WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Devs, now streaming on FX on Hulu.
In its first seven episodes, Devs kept harping on free will being an illusion. And as much as she tried to disprove this, Lily (Sonoya Mizuno) fell in line as she made her way to Amaya’s lab following the death of her lover, Jamie (Jin Ha). She wanted to exact revenge on Forest (Nick Offerman) and Katie (Alison Pill) for taking everything from her, but as the finale plays out, the former — Amaya’s boss — reveals he couldn’t have taken anything because Lily never had it in the first place.
She didn’t even have a sense of choice, which is why he too believes he’s a cog in life, torn inside by an existential crisis where no one has any agency. His team’s quantum coding has proven as much, which is why he had Lily’s ex Sergei (Karl Glusman) killed, and inadvertently put his security chief Kenton (Zach Grenier) down a road to murder Jamie. But as philosophical as he seems to be, an agent of fate in his own eyes, Forest is indeed a villain — which makes it shocking that Devs gives him a happy ending.
When Lily confronts him with the gun Kenton killed Jamie with, she has one last heart-to-heart with her former boss. Forest shows her his daughter, Amaya, and reveals he just wanted to be reunited with her, even if it meant playing god. Lily sees her future self killing Forest in the lift in the golden cube in the lab, breaking the vacuum seal, which drops the elevator to the ground. From there, she dies and somehow the Devs algorithm can’t predict the future past their demise. It’s their destinies, and Lily seems to accept this and the sad fact she has no identity anymore.
But when she takes him to the lift, after Katie — who’s also seen the future — closes the door, Lily tosses the gun away. Katie and Forest panic because the system couldn’t predict Lily having free will and making this choice based on her morals and ethics. She’s broken reality, no longer motivated by revenge, and this is why Devs couldn’t see past the moment. However, the lift falls thanks to the intervention of Stewart and they still die. In other words, determinism sealed their fates one way or the other, which makes it even more shocking when Forest, in the “visualization chamber,” appears to Katie. He instructs her to send his mind to a mysterious destination, using Lyndon’s multiverse theory code.
And this is where the villain gets his paradise in the form of a digital construct where he reunites with his wife and daughter. They didn’t die in a crash in this simulation, and surprisingly, Lily meets Forest at the field near the lab. He arranged for them both to be sent to this afterlife, indistinguishable from reality. All this time viewers thought he was going to recreate or 3-D print Amaya but it was about finding the perfect world to transport his conscious. All along, however, Devs’ predictions were storing people’s true essences so even if they died, they’d live on inside the machine. Forest simply asked that he and Lily’s memories be kept intact to live the lives they want.
But whatever the case, it’s still weird to see a happy ending for such a murderous megalomaniac. Sure, he seems fatherly here, but he told Lily he was a Messiah and that people like him always get resurrected, reminding the audience of his narcissism. That’s why she called him a flash prophet and shot him in the prediction because clearly, he didn’t care who he hurt or how he used people. Which is why it’s hard to feel sympathy for him. Seeing Katie give up her love also is odd because she clearly sees she was a placeholder in his life all along.
Forest says there are many simulations they could have been sent to, but this one is close to perfect, which leaves his haters hoping maybe he experiences some sort of pain there. It’s tough to wish he got sent to a reality that would hurt him, though, because it could hurt Lily as well. So for now, the audience has to stomach his reward in a world where his dreams come true.
Devs, entirely written, directed and edited by Alex Garland, is streaming on FX on Hulu. It stars Nick Offerman, Alison Pill, Sonoya Mizuno, Jin Ha, Zach Grenier, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Karl Glusman and Cailee Spaeny. New episodes will be released every Thursday.
Alex Garland's Devs makes a shocking decision in the finale by providing the series' megalomaniac, Forest, a happy ending.