Severance Season 1 Episode 8 Review: What Are We Eating?
Lumon employees are dropping like flies.
In Severance Season 1 Episode 8, the Innies seize their moment and make a bold play to shake up their destiny.
Unfortunately, for every social feast and egg waffle, there have to be sacrifices.
In Severance Season 1 Episode 7, we learned that Mrs. Casey is Mark’s wife, Gemma, who is believed to have died. Mark and Ms Casey didn’t have much interaction – it was always standard and professional.
These are our lives. Nobody can just turn you off.
They have no memories of each other aside from Lumon, as noted by Milchick. Not only that, but Gemma doesn’t appear to be under the same protocols as other separated Lumon employees. We know she’s only “awake” for the wellness sessions, but we never see her step off the elevator.
How is it “activated”? Is Outie Gemma alive, or is she effectively brain dead, and Mrs. Casey is the only version of her that still exists? Without knowing the answers to these questions, it is impossible to know what happened to Ms. Casey when she was sent to the “testing floor”.
Is this where all the Innies go when they retire or get fired? This is probably where they insert and remove their chips. The moral implications, again, are horrific. As we have come to realize, when an Innie ceases to function, it ceases to exist.
How cold was Milchick at the time, granting Mrs. Casey only a crumb of comfort? It was a cruel irony, given all the facts Mrs. Casey had told everyone about their Outies, and she was only allowed to know that her counterpart was happy and doing a lot of wonderful things.
Do you know if I’m happy up there?
Although she’s not sure exactly how she got to where she is, Gemma/Ms. Casey remains a tragic figure.
Wouldn’t you be strange if your life had only lasted 107 hours, consisting only of individual interactions devoted to the well-being of someone else?
She can’t leave for good – it would be too teasing to bring this massive plot twist only to make it useless with her final death.
Outie Irving is a painter, and somehow he saw that dark hallway, or at least that’s the implication. With a brief introduction to Irving’s quiet outdoor life, we got access to a few more pieces of the Severance puzzle.
The black slime that Innie Irving keeps hallucinating seems to be the black paint his Outie uses to paint the dark hallway leading to the testing room over and over again.
This suggests that Outie Irving has some access to Lumon unbeknownst to his Innie and that their consciences aren’t as divided as they should be.
If Outie Irving keeps painting that hallway, maybe it’s as simple as that’s where the Outies are going to get their chips inserted. But the constant repetition and attempts to remember it suggest he is trying to access a subconscious memory through his painting.
Innie Irving, on the other hand, is synonymous with business. Lumon, and by extension Kier Eagan, kidnapped his love, Burt. This manual that he memorized, like a bible, robbed him of true happiness.
He allowed himself an act of vandalism that symbolized the rejection of Kier’s teachers, something he had believed in for most of his career.
Okay, kids. Let’s find out what’s for dinner.
With the manuals on display and the secret manner in which the Macrodata team preserves Ricken’s “New Testament”, one can’t help but see the blatant religious overtones – how the suppression of new ideas can never truly be sustained forever.
“Our job is to taste the fresh air. Your so-called boss may own the clock taunting you from the wall, but, my friends, the time is yours.”
Mark and Dylan [reading “The You You Are”]
The human aspiration for knowledge and new ideas outside of totalitarian regimes is omnipresent. Rebellion, even in the face of death, is worth it.
There’s always the question of why Ricken’s book was left for them to figure out in the first place. Mrs. Cobel put him down, then when she hugged Mark at the very end, she told him to leave Lumon.
However, when she stole this book, Mrs. Cobel was in a very different place.
Surprisingly, Lumon wasn’t actually aware of Mrs. Cobel spying on Mark and Devon. It was also surprising that the board was unaware of Helly’s suicide attempt.
Work is just work, right?
Mrs. Cobel lost her mind tonight, and it was quite disturbing. Ms. Cobel had something in her this whole season, and it finally broke.
