Devs: Everything You Missed In The Premiere Of Hulu's New Streaming TV Show
Alex Garland's new tech-thriller mini-series questions the fabric of the universe, the existence of free will, and the n
Alex Garland's Devs is finally here, and following its two-part series premiere on Hulu, we're guessing that you've got some questions swirling around your head. Don't worry, we did too. We'll just cut right to the chase here and admit that we don't know anything about quantum computing, so this show is a learning experience all around--but, hopefully, it's one that will continue to both delight and terrify us for six more episodes.
If you're a fan of Annihilation or Ex Machina, chances are you're pretty familiar with Garland's dense visual style. Symbolism? Check. Ominous foreshadowing? Check. Layers upon layers of double, sometimes even triples? Check, check, and check. And Devs is bringing all of that to the forefront in a major way. Following Lily, an encryption programer at a massive Silicon Valley tech company named Amaya, as she struggles to unravel the truth of her boyfriend Sergei's mysterious disappearance, Devs is one part tech-thriller, one part existential nightmare set in the fantastic (but not too fantastic) present day. It makes use of tech that doesn't exit, but definitely could, and examines exactly what our responsibility is should that fantasy become reality.
We've broken down every little detail, subtle nod, or potential mystery trailhead you'll want to follow or note for the reason of the season. Did you catch anything we missed? Let us know in the comments below.
Did you notice that the first thing Sergei does during his introductory shot is to first unplug then check his phone, before even saying good morning to Lily? This probably didn't seem all that strange at first, but given the major reveal about Sergei's other job as a Russian spy, it's safe to assume he was checking on instructions or communication from his handlers.
Pete the homeless guy
Pete, the homeless man who lives on Sergei and Lily's stoop, got a really surprising amount of screen time in episodes 1 and 2. We're guessing that there's going to be something more going on with him. He's probably someone you'll want to pay attention to
It doesn't take much to put two and two together about the origin of Amaya's name. Our first shot of the company campus features her giant statue looming over the forest. It's later, in the second episode, that Forest confirms Amaya was the name of his late daughter.
Forest explains that competitors are pissed that Amaya's "qubits" work and theirs don't--this isn't sci-fi technobabble invented for the show. A qubit is a real unit of information used in quantum computing.
Another real thing that wasn't invented for the show--Sergei's team's AI system can predict and sync up with the movements of a nematode, a real-life microscopic organism.
Lily's teammate challenges her to list off numbers--the whole thing starts seemingly out of nowhere, but it feels like something they've definitely done before. They're going through a Fibonacci sequence, where each number is the sum of the previous two numbers--so 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 and so on.
One of Sergei's guesses as to the Devs mission is cold fusion, which Forest dismisses as "alchemy." In other words, he considers it impossible.
One of the Devs unit's layers of protection is a Faraday shield, also known as a Faraday cage, which shields the insides from electromagnetic waves--or, it seems, in this case, keeps those waves in.
"The Machine"/The Central Unit
If you're unfamiliar with real-world quantum computing, you might assume (like we did) that the machine in the Devs unit is some sort of steampunk-flavored art piece designed for the show. It's not. That's actually what real life quantum computers look like.
Sergei may be genuinely clutching his face in awe at the sight of the quantum computer, but it also conveniently places his "James Bond wrist watch" in position to snap a picture.
At the time, it seemed like Sergei's freak-out was related to his nerves about stealing Amaya's code--it's a scary thing to do, obviously, for more than one reason. But knowing what we know now, it seems equally likely that Sergei could have realized what the Devs code was doing and, in that moment, understood that Forest already knew he had come to Amaya as a spy. After all, if the code calculates cause and effect, it could have traced the causes that led Sergei to where he was.
Did you catch how the light halos around the trees give Forest a halo of his own? It's pretty hard to miss.
Forrest and Kenton's bit
Kenton and Forest's conversation with poor, panicking Lily seems too well-oiled to be unpracticed. It's either something they rehearsed beforehand, or it's a bit they've done before because Sergei is not the first person they've made disappear. Either way, the implications are pretty ominous.
Colossus by DF Jones
Lily's reading a classic sci-fi novel about super computers taking over the Earth.
"That was clumsy."
Before we learn about Amaya's tragic fate, we get a tease from Katie, who relates a child falling ill to something that will make even the most rational people start praying. She immediately realizes her mistake and says "that was clumsy." Forest, for his part, seems unbothered.
Knowing what we know about Sergei, we can assume his name is an alias given to him by his handlers as cover. They just so happened to pick a last name that he'd share with Pavlov, the psychologist most famous for studying conditioned reflexes--in other words, manipulating cause and effect.
Forest's entire life is frozen in time, apparently at the moment his daughter died. You can approximate this by noticing the car he's still driving--an early '00s Subaru Outback.
Dark Souls 3
Jamie's definitely a gamer. We meet him in his apartment playing Dark Souls 3.
Bach and Coltrane
Stewart namechecks classic composer Bach and jazz legend Coltrane to try and one up Lyndon. OK, boomer.
2000 year backward projection
The Devs unit makes an unprecedented 2000 year backward projection, showing us none other than Jesus Chris on the day of his crucifixion. The implications here--along with the added layer of Judeo-Christian symbolism--are pretty wild.
Jamie, being a True Gamer, uses an Alienware branded laptop in his efforts to crack Sergei's Sudoku messaging app.
Lily meets with Anton at Battery Godfrey, a real historical site at the Golden Gate Bridge.