Severance: The We We Are
April 7, 2022 8:31 PM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

The team discovers troubling revelations.

There's paintball, there's coffee cozies.
posted by dry white toast (165 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Urgh, that didn’t resolve anything!
posted by Monochrome at 8:38 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


So we are dealing with TWO cults, right?

What is Irv's Outie doing? Or, what is his inner-outie doing (box in a box).

So many amazing images...
posted by armacy at 8:39 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


They really need to sell Ricken's book. "Like an old hamburger waiter, prattling about sauces!"
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:55 PM on April 7 [12 favorites]


When I saw that there was going to be a second season I massively lowered my expectations about resolutions in this episode. But it still slapped.

Random thoughts:
-Irving, write a note to your outie!!

-Also, how does innie Irving know how a car works? Like I get that innies understand the basics of the world, but how do you get in a car for the first time and know that one down is Reverse and two down from that is Drive?

-I was stunned at Mark rolling with the fact that Cobel was at the same party as him.

-I mentioned it in a previous thread and tonight confirmed it: Milchick has NO POWER. Dylan is in the midst of burning the severed program to the ground and all Milchick can do is offer him coffee cozies. The only control Lumon has over the severeds is the what the severeds hand over to them.

-Helly reciting the penance before going on stage was an amazing moment that really drove home the theme of all the godawful things one ends up doing in the globalized corporate world, and the tech giants in particular, and how we can't seperate/sever ourselves from those harms. We are complicit in the destruction of the world and then use the Nuremberg defence.
posted by dry white toast at 9:00 PM on April 7 [26 favorites]


Also wooof, somebody mentioned in last week's thread that Cobel would be a real wild card, and yeah...It was crazy to see her go from urging outie Mark to quit to throwing herself bodily into trying to save the severance project. She's personally invested in preserving severance beyond just her job.
posted by dry white toast at 9:06 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


Well this was fun, but I sure wish this show was written with one season in mind. In retrospect I can't imagine how they would have ever concluded without a renewal.

Seconding the idea that the first thing they all should have done is write a note to their outies. Although given Helly's terrible experience, maybe the outies aren't the allies you would hope.
posted by Nelson at 9:11 PM on April 7 [7 favorites]


Still gathering thoughts but what on earth is a revolving?
posted by mochapickle at 9:13 PM on April 7 [9 favorites]


The other two not writing notes I definitely grasped. Mark found his sister so he knew he had a way to communicate with his outie. And Helly already clearly knows her outie doesn't give a fuck about the truth of her experience. But once Irving established that he was alone, it seems like the most logical thing to do.

It was fascinating that the plan was "find someone who seems trustworthy and tell them everything", and not "find a way to tell your outie what's really happening." Or maybe that was implied by the actual plan.
posted by dry white toast at 9:17 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Helly’s father is apparently Kier Eagan. Roughly 200 years old. I’m guessing revolving is something like a Severance that allows him to switch to a new body.
posted by Monochrome at 9:18 PM on April 7 [9 favorites]


Was that Kier himself mumbling on the intercom last episode? The Board?
posted by mochapickle at 9:20 PM on April 7


dry white toast: "Also, how does innie Irving know how a car works? Like I get that innies understand the basics of the world, but how do you get in a car for the first time and know that one down is Reverse and two down from that is Drive?"

I'm probably spouting headcanon right now, but as that was happening I wondered if that was part of his outie's procedural memory. The innie could “know” how to drive the same way your lizard brain “knows” how to drive while you stress out or daydream behind the wheel. If Irving's outie didn't know how to drive, his innie wouldn't even have known how to get into the car.

Innies can’t be total blank slates, or else Lumon would have to teach them how to count and spell and not soil themselves. So of course Cobel is right in her suspicions — severance is an imperfect hack.
posted by savetheclocktower at 9:31 PM on April 7 [14 favorites]


Other thoughts:
  • Cobel, I had such high hopes for you. I suppose your face turn isn't going to happen after all.
  • Milchick, I had such high hopes for you. I suppose your face turn isn't going to happen after all.
  • Lumon: hey, do you have any security at all? The employee you fired this afternoon — how does she get into the building, much less backstage?
  • How do we get any glimpses of innie life in season 2? Perhaps apart from Helly, how does Lumon see fit to allow any of these folks back into the severed… ward? More broadly, how does season 2 not look and feel completely different from season 1?
  • How long has Irving's outie been skeptical of Lumon, and why does his outie keep going back to work? Is he scared of what Lumon might do to him if he quits? Is he hoping to spur a mass innie exodus, like the Pied Piper of Lumon?
  • Irving's evenings all seem alike, but doesn't it feel a bit cruel to Mark and Helly that their innies emerged at the exact moment that would be indistinguishable from a fever dream? Mark emerges for a group reading of the only book he knows, and the guy on the cover of that book is his brother-in-law? Helly emerges to an exhibit with revolving photos of herself and all her work friends? It's enough to make me almost forgive them for taking so long to tell someone that they were innies. That would've been worse than a couple of my unpleasant dissociative trips.

posted by savetheclocktower at 9:52 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


The three awoke:
Irving in his stark, dark apartment. Helly at a gala all shadowy and silvery. Mark enveloped in the warm wood tones of his family.

A big theme: Who are you at the core, and how are you shaped by experiences.

Helena set out (presumably) to support her family's dreadful company, and instead "Helly" was the first spark in the Innie Rebellion. And steels herself by reciting the break room penance.

Innie Helly and Mark have both tried to create some ethical guidelines out of whatever they could.

Daddy Dear's "revolving" does jibe with the theory Lumon's creating eternal (extended?) life or passing on consciousness.

Turturro broke my heart, except when I was laughing at his driving. Aside from the glimpses we got of his family background, it appears he has notes about Lumon employees who've sued?

Mark's first scenes also had me giggling nervously. "Our baby." Poor Mark.

And then Dylan refusing to give in - even for a coffee cozy! - like the goddamn hero he is.

I don't know where they'll go from here, it could go even Darker. I'm sad we probably won't see them all sitting together in that little office.
posted by NorthernLite at 10:04 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]


If we do see them back at the office, probably in the black hallway, I hope Mark tells Ms. Cobel “You know what? Do your worst. We figured it out once, we can do it again, because you know what, Harmony? Ya basic!
posted by Monochrome at 10:34 PM on April 7 [15 favorites]


Great ending, really satisfying. Obviously nothing in Lumon World is resolved but it’s great to see the four main cast members all decisively push what’s important to them: Helly telling her innie story, Mark’s “she’s alive!”, Irv going for Burt because he trusts him, and Dylan resisting new perks. I’m not actually sure how you do a season 2 after this that isn’t a clock reset, a completely different kind of show, or some kind of Westworld S03 shenanigans.
posted by migurski at 10:47 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


OK so OTC is supposed to require two people
SO when Milchik ran it, it seems like we're supposed to infer that two people were manning the switches?
One could have been Graner at that point, but we know the other was not Cobel, and there's basically nobody else in this world

Significant detail or plot hole?
posted by anazgnos at 10:53 PM on April 7 [6 favorites]


The license plate had "remedium hominibus" on it, instead of a state name; googling that, it looks like it means "cure for men". (Also, this was on Mark's license plate, in February. I missed it.) A Reddit thread from ghostface_starkillah also noted the state abbreviation PE; Irving's street address is 424 Plainside Dr, Kier, PE, 07452; the zip code in our universe is Glen Rock, NJ.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:20 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


That was one hell of an hour of television and I really enjoyed it.

that's all.
posted by dragstroke at 12:21 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


Graner was a pretty big guy. It’s at the end of Dylan’s reach to turn both knobs, but maybe it’s less bad for Graner.

Or maybe Milchik got some part-time innies like Ms Casey to do it. Seems some of them never leave the building.

Did we get any further evidence this episode for the idea that severance in its original form is for reviving dead people, but the revivees don’t get their memories back, and they are using the severed employees as test subjects for how to get the dead people to actually remember their prior lives (hence the interest in reintegration)? If that’s what Cobel is in it for, either because she lost someone or even died herself and wants to know who she was, it would explain her fervor. If Milchick and Graner are also revived dead people it would explain why Milchik is seemingly always such a total weirdo. And it might explain why the doctor was so casual about killing Graner; maybe he was already dead.

I guess there was the word “revolving”; maybe Dad expects to be revived but without memories.
posted by nat at 12:29 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


First thoughts: starting to get The 100 vibes with the chip. Which is a fantastic show.
posted by Crystalinne at 1:08 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


I appreciated the comic relief of both Rebeck and Patton loudly proclaiming he found the baby
posted by O9scar at 1:18 AM on April 8 [11 favorites]


Yeah “I’ve found your child!” really cracked me up for some reason

also, aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I spent all week anxious to watch this, in both senses of the word, and, well, it Did the Thing
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:59 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Omg what a final! And John Turturro was fantastic, all of that emotion without a word of dialogue! Heartbroken for him that Burt’s outie has a partner but at least he felt he could trust him enough to be the person he turns to anyhow. Shame about Chekhov’s goats but can’t wait for season 2!
posted by ellieBOA at 4:35 AM on April 8 [6 favorites]


Separate thoughts from talking with Mrs. Fedora:

We still don’t really know why Harmony lives next door to Mark, given that he was a relatively minor employee until recently, and other severed employees don’t seem to be under the same scrutiny. Is she involved in Gemma’s death?

