Devs (2020) s01e07

Lots of “surprises” this episode as far as how the show’s going to go into its final episode. Like three deaths surprises, as writer, director, and creator Alex Garland starts paring down the cast to something more manageable.

The funniest thing about the death scenes is how anticlimactic they all are. Everyone on “Devs” acting like a sociopath at the very least makes them not particularly sympathetic in their deaths, especially since the most “tragic” is also the silliest. Garland writes some really bad scenes to try to make things work this episode. Really bad scenes.

Including the “normal” scenes. We get to see Jin Ha and Sonoya Mizuno pretend they’re not hiding out in her apartment trying to stave off a determinist apocalypse but just having a normal day as a couple. Albeit one where Ha is sleeping in Mizuno’s recently deceased boyfriend’s bed, which in turn was once also his bed before Mizuno kicked him out. Layers.

Not.

It’s an incredibly uncomfortable scene because Mizuno’s flat affect doesn’t fit with her playing along.

What else.

Oh, the episode opens with cave people. The Devs team is now able to use the predictive algorithm to peep insights into cave people. It leads to Garland getting to do a big ol’ 2001 “homage.”

But it’s also the last day on Earth as far as Nick Offerman and Alison Pill understand it with “The Machine,” so there’s all this setup with Cailee Spaeny trying to get his job back from Pill and Stephen McKinley Henderson going nuts and standing in the hallway spouting Shakespeare. It’s unclear if Henderson’s actually lost it or if it’s part of his plan with Spaeny; Henderson’s got a great voice. Listening to him read Shakespeare or Yeats would be better than the show.

Anyway.

Then there’s Zach Grenier, who finally gets to find out what’s up with Jefferson Hall. Hall’s the guy experiencing homelessness and living on the street near Mizuno’s apartment and razzing Grenier whenever he creeps by. It’s predictable. Because Garland’s predictable.

Wait. I can’t forget.

Ha’s got this line about the people running tech companies thinking they’re messiahs and it’s the blandest, most overt thing in the show, which is really hard because Garland emphasizes obvious over all else. It’s so bad. Breaks the verisimilitude immediately.

It also gives Garland a chance to establish how Mizuno, despite working in tech and dating tech guys, thinks tech culture is insipid. I mean, sure, but wouldn’t we have seen this take expressed in the last six episodes not at just the right moment for Garland to score a point?

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