I mentioned in my recap of the Devs premiere that I had high hopes for the pacing and structure of the series because it’s only eight episodes long. That wish has already been realized in the second episode—we’re getting answers much more quickly than I anticipated, simply because the story doesn’t need to be dragged out unnecessarily.
There were two central mysteries in the first episode, and the show has made significant progress on both fronts. First, who was Sergei working for? The answer (somewhat predictably) is the Russian government, which Lily finds out after her ex-boyfriend Jamie agrees to hack Sergei’s phone.
They discover a Russian state-sponsored messaging app, and once it’s cracked, messages back and forth between Sergei and his handler—so, not the Devs code I’d expected, but in hindsight, it makes sense. It’s likely that the Devs building was designed to stop any signals from escaping, which means that Sergei would have had to leave the building to transmit the data (if the watch even had those kind of wireless capabilities). It explains why he was in such a hurry to leave. Of course, he didn’t have a chance to send out the code because he was almost immediately intercepted by Forest and Kenton.
This means that Lily now has a significant piece of the puzzle, but not the whole picture. She meets with Sergei’s handler, Anton, who is a part of Russian intelligence. He tells Lily that Sergei and he had been working together since her former boyfriend was in college. Would it be more of a shock if he were a new recruit, or is it a bigger betrayal that Sergei has been working with the Russian government the entire time Lily has known him? Either way, she takes her time to process the information and decide on her next steps, though Anton assures her that Sergei’s lack of honesty doesn’t mean he loved her any less.
Anton tells Lily that she doesn’t know the full story with Amaya, which I absolutely believe. I do, of course, think that in this universe Russia has a marked interest in learning what Devs is and what the division is doing. But I also think there’s more going on here, something altogether more sinister than the glimpses we’ve gotten in this episode. Or maybe that’s my hope—the idea that it’s just Russia looking to steal tech code is a little disappointing, so I want there to be more going on surrounding this mystery.
It’s not until Anton pushes Lily that she starts to ponder that there might have been more to his death—that it might, in fact, be murder. He also tries to recruit her into working for him, an exchange that Kenton witnesses. It’s not clear that he overheard their interaction, but at the least, he definitely knows they met and that Lily is going to be a problem.
Kenton is the head of security for Amaya, so it’s understandable he’d know of threats to the company’s intellectual property, but it’s still surprising how familiar he is with Anton. Clearly, he knows that Anton has agents who have been attempting to steal the company’s secrets and they’ve had interactions before. They won’t going forward, as Kenton makes sure Anton will no longer be a threat. Lily will likely never know about it, though—she firmly rejects Anton’s offer to work for him through the sign she places in her window.
The other half of this mystery surrounds the Devs division at Amaya, and it turns out I wasn’t too far off the mark with my prediction that they’re working on time travel. From what we see in Episode 2, it’s not that they want to move people through time—or at least, that’s not what they’re working on at the moment. But the team manages to project a grainy image of Christ on the cross, and from their discussion it appears as though they are actually peeking back through time.
It explains why Katie was so insistent that the technology actually doesn’t change anything. It’s just glimpsing into the past, at least for right now (though it could revolutionize our understanding history). But the issue here is what Devs could lead to: If they can see into the past, does that mean they can also eventually move objects (and potentially people) into the past? Also Sergei was invited to the Devs team after he was able to predict the future. Is it possible, then, that the machine can tell us what is to come? From what Katie said, it doesn’t seem like that’s happened yet, but when and if it does, that will certainly change things.
We also learn more about Forest’s motivations and the creepy little girl statue I’m not sure I will ever get over—Forest’s young daughter (named Amaya) died tragically. The statue (and company) is his tribute to her. In many ways, he’s stuck because of it. Indeed, at the end of the episode, he revisits with her ghostly projection, a signal that the entire Devs team may be working on a project simply because he wants to see his little girl again.
It’s tragic, to be sure, and as a parent to a young child I’ll admit I watched these scenes with my video baby monitor in hand because they were hard to stomach. Forest’s fortune is his to spend as he pleases, but the relevant question here is what the cost has been in human lives and other less-easily-quantifiable measures in order for him to find peace?
- Lily is utterly alone, something that the actress, Sonoya Mizuno, conveys very well. The scene where she’s on the phone with her mother, assuring her that she’s with her friends, is heartbreaking.
- Jamie is an absolute sweetheart who clearly cares about Lily. I hope she’ll trust him with what she’s learned.
- That “pop” when Kenton finally breaks Anton’s neck was effective and quite gross.
- The challenges of the Devs technology are very interesting. It’s a team that seems to thrive on perfection, but it might be impossible to actually make it perfect.
- The music in the first episode was incredibly effective at delivering an unsettling tone. The music in this one was much more relaxed.
- We got the chance to learn more about two more members of the Devs team: Lyndon and Stewart. I’m curious about both of them, but I especially want to learn more about Stewart.
- Building a giant statue of your daughter that watches your employees’ every move is weird.