Really liked the thematic decision of having this episode be exactly the period of time when overtime contingency mode was active, even if I want more, dammit.

Irving seems as surprised as we are that he can drive a car, suggesting that skills that don’t require conscious specific memory are retained.

I really loved the reuse of the contrition statement. So good.

Agonizing to wait for another season :O
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:45 AM on April 8 [5 favorites]


Remembering how to drive a car, I assumed comes under Delaware in the questions the newly severed are asked: there's a baseline of things that one can remember or the severant wouldn't be able to function.

I think it's worth mentioning that Dylan was in a considerable amount of pain and is a hero. See how long you can hold your arms out sideways. I can manage about five minutes at most and that's putting in a lot of effort and it hurts. Having the buttons to hold on to would help a bit, but still.

That was tense, I have to say. I assume that next season they'll have been rebooted and there'll be new versions of themselves, and also that this season's versions will also be hanging around.
posted by Grangousier at 5:50 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


Wow. That was a ride. The season and this episode in particular. I can't recall being that tense watching a show since maybe Breaking Bad.

I was glad Ms. Cobel left the baby behind. I wasn't looking forward to a "rescue the baby" side quest.

And now they wake up. What happens now? They won't remember anything. Irving will wake up at a stranger's doorstep. Helly will wake up on stage. Only Mark was able to explain to a trusted person what happened.

It was crazy to see her go from urging outie Mark to quit to throwing herself bodily into trying to save the severance project.

Despite her outrage, I think she's still a member of the cult. My guess is she only urged Mark to quit because she knows he can't really do that.

So what about the researcher back at the school? What about the goats? I wonder if it will be a bit like Lost in that we never get answers to a lot of questions.

Uggg. I can't wait for Season 2.
posted by bondcliff at 6:28 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Irving will wake up at a stranger's doorstep.

His outie knows Burt, somehow, though. Burt's address was marked was on the map Irving found, along with a couple of other names. What we don't know is whether Burt is a friend or a foe. (Or whether Irving himself is a friend or a foe!)
posted by mochapickle at 6:50 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


Had to dust off my Mefi account to come talk about this show. Holy cow what an ending! Is it just me or is Severance head and shoulders above anything else on streaming in the past few years? It is so deliberate in everything: the cinematography, the writing, the plot and character development. When I first started watching it, I figured it was based on a novel because it felt too precise to be a TV show. Is there anything else remotely like this show I should be watching?
posted by Brodiggitty at 6:54 AM on April 8 [20 favorites]


Mr. Robot, maybe? It’s less “artsy”, I suppose, but that show was very much not what I expected. In the best way.

Also devs has a very similar feel to Severance in many ways and I highly recommend it as well.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 7:29 AM on April 8 [12 favorites]


It's a completely different tone but Schmigadoon! hits some of the same notes. It's a mystery box show with characters trying to escape a disfunctional fantasy world… but with showtunes!
posted by nathan_teske at 7:34 AM on April 8 [5 favorites]


God, that was so good and also so not enough!

I spent the whole episode alternating yelling “write yourself a note!” with “where’s the baby? The baby can’t be in the car!” with “please tell me Helly has a teleprompter!”

I feel like Helly is smart enough to know that she could do more good by learning more first and blowing things up second, especially if they all thought they had around an hour (or at least that was Mark’s guess).

And I really really REALLY wanted Irv to write himself something - if he has that many notes about other severed employees, could his outtie just be better at remembering things than the others so he keeps having to be re-set as he puts more clues together each time?

And man I loved the shot of Milchik running down that hallway. His physicality throughout this whole series has just been a delight.
posted by Mchelly at 7:41 AM on April 8 [7 favorites]


Things I Loved
  • The way Ricken is actually a real person, who knows how Mark (and probably even Devon) see him, but he is just so confident in who he is he keeps on going.
  • "I found your child!"
  • The way the colors of Helena's dress echoed the outfit she was wearing when Helly* first appeared in MDR.
  • Innie Mark's hamfisted attempt at sussing out his relationship with Devon ("our baby?")
  • Patricia Arquette's portrayal of Cobel. Deranged and yet able to instantly turn the situation to her advantage. She's like an attack dog or something.
  • All the revelatory performances. Britt Lower! Zach Cherry!! Trammell Tillman!!!1!!
  • The amount of thinking I'm going to do over the next year thinking about what Season 2 will look like. This interview with Ben Stiller gives me hope in that he's willing to let the show live in the mystery, even in the face of a potentially never-resolved cliffhanger (if the show doesn't get picked up).

*It would have been great if all the Innies had diminutive names like Helena/Helly (Marcus/Marc, Dylan/Dill(?), Irving/Irv) if for no other reason than simplifying discussions.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:48 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the recommendations. Will for sure check out Mr. Robot. I have a huge crush on Cecily Strong but I couldn't do Schmigadoon!

My SO was also yelling "write a note" all through this episode.

I kept wondering if they have tape in the supply closet. It would've made Dylan's job a bit easier.

I'm still wondering about the Lumon employee who gave birth at the same time as Mark's sister. I think we met her again at the party? Where is she going to play into all of this?
posted by Brodiggitty at 7:48 AM on April 8


If you're a fan of Ben Stiller's direction you may want to check out Escape at Dannemora. It's very different, of course, being based on a real prison escape, but it's very good and has a couple long shots of someone going through a maze of twisty passages, all alike, that reminds me of some of the shots in Severance. It also has Patricia Arquette in an equally amazing performance.
posted by bondcliff at 7:49 AM on April 8 [6 favorites]


For all the folks wanting them to write notes, I think based on what they saw happen to Helly, they know that the one person they cannot trust in the Outie world is themselves. So they write a note? Their Outie is likely to just throw it in the trash and keep their Innie imprisoned. The key is getting information to others.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:54 AM on April 8 [34 favorites]


Oh man I didn’t think of that. Wow.
posted by Mchelly at 8:34 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


I've been holding off on writing to sit with things a bit. A caveat to my comments: I am not much of a TV person: movies, I love, so they work off of different rules.

With crazy black hall and goat babies and secret scientist-slash-murderer, I have been hoping for an ending similar to the end of Russian Doll -- it wraps up one set of mysteries, but leaves us with parallel universes and the bonkers wild rumpus that... merges the timelines? The ending both satisfied my emotional and time investment, but left me with a KEEN desire for season 2.

This ending did not do that, but from the comments here, the ending kind of is ok for tv-world.

It was tense. I was tense. Dylan's glasses were the farthest down his nose than they'd been all season long, and *I FELT THAT.*

I didn't quite get why Irv had all of that data on the other severed employees? I might need a second watch. But, to the car -- that, I got. It's a very old model of car - no car fob; no dashboard electronics, and he navigates by (oh my heart) a paper map. I think THAT is where he left off when he severed. Paper maps; no key fobs.

Mark's navigating the party... he really is amazingly emotionally intelligent. Ricken's reversion to his own insecure, self-loathing inner person was perfect. And what a beautiful moment; Mark's innie talking to Ricken's innie. It was wonderful.

And I adore even more the writer's wisdom in showing the sibling relationship between Mark and Devon. She's a smart person; capable of going with the weird, and the fact that she BELIEVED innie-Mark, and was able to speak to him as *his own person* -- there's a lot of trust, and a lot of knowing in that relationship, well-depicted.

Yes; I loved the comic relief. Yes, that's exactly the types of people who would revere Ricken. Yes, I have met those beloved people before at parties. And -- I liked how the comedy was there, so the director didn't have to PLAY it for the comedy.

Turturro has done a marvelous job playing Irv (as have all the other actors with their characters), but this episode in particular, he shone.

I'll have to think more about this ep, but what they chose to do with it, they did well (example, the change to the floaty camera work at the beginning of Mark's innie waking up and trying to orient). I'm trying to not let ME wanting a different type of an ending influence the excellence in where they chose to go.
posted by Silvery Fish at 10:33 AM on April 8 [14 favorites]


Brodiggitty, I would recommend Season 1 of Homecoming. Same director as Mr.Robot, great cast, similar corporate dystopia vibes.
posted by armacy at 10:40 AM on April 8 [7 favorites]




That's the best piece of TV I've seen this year. For the last half of it, my heart was pounding in a way it hasn't done since I watched Uncut Gems. John Turturro was outstanding, and with only one word in the entire episode "Buuuurrrrrtttt!!!", yet he conveyed so much emotion. I wonder if his dog sensed he was 'different'.

Thank goodness Helly managed to blurt out something before she was bundled offstage and the switch was flipped. What will the repercussions of that be next season? And Mark, OMG, how heartbreaking that he went back to his outie at that particular moment. I think next season we'll see more of Devon helping Mark put the puzzle pieces together, which will, of course, be dangerous for her.

One last thing: Helly's gown. Oh. Emm. Gee.
posted by essexjan at 12:29 PM on April 8 [7 favorites]


I think THAT is where he left off when he severed. Paper maps; no key fobs.

I'm not convinced that's how severing works. His outie would continue to live and advance in time as normal. The innie is more like a person with amnesia. They seem to have some innate traits as their outie, but they are really a new person. They don't seem to even have knowledge of pop culture or current events. What they know and don't know is a bit problematic but I try not to think about it too much.
posted by Brodiggitty at 12:36 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


'Severance' Creator Dan Erickson Knows Exactly What the Goats Are For

From TFA: The goats are the board.
posted by Mchelly at 12:38 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


#kidding.
posted by Mchelly at 12:39 PM on April 8 [10 favorites]


What they know and don't know is a bit problematic but I try not to think about it too much.

