blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Devs (2020) s01e05

So last episode ended on two pretty significant cliffhangers for intrepid hero Sonoya Mizuno and her loyal sidekick Jin Ha. This episode opens with a “stylish” composite shot where involuntarily psychiatrically held Mizuno remembers life in her apartment with ex Ha as well as recently deceased boyfriend Karl Glusman simultaneously.

Different versions of Mizuno walk around the apartment—remember when “Many Worlds” was introduced to “Devs” last episode (something Nick Offerman yells, though he means Devs, the department, not “Devs,” the show, well, buckle up. Alex Garland doesn’t do anything with that big composite shot, sort of just faking a modern equivalent to a complicated tracking shot.

Then the episode checks in on Ha, who’s in the middle of Zach Grenier beating the ever-loving shit out of him (I’m glad they either didn’t film or didn’t include an explanation for the blood covered toilet bowl). It’s easily the best scene in the episode, with a terrifying Grenier. Also some low-key racism infused energy, which… doesn’t work with making Offerman, Grenier, or Pill sympathetic. But whatever. Ha’s great too.

It’s not even a particularly good scene, it’s just a sign maybe Garland can do the industrial espionage thriller thing, but the rest of the episode is so tedious it’s an easy win.

Because the rest of the episode—including some intentional ableism (I’m curious what edgelord stuff Garland leaves out)—is just Pill going over most of the cast’s personal lives and intruding. It’s informative—like not ten-year old Summer Hsin Yo Forbes playing ten-year old Mizuno, finding out Offerman’s not just responsible for his kid’s death but because of his own technology and evangelism for it, and Pill being Offerman’s partner more than employee. She’s the only one who understands “The Machine” and why Offerman wants so much for it to prove a determinist universe.

It’s unclear if he knows how she’s been using it, which includes her figuring out what’s going on in other character’s subplot. Including Grenier threatening Offerman given how many felonies he’s committed.

Oh, and we also find out what the stylish opening to the previous episode means. It doesn’t mean much. It was a call ahead to something in this episode.

“Devs” seems like it should be grouped… the first three episodes, the previous one and this one. The narrative might work better.

But with three episodes to go, it’s unlikely Garland’s taking “Devs” anywhere good. It’s also funny how he’s only got his four Kubrick rips and he just uses them over and over again.


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