Devs S1E4: Are We Still on the Tram Lines?

Lyndon holding his hands to his earphones with a surprised look on his face

Similar to last week’s episode, Devs S1E4 opens with an ominous scene blending strange visuals and eerie music. This time we are shown four close-ups of characters’ faces: First is Lyndon (shaded with the color red), then Stewart (blue), Katie (another red), and finally Forest (green).

I’m not exactly sure what this is supposed to represent, but the coloring seemed significant. The RGB color model is used for representing images in electronic systems. These systems can reproduce RGB values differently, but when you take all three colors (red, green and blue) in equal intensities, it makes the color white. White is the color of the static projections we have seen being produced by the Devs engineers. Of course, having two instances of red may seem to say the balance isn’t perfect with the Devs team.

Even though I wasn’t 100 percent sure of the purpose of those facial close-ups, I enjoyed it a great deal, as it set the tone for the episode that followed.

Last week Katie revealed the two main rules of Devs: They only look backward through time, not forward. And they do not invade privacy. I had a feeling that the first rule was perhaps not always followed. This week, that is validated. First, Stewart intimates that Katie has been known to look into the future when he notes she is not worried about a small earthquake that is occurring, saying she likely “knows” the tremors will not harm them.

Shortly thereafter, Forest enters Devs (after testing something with the tremors outside among the golden bars) and pulls up a static projection of Lily. She falls to the ground and proceeds to crawl, apparently injured somehow. We haven’t seen this before, and when Katie enters the room, she confirms he is breaking one of the rules. He’s looking into the future.

He tells Katie that he’s scared—that even though we live in a physical universe, Katie and Forest may be “magicians.” He wonders, for example, if they look one minute into the future and Katie has her arms folded, what if Katie says, “F*ck the future. I’m a magician. My magic breaks tram lines. I’m not going to fold my arms.” And then she keeps her hands in her pockets until that next minute comes.

Katie reassures Forest that they need to stick to their deterministic beliefs, that the tram lines are real. This conversation relates directly to what they are watching on the screen of static. As they watch the projection of Lily turn over onto her back and lie still, Katie says that Lily will be dead in 48 hours. “There is no magic. Effectively…it’s already happened.”

This opens an interesting debate for the remainder of the series. Will Lily really die in 48 hours (which I would guess would be during the final episode of Devs Season 1)? Or can the future be changed somehow? Could she be kept in solitude—the equivalent of Katie keeping her hands in her pockets—until after the 48 hours is up, in hopes of preventing her death? Personally, I don’t think Lily will die. I think Forest (or someone else) will “magically” come up with a solution for saving her. But we shall see.

Lyndon’s breakthrough

The other main Devs team storyline in S1E4 involves Lyndon discovering a way to perfectly re-create sound waves from the past. He plays a projection of Jesus speaking in Aramaic, 2,000 years ago, and the Devs team is in awe.

Except for Forest. He calls Lyndon’s discovery a “cheap party trick.” Why? Because Lyndon swapped out the de Broglie-Bohm theory (or pilot wave theory) of quantum mechanics with the many-worlds interpretation.

We know from Episode 1 that Forest is not a fan of the many-worlds theory, based on a comment he made to Sergei. But in Devs S1E4, we see truly how opposed he is to the theory. He angrily points out to Lyndon that the Jesus they heard is not “our Jesus, from our history…but a Jesus from a history.”

Lyndon objects, and Forest sends a message to the entire team. He fires Lyndon and tells him if he mentions any of the work of Devs to anyone, he’ll kill him.

Wow. This seemed a bit…extreme. Forest clearly wants nothing to do with multi-worlds theory, even though it is technically a form of determinism. But why?

I think it has to do with his main purpose of Devs, and I believe that main purpose is to reunite himself with his daughter. (I’m still not sure if that’s the only purpose of Devs, but I believe it’s the most important purpose to Forest.)