With regards to that and to the inner workings of Severance technology (or maybe it’s magic), I repeat to myself “It’s just a show, you should really just relax.”
posted by Monochrome at 12:40 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


This ending did not do that, but from the comments here, the ending kind of is ok for tv-world.

Great comment, Silvery Fish. I think the most interesting thing about it is that it is fairly shocking in a modern TV series. Given that Apple only announced that there would be a Season 2 last week, it seems like there was a good possibility that this would just be the end of the series, and TV shows just don't end with so much unresolved anymore. This felt more like the ending of a LOST season than anything from the "streaming era".

Dylan's glasses were the farthest down his nose than they'd been all season long, and *I FELT THAT.*

As someone who has only recently started to wear glasses YES. I thought for sure his glasses slipping off would end up as a plot point.

I didn't quite get why Irv had all of that data on the other severed employees? I might need a second watch. But, to the car -- that, I got. It's a very old model of car - no car fob; no dashboard electronics, and he navigates by (oh my heart) a paper map. I think THAT is where he left off when he severed. Paper maps; no key fobs.

I don't think we know anything about Outie Irving's interest in other severed workers, but maybe Petey got to him in the same way he got to Mark? Or maybe Irving had a hand in his re-integration? I think the car/keys/maps stuff was more inline with the general timelessness of the Outie world that they are trying to create.

The license plate on his car made me think of old Pennsylvania license plates, so maybe the state of "PE" is some kind of Eagan-based breakaway from the Keystone State. Pennsylvania East maybe?

I've read enough Oliver Sacks to know how weird and wild human memory can be, so I'm fully prepared to go along with Innies having no experiential memories, but a full suite of functional memories.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:51 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


so maybe the state of "PE" is some kind of Eagan-based breakaway from the Keystone State. Pennsylvania East maybe?

Province of Eagan? Principality of Eagan? Protectorate of Eagan?
posted by nathan_teske at 1:00 PM on April 8 [7 favorites]


One last thing: Helly's gown. Oh. Emm. Gee.

I was struck by how beautiful everything in the Helly plot was. The whole thing was gorgeously lit and dressed.
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:28 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


I seem to be in the minority opinion in that I HATE how this show was paced, but I think it was especially egregious in this episode. Everything was such a slow drip. I've also only started watching this show about a week ago, a couple at a time, and just got to episodes 7 and 8 last night. Maybe if you've been watching them as they come, with a week in between, it feels different.

Maybe I'm too anxious about it (and I think I've had more than one Severance-focused stress dream this week; clearly this thing is getting under my skin). But every time the scene cut here, I was frustrated. Every tiny little thing seemed to happen to prevent Mark from telling Devon anything, until he does, but we didn't even get to see her very first reaction to what he said because we had cut to someone else instead. Burt spends so much episode time looking slowly around his apartment. And that was the longest 20 minutes I've ever seen anyone live through in Helly's story. We watched her take in the pictures of herself and the revelations multiple times in what felt like the same way, with one interesting drop of something with her dad. And then of course there were all the cuts to poor Dylan, and eventually Milchick slowly sawing away at that fabric--I mean damn, that must be some very strong fabric! I had a feeling it would be a very slow burn but it was agonizing, and not really in a way I enjoyed.

I don't know. It's a stylish show. There's something that keeps me coming back and wanting to figure out what's going on. But I feel very manipulated at the end of watching it, and knowing that it got picked up for season 2 had me trying to reset my expectations on how much would actually be allowed to happen in this episode. I am also not enamored of how they've used Harmony Cobel/Mrs. Selvig--how is she not just giving everyone the heebie-jeebies in the outer world, all the time? It feels very flat.

I will say I do like that innie Mark got to meet Ricken, I liked the switch Ricken went through to self-loathing and a very human moment, and I always enjoy Devon's presence. Thank fuck Helly got to make some kind of speech, and Mark found the picture of Gemma and sort of managed to tell someone. But maybe next season I'll have to pre-read some spoilers before I watch so I can just relax and admire the scenery while it unfolds.
posted by j.r at 1:47 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


The whole thing was gorgeously lit and dressed.

Also it might have just been the font but the Helly R Innie presentation felt very Apple-y from 10-15 years go. Note quite as old as the Switch campaign, but sort of that feel.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:48 PM on April 8 [8 favorites]


I didn’t have high hopes for the gala but I loved what they did. Helly lothes Hellana so much. I keep thinking of when she says “I want her to wake up with the life draining out of her body and know it was me”
posted by shothotbot at 1:51 PM on April 8 [5 favorites]


I agree with you j.r. I found the constant cutting between characters while things unfolded at a snails pace to be excruciating.

I fully think this could have been half the length and still been just as impactful and included more story progression and not end on such a sharp cliffhanger.

I watched and loved LOST but I don't want another one of those. Maybe I've just been watching too many Kdramas but I want things to wrap by 16 episodes or less please.

Maybe it will turn out that the second "season" is more like the two part seasons from Mad Men and Breaking Bed and the two parts together will feel like one whole.

But if we get into the second season and there is even a whiff of more wheel spinning I'm probably not going to watch anymore. This was a good season but I just don't want to be strung along for five years.
posted by Tevin at 2:18 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


If I never hear complaints about a show’s pace ever again it will still be too soon.
posted by schoolgirl report at 2:50 PM on April 8 [24 favorites]


Given that Apple only announced that there would be a Season 2 last week, it seems like there was a good possibility that this would just be the end of the series

I assume it was a done deal except for the sign-off on the marketing copy well before that. I wonder if that affected any re-editing decisions for the later episodes — the killer-scientist for example just dropped.

If I never hear complaints about a show’s pace ever again it will still be too soon.

We all have our unique reactions to things, and I’ve enjoyed being part of this Severance community - I was not successful in getting my real life people to watch it! I don’t personally vibe with every take and supposition, but all of those different ideas have kept it lively. Keeping a warm place for all our differences is what keeps it the kind of a place you want to stay in. :)
posted by Silvery Fish at 3:33 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Oops, guess I'd better head to the break room to atone.

(On preview: thanks Silvery Fish! I'm a writer so while I can somewhat appreciate stuff like good cinematography and set design, character, plot, and the way the story unfolds are a major part of my engagement with a piece of entertainment.)
posted by j.r at 3:38 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


I'm a writer so while I can somewhat appreciate stuff like good cinematography and set design, character, plot, and the way the story unfolds are a major part of my engagement with a piece of entertainment.)

And I’m a small scale filmmaker, so, like, filmmaking is my football. It’s part of the joy for me when I watch things: all of the creative/creativity problem solving. I totally understand that this layer of the story telling isn’t interesting to a lot of people, but this is a big house. There’s room for all.
posted by Silvery Fish at 3:53 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


The pacing conversation is interesting to me because I’m pretty sure it’s 100% international. There are so many long hallway walks and screens of dangling numbers and waits for the elevator that take just a few beats too long to make sense, but aren’t quite long enough to make you feel like it’s taking a long time to come.

I think part of being severed is never really being on top of time, and when you are, because chunks of your life are completely missing. And I think the pacing is something that Stiller (and the writers) put there because he wants us to have that same disoriented sense that time isn’t passing the way you need it to to make sense of life, because things keep getting reset.
posted by Mchelly at 4:10 PM on April 8 [22 favorites]


So I was like: Jeeeeeezzzzzzus, that was the most stressful penultimate episode ever... (deep breaths, deep breaths) ... I can't wait for next week to neatly tie up some of these threads.

Wait, what? This was the season finale? Oh Shiiiiii....
posted by peeedro at 4:48 PM on April 8 [8 favorites]


I seem to be in the minority opinion in that I HATE how this show was paced, but I think it was especially egregious in this episode.

The episode is exactly as long as the innies are out in the "real" world. I liked that real-time aspect of it- how disorienting it must be, how little time they had to come to grips with the person they were, the people around them, and the situation they were in and then- how to react. They all basically had to grow up real fast in just one hour and I thought the show handled that well.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:51 PM on April 8 [11 favorites]


I thought the pacing was perfect, but it was designed to be as excruciating as possible, so it is easy to see how not everyone would enjoy it.

For me, Better Call Saul has a lot of episodes where not much happens, but it is paced so well it feels like the episode is over in just a few minutes. Twin Peaks: The Return was the opposite, where ten minutes literally felt like an hour to me (in a difficult, but also good way). This episode was so tense it felt longer than it was, but it makes sense to me, since suddenly being flipped would be disorienting, and having such an urgent mission in an unknown amount of time would be really stressful.
posted by snofoam at 5:09 PM on April 8 [9 favorites]


The brother-in-law is a permanent Innie.
posted by vitabellosi at 5:33 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


She knew Delaware at the start of the show. They’re not blank slates. Sorry if someone already pointed that out.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 6:40 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Quick notes on the way:
-town is called Kier. Company town.
-Dylan's epic labor, gazing at the icon of the four of them
-actors are doing amazing work
-show's turned inside out
-love the little Ricken scenes details: the bit about the woman's head sores (?), the fellow claiming the baby discovery as his, "do you understand metaphor?"
-also the little bits in the Lumon party - "my rotation"?
-Cobel turns it around to get back into the company. Doesn't even put her car in park.
-great defamiliarizations of each life
-love seeing the plot threads come together ("Mrs. Selvig?!")
-oh, Irving. Goodman indeed.
-oh Mark.
-lots of closeups and first person shots
-"your friends are going to suffer... we will keep them alive - in pain!"
-Helly R. steps through her divided face to speak
-there is so little of the digital world here. Photos we see as physical (Ricken can't get his digital one on time). Irving uses snail mail and printed maps to navigate a care (without a beeping key fob).
-ping
posted by doctornemo at 6:50 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


Also, let me do a little free form and see if anyone picks up what I’m putting down.

