Tech Enigma

Lily of the Valley – Devs

Created, written and directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation), the FX on Hulu series Devs is a complicated sci-fi thriller with a fascinating premise. Lily Chan, a computer engineer at Amaya, is suspicious that her boss Forest and his mysterious Devs team have something to do with the disappearance of her boyfriend Sergei.


Amaya is a WYSIWYG Web authoring tool that supports HTML and XML (with support for MathML, CSS 2 features and more). It is open source and available for Windows, Unix platforms and MacOS X.

The company at the center of Devs is a futuristic tech behemoth that looks very much like the sort of modernist corporate campus you might find in Silicon Valley. It is perhaps no accident that the show was created by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation), whose work has long explored heady sci-fi concepts while grounding them in real-world issues.


Forest, the leader of a company that specializes in quantum coding, has a specific goal in mind for his programmers: one Amaya. He warns Katie that tampering with the timeline will produce near-infinite variations, and that he wants only this universe’s Amaya.

Devs, the new FX series based on the smash hit survival game Sons of the Forest, dives into some thorny meditations about the nature of reality. The show is a blend of several engaging ingredients, including a science fiction polemic about technology’s hubris, and the kind of beautiful, immersive aesthetic experience seen in Alex Garland’s previous work.


Lilies are flowering plants that belong to the genus Lilium. There are between 80 and 100 species, including the regal lily (Lilium imperialis) and daylily (Hemerocallis). They are native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Lily is a common name for many types of flowers that closely resemble true lilies.

Lily investigates her coworker and boyfriend Sergei’s disappearance. She contacts him via a Russian app and he tells her to meet him at the Devs lab. When she arrives, Forest and Kenton show her footage appearing to show him committing suicide by setting himself on fire. They then suffocate him to death.


Alex Garland made a name for himself with the intoxicating sci-fi film Annihilation, and he has brought those same skills to Devs, an eight-episode series for FX on Hulu. The show centers on Amaya, a fictional tech company run by the enigmatic Forest (Nick Offerman). Amaya has a secret division called Devs, but nobody knows what they do—including employees like Lily Chan (Sonoya Mizuno).

After her boyfriend Sergei disappears, Lily suspects foul play and enlists her security expert ex-boyfriend Jamie to help investigate. They find fake surveillance footage that appears to show Sergei burning himself alive, but they discover more shocking information: Devs can predict the future.


Katie is a gifted quantum physicist tapped by Forest to be his second in command at Amaya. She is played by Alison Pill, a Tony and Lucille Lortel award-winning actress who has wowed on stage and big screen alike.

During one flashback, we see Katie and her college classmates watching a physics professor’s lecture on quantum particles. The snobbery turns to frustration as Katie calls out the dualist bulls—.

She’s the paragon of deterministic thinking, able to pull her boss back toward the big picture when his humanity clouds his vision. That view seems to be paying off in the end. Despite Lily’s cries of “free will,” it appears that the world of Devs is shifting for the better.


Last week’s Devs was a slower one but build up the episode for its climactic two. Lily (Sonoya Mizuno) entered the quantum computing building on the Amaya campus, and was greeted by Stewart who warned her that they had perfected their prediction system.

He then showed her a projection of the Earth from a billion years ago and then from one second in the future. It made the Devs team cry.

It turns out that Lyndon, who died falling off the cliff of the dam in his belief of the Many Worlds theory, is alive in this simulated reality. He and Stewart are in the same hallway that looks like a tunnel.

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