In the weeks since it first premiered on FX on Hulu, Devs has taken views on a genre-bending and incredibly emotional thrill ride. The series, which is created, written, and directed by Ex Machina and Annihilation's Alex Garland, follows a possible conspiracy at a mysterious technology company, and the various lives that get sucked into that. Over the episodes that have been released thus far, viewers have been able to pull back the proverbial onion of what "Devs" is -- and why the division's team, including Forest (Nick Offerman), are directly involved with it. Spoilers for Episode 5 of Devs below! Only look if you want to know!
Midway through the miniseries' fifth episode, some questions surrounding the series' world quickly begin to be answered in one particularly heartbreaking sequence. Katie (Alison Pill) is shown watching the Devs system, which has some sort of ability to be able to look into the past. Forest can be seen spending time with his young daughter, Amaya, who ends up being the namesake and literal poster child (thanks to a stories-tall statue) of his technology company. Then, Forest is shown making a phone call to his wife, only to realize that she and Amaya are less than a minute away from home. In between a nonchalant conversation about what to make for dinner, Forest watches as his wife's car is caught in a brutal car wreck, and begins to walk towards the wreckage in a panic. Suddenly, we begin to see alternate versions of the situation -- one where the car arrived at home safely, and countless others where the car is still crashed into. Forest then makes his way to the wreckage, but is unable to save his family.
The scene is undoubtedly an emotional gut-punch, while also being the kind of reality-bending sequence that Garland is known for. When we spoke to him at last month's Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, he shed a bit more light on how significant and collaborative crafting the moment was.
"The key to that scene was that it's the thing on which the whole story [of Devs] is based, in a way, because it's the motivation for everything that happens," Garland explained. "Without that event, none of this narrative would have played out. It was at the core of Nick's characterization, and the core of the story. So we put a lot of time and effort into trying to get it right. Part of that is often just talking, just sitting and talking with the actors - in this case, Nick. And then that conversation spreading out to all the people that are working on it. So that Rob Hardy, the director of photography, understands what Nick is shooting for and I'm shooting for and can reflect that in his work, and so on."
And while audiences might initially associate Offerman with his more comedic work on shows like Parks and Recreation, Garland quickly felt that he was the right fit to bring Forest to life.
"I wrote [the character of Forest], and then was introduced to him for the purposes of casting," Garland revealed. "Sometimes, you just get a kind of vibe. One of the things was, while I was talking to him, apart from the fact I liked him a lot -- he's a really, really nice bloke, or nice guy, as you'd say here -- was there were these scenes I had in my head. By that time, Sonoya [Mizuno] was cast, and I could see Nick opposite Sonoya. And it seemed so interesting and so right that fairly soon after we started talking, I knew I wanted him to do it. He just had the qualities that were right for the character."
New episodes of Devs debut Thursdays only on FX on Hulu.