Data from Star Trek
Clusters of numbers translated as emotions
Room of animatronic people
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 6:56 PM on April 8


I'm still wondering about the Lumon employee who gave birth at the same time as Mark's sister. I think we met her again at the party? Where is she going to play into all of this?

Unless I completely misunderstood the plot points or the employee you're referencing, she is the wife of the politician who is pushing for widespread legalization of severance. The woman at the baby camp was a baby-carrying and/or birthing version of an innie. So at the gala, she (as the outie/Real Version) said, very wink-and-nod, she was thankful for a bit of help for that third kid--during a conversation on severance. It also explains why she didn't recognize Mark's sister at the park, and why the baby's name is different.
posted by lesser weasel at 7:04 PM on April 8 [16 favorites]


Also wow, what an episode. The credits came on like a slap to the face with that cheery little song.
posted by lesser weasel at 7:05 PM on April 8 [5 favorites]


Clusters of numbers translated as emotions

That’s my thought, too. Possibly fully severed people lose their ability to process emotional correctly, so the chips in the part innies serve as a kind of expanded computer. Just a thought.
posted by Silvery Fish at 7:07 PM on April 8


Lumon's tagline, "unified in severance," is such a terrifying corporate motto that sounds like neutral nothingness until I read Erickson's interview:
The challenge but also the fun thing is what is the macro version of what they're doing to individuals with severance? The idea is you can be more comfortable if you're separate, if you're breaking yourself down into more manageable pieces, you can be happier. We just tried to look at that philosophy, and how that could be an accident on a macro level. What is the natural evolution of this philosophy?
So there's no chance that Lumon and the Eagan family is anything but evil -- keeping the innies and outies separate, keeping the departments separate. They're creating wealth and power through disconnectedness.

I love that the innies and outies have aspects in common. How did Helena not realize that Helly R would be just as ferocious as she is? And Irving was such a true believer before he found out what Lumon is doing, and now his innie and his outie are obsessed with burning it all down. Then Dylan, who at first is totally obsessed with corporate perks, throws it all away for his family -- his innie and outie family.

I didn't want to start rewatching any of this until the season was over, but I am definitely going back to see what I missed or what resonates differently now that we know more of the secrets.
posted by gladly at 7:42 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


the bit about the woman's head sores

You know what else could give you a head sore? I wonder if Rebec found Pip's coupons on her car after work?

Why was that odd couple arguing over when the baby "should be introduced? " And that brings me back to Cobel visiting the family, maybe not just to spy on Mark. Perhaps Lumon wants to see how young you can sever someone. Or whatever the hell beyond Severance they're doing.

Helly being flipped out by the pics, except smiling at Mark's. And OF COURSE Cobel knows she has particular feelings for him. (I was thinking Helly gives new meaning to "we have met the enemy and he is us," and later read an interview with the actress quoting same.)

On rewatch, I was again struck by how ancient her father seemed. Way beyond the guy who maybe had a baby at 50.

The acting on this is so good across the board, guests (Mr. Eagan) and small parts (Natalie). Every actor is so present.

Oh I have comments on so much, but I'm "like a hamburger waiter prattling on about sauces." (The moment I stopped hating and began liking Ricken.)
posted by NorthernLite at 8:09 PM on April 8 [9 favorites]


Ricken is likable, but every extra line revealed from the book shows how he is such an awful writer. The others in the crowd really do fit in; mostly it's a wonder how Devon is with him.

I had to struggle with the lack of resolution too until I decided to take this show as a character study rather than story driven.

Mark now has a pressing reason for reintegration.
posted by Marticus at 8:25 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


I can't remember the last time I was so mad I'd have to wait a year to see the next episode of a show. bravo (i guess). Also completely baffled by how they will continue this show for another season. Mark can't go back to work, right? I guess Dylan and Irving will still be stuck there since neither's outies know what happened, so maybe Mark will go on a rescue mission, and who knows what happens to Helly. A great season of televison tho.

> Ricken is likable, but every extra line revealed from the book shows how he is such an awful writer. The others in the crowd really do fit in; mostly it's a wonder how Devon is with him.

His book is hilariously bad! Underrated as one of the funniest things on TV this year.
posted by dis_integration at 8:28 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


> -Helly R. steps through her divided face to speak

Also the red rose behind her in the pitch black bathroom, echoing the training room. I think some folks are going to get some remedial training next year.
posted by dis_integration at 8:30 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


I loved/ hurted that Burt's outtie is happy and in a completely out relationship. I could feel Irving's heart shatter from the wrenching forces of those simultaneous feelings. Go Turturro!

Looked at those (contingency overtime) double switches again; there has got to be a way to wedge them in position with office supplies. I've put a flathead screwdriver under a very similar handle. Or stuff something between the open position and the "safety" braces on either side of the switch.

Great observation Silvery Fish! Mark is highly intellectually and emotionally intelligent at his core. Depression/ mental illness can hurt so much more when one is such. I wonder if his history prof background will come into play?

Corbel - severed except in name and by other means; she went to that Eagan girls' school - too long ago? - and is indoctrinated to the core. Like canine training, deeply conditioned responses are a very powerful impetus. There might still be time for a heel-face turn though.

This was so layered that so many legitimate perspectives can be taken from the show, but Helly struck a nerve for me. Her innie might have more "real" freedom than her outie, and her outie seems like she could abhor herself.

I'd be tickled if Britt Lower got cast because someone loved her in 'Future Man' also, because there's a lot of seeds of her great and apt performance here, there.

'Revolving' - I'm not expecting a plausible science-y explanation. I almost expect it to go woo before going technobabble. I hope it's woo rather than technobabble.

I cannot fruitfully speculate on how the second season goes, but I really hope that there's a definite conclusion in mind before filming starts. I'm perfectly fine with the second being the last.

(Though I might have said that about 'The Good Place,' but seasons 3 and 4...)
posted by porpoise at 9:51 PM on April 8 [5 favorites]


Variety has an interview on some of the plots of season 1 and plans on season 2. Nothing on the goats, though.
posted by applesurf at 11:05 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


His book is hilariously bad! Underrated as one of the funniest things on TV this year.
From AHP’s interview with head writer Dan Erickson: “First off, I will say, writing Ricken's book is probably the most fun part of my whole job. I love sitting down and writing it. It’s like stream of consciousness because he doesn't think through his words, so why should I?”
posted by migurski at 11:25 PM on April 8 [15 favorites]


Ok, so here’s a small thing to do if you have time.

Watch the first episode again. At least through the board room table scene, or the walk down the endless halls scene.

Compare that in your mind to the final episode.

They did so much with this series. So much that I completely forgot the calm at the beginning.

And all the photos at the gala - I finally have an answer to Milickick’s incessant picture taking.
posted by Silvery Fish at 4:08 AM on April 9 [10 favorites]


Helly’s father is such an evil, twisted man, he tried to put the idea of “universal severance” on his daughter. “You said, ‘they are so pretty, everybody should have one.’”
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:43 AM on April 9 [1 favorite]


So, am I the only one that thinks Dylan might be dead? I didn't see Milchick drop the knife he used to open the door, and the hateful look he was giving Dylan when he tackled him... even if he's just wounded, that's a problem Lumon can't solve with some restaurant vouchers.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 6:09 AM on April 9 [5 favorites]


I liked this episode, though the whole two-switches tension is pretty cheap and silly, but whatever. (Plus Dylan of all people would have rigged something up to work smart not hard.) It's nice to finally see stuff about the outie life of the character the show opened on, and I guess we got another sip of Irv's outie.

I seem to be in the minority opinion in that I HATE how this show was paced, but I think it was especially egregious in this episode.

I don't think it was any more egregious in this episode. This show really likes to milk its reveals to a fairly ludicrous degree. That's what it is though. You gotta enjoy the ride, or chew around that bit, or learn to laugh with it, or whatever.

Stuff's been happening in the more recent episodes though. The perception of the pacing now may be simply about where they end the episodes. Having an episode break when someone's about to open an important door creates a different feeling than ending an episode right after they open the door and you get a glimpse of the wtf thing on the other side.

Severance does the former a lot, probably overdoes it, and that creates a feeling like, "stuff's not happening". Most shows overdo the latter -- they try to end with a "WHATTT?" that they then sort of clean up/claw back in the next episode. The feeling from overdoing *that* is that yes stuff's happening, but it's stupid and won't matter.
posted by fleacircus at 6:17 AM on April 9 [5 favorites]


Variety has an interview

Whoa, that screwed up what I thought was a twist. Helly’s father is James after all, not Kier.

I had thought it was Kier because the only Eagan named in the credits is Kier Eagan. But Michael Siberry was credited without his role (James) so I rushed to judgment.

