'Devs' Episode 4 Review: Sonoya Mizuno's Lily Chan comes across as dull despite the chilling events around her
If there's one thing that we can surely say about 'Devs', it is the fact that this dark, sci-fi thriller is anything but a straight narrative. However, we are not talking about the plot here, but the characters, who are not necessarily unpredictable but heavily layered for sure.
When we first saw Lily Chan (Sonoya Mizuno), we weren’t focusing much on the inner workings of her characters, because Sergei stole all the attention. And that was completely logical.
Lily's character comes to the limelight. However, we had somewhere expected her to be more emotive and impactful. But she turned out to be a bit dull, with a slightly cold demeanor.
For a young woman of 27, who just saw her boyfriend setting himself on fire, her reactions should have come out a little stronger. Initially, it felt natural, knowing that not everyone can deal with grief in the same way.
However, as the story progressed and becomes more convoluted, we were hoping that her pain would come out and somewhere that would make her more powerful (at least in her demeanor). Her monotonous expressions, almost to the extent of being bland and lacking emotions, made us a little disappointed.
Her only strong reactions in Episode 4 come out when she yanks the steering and gets Kenton's car out of control or later when the cops come and arrest her and she resists. Maybe her meltdown at Kenton’s office earlier, in Episode 3, can be considered to be the highlighting moment of her portrayal.
At this point, despite not wanting to, we end up comparing her with other female leads Alex Garland has brought to the table time and again. One of the most recent and hard-hitting one is Natalie Portman’s Lena, in 'Annihilation'.
Although it would be wrong to compare between the two actors, we cannot help but try to see Lily and Lena, knowing how their situations are very similar but so is their character's journey. Not that Mizuno is not a great actor, but somehow her portrayal of a woman out for revenge, is not solid enough to make us connect with her.
Now, whether it is the way her character is designed to be lackluster on purpose, or the finer nuances of her character are yet to evolve, we are still missing the hook in Lily Chan. Having said that, Mizuno has still managed to make Lily watchable enough and pull the story ahead.
'Devs' streams every Thursday on Hulu.