Patricia Arquette’s Cobel/Selvig is still an enigma, a symbol of how even the unseparated can be treated as chattel to Lumon, less than human workers whom they can dispose of at their discretion.
Now that she’s been fired from Lumon and everything she cares about taken away from her, will Cobel conduct her own personal investigation? She is a woman despised by her devoted love (Lumon/the Eagan myth), revenge incarnate.
His curiosity around Mark/Gemma/Devon remains mysterious, but wherever that story builds will be fascinating. Is Cobel a force for good or evil, and does she have her own motives regardless of anything Lumon?
The chemistry between Helly and Mark finally showed. Their workplace romance evolved organically, the typical trope of enemies to friends to lovers.
Helly: You pretended to care about me pretty well.
Mark: It’s easy to pretend to be interested in you.
Helly: Like you.
Both seem aware of the other’s hesitations and do not wish to overstep their professional limits. However, it’s clear by the end that since they’re trying to subvert their workplace, they don’t have to be loyal to any protocol.
It only made sense that Helly was the only one to make a move and kiss. Mark likely recognized the power dynamics of their boss-employee relationship and didn’t want to overstep, despite his feelings, to respect Helly’s boundaries rather than company rules.
The lighting during the egg bar was perfect. The pink of the dining room where they sat together and expressed how much they cared for each other was so warm and pure and wouldn’t have looked so romantic under the neon lights.
One particular shot lingered in the mirror as if hinting at what was to come—the discovery of the other side of themselves, existing only through the mirror. Not quite subtle, but delicious nonetheless.
We have yet to tackle what was arguably the most disturbing sequence of the entire series (which is saying something). And no, I’m not talking about Helly’s “100%” computer animation of Kier Eagan telling her he loves her and then flying off a mountain.
Of course, I’m referring to the waffle party.
Pardon my language, but what was that? These were next level shenanigans, Eyes Wide Shut.
It makes sense that exotic dancers should wear masks to avoid identification or recognition, but why do they have to be so terrifying?
Their meaning remains elusive, but if one were to go down the rabbit hole, one could think of them as symbolic counterparts of Lumon’s employees – Helly as the bride, Mark as the jester, Irving as the sheep, Mrs. Cobel as an old woman. .
The more you think about it, the more disturbing it becomes. This is the award that Lumon bestows on its star employees? I can not.
Are these dancers laid off employees? Is their whole life just those sensual five-minute dances at the end of term for the winners of the waffle party? Or are they employees performing other functions who must remain anonymous in this incarnation?
Could their Outies have consented? Again, this sequence raises so many questions. It definitely set the mood, though, and the music was suitably eerie and eerie.
Dylan has been a deeply satisfying character to watch evolve. The revelation of his “advantage” was so touching. Although he couldn’t be with his Outie family, he realized that as Innie, Team Macrodata is truly his family.
Although he was artificially created, his concern for them is as deep as any bond in the outside work. Dylan likely understands that this mission may be the only chance they’ve ever had to escape, and he’s willing to sacrifice this opportunity to make sure his team experiences it as well.
We only got a glimpse of Outie Helly before the “change,” and it looks like she’s at the Lumon gala. Why? What is his part in all this?
All we know about Outie Helly is that she’s determined to work at Lumon and doesn’t see her Innie as a real person. How evil is she and how far does her involvement go?
On these last episodes, the bet has increased considerably. This episode was full of growing tension, and the pace certainly picked up. My heart was pounding during the final sequence.
However, it still feels like the plot points are being dragged on. There is too much configuration and not enough gain. It doesn’t seem like Severance, as a series, particularly respects its viewers.
I understood it. Goats lay the eggs.
There are still too many mysteries to solve. Will they all be answered in episode 9, or will they be carried over to season 2 (which has already started filming)?
I’m inclined to believe the latter, which is disappointing, but it’s been an interesting run, and I’m curious to see how this season ends.
What do you think is in store for the final episode? What secrets will we learn and what mysteries will remain unexplained? Share your opinion in the comments.
Mary LittleJohn is an editor for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.