Devs finally ties its narratives together in a thrilling conversation-heavy episode.
This recap of Devs Season 1, Episode 6 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
“Guinnevere had green eyes
Like yours, my lady like yours
She’d walk down through the garden
In the morning after it rained”
What does freedom mean?
It’s an old question and one that’s on the mind of Lily, as Devs nears its endgame, and also one clearly on the mind of the show’s creator, Alex Garland.
So it makes sense that Garland would choose to open and close the episode with “Guinnevere” by Crosby Stills and Nash.
In the opening, the song plays as Forest reminisces about the time he spent with his daughter. He is happy. He seems free.
“Peacocks wandered aimlessly
Underneath an orange tree
Why can’t she see me?”
The song combines the group’s trademark complex guitar and vocal arrangements with opaque, poetic lyrics. In this case, the lyrics connect the idea of being free with looking.
But Lily exists within the reality of the big-tech world, where digital surveillance is the norm. She is always being watched. She cannot escape.
Of course, Devs expands upon this; not only are Silicon Valley CEOs tracking her move, but Amaya is able to deny her any future.
“Guinnevere drew pentagrams
Like yours, my lady like yours
Late at night when she thought
That no one was watching at all on the wall”
I complained last week that Devs’ narrative was becoming bifurcated. Thankfully, Garland seemed to agree, as Episode 6 pushes it’s main characters together for a more intimate set of scenes.
After escaping the hospital, Lily and Jamie make their way up to Forest’s house. Of course, he knew they were coming, but the surprise is that Forest wants to step outside and let Katie do the talking (the revelation that they’re sleeping together is handled with surprising tenderness).
First Katie defends her relationship with Forest, but Lily is not interested in that. She asks about Sergei. Katie tells her what happened, confirming what Lily already knew.
Things become interesting when they begin talking about Devs. “Does anything ever happen without a reason?” asks Katie. Lily names some examples; first of undeserved events, and then of random ones, like a lightning strike.
Demonstrating with a rolling pin, Katie explains; “This is Devs. This is the only principle you need to understand… everything was determined by something prior.” We can calculate the causes of events based on knowledge of the world. And with an immense amount of knowledge and a powerful computer…
“She shall be free”
The scene catches Lily up with the audience, as well as filling in any gaps for us — in case there was any ambiguity about what Devs was up to. It’s not entirely necessary; the show had done an excellent job of giving us piecemeal information, but it’s worth it to see Lily’s reaction. She is incredulous, unable to believe that that freedom doesn’t exist.
But then Katie goes further. When they set up Devs, it was only capable of seeing a few months into the future, “At a certain point it became pure static.” That point, Katie explains, has not moved. It is now twenty-one hours into the future.
“An unknown effect delivers a total breakdown of cause and effect,” she tells Lily, “and we think it involves you.” For some reason, Lily will go into Devs, and, I dunno, invent free will? She certainly seems very opposed to the idea that her life is predetermined.
“As she turns her gaze
Down the slope to the harbor where I lay
Anchored for a day”
Meanwhile, Jamie and Forest sit on the porch. Jamie confronts Forest about Sergei’s death. “It’s not that I want these things to happen,” Forest responds. “You just observe from the sidelines,” Jamie retorts, condemning his inaction.
Their conversation slowly becomes more intimate, as these two men realize what they have in common. Repeating the old platitude, “better to have loved and lost,” Forest tries to console Jamie. “I think it was better to have loved and have everything worked out fine,” snaps Jamie.
He makes clear that “everyone knows” what happened to Forest, and insists that his loss (his break-up with Lily) is not as bad. “It’s about coming to terms with that loss,” Forest reasons.
The boys end up tossing a frisbee (an activity we know Forest did with his daughter), where they are watched by Kenton. “So you’re all buddies now,” he snipes. It’s becoming more clear that the fate of our characters (and of free will?) will involve one over-qualified security guard.
“Guinnevere had golden hair
Like yours, my lady like yours
Streaming out when we’d ride
Through the warm wind down by the bay”
Once they leave, Katie shares with Forest her admiration for Lily. “She’s more afraid of not doing something than doing something… and there’s a lot of truth in her.” Unfortunately, that respect is not shared with the other party. When they return to Lily’s apartment, she tells Jamie, “they’re insane.”
And he’s not the only one who thinks so. Lyndon has broken into Stewart’s trailer, pleading with Stewart to convince Forest to rehire him. “He’s not a tech genius. He’s an entrepreneur. And he’s crazy. Do you really want something as powerful as Devs in the hands of someone crazy?”
It’s a compelling argument, but it gives us little inclination of what Lyndon would do with Devs, not to mention someone like Kenton.
“Yesterday, seagulls circle endlessly
I sing in silent harmony”
But that question is for the next two episodes. This one ends with a surprisingly tender sequence. Lily invites Jamie to stay in her bed, realizing that she never completely knew Sergei. Meanwhile, Forest and Katie have an adorable exchange of “I am in like with you.”
As Crosby, Stills, & Nash return, the shots of each couple embracing give way to that giant child in the woods.
“We shall be free”
But for Lily, freedom has never been less certain.
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