DEVS S1E3: Alex Garland Spins An Increasingly Intricate Web

When we last left off, the Russians had fought against the Americans and lost, Lily (Sonoya Mizuno) said “fuck off,” and the Devs team had just found Jesus. Where does one possibly go from here? Let’s recap.

Glancing Through Time

Episode 3 of Devs gets right back into it. Our first glimpse is of the swirly static dots from the second episode. After glimpsing Jesus once again, we also see what appears to be Joan of Arc burning at the stake, a famous historical speech, Forest’s daughter yet again, and then Lily’s note from last episode.

DEVS S1E3: Alex Garland Spins An Increasingly Intricate Web
source: FX

After the title screen, we go back to the Devs chamber, where Katie (Alison Pill) walks in on Stewart (Stephen McKinley Henderson) and Lyndon (Cailee Spaeny) watching what appears to be something vulgar. They state that it is none other than playwright Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe having sex. Katie scolds them for breaking one of their two rules: the first of which is to not look into the future and the second is the one that they’re breaking, to not look into peoples’ private lives. After leaving, Stewart expresses doubt about the latter.

Then, a group arrives by plane to Amaya, greeted by Forest (Nick Offerman) and Kenton (Zach Grenier). They are escorting Senator Laine (Janet Mock), who sits down with Forest for a little chat. She appears especially interested in what the Devs program is all about, implying that the government could have use for it, though Forest is notably vague.

DEVS S1E3: Alex Garland Spins An Increasingly Intricate Web
source: FX

Then, we come to Lily’s coworkers, who are having a meeting. Lily walks in unexpectedly, though she is clearly out of it and panicky about something. Her friend Anya (Aimee Mullins) takes her aside to discuss it with her, and Lily quietly explains her suspicions about Sergei and his death. Later, fellow coworker Jen (Linnea Berthelsen), who claims in an aside to Anya that Lily has a history of mental illness, comes in and tries to help, attempting to ease what she believes to be Lily’s delusion. They both, in a sour twist of fate, visit Kenton, the man responsible for Sergei’s death, where Lily breaks down and confirms that she believes there is a big conspiracy out there, mentioning something that had happened to her back in Brooklyn as well. Her speech ends in a panic attack.

Shortly thereafter, Lily, in a frenzy runs out the door, subsequently climbing the outside window ledge, where she is seen by Forest below. Kenton then goes out to talk to her, believing Lily to be considering suicide. Meanwhile, Jen, who was left alone in Kenton’s office, dashes over to his desk, inserting a flash drive into his computer. Hm what is going on here?

Lily leaves the ledge, and gets a ride home from Jen. With a blast of some tunes, suddenly the two are laughing up a storm. The curtain is pulled back: it was a ruse all along! A way to get one of them alone in Kenton’s office. Lily isn’t delusional after all. Forest and Kenton, though, have no idea what transpired, and their fears were more that Lily was actually going to jump off the ledge.

Lily then visits her ex-boyfriend Jamie (Jin Ha) once again. She asks him to help her look into the security footage that Jen had downloaded from Kenton’s office. When glancing at the footage of “Sergei” lighting himself on fire, Jamie observes that the flames are digital effects, although the body Lily saw was real. “They murdered him,” is her final statement of the episode.

Highlights and Observances

Sonoya Mizuno: in this episode, she not only encapsulates her reserved, soft-spoken character perfectly, but at one point she has to give a performance within a performance, as Lily pretends that she is losing it and having a panic attack. How does she pull it off so well?

-Also, kudos to Alex Garland for deceivingly making that office scene almost unbearably intense, thrusting the camera right into the panicked face of Lily and raising the tension through ambient sounds. I honestly did not suspect anything until Jen started futzing around behind Kenton’s desk.

-When Lily stands outside the Amaya campus, there is a wide shot of her standing solitary against the expansive backdrop of the building, as if she is lost amongst its wide expanse. It’s almost as if it’s her vs. the world. Although, as we soon see from both Jen and Jamie, she does have people by her side as well.

Linnea Berthelsen, who plays Jen, I just this episode realized is the actress who plays Kali in season 2 of Stranger Things (in a subplot that I will forever stand up for). At any rate, she plays an excellent character who I can see being a fan favorite moving forward.

-Once again I enjoyed the banter between Stewart and Lyndon, and their skepticism that Devs shouldn’t invade someone’s privacy. Think about it: how strange to invent a product that can literally look at anything through time and have such a shallow rule behind it.

-Some excellent quotes this episode, including Kenton emulating Mark Twain with his statement that “the truth is always stranger than reality.” The episode also does a good job of making him more sympathetic, almost making us forget that he is the one who just a couple episodes ago suffocated Sergei.

-What I appreciate most about Alex Garland is that, although his material is consistently what you would call “out there,” his approach, both narratively and otherwise, is easy to follow, and his characters are well-rounded and relatable. That being said, the story will likely only get weirder from here, but it’s nice to start off on a level playing field.

-“The Age of Aquarius” by The 5th Dimension, which is played right after the window ledge scene in a montage, is yet another stellar needle drop. It takes what was a tense moment and suddenly turns it on its head, fitting since the story likewise does that to us as the viewer.

-Notably not as much Forest this episode, though this is good because it gave us plenty of Lily. Still, I missed staring at Nick Offerman‘s scratchy facial hair.

Questions

-What is the official job of Stewart and his coworkers, especially if they’re not supposed to look into the future?

-Why were Forest and Kenton so concerned about Lily jumping off the ledge? Do they know something we don’t about her future?

-Are Forest and Kenton actually oblivious to Lily and Jen’s ruse? It seems unlikely that they seemingly know everything and yet are duped by her scheme. Perhaps they just underestimate her.

-What will Lily do now that she knows the truth about Sergei? How will allies Jen and Jamie play into this?

-I’ll probably ask it several times, but really, what is Forest’s endgame here? Will Devs’ final purpose be revealed soon, or are they saving it for later?

Conclusion

So that concludes my coverage of episode 3 of Devs. Tune in next week for more on this fascinating show!

Devs airs weekly on Hulu. 

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