Friday, February 25, 2022

REVIEW: 'Severance' - Mark and His Team Hope to Inspire Helly By Exploring the History of Lumon Industries in 'In Perpetuity'

AppleTV+'s Severance - Episode 1.03 "In Perpetuity"

Mark takes the team on a field trip, but Helly continues to rebel. A deteriorating Petey struggles to tell Mark about Lumon's misdeeds.

"In Perpetuity" was written by Andrew Colville and directed by Ben Stiller

Massive corporations want their employees to treat them like a family. Their corporate culture is historic. The people who work there are part of something much bigger. It's potentially changing the entire world. They are on a noble path. One that requires sacrifice but is ultimately for the greater good. These ideas are prevalent throughout work culture. It's all done with the intent to make the work space seem greater than it actually is. Now, some workplaces absolutely care about their employees. They treat them fairly and protect them while on the job. So many stories exist about abuse. It's not contained to one particular sector either. It makes it seem as if these massive entities have to be terrible and inhumane in order to obtain the scale necessary to be successful and change the world. At least that's what the executives at the top believe about their positions. They can't grapple with the idea that treating people better might cut into their bottom line. It's all about making money for them. As such, they'll take advantage of any opportunity that can drive up that core desire. In this case, it's robbing people of their humanity. Lumon Industries has found a way