Forest later explains to Katie (who is upset after losing one of her best engineers), “If it’s not our Jesus, it’s not my Amaya. And does every hair on her head matter? Yes, it does.” To which Katie responds by projecting a crystal-clear image of Forest’s daughter, using Lyndon’s algorithm. He breaks down sobbing.

Katie looks on with the orange glow of Devs reflecting on her face

This all hammered home to me that Forest is doing this for his daughter. And I think he knows he needs Lily to help him.

Lily’s Plan, Continued?

Lily’s storyline picks up where we left off last episode. She has spent the night at Jamie’s after they watched the footage of Sergei’s body burning. (He offers her his bed, with clean sheets, because he’s chivalrous.)

Jamie wants to go to the police, but Lily thinks that would be crazy. It would be like trying to call the cops on the mob.

When she returns home, Kenton is waiting for her, ready to take her to see a therapist. (Pete the homeless man returns this episode, recognizing that Kenton is bad news and ready to have Lily’s back if needed.)

Lily reluctantly agrees to see the therapist and tells him information about her current condition, her past, and her family. She doesn’t specifically bring up schizophrenia, but says she had an “episode” after her dad died when she was 10 and that maybe she’s chemically imbalanced. After he reminds her that whatever he tells her is protected by doctor-patient confidentiality, the conversation cuts off and we don’t get to see what she tells him.

After the session, Kenton immediately walks into the room to get the scoop on what they talked about. Lily’s lack of objection to this struck me as a bit odd. I would think she would be very suspicious of Kenton at this point, so wouldn’t she think something was up when he said he needed to talk to the therapist about the “invoice” immediately after the session ended?

The therapist tells Kenton he doesn’t believe Lily suffers from schizophrenia, and it’s likely she hasn’t had episodes of psychosis in the past. But then as Kenton is driving Lily back home, he tells her that he “knows everything” and that she is highly paranoid, delusional and suffering from psychosis. And that he considers her a high suicide risk. So, he is lying here. I’m not sure why exactly. Last episode he viewed their knowledge of her having schizophrenia as a means to hold power over her, so maybe that’s where he’s going with this. But wouldn’t he also have power over her if he revealed he knows she is lying about the whole thing?

Once Lily realizes Kenton is not driving her home, in one of the most exhilarating action scenes we’ve seen in Devs, she grabs the wheel and steers the car in the median barrier. With air bags deployed, the two survive. Lily is able to hobble down the highway—while coming within inches of being struck by a speeding SUV—and escape Kenton.

Lily does not go home, but to Jamie’s apartment, once again roping him into her predicament. She has now changed her mind about calling the police. She dials 911 and reports Sergei’s murder and asks them to send someone to Jamie’s.

However, when the cops arrive, they place her under arrest for “reckless endangerment” by driving the car into the median. Along with the police, the therapist and Kenton have arrived. And as Lily is taken away in handcuffs, Kenton (who surprisingly seems to know exactly who Jamie is) steps into the apartment and presumably prepares to murder him, as the episode concludes. Good thing Jamie cleaned that apartment!

OK, I have some questions about what Lily did in this episode. Was she continuing her plan from the previous episode, in which she faked a mental illness in order to distract Kenton and steal the security footage? Did she try to convince the therapist that she had schizophrenia? Or did she know he would see through that? And then I found it interesting that Kenton lied to Lily about what the therapist told him. Lots of mind games going on!

Maybe this end result was all still part of a plan for Lily to get inside Devs and bring them down. And if that’s the case, then I feel really bad for Jamie.

So, what do we think happens next? Jamie is almost assuredly dead. I feel like, instead of jail, Lily will be imprisoned somewhere at Devs. We now have a better idea of how powerful Forest and Kenton are, if they are able to intercept a 911 call. Things are going to get ugly—even more ugly than they’ve been—from here, I’m afraid.

Written by Bryan O'Donnell

Bryan O'Donnell is a Writer and TV Editor for 25YL. In addition to TV and Twin Peaks, he loves music, baseball, reading, and playing video games. He lives in Chicago.

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