I feel as dumb as a hamburger waiter.
posted by Monochrome at 7:25 AM on April 9 [5 favorites]


I’m starting to get the feeling that the entire town is severed. I’ll probably need to re-watch Season One, but a few things come to mind:

- Ricken’s friends are really weird
- few references to outside world
- so much of the tech (phones, cars) looks second-hand, or at least a few generations old
- empty homes

It has a very “The Village” vibe.
posted by johnxlibris at 9:15 AM on April 9 [9 favorites]


I predict that 'revolving' will resemble rotisserie in some way. Just a big ol' rotating Kier.

(I make this prediction as a service. Having been predicted by me, it shall not come to pass )
posted by Acari at 9:33 AM on April 9 [6 favorites]


"I’m starting to get the feeling that the entire town is severed."

Yeah they are either poking fun at a very specific type of person I have never encountered (entirely possible) or all the strange behavior is part of something bigger. The names also stand out: Ricken and Rebek especially, but it kind of reminds me how the Severed workers are all have their last initial as part of their name. Mark S, Burt G, etc.

It might just unrelated but it has always stood out to me.
posted by Tevin at 10:21 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


First off, this is a amazing show. The worldbuilding matched with the emotional intensity is incredible and my heart is still pounding after finishing the last episode.

Surprised it hasn't been talked about more (maybe because it's so obvious), but I found this to be was one of the most claustrophobic shows I've ever seen. Inside you have the windowless Purgatory office, sure, but outside, pretty much everything is shot in the dark, every room you can barely see beyond the characters, even in the daytime it's snowing or raining, I just felt crushed like the entire series was taking place in the Death Star trash compactor. I kept trying to turn the brightness up on my laptop even though it was already at a 100%. All intentional of course, and super effective.

The acting is just top notch across the board. As mentioned above, Ben Stiller directed Patricia Arquette in Escape at Dannemora, and if you haven't seen it (it's fine, not great) but holy cow, just for the range between those two roles Ms. Arquette should get a Lifetime Achievement Oscar.

Re: pacing, I understand it was playing by the thriller genre rules, especially as the season went on, but part of thriller rules is that there is some resolution! Like how dare you leave the series completely unresolved not knowing you're going to get to produce a Season 2? I want to give Dan Erickson and Ben Stiller a hearty handshake and then a good smack on the back of the head. It feels like you could have easily revealed more while still leaving plenty of room for a future season. In fact, now that I think about it, there really wasn't that much revealed in the final episode that we didn't know in the penultimate one (I guess Helly being an Egan was the big one, but I've been reading Fanfare threads so was pretty convinced already ;) )

And where the hell is Dr. Reghabi?
posted by gwint at 11:06 AM on April 9 [7 favorites]


Also, having noticed an aesthetic trend with retro computers on recent shows (Netflix's Maniac, Disney's Loki) apparently there's a name for it: Cassette Futurism.
posted by gwint at 11:14 AM on April 9 [10 favorites]


"where the hell is Dr. Reghabi?"

And Petey. What echoes remain of his life in the show?
posted by doctornemo at 11:51 AM on April 9 [3 favorites]


It also explains why she didn't recognize Mark's sister at the park, and why the baby's name is different.

Ah yes, thanks. That makes sense. I need to rewatch this. I never rewatch shows but I will be watching this again.
posted by Brodiggitty at 12:00 PM on April 9


I definitely appreciate the show more when people break things down for me like this really cool cinematography. (Links go to Reddit threads.) They're not things I notice right away unless it's staggeringly obvious, so it helps me when folks point it out. I also like the observations that the episode feels just as disorienting and stressful as the Innies must feel--very true and it's not an enjoyable experience, heh. I would never want to be severed and I hope we find out more about why Dylan, Irving, and Burt chose to do it.

It's true that the pacing is similar to the rest of the season, and maybe I'm more used to TV seasons that start slow to build a world and then things happen more quickly as the season finishes. Whatever the reason, my expectations were very off. At the end of the episode I felt like too many promises were unfulfilled. They could have reintroduced Dr. Reghabi and shown more about what happened with Petey, or had Outtie Mark make an active decision to start reintegrating, or something. I think that's enough to build a new season on, but as they left it it felt like too many open parentheses without matching closing ones--they need some for the series to continue, but I think it was too many. And a lot of the questions are disjoint--reintegration, Petey, June, and Dr. Reghabi; what's going on with Gemma/Ms. Casey; the senator and Gabby; the goats?? It's more like a string of beads than an interwoven tapestry, but hopefully they find a way to tie it together later. Or maybe it's supposed to feel like that because everyone is severed, so the plot is all disjoint too.

Story-wise, I will shout out the bonding of the MDF department. Having the team come together over the season was very touching and well-earned.
posted by j.r at 12:37 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


If you’re appreciative of the cinematography, ICG Magazine’s April 2022 issue has a feature on Severance.
posted by danhon at 7:13 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


- so much of the tech (phones, cars) looks second-hand, or at least a few generations old

I was relieved when Irving's car wasn't a stick shift.
posted by HeroZero at 9:19 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


I was hoping for Irving's car driving to be a moment about embodied memory. I watched a video on Reddit the other day of an elderly ballet dancer with dementia doing the movements in her wheelchair while listening to Swan Lake. Something like that - even though he had no actual memory of it, he'd have the muscle memory of driving that car to work every day for decades. But they didn't seem to play it that way - it looked more like he was remembering a skill he'd once had and applying it to the car he was in. Maybe cos the show kind of takes the mind/body split for granted? What's happened to people's minds hasn't really affected their bodies, beyond Irving's visions of black goo.
posted by happyfrog at 6:30 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


The names also stand out

It also struck me that Jame Eagan really ought to be James Reagan (though Helly has the missing R, while losing the rest of the name).

Is Helly somehow someone that Helena, deep in her unconscious, would really like to be?
posted by Grangousier at 7:45 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


I have a question about Irving’s paintings. He paints not the view Miss Casey had going into the elevator into the testing floor but the view Milcheck had. The red arrow didn’t show up until the doors were closed. So was Irving some sort of guard/management?
posted by shothotbot at 8:49 AM on April 10 [11 favorites]


Maybe her head sores were caused by a recent implant operation?
posted by autopilot at 11:18 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


Speculation - Ricken is Helena’s brother. And that’s why Cobel is so interested in the baby. (This doesn’t contradict my suspicion that Ricken is a permanent Innie.)
posted by vitabellosi at 1:53 PM on April 10


I’m tired of these mystery box shows that just have a series of cliff hangers and no payoff. I enjoyed parts of this series but I don’t think I’m going to stick with it whenever season 2 happens.
posted by interogative mood at 2:56 PM on April 10 [2 favorites]


This doesn’t contradict my suspicion that Ricken is a permanent Innie

Rick N.?
posted by nobody at 11:32 PM on April 10 [10 favorites]


I don't have problems with this being a mystery box that didn't answer every single question. I said elsewhere that I felt this finale was successful but we also learned nothing. I mean, that's not quite true but we did get a bit more verification on the lives of Helena and Irving, which is progress. I didn't have any qualms with the pacing of the ep either; this was mostly real-time, this is how they were going through it, and I felt it was a creative way to convey what they were experiencing. To set it up, I would personally prefer a cliffhanger like this versus Russian Doll – which I enjoyed the heck out of – as that felt like a complete thought with a very strong core concept, and now a second season has me questioning what that can/should possibly cover. I'll still watch that, as I will Severance s2, but I'll come in with different mindsets.

I, too, want Helena's gown. Good night, that was fabulous in every way.

Agree with lots that was said here already. Irving's herky-jerky driving is indicative of someone who hasn't had to do so in decades... I was impressed he found the shifter on the steering column. He also gravitated towards the car, which felt like it answered a lot about how severance works. Also super pleased that Mark got the core of his details out to his sister. That was a clear win.

I believe – correct me if I'm wrong – the only real outside world references we have gotten have been through TVs, with news of Congressional hearings and debates on severance. It's still in service of Helly/Helena's story I think, but other than that, the entire town feels like it's under a dome.
posted by hijinx at 5:27 AM on April 11 [5 favorites]


I think the head sores really are from her bird, and it’s a funny and icky line: what sort of passive person lets their bird groom them until they get sores?

The severance procedure doesn’t seem to leave a wound, or at least Helly doesn’t have a visible one in the first episode. I suppose it could have healed in the time between getting the chip and her first day at work.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:24 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


Did anyone else notice on Irving's list of Lumon employee names there were two Dylan Gs? I'll have to go look again but I'm pretty sure that's what I saw. I suspect they'd do that so there would still be some ambiguity about Dylan's last name.
posted by bondcliff at 6:58 AM on April 11


I guess it’s ‘Helly R’ because ‘Helly E’ would sound silly?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:08 AM on April 11


Just wanted to say that I really appreciate j.r and interogative mood for bringing thoughtful criticisms to the discussion! It really emphasizes the way that TV is such a personal preference. Personally, I love the pace of Severance, and I am really enjoying the way that it is not afraid to live in the mystery and keep us off balance. The cuts from one storyline to another were absolutely excruciating, but I found it delightfully excruciating.

I love the idea that Ricken (Rick N) is a permanent Innie, and the idea that maybe the slight strangenesses of the Outie world are indicative that Lumon has more control here than we are being lead to believe.

