Three episodes into Devs, things are slowly falling into place. The FX on Hulu series from Alex Garland (Ex-Machina, Annihilation) began as a high-art experiment, with the first episode existing, stylistically, in a very Kubrickian space. Things have settled since, with the story focusing on Lily's (Sonoya Mizuno) quest for answers about the strange death of her coder boyfriend Sergei (Karl Glusman). As much as they work to put this behind them, this lo-fi murder mystery keeps coming back to bite Amaya CEO Forest (Nick Offerman) and Kenton (Zach Grenier), his head of security, right in the butt.
Spoilers ahead for Devs Episode 3.
Confronted with sudden loss, then grief, then all-encompassing doubt about the world around her, Lily's sanity is justifiably wobbling. In short succession, the young Amaya engineer learned that her boyfriend set himself on fire — essentially committing suicide at work — that he was a Russian spy engaging in industrial espionage, and that, while his death was still very real, the cause of it was already in question. But how? She saw the video footage of the young man setting himself on fire. There couldn't be anything more concrete than that, right?
There are surely a bunch of perks that come with working for the biggest tech company in Silicon Valley. Aside from all the speculation surrounding Amaya's predictive algorithm, Forest must have access to some nifty tools that would make it quite easy to deepfake a suicide, making it look like someone doused themselves in gasoline and lit their body ablaze.
It's all hearsay without proof, and given Lily's tenacious drive to find the patterns in everything, she heads back to work and quickly puts an unexpected plan into action. With the help of her colleague Jen (Linnea Berthelsen), she spouts a conspiracy theory that outside sources murdered Sergei and covered it up. Needless to say, her request to meet with Kenton is quickly met, and things devolve into wackiness from there.
Face-to-face with Forest's right-hand-man, Lily launches into an emotional tirade about Sergei's death which she somehow connects to her time in New York and the appearance of the Fibonacci sequence in everything she sees. (Is Garland giving a shout-out to Darren Aronofsky's Pi here? We were honestly expecting her to put a drill to her head at any minute.)
She eventually removes herself from Kenton's office to get some air. That's when Jen explains that Lily suffers from schizophrenia. You can practically see the light bulb brighten in Kenton's head. If Lily's sanity is questionable, that would be a huge win for him and the Amaya team. Processing this information took on a new urgency when Forest — who happened to be in an important meeting with a senator (Janet Mock) at that exact moment — calls to tell him that young Lily has walked out onto the ledge right outside his office.
Without thinking twice, Kenton leaves to talk Lily down from the ledge. Not for the sake of her own safety. It's all about optics here. Imagine a second suicide taking place on the Amaya campus, in broad daylight, with witnesses. How could Forest and Kenton get out of that one unscathed?
So he steps out onto the ledge. Alone in his office, Jen quickly moves to his computer to retrieve the footage of Sergei's death. We don't actually learn that's what she does until a little bit later, as the friends drive away from the campus with a thumb drive containing the video.
Lily faked the whole thing, a testament to her obsessive need for answers. But it wasn't all untrue. In Episode 1 of the series, Lily and a colleague test themselves on their ability to run through a predictive string of numbers — the Fibonacci sequence she erratically yelled about in Kenton's office. She also mentions Sergei's Russian handler, who she briefly met with by the Golden Gate Bridge. How very John Nash of her.
Russell Crowe played the MIT mathematician 2001’s biopic A Beautiful Mind. Like Lily, Nash also had a staggering flair for computation and saw Russian spies around every corner. It wasn't long before he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
So what happens now? With the video of his suicide in her possession, Lily gets her ex-boyfriend Jamie (Jin Ha) to watch it with her. His attention to detail catches an anomaly in the pattern of the flames, confirming Lily's suspicions that the fiery death in question was all fabricated. Just one more lie in the unraveling mystery of Devs.
Lily's mini-heist certainly leaves things on dangerous ground. Kenton and Forest may believe her to be mentally unstable, which will probably result in her being closely observed by whatever therapist they assign to her. This instability is also an easy out for both men — if she were to ever find out the truth and report them, they could simply use her schizophrenia as their get out of jail free card.
However, if we instead view Devs through the show’s insistent sense of determinism, her big Beautiful Mind act is likely to spark a chain of events that'll eventually put her face-to-face with Forest, and dare we say, inside the Devs bunker.
What happens when Kenton discovers the two coders pulled a fast one on him and stole the video from his computer? (Come on, you know he will.) We saw what happened to Sergei when he attempted to steal proprietary information — death by Kenton. He can get stabbed in the gut and stroll away from crushing a man's neck as if it were just another day in the office. Kenton definitely won't let this invasion of privacy go unpunished. But will he go after Lily? We doubt it.
After her big Cuckoo's Nest performance on the ledge of the Amaya building, Forest orders Kenton not to harm Lily. The tech mogul suffers from the obvious burden of a conscience, which we also saw glimpses of after Sergei's death. If his head of security is barred from attacking the young woman, where will he be able to focus his rage? If we were to place bets, it'd probably be to the people Lily’s closest to. With her Russian spy boyfriend out of the picture, that leaves Pete (Jefferson Hall), the homeless man who sleeps on her doorstep, her coworker Jen and ex-boyfriend Jamie as his prime targets.
With the cover-up growing and the murder mystery deepening, Devs has still kept us mostly in the dark about what Forest, Katie and the rest of the Devs team are doing. Forest briefly admits to the senator that they're tinkering with a predictive algorithm — but something tells us it's more than tomorrow's weather they're trying to forecast.
Devs releases new episodes on Thursdays via FX on Hulu.