Annihilation and Ex Machina director Alex Garland discusses the ending of FX's Devs and what ideas he wanted to explore with its story.
After eight episodes, Devs, the limited series from Ex Machina and Annihilation director Alex Garland, has come to a close. The "FX on Hulu" show began as a murder mystery set in the world of massive tech companies, before becoming much more. In our review of Devs, we described the series as "luxurious comfort food" and an "art piece that will be worth revisiting and analyzing time and time again."
Now that viewers have reached the end of the road, though, there's plenty to analyze based on how the story played out. Warning: The following contains spoilers for the Devs finale, "Episode 8." If you haven't watched the final installment of the limited series, stop reading now.
Ultimately, Devs is an exploration of predetermination versus free will. The Deus quantum computer created by the team within Amaya shows them what will happen in the future. Lily's (Sonoya Mizuno) future shows her shooting and killing mastermind Forest (Nick Offerman), which ultimately leads to her own death. In an act of what could be seen as free will, though, she makes the choice not to kill him, going against what has been predicted. Ultimately, they still both end up dead when Stewart (Stephen McKinley Henderson) activates an emergency protocol that kills them both.
Did Lily actually make a choice? Or was it predetermined all along that she would be the one to step out of place? Mizuno has her view of her character's actions in the finale. However, for Garland, the paradox created by Lily's choice is part of a discussion he wanted to have about Christianity. In this instance, Lily is an analog for Eve, while the Deus computer system is God.
"This is a paradox within Christianity. Devs is deliberately echoing this, deliberately recreating a scenario where Eve takes the apple from the tree and then is punished by God for her act of free will," Garland told GameSpot during the recent Television Critics Association press tour. "She was instructed not to do it; she exercised her free will and she did do it. As a consequence, God punished Adam and Eve by sending them out of paradise. Now, if God is omniscient, is all-knowing and all-powerful, then God knew before Eve took the apple from the tree that that is what she'd do. In fact, if God is all-knowing, he knew before he even created Eve that that is what she would do."
Garland continued, "He's punishing her for something that was predetermined. And that's not her fault. In a way that's his fault, having done it. Or, God didn't know she was going to eat the apple. [Then] it was an act of free will, in which case God is no longer all-knowing and all-powerful, because he didn't know that that's what she was going to do."
With that in mind, what comes next, following the deaths of Lily and Forest, can be viewed as their own personal afterlife. Both are digitally resurrected within a simulation in the Deus machine. Does knowing they now exist in a simulation make their ongoing lives any less real, though?
According to Garland, that is up for debate. "If you are living and experiencing the thing, that's what real is. So it's not unreal. It's just that they have an extra bit of information," he explained.
If you choose to view the world where Sonoya and Forest now exist as real, you have to give the same consideration to the other versions of the simulation that Forest alludes to. "What Forest is saying is we have a certain awareness that this is the case and [there are] these other worlds," he said. "And in a way, if you were to believe in that particular multiverse way of looking at the world, that is also the state you and I are in right now."
In the end, Devs is a series many viewers are going to want to watch multiple times as they find more and more to analyze about the ideas Garland explored onscreen. Thankfully, you can do just that. All eight episodes of Devs are available to stream on Hulu.
Disclosure: ViacomCBS is GameSpot's parent company