I really love Ricken. He's just so genuine and caring. He's trying so hard, and he wants to help people so much. I really identify with that as someone who sometimes feels a bit clueless, but also really wants to make things better for everyone around them, despite the fact that I must be metaphorically hanging kelp sometimes. He's really sweet. I know that sometimes folks like that can be really harmful - impact matters more than intention - but I have a great deal of sympathy for him.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:56 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


For what it's worth, Ricken's name on his book is ‘Dr. Ricken Lazlo Hale, PhD’.
posted by thedward at 9:19 AM on April 11 [1 favorite]


Another vote for them being legit bird wounds. Severance is a known procedure here, so why would Rebeck lie to hide it?

Unless she's someone who got her chip removed....
posted by HeroZero at 9:36 AM on April 11


It makes perfect sense that Mark's sister would be able to engage with him without any trouble. She's long been used to the idea that his innie exists and wondered what his life is like. She's probably wished she could talk to him and has likely imagined there might be something sinister or awful about it. There's protesters in the streets saying similar things.

So I thought they got that exactly right.
posted by straight at 9:41 AM on April 11 [7 favorites]


At first I was surprised that Lumon would have allowed Helena to keep returning to work after Helly almost killed her, but I guess a cult full of zealots can justify anything.

This show reminded me a lot of the much-maligned Dollhouse, which had a similar conceit (mind-wiping technology used for exploitative purposes with an even more sinister agenda underneath). I look forward to Severance extrapolating out into all the awful possibilities.

104 comments and no mention of the waffle party?? That was... wow.
posted by ejs at 9:56 AM on April 11 [5 favorites]


Oh right, the waffle party was the previous episode. Sorry, I binge-watched it and the episodes flowed together.
posted by ejs at 10:13 AM on April 11


I felt like the waffle party was the closest thing to "Let's put something bizarre in here just to be weird" the show has fallen into.

I was about to say, "They don't have enough employees to staff the security room 24/7 but they've got 5-6 people to dance like that whenever they need a quarterly bonus?" But of course those dancers are almost certainly severed. Which makes me realize that it actually makes sense that they would only want a small number of unsevered people who know what's really going on in there.

At the other end of the scale, I think they absolutely had the right instinct for when let realism slide for the sake of a great scene with Dylan. Yeah, he should have been able to rig something to hold one of the switches, but that image of him stretched out with his glasses on the verge of sliding down his sweaty nose—cursing defiantly as Milcheck saws through his belt—was just incredibly. Totally worth a measure if implausibility. (And then, "But the names of his kids?!")

The entire episode I was feeling him stretched out and getting fatigued in the back of my head. Every time one of the other characters seemed to be wasting time, doing something too slowly, some part of my brain was screaming, "But...Dylan!" So good.
posted by straight at 10:29 AM on April 11 [11 favorites]


That offer of telling Dylan his kids names was one of two wrong turns I'm glad they didn't make. A lesser show might have had Dylan take that deal. And a lesser show would have made Helly on the verge of spilling the beans and then holding her tongue because she can't bear the thought of making her true love suffer.

And I would have hated both of those choices, because they're both completely empty incentives. Dylan couldn't trust info from Milcheck any more than those wellness factoids that Miss Casey doles out. And Mark's not going to be spared punishment if Helly keeps quiet. Speaking out at that moment is her best (only?) chance to free him.
posted by straight at 10:43 AM on April 11 [5 favorites]


Agreed but wanted to note that the wellness facts actually seem to be facts! Even if not always in exactly the most transparent way (e.g. Irving loves "the sound of radar" and his dog is named Radar).
posted by redfoxtail at 10:46 AM on April 11 [15 favorites]


Oh right! I new when he saw the dog's name that it meant something, but I couldn't remember what. Now I need to go back and see how many of Mark's factoids relate to something we've seen. (I use "factoid" more for the connotation of worthlessness than whether or not they are true.)
posted by straight at 10:52 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


So now that they're all out they just need someone to tell them to never go to work again. I assume Mark's sister will do that for him, maybe Burt will do it for Irving, but who will do it for Helly?

Really the first thing they all should have done was write their innies a note and put it in their pockets for them to find.

And what will happen to Dylan? At first I thought maybe Milchick stabbed him but upon looking further it just seems that he tackled him. I assume he has an appointment in the break room coming up, if not the testing lab.
posted by bondcliff at 10:56 AM on April 11


er, outies. Damn too-short edit window.
posted by bondcliff at 11:15 AM on April 11


You might enjoy all the previous discussion in this thread about the idea of writing notes to outies. This comment in particular.
posted by Nelson at 11:36 AM on April 11 [1 favorite]


I keep going back and forth on what's up with Helly.

* Would she really go back and risk death or harm just to get more photos?
* But they didn't have any photos of her working happily with the team before the suicide attempt.
* Wouldn't it be better to just fake some photos with actors?
* But now she's got photos of herself working with Mark and other known severed workers.
* But couldn't she have just gone in and pretended to be severed to get the photos?
* Maybe she was a true believer before the suicide attempt?
* Maybe she just didn't want to spend 8-hours/day doing office work any more than that other woman wanted to experience childbirth.
* Maybe there's another purpose for her being severed than just a publicity stunt.
posted by straight at 12:29 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure it's that outer Helena is a true believer. The interview that played on the loop during the gala exhibit sounded just like the smooth corporate executive interviews you hear at mega tech companies or philanthropic institutions. She's been raised from birth to think of severance as a great good, and thinks of her severed self as a separate person who is meant to do her bidding--remember how her father talked about Helly R. as well? On the outside Helena is a privileged person who couldn't fathom that she won't get her way. And it would look really bad if she couldn't keep her innie in line and outside folks found out, with all the political pressure and protesters running around. So there's no doubt in her mind that she'd go back in, and make some extra threats for good measure so everything would keep running smoothly. (Smoothly, at least as far as she knew--no way would Milchick actually tell her how bad it really was, or try to convince Helena Eagan not to go back in!)
posted by j.r at 12:45 PM on April 11 [7 favorites]


From the Variety interview with Dan Erickson linked above:

The purpose of what she’s doing is to sort of show that severance is good enough for an Eagan. This isn’t something that we would just do to the unwashed masses. This is something that the CEO’s daughter is willing to do and is excited to do, because it’s a total benefit to her life. That’s the message they’re trying to get across. That’s the primary thing. But the more we get into the Eagans, there’s so many weird cult-like dynamics. And it becomes sort of about Helena having to prove her loyalty and prove her worth and prove her commitment to her ancestor’s vision. So on a practical level, it’s basically a big PR move, but it is also Jame testing his daughter in a weird, manipulative way.

Yeah, those last two sentences explain why she wouldn't be deterred by a little self-murder attempt.
posted by ejs at 12:51 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


Things I Loved

The way Ricken is actually a real person


I think one of my favorite experiences in fiction—and maybe one of the most valuable things fiction can do for us—is when a story gets you thinking of someone as merely comic relief or irritating or evil and then manages to make you see them as a person.
posted by straight at 12:58 PM on April 11 [14 favorites]


Like how dare you leave the series completely unresolved not knowing you're going to get to produce a Season 2?

From interviews with the creators it sounds like they had plans to make the first season 10 episodes instead of 9 and restructure things to have more closure if they didn't get renewed for Season 2.
posted by straight at 1:03 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


I just keep (mentally) replaying Helly's first day, where she's in the stairwell to go IN to the work floor, and keeps ending up back in the stairwell. And she says something to Milchick like, "I really don't want to be in there, do I?" So I think she definitely knows that it's bad to be an innie, in some way. So her outtie must have some extra motive behind what she's doing. Not sure whether it's for good or evil, but I don't think it's as simple as taking one for the team as a demonstration.
posted by Mchelly at 2:29 PM on April 11


When a severed employee quits (or retires) are they just leaving behind a collection of memories that they can't remember anyway, or are they complicit in the death of another person? I can kind of imagine the two Marks as one person, but I find it much harder to reconcile Helly and Helena into one person.

This show is making me want to reread Derek Parfit's writings on identity.
posted by thedward at 3:15 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


You might enjoy all the previous discussion in this thread about the idea of writing notes to outies. This comment in particular.

Irving had a whole bunch of Lumon intel including a cutting about an employee suing Lumon, a list of severed employees with biographical notes, and a map of their homes. He doesn't really seem like a Lumon partisan with those hidden papers. I think a note to himself would have been a chance worth taking.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:39 PM on April 11 [6 favorites]


From interviews with the creators it sounds like they had plans to make the first season 10 episodes instead of 9 and restructure things to have more closure if they didn't get renewed for Season 2.

Ugh, the worst part of how TV works in the US.
posted by gwint at 8:00 AM on April 12


A fun thing with no mystery box business: “Mark, can I look at her book too? I can crane!”
posted by Monochrome at 8:41 AM on April 12 [7 favorites]


It was so funny to find Michael Scott-like (The Office) behavior in the tense, high-stakes episode.
posted by Monochrome at 9:01 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]


Irving had a whole bunch of Lumon intel including a cutting about an employee suing Lumon, a list of severed employees with biographical notes, and a map of their homes. He doesn't really seem like a Lumon partisan with those hidden papers. I think a note to himself would have been a chance worth taking.

Totally fair point, but I think it's asking a lot of Irving to make that call in real time, especially when he has already decided that finding Burt is more important than anything else.

