, Sergei’s girlfriend who is understandably suspicious about the disappearance of the man she loves. We talk about what little we are able to glimpse of what Sergei was really up to based on what Lily learns, and we take a close look at the nature of Lily’s decision to involve her hacker ex-boyfriend Jamie in her investigation. While Forest and his head of security, Kenton, seem to want to put Sergei’s transgressions behind them, it almost seems as though Lily is being manipulated somehow — but why?

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The spoiler zone of the podcast goes deeper into other episodes of Devs that have aired so far, specifically exploring the bombshell advancements inside Devs, but we also share our admiration for Lily’s daring plan to gather evidence that Sergei’s death was not a suicide. We admit that we were fooled by her subterfuge just as much as those at Amaya, and although glimpses of the future put her life in danger, we’re hoping that the introduction of the multiverse theory will allow her to change her fate.

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