Severance Season 1 – Kafkaesque, Slightly Surreal Thriller About Vulnerability In The Workplace


In the first season of this dark horror show, a company is faced with a crisis that threatens to destroy their business. A top executive becomes increasingly unstable and paranoid; he drives those around him insane until they start turning on each other in some radical ways.

The “severance plot theories” is a Kafkaesque, slightly surreal thriller about vulnerability in the workplace. The show follows an office worker who finds herself in a very unique situation when she discovers that she has been replaced by a robot.

REVIEW OF THE SERIES – Whether you’re in a cubicle, behind a counter, or slumped over a desk in your home office, you may be yearning for a better work-life balance — a method to draw a line between your work hours and your leisure time, when you may do anything you want. But what if you could establish a full dividing line between your work and home lives with an implant that effectively bisects the link between memories formed at work and ideas generated when watching TV on the couch? In other words, between the two types of “being,” you recall nothing and no one, to the point where you are living your life as two distinct individuals with different memories.

 

 

In a word, that’s the idea of AppleTV+’s Severance series, which recounts the events surrounding the enigmatic business Lumon Industries and is written by Dan Erickson. The brain surgery procedure known as “severance” is controversial in the not-too-distant future world created by the Apple TV+ series, with many lobbying government officials to outright ban it – but for Mark Scout (Adam Scott), a former professor grieving the recent death of his wife, working for Lumon and agreeing to a Severance allows him to leave all of his emotions behind every day when he goes to work. Mark can be the most efficient version of himself in his office’s labyrinthine, smooth white halls – but when he exits the work elevator to come home, he has no recollection of what transpired within Lumon. The new band-aid on his brow is explained away as a workplace mishap with a complimentary gift card attached, and the coworkers he would have recognized inside are total strangers to him outside the building.

 

thegeek severance 1

 

What exactly are the “outies”?

 

We quickly learn that Mark isn’t the only Lumon employee who has experienced a Severance. His closest coworkers are only aware of what is going on in the firm while they are inside, and they often philosophize about what type of person the “outie” (their outsider half) is since they do not have access to these memories. Dylan G. (Zach Cherry) is a modest achiever who has established multiple departmental records and brags about the numerous benefits he has obtained as a result (most of which are shoddy corporate bullshit things). At the same time, Irving B. (John Turturro) is a zealous defender of business policies, and he can recite the Lumon employee handbook completely. When Helly B. (Britt Lower), the newest employee, arrives at Lumon’s workplace, her fierce instincts and proclivity to question everything they’re given collide with the attitude Lumon is aiming to establish – one of full and unquestioned complacency.

 

thegeek severance 2

 

The rebel

 

Helly’s arrival will thus be the catalyst for upsetting the seemingly perfect status quo – and scattering the other employees from the core as they all try to solve the many issues that surround Lumon, both outside and inside the company. What exactly is Lumon up to? What are their responsibilities in turn, more specifically? Although Dylan has his own increasingly weird notions about what exactly is going on at Macrodata’s Refinery department, each time a piece of code is clicked on, it is separated from the others and moved into a sorting area until the file is declared complete. However, while this group has always been taught not to ask too many questions, to keep their heads down and focus on their own work, Helly’s repeated attempts to circumvent the existing system have the efficiency of a battering ram, as he repeatedly rams himself into Lumon’s towering structure, looking for any possible weak point.

Her defiance is recognized by the rebellious upper management, particularly Lumon’s boss Harmony Cobel (Patricia Arquette), whose devotion to the corporation has devolved into near-religious fanaticism. Mr Milchick (Tramell Tillman), her loyal enforcer, is one of the most unnerving and amazing moments of the whole season, with his ability to go from joyfully indifferent to quietly filthy scary and surreally exuberant and kind at other times. The frequent glimpses we get into Lumon’s darker and more sinister edges keep the series riveting, but rather than plunging too deeply into irreversible darkness, Severance also emphasizes the truth that human relationships can be found even for those who have purposefully chosen to ‘divide’ themselves in such incredible ways. Irving, who has always prided himself on following the rules, forms a new bond with his co-worker Burt G. (Christopher Walken) in one of the most unlikely places – Lumon itself – creating an unexpectedly touching dynamic between the two excellent actors and becoming the source of some of the season’s most touching and heartbreaking scenes. Mark’s life outside of work isn’t entirely solitary either, but is rooted in his relationships with his family, particularly his sister Devon (Jen Tullock) and husband Ricken (Michael Chernus), whose latest book appears to be a pretentious lifestyle bestseller at first, but ends up having a more profound effect on the Lumon employees when a copy is accidentally brought into the office.

