It's hard to watch this series and not feel like Garland had a couple lynchpin scenes and concepts in mind — the general monologue about determinism, for instance [1], or Lyndon's deliberate suicide, or Nick Offerman [2]'s supervillain origin story — built a plot around it, and then incorrectly chose (as so many talented auteurs did from 2016—2020) to make it a miniseries instead of a film.

There are a lot of beautiful moments in Devs: it is shot and set in a way that reminds me of Legion, a sort of scientific retro-futurism that gives you the impression less of a point in time and more a slightly alternate reality, and there are quiet moments that make the entire enterprise worth watching (Jamie cutting a lemon for Lily's water; Stewart's terrific and haunting recital of Aubade; every shot of the exterior of Devs), but the entire thing feels so padded and filled with unnecessary moments of repetition and melodrama.

Folks who like Garland qua Garland will find this worth the investment; it could have and should have been two episodes shorter. (The reveal with the title was funny, though, and I'll give him creit for that!)

  1. Which, don't worry if you don't quite grok it the first time — because there will be seven other identical monologues delivered in the same neutral deadpan spaced out evenly, one per episode ↩︎

  2. Who I thought did a terrific job, and was the only performance outside of Stephen McKinley Henderson that felt noteworthy ↩︎


Lightning bolt
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