Devs (2020) s01e06

This episode introduces “dumb Jamie,” which is writer, director, and show creator Alex Garland’s way of making Sonoya Mizuno clearly smarter than Jin Ha. It just requires Ha be really dense all of a sudden. Even though he just got done doing the superhero move of breaking Mizuno out of a mental hospital.

Doesn’t matter really, because Ha’s got zilch to do this episode (except make Mizuno seem smart when she needs to seem smart). It’s a bummer; Ha’s easily the best performance in the show, but it’s also not because… Ha’s not missing anything.

Most of the episode involves Mizuno sitting at a table with Alison Pill and Garland passing Bechdel with an exposition device. Mizuno wants to know what Devs is all about, so Pill does this Socratic Method thing of asking her questions—and Garland trying to do a David Mamet, which turns out to be showstopper bad—and it drags out the information dump (as it were, basically Garland’s trying to get Mizuno invested in the main “hard sci-fi” plot and failing) while also gives the girls something to talk about besides boys.

Because until that point, they’re just talking about the boys they like and the boys they don’t like.

Garland’s writing style for it all is very much “Jeff Goldblum monologues from Jurassic Park written by Roman DeBeers.” It’s dreadfully basic.

Though we do find out this episode Pill and Offerman could totally have done these characters in a better show just because they’re similarly anti-social but in distinct ways where you could get some mileage out of it. Like a sitcom. Like a dark sitcom.

“Devs” would be a lot better as a dark sitcom.

There’s also a new B plot involving Cailee Spaeny and Stephen McKinley Henderson, which ought to be good because Henderson and Spaeny are fun together except it’s not fun. It’s histrionic and exasperating.

Garland also has a couple big reveals, which he could’ve introduced sooner but then he wouldn’t have his episode six of eight surprises, including how we’re only days away from reality breaking down as we know it. Or something. It actually seems really obvious and makes the smart characters seem insipid for not guessing it.

But… yay… only two more episodes.

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