Also, to increase the strangeness of the Outie world, Burt's husband should be named Ernie and no one comments on it at all.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:42 AM on April 12 [9 favorites]


Anybody else waiting for someone to issue Order 66?
posted by orrnyereg at 11:16 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]


'Severance' Creator Dan Erickson Knows Exactly What the Goats Are For (Thrillist interview)

Thank goodness! My one remaining concern after the season finale was that the goats were some Lost shit.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:55 PM on April 12


A random thought: was Helly’s terminal rigged to further demonstrate how rewarding this work is (that is, a key talking point for her book)? She got it done, she got the animated “I love you” sequence - and Corbel and Milchick were watching her get there, live. All just good book fodder?
posted by hijinx at 3:20 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


Thinking some more about things that are in the same loose genre - I don't know how much it's been mentioned, but I'm very much reminded of the first season of Westworld - in between the violent thriller stuff (which quickly took over) was a much more interesting series about how the world looked to these synthetic people, and Severance reminds me of the interesting, mislaid bits of Westworld.

Also, I just remembered Amazon's series Tales From the Loop, which definitely has some resonances (though it's even slower than Severance: beautiful and very, very sad).
posted by Grangousier at 3:59 PM on April 12 [6 favorites]


When we got that first look at Irving's outie painting, I was sure he was gonna completely freak out when he saw it because of how much it's like the nightmares he's been having when he dozes off.

Which makes a nice parallel to how it seemed Mark was going to freak out seeing Cobel right next to him when he wakes up.

But it makes sense that they wouldn't be shocked by those things in particular because everything they see is new and strange. If anything should be overwhelming, it seems like it would be Irving going outside and seeing the sky.
posted by straight at 11:51 PM on April 12 [3 favorites]


I liked the bit where two book fans are asking Mark whether they should give unsolicited parenting advice to his sister and he says, "Wait. That's my sister? With the baby?" but they hear it as "Wait. That's my sister with the baby."
posted by straight at 11:54 PM on April 12 [4 favorites]


I was wrong about Irving - he's obviously hyper-functional. I now wonder whether the Motörhead paintings and sleep deprivation aren't an attempt to make contact with his innie - given the dreams he's been having at work it's been working, but not in the way he hoped. The fact that the paintings are done with the body rather than the mind, and the instinctive-motor stuff that carries over between selves (as per the driving) suggest that this might be so.

Another series that came to mind that's not the same but somehow hangs with Severance is Lodge 49, one of my favourite things from the last few years. Out of that came the notion that perhaps there's a family connection between the characters - we've already seen Irving's dad, and it seems that Harmony's mother might be Charlotte, and the company (or at least Harmony) are interested in Mark's family. Family is a very important theme throughout the show. I wonder if there's a story from the seventies or eighties that underpins the current story (in the way that the first few episodes were actually the aftermath of another story, the Petey story, that finished before the first thing we saw).

In fact if they really wanted to frustrate us (and I think it's not a very outlandish conjecture to suggest that they might), the second season could be that story in flashback. There would be riots, though, wouldn't there?
posted by Grangousier at 2:31 AM on April 13 [4 favorites]


Oh, and I don't know whether it's come up before, but I realised why the Lumon buffets are so melon-heavy and odd: It has to be something that could be perceived as a treat, but not leave the employee with any lasting effects. Colourful, but basically just water and a little sugar. I bet the coffee is decaffeinated, too.
posted by Grangousier at 2:36 AM on April 13 [6 favorites]


And I wonder what the job ad for Milchick's position was like, given that it's one third Human Resources, one third psychiatric nurse and one third professional photographer.
posted by Grangousier at 2:37 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


Oh, and I don't know whether it's come up before, but I realised why the Lumon buffets are so melon-heavy and odd: It has to be something that could be perceived as a treat, but not leave the employee with any lasting effects. Colourful, but basically just water and a little sugar.

I read somewhere, probably in these threads, that they have to be foods that are not likely to connect strongly to memories, so relatively bland, generic, forgettable. Melon. Eggs. Waffles.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:04 AM on April 13 [3 favorites]


I keep wondering about the odd time requirements of the MDR. Almost everything interesting would have to be done in near real time. The files do expire but the quarterly quota aspect confuses me.
posted by shothotbot at 12:37 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


not likely to connect strongly to memories, so relatively bland, generic, forgettable. Melon. Eggs. Waffles

I don't disagree with the later, but I think that the rewards in general are dollar-store level so are familiar, but blandly and generically so (and presumably acceptable to an innie's basic brain functions/ "human nature") that it doesn't evoke emotion.

"Our" innies have been responding to teh feels. And got uppity.
posted by porpoise at 9:18 PM on April 13 [3 favorites]


I have a question about Irving’s paintings. He paints not the view Miss Casey had going into the elevator into the testing floor but the view Milcheck had. The red arrow didn’t show up until the doors were closed.
I now wonder whether the Motörhead paintings and sleep deprivation aren't an attempt to make contact with his innie

I love the idea (and it makes tons of sense, based on what he found in his home) that Irving is someone who is actively trying to influence his innie from the outside, maybe to get information that he can transmit to other outties. He might even be the anti-Helly: someone who got severed intentionally in order to effect change on the outside, from within -- but for good
posted by Mchelly at 7:02 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


That's my theory. Outtie Irving has been investigating Lumen for a long time and then a few years ago decided to "go undercover" and join the Severed workforce to try and take them down from the inside. But then, once inside, he becomes the ultimate true believer in the company line. Hook, line and sinker. For whatever reason, his innie is a stickler and a rules-follower. It's not until he has his relationship with Burt that he begins to break out and start to value his own needs and has a real connection with someone.

I also think it's why innie-Irving doesn't leave his outie a note. The *only* person he completely trusts is Burt.
posted by ssmith at 8:20 AM on April 14 [6 favorites]


The Diamond Desk, Surveillance Shots, and 7 Other Stories About Making Severance [Vulture / Archive]
posted by ellieBOA at 6:14 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


There were times on set where the poor crew had to either put cardboard on the floor or put tape under my feet because I would walk so hard. Milchick is a man on a mission.

That's from ellieBOA's link. What is the cardboard or tape for? To muffle footsteps?
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:11 AM on April 16


If not to muffle the noise, then perhaps to avoid marking those shiny white floors.
posted by thedward at 10:10 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


It's to avoid waking the minotaur.
posted by mochapickle at 5:27 PM on April 17 [8 favorites]


I found this to be was one of the most claustrophobic shows I've ever seen

On the one hand, I feel like “slightly stoned” is the right mindset from which to experience this show, from a philosophical, aesthetic, and pacing standpoint.

On the other hand, the intense claustrophobia really freaked me out. Helly R’s orientation almost broke me. I couldn’t stop thinking about how it would feel to be trapped in a windowless room, not knowing how you got there and whether you’d escape or just slowly expire.

The pacing of this final episode, where every scene was just a little too short, where the thing you needed to see happen never quite got there, was really masterful, though. Frustrating. But masterful.

Looking forward to season 2, but hoping it’s less “here are more puzzles” and more “here’s how these characters got along after Dylan G’s waffle party.”
posted by uncleozzy at 8:13 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


This show reminded me a lot of the much-maligned Dollhouse, which had a similar conceit (mind-wiping technology used for exploitative purposes with an even more sinister agenda underneath).

Dichen Lachman, who plays Ms Casey and is (surprise!) Mark's wife, was also in Dollhouse.
posted by crossoverman at 5:52 AM on April 25 [5 favorites]


Maybe the next season will be the same time period, but from the perspective of the company - so we get to see what all those characters are doing. Is the doula working for Lumon? She connected Mark’s sister to the breastfeeding coach (Cobel).
posted by vitabellosi at 4:58 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


The Stories Behind Some of the Weird Stuff on ‘Severance’
Catherine Miller, the show’s prop master, talks about how her team sourced and made the eerie objects that define Lumon.
posted by Stanczyk at 8:03 AM on May 5 [1 favorite]


I have to admit that even with my frustrations with this show — I’m hooked. I wanted to just drop it after season 1; but I can’t.
posted by interogative mood at 8:33 AM on May 5


I just caught up with this, late, but I want to share my thoughts. I thought the final episode in particular was exemplary TV making and the tenseness I felt a testament to how the previous eight episodes had invested me in the outcomes of each of the characters.
This first season clearly focussed on the mystery box side of things, but now that we have a bit of a handle on the characters (inside and out) I would like to see more exploration of how the physical aspects of the traumas they suffer as enslaved workers manifest in their outies. Both in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event (Helly’s suicide attempt for example where surely Mark’s outie would be aware of anxiety in his body), but also long term. Perhaps what we’re seeing with Irv is part of that. Perhaps he is digging because of an intense awareness of having suffered trauma but without knowing what.

I kind of wish we could have a moratorium on mentioning Lost on any discussion of shows with any element of mystery. Every TV maker in the world is surely aware of that cautionary tale and I can’t imagine it ever being repeated. I also think it is fine for some things to remain mysterious. I genuinely hope we never find out what the deal is with the goats because I honestly don’t care, it doesn’t seem relevant to the lives of Mark, Helly, Irv and Dylan.
posted by chill at 3:41 AM on May 16 [4 favorites]


Every TV maker in the world is surely aware of that cautionary tale and I can’t imagine it ever being repeated.

Probably true except for most every other Abrams TV show and many other Bad Robot shows. So I'm still cautious.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:05 AM on May 18


What about the goats?

