By Matt Cabral
March 12, 2020 at 09:59 PM EDT
S1 E3
  • TV Show
  • FX

If there were any doubts regarding the validity of Devs' big reveal last week, episode 3 immediately crushes them with the force of the world's most powerful quantum computer.

Not only are we given another glimpse of Christ suffering on the cross, but fuzzy feeds from some of history's other greatest hits and horrors, from Joan of Arc being burned at the stake to Abraham Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address.

Two of the series' titular tech wizards have become so proficient with the backward-projecting algorithm, in fact, they're using it to surf historic porn. More specifically, Stewart and Lyndon have managed to dial in a distorted broadcast of Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller making love.

But “The celeb sex tape to end all celeb sex tapes,” as Lyndon snarkily refers to it, isn't appreciated by Katie. Disappointed by her employees' misuse of a technology that's “reinvented the nature of human existence,” she orders them to shut down the video.

Upon reminding them of Devs' two very important rules — “One: We don't look forwards, we only look back. Two: We don't invade privacy” — she suggests they scratch another “geek itch,” like the Grassy Knoll, to which the young code-cruncher delivers another zinger: “Been there, done that. It was Oswald.”

After cementing Stewart and Lyndon as our two favorite characters, episode 3 turns to more serious matters. A powerful senator arrives on campus, via an Amaya-provided chopper. In a private conversation with Forest, she talks tech oversight. She wants to know what Devs is up to. The cagey CEO isn't fond of sharing specifics on his super-secret project. “We're using our quantum computing system to develop a prediction algorithm” is the most he'll offer. There's no mention of the Monroe-Miller sex tape.

Meanwhile, Lily decides to return to work, disregarding Forest's offer to take time off in the wake of Sergei's death. But going back to the grind so quickly seems like a bad idea, as she spaces out during a meeting and is pulled aside by her superior. Lily confides in her boss about her suspicions surrounding Sergei's suicide. She comes off like a paranoid conspiracy theorist.

Lily's friend Jen approaches and joins the conversation. She seems as though she believes her co-worker. Fearing Jen is fueling the problem, the supervisor then pulls her aside. Jen tells her she's just playing along, that Lily has a history of schizophrenia. The two hatch a plan to help Lily. It involves sharing her suspicions of “international forces” with Kenton. Lily's concerned boss calls the security head, swiftly setting up a meeting for her emotionally unstable employee.

Jen accompanies Lily to her sit-down with Kenton. Lily begins spinning her conspiracy theory, sharing details on her meeting with Anton, as well as her thoughts on Sergei's suicide actually being a murder. She goes a step further, however, blaming Russian intelligence for his untimely death and tying the whole matter to a similar event that happened to her years ago in Brooklyn. Things escalate, her story goes further off the rails, and she accuses her friend of turning against her.

She loses it, begins hyperventilating, and leaves Kenton's office to get some air. Jen takes the opportunity to share her friend's psychiatric history — including a monthlong hospital stint — with Kenton. Meanwhile, Lily climbs onto the ledge just outside his office. Forest, walking the campus grounds with the senator, spots Lily several stories up. He urgently calls Kenton, who quickly springs into action. While he attempts to talk Lily from the ledge, Jen pops a thumb drive into his computer and goes to town on his keyboard.

Later that afternoon, Forest and Kenton discuss the rather eventful day. The former's concerned, but the latter sees it as an “ace card.” Given Lily's fragile emotional history and her recent stroll on the ledge, Kenton's feeling pretty good about her credibility, or lack thereof. Forest doesn't want Lily hurt, regardless of the leverage he and his heavy now hold. Kenton concurs, but suggests they still act on this opportunity. “We set her up with a shrink, one of ours. That keeps her both at arm's length and under observation.”

Meanwhile, Jen and Lily are celebrating the big fat ruse they just pulled on Kenton. “That was Oscar-level, Lils!” exclaims Jen. “They bought it 100 percent.” She then hands her friend the fruits of their successful con, the thumb drive containing all Amaya's CCTV footage from the night of Sergei's mysterious death.

With the intel secured, Lily heads back up Jamie's fire escape. Her ex is enjoying pizza and beer, but isn't alarmed by her surprise visit. He's willing to help, but a bit taken aback by the request. “You want us to watch the man you left me for burn himself to death together? That's transcendentally weird, Lily.” She totally agrees. Jamie grabs an old laptop from a pile of old laptops that'd put any geek's collection of dated tech to shame, and destroys its Wi-Fi capabilities. “We're unseeable.”

They watch Sergei's suicide tape together. Lily sees the same horrifying footage she first viewed in Kenton's office, but Jamie notices something else. Upon playing back the frames one by one, he spots an anomaly among the flames. They're all the same, as if copied and pasted to form a larger fire. “It's VFX,” he concludes with amazement. This not only proves Amaya — a company capable of hacking into history's most defining moments — can't muster realistic special effects, but that Sergei's suicide was, indeed, faked.

Before closing with this revelation, the episode offers another peek at the night Sergei died. As flames reflect in the eyes of the massive Amaya statue, we see five people, including Kenton, staging the suicide, bringing the victim's body to the scene via stretcher before soaking it in gasoline. Oddly, the sequence of events also seems to play in reverse, concluding with Kenton walking backward from the scene of the crime.

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  • FX