 

 

 

Fans of David Lynch will like this film.

 

In terms of plot, Severance would be a delightfully original notion (albeit it would be evocative of Black Mirror’s frequently unsettling approach to contemporary technology and its impact on humans). Still, one feature that adds to the series’ quality is the David Lynch-esque direction: episodes were directed by Ben Stiller and Aoife Mcardle with extremely professional impact. With subtle yet effective surreal Kafkaesque visuals, clever shifts in perspective, and a distinct tonal Severance between the bright, almost too clean world inside Lum and the silent world outside its walls, Stiller, returning to direct for the small screen for the first time since 2018’s Escape From Dannemora, knows exactly what he’s making a series.

With this in mind, Severance’s most startling feature is the various riddles it ties up in calm, overarching concerns of philosophy, morality, and free will vs choice. As the series demonstrates, some of these issues are difficult to answer, while others are not as black and white as they seem at first. Even the most complacent human has the potential to break away from the most restrictive conditions, as we witness throughout the season, and maybe a split mind is always subconsciously wanting to reunite – to once again become the complete form of itself.

Severance is a brilliantly timed, creepy, and stunningly designed series about the fragility of the workplace, big business’s pompous nonsense, and power systems that resemble cults or totalitarian regimes. The visual universe, the directing, the acting, and the storyline of sections of the series are all flawless. This series is a must-see for anybody searching for a Kafkaesque or Orwellian representation of the more serious concerns presented, rather than simply easy pleasure.

-BadSector-

REVIEW OF THE SERIES – Whether you’re in a cubicle, behind a counter, or slumped over a desk in your home office, you may be yearning for a better work-life balance – a method to draw a line between your work hours and your leisure time, when you may do anything you want. But what if you could establish a full dividing line between your work and home lives with an implant that effectively bisects the link between memories formed at work and ideas generated when watching TV on the couch? To put it another way, you recall…

Season 1 of Severance is a Kafkaesque, somewhat surreal thriller about workplace vulnerability.

Season 1 of Severance is a Kafkaesque, somewhat surreal thriller about workplace vulnerability.

2022-04-24

Gergely Herpai (BadSector)

Severance is a brilliantly timed, creepy, and stunningly designed series about the fragility of the workplace, big business’s pompous nonsense, and power systems that resemble cults or totalitarian regimes. The visual universe, the directing, the acting, and the storyline of sections of the series are all flawless. This series is a must-see for anybody searching for a Kafkaesque or Orwellian representation of the more serious concerns presented, rather than simply easy pleasure.

9.6 Direction
Actors received a score of 9.4 out of ten.
9.2 for the story
9.4 for visuals
9.5 Ambience

9.4

AWESOME

Severance is a brilliantly timed, creepy, and stunningly designed series about the fragility of the workplace, big business’s pompous nonsense, and power systems that resemble cults or totalitarian regimes. The visual universe, the directing, the acting, and the storyline of sections of the series are all flawless. This series is a must-see for anybody searching for a Kafkaesque or Orwellian representation of the more serious concerns presented, rather than simply easy pleasure.

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Severance Season 1 is a Kafkaesque, slightly surreal thriller about vulnerability in the workplace. The show follows the life of Joe Goldberg, who is trying to find his purpose after being laid off from his job. Joe’s search for meaning leads him to an unconventional and seemingly perfect job as a security guard at a company called Severance. Joe soon learns that he must fight for what he wants most: his freedom. Reference: tv tropes severance.

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