They have to be some kind of perk. Goat Party, anyone?
posted by panama joe at 10:24 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Irving seems as surprised as we are that he can drive a car, suggesting that skills that don’t require conscious specific memory are retained.

Yes... my sense was that the innie maintained the "muscle memory" of how to drive a car, but what he had to learn on the spot was how to drive that particular car.

I really loved the reuse of the contrition statement. So good.

It was like the Litany Against Fear from Dune!

Helly lothes Hellana so much. I keep thinking of when she says “I want her to wake up with the life draining out of her body and know it was me”

And Helly got her wish during the hanging -- that's why she hanged herself in the elevator! Remember that moment where Helena wakes up in terror to find herself dangling in the noose? I sort of feel like Helly's ability to play the game after she came back was due in part to a quiet sense of satisfaction that she had been able made her outie suffer, at least a little bit.

I agree with you j.r. I found the constant cutting between characters while things unfolded at a snails pace to be excruciating.

Generally, the whole point of suspenseful entertainment is to heighten and draw out the suspense, not to convey maximum plot information as quickly as possible.

But my wife also finds the suspense unbearable in many shows. In the case of Severance, she stopped watching for several episodes and had me give her plot summaries. She only returned to watching it with me for the finale.

[S]he is the wife of the politician who is pushing for widespread legalization of severance. The woman at the baby camp was a baby-carrying and/or birthing version of an innie. So at the gala, she (as the outie/Real Version) said, very wink-and-nod, she was thankful for a bit of help for that third kid--during a conversation on severance. It also explains why she didn't recognize Mark's sister at the park, and why the baby's name is different.

Yes -- when Devon barged in on her at the birthing cottages and asked how she'd managed to have so many kids, she said, "I guess I had a lot of help." At the time, we were supposed to think that she was just referring to how rich she was. When she says the same thing at the gala, we realize she was talking about severance.

The credits came on like a slap to the face with that cheery little song.

That was Mose Allison's "Your Mind Is On Vacation":

You're sitting there yakkin' right in my face
I guess I'm gonna have to put you in your place
Y'know if silence was golden
You couldn't raise a dime
Because your mind is on vacation and your mouth is
Working overtime

You're quoting figures, you're dropping names
You're telling stories about the dames
You're always laughin' when things ain't funny
You try to sound like you're big money
If talk was criminal, you'd lead a life of crime
Because your mind is on vacation and your mouth is
Working overtime

You know that life is short and talk is cheap
Don't be making promises that you can't keep
If you don't like the song I'm singing, just grin and
Bear it
All I can say is if the shoe fits wear it
If you must keep talking please try to make it rhyme
'Cause your mind is on vacation and your mouth is working
Overtime

posted by Artifice_Eternity at 10:23 PM on May 25 [1 favorite]


Helly’s father is James after all, not Kier.

At one point, he says something to Helly like, "I know The Grandfather would be so proud of you." I assumed he was referring to Kier, in some weird, cultish way.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 10:32 PM on May 25 [1 favorite]


Someone on Reddit points out that the Macrodata Refinement keyboards have no Control keys, and no Escape keys. The details in this show, man. Ugh.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 11:06 PM on May 25 [7 favorites]


I’m tired of these mystery box shows that just have a series of cliff hangers and no payoff. I enjoyed parts of this series but I don’t think I’m going to stick with it whenever season 2 happens.

This show is not just about the plot. Sure, the mystery box elements are twisty... and the production design and cinematography are amazing. But I think the real magic is in the carefully observed emotional arcs of the central characters. If that didn't strike you the first time thru, it might be worth a rewatch.

The evocations of the alienation of corporate jobs, and the different ways that people cope with it, as well as the way that grief can make you want to disconnect from your emotions, are just so pitch-perfect. The writing is masterful.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:21 AM on May 26 [3 favorites]


I guess it’s ‘Helly R’ because ‘Helly E’ would sound silly?

Also, lots of audience members would guess that she was an Eagan.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:21 AM on May 26


It was so funny to find Michael Scott-like (The Office) behavior in the tense, high-stakes episode.

This show is kind of like The Office meets The Prisoner.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:22 AM on May 26 [5 favorites]


I'm very much reminded of the first season of Westworld - in between the violent thriller stuff (which quickly took over) was a much more interesting series about how the world looked to these synthetic people, and Severance reminds me of the interesting, mislaid bits of Westworld.

The innies, like the Westworld hosts, remind me of the replicants of Blade Runner. There's a key line in that movie where the police chief notes that the replicants have a short lifespan because "after a few years, they begin to develop their own emotional responses." In Westworld, this problem was solved by constant memory wipes. In this show, it seems that Lumon may not have come up with a satisfactory solution yet.

I note that at one point in the penultimate episode, Dylan sees a screen with a variety of options including CLEAN SLATE, which sounds like it might be a way to do a factory reset of an innie. But maybe Lumon is reluctant to do this, because it's trying to train the innies for various tasks, and wiping them would undo that work.

Or maybe the whole thing, including the numbers that the refiners select, is just a big experiment, and Lumon specifically wants to see how the innies go off the rails, to make future versions of severance that much more bulletproof. (But it's safe to say they aren't expecting the MDR team to go as far off the rails as they ultimately do.)
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:30 AM on May 26


We were shouting "hang in there Dylan!!!" frequently during the episode. So much better than a ticking clock.

This felt like a mid-season finale.

I don't have much more to add, except in the first episode Dylan was working on the Tumwater file. Tumwater is a town near Olympia, WA. The Tacoma Narrows bridge is visible from Mark's neighborhood. So I figured Kier is in the region of Washington state south of Puget Sound. This will hopefully be confirmed next season when the MDR crew does the Puyallup.

Any meaning to the fact that Cobel drives a white Rabbit and Irv drives a Nova? My family had that car btw, in copper. The same car was used in the X-Men Dark Phoenix movie (in the same color we had).

Weird hearing everyone talk about MDR, those are my initials. A spelled-out version is one of my online handles.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 4:10 AM on May 29 [3 favorites]


The Tacoma Narrows bridge is visible from Mark's neighborhood. So I figured Kier is in the region of Washington state south of Puget Sound.

That's the Kingston-Port Ewen Suspension Bridge, AKA the Wurts Street Bridge, in Ulster County, New York. The exterior locations used in Severance are mostly in New York's Hudson Valley (save for the Lumon building, which is the former Bell Labs building in Holmdel, New Jersey).

I didn't recognize too many of them while watching the series, but I did instantly clock the intersection where Irving's and Cobel's cars pass each other in the final episode. It's in Beacon, NY (as is the "Hall of Records" where Mark and Alexa encounter the anti-severance protesters).

And this past week, while staying in the Catskills, I probably drove past the Phoenicia Diner at least 20 times. It's the location used for for Pip's.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 11:17 PM on May 29 [7 favorites]


‘I had to lie to my co-workers for months’: the art of delivering a great TV twist [Guardian, spoilers for The Good Place!]
posted by ellieBOA at 7:22 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Just to be thorough, that Guardian article has spoilers for:
* The Good Place, season 1
* Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 5
* The Empire Strikes Back
* The Usual Suspects
posted by Pronoiac at 9:43 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


I don't know if this has been posted before, but there is a Lumon LinkedIn page.
posted by rednikki at 6:56 AM on June 4 [2 favorites]


Ricken is likable, but every extra line revealed from the book shows how he is such an awful writer.

I am coming to this thread quite late but if you like the actor who plays Ricken here, he is spectacular in another oddly-paced but very watchable show called The Patriot. He plays an affable but bumbling brother who you learn to like more over time.

Dichen Lachman, who plays Ms Casey and is (surprise!) Mark's wife, was also in Dollhouse.

Right! Thanks so much for making this connection. Dollhouse was a little too Whedon-misogynistic for me to rewatch but she was a great actor in that show.

Cortex and I discuss Severance a little bit in the half-podcast last week. I had put off watching it because I kept confusing it with Succession and it turns out that the actor who plays Dylan was in both!
posted by jessamyn at 12:34 PM on June 21 [6 favorites]


Another late joiner, I've basically binged this show over the last week or two after seeing a reference on Dropout's "Um, Actually" that nudged me over the edge to curiosity... and goddamn, what a phenomenal work this has been so far. The reveals towards the end (Gemma being Ms. Casey, etc) are the only time in recent memory that a show has made me say 'Holy Shit!' out loud.

Yes... my sense was that the innie maintained the "muscle memory" of how to drive a car, but what he had to learn on the spot was how to drive that particular car.

To me, it read as an inverse of muscle memory - Irving seemed to intellectually know the procedural steps of 'how to do cars', but had to put it into practice and be startled by how the car actually felt like to drive. When he went out to the parking lot he didn't recognize his vehicle, but knew that the key would match the make of the car and worked it out from there.

One of the best small details in Mark's home that I haven't seen mentioned in any of the episode threads, but has been in the background in at least half of them - Mark has a fishtank with what appears to be two Betta fish, one red and one blue, separate by a glass wall divider (only clearly seen as a black line at the edge on the front of the tank). There's parallels to red pill / blue pill, the mental divisions that Mark himself has, the fact that if Bettas are both put into the same space they'll usually try and kill each other.. so good.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:33 PM on July 29 [6 favorites]


« Older Atlanta: The Old Man and the T...   |  Book: Camp Ghoul Mountain Part... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments

poster