Devs: Episode 1
March 7, 2020 11:04 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

When her boyfriend Sergei vanishes after starting a new job at the secretive Devs division of tech company Amaya, software engineer Lily begins to suspect that his disappearance may not be as clear-cut as it seems.
posted by octothorpe (11 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
First episode got me hooked! gonna watch ep 2 later today
posted by some loser at 12:24 PM on March 7, 2020

I actually didn't like episode one that much but I trust Alex Garland enough to press on. I liked Mizuno and Glusman as leads and then they immediately killed off Glusman's character without much apparent motivation. It does look great though and the music is amazing.
posted by octothorpe at 12:43 PM on March 7, 2020

Devs is streaming in the US via "FX on Hulu", which appears to just be a non-separate vertical on Hulu, rather than something for which you need a Hulu subscription and a cable subscription with FX.
posted by Etrigan at 3:01 PM on March 7, 2020

We have a Hulu subscription and it was just there; haven't had cable in years so I don't know about that.
posted by octothorpe at 4:02 PM on March 7, 2020

My theory so far is that there's more than one quantum reality being shown to us, and the two different sides of Nick Offerman's character are for all intents and purposes two separate people with differing motivations. Sergei went into the Devs box from one universe, and exited into another universe, and so did the other Sergei in the other dimension. One was a spy and got killed, and the other one was driven to suicide by what he saw in the code.

(I agree, "FX on Hulu" is kind of confusing given that Hulu has had a selection of FX programming for a good while now, but apparently it's to draw attention to the fact that A) Hulu now has day-after streaming for all FX shows so there's no longer a wait between when a show airs on FX and when the episode/season drops on Hulu, and B) some of Hulu's original programming)
posted by Strange Interlude at 4:57 PM on March 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm very grateful to octothorpe (and Fanfare in general) for posting this, as it's entirely possible that I would have never noticed the series otherwise: I haven't seen or heard any previous mention or promotion of the minseries, and I'm a huge fan of Alex Garland's work.

I'm really enjoying seeing Nick Offerman and Alison Pill together. I didn't recognize Sonoya Mizuno from Ex Machina, but she's very promising here. A few other things I noticed:
  • The numbers Lily one-ups her co-workers with is a progression of the Fibonacci sequence
  • Calling cortex: the Faraday cage housing the Devs unit appears to be a Menger sponge
I watched this episode immediately after finally getting around to seeing Midsommar, and I can't help but see parallels in the works: both the Hårga and Amaya are cult-like organisations attempting to control nature. The choral music is similar. Garland and Ari Aster have similar styles: beautifully framed and designed shots with a preference for the camera to dwell, a love of reflection and played-out emotion.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 12:18 AM on March 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

Quite liked this. Offerman as California brogrammer is great. Weird to see Allison Pill in a role with some obvious structural similarities to her role on Picard. Stop her before she kills again!

In 1999 my company in Seattle was acquired a by a venture backed startup located in Scotts Valley, CA, which is sort of inland from Half Moon Bay. Scotts Valley is south of San Jose and just north of Santa Cruz, kind of up in the ridge of mountains between these towns. The acquiring operation was housed in The Borland Building, formerly the headquarters of Phillippe Khan’s Borland software company, which had been an important player in Silicon Valley but which went bankrupt shortly after building and moving into this facility. There were various mementos of Kahn’s cult-of-personality leadership style still in place such as lifesize cardboard standee figures of Mr. Kahn. I heard at the time that the primary architect for the place was Frank Gehry.

The acquiring company was led by a California native guy who had come into software development and leadership from a background that was initially booking bands and running entertainment logistics. He was charming, appeared to be laidback, and was utterly irrational and ruthless.

They gave me a technical oversight role and had me fly down three days a week. I would arrive at dawn, be driven to the building, work until sundown, and be driven back to the airport and fly home, arriving around midnight. It was literally insane.

So, while Devs is not shot at the campus I worked at, and we did not have an electrostatically vacuum-distanced black ups division that I knew of, and I doubt my former boss ever had an employee killed, and there was no giant creepy statue of a young girl looming over the place, this felt rather like a place and time I have experienced. Well done.
posted by mwhybark at 9:39 AM on April 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

black ops, of course
posted by mwhybark at 9:46 AM on April 13, 2020

Well, that was not the Silicon Valley knock-off I was expecting.

I had no reason to expect that, but obviously I was predetermined to.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 1:18 AM on June 16, 2020

octothorpe: then they immediately killed off Glusman's character without much apparent motivation

I've just started watching this, and finished two episodes already, and it's really bugging me that there seems to be no reason why Forest had Kenton kill Sergei, and didn't simply confiscate his watch and have him arrested. The murder seems like such a weird escalation, and no one in the show so far seems to treat it that way. Is the motivation for the murder ever explained in the show?
posted by Kattullus at 12:14 PM on September 2

To come back from the future to answer my own question…

No, they don’t ever present a good motivation for the murder. For a show that’s so obsessed with cause and effect, it’s a fairly big flaw that they never settled on the primary cause that set all the other effects in motion. Anyway, if this bugs you as much as it bugged me, I’ll say that the show, flawed though it might be, is worth sticking with.
posted by Kattullus at 1:46 PM on September 8

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