From the onset, Hulu’s Devs is a watch that piques your interest like any good psychological thriller. While it has many strong points, it has a few weak points as well; the show itself is incredibly visually appealing, features a fairly diverse cast, and takes full advantage of a powerful background score. However, the dialogue is often too flowery to ring true and some of the characters fall flat due to insufficient character development. The show also features a few graphic scenes that may not be appropriate for some viewers.
Nick Offerman’s Forest is a “tech genius” who crunches raw kale – or some kind of raw, leafy green – in his introductory scene, munching away nonchalantly in a meeting. It’s difficult to figure out if the viewer is supposed to have sympathy for him or hate him. His right-hand woman, Katie, (Alison Pill) is also a very gray character. Both are frustratingly cryptic – Katie somehow even more so than Forest. Kenton (Zach Grenier), the head of security, misses shades of gray entirely and is all dark, clearly more interested in protecting his own skin – which inevitably involves bloodshed – over anything else.
The premise of the show involves Lily Chan (Sonoya Mizuno) digging deeper after her boyfriend, Sergei (Karl Glusman), doesn’t come home after his first day at the top-secret “devs” division at Amaya. However, there is little insight into their relationship and, frankly, very little chemistry between Mizuno and Glusman, so it is difficult to really feel Lily’s sense of loss. Lily’s chemistry with ex Jamie (Jin Ha), however, crackles with vibrancy; apparently, the writers felt the same, as the second half of the series seems intent on demonstrating to viewers that Sergei and Lily were a mismatch.
Most notably, there is also a Russian spy subplot that doesn’t quite seem to mesh in with the rest of the story, aside from furthering the idea of our surroundings being a carefully crafted illusion.
The ending of the miniseries cannot accurately be described as hopeful per se, but it may have been the most satisfying ending the story could offer. The miniseries’ themes carried implications of free will and determinism, which are dynamically portrayed. The consequences of Lily’s ability to make her own choices speak to the importance of following your own path.
Overall, Devs is worth a watch for its thought-provoking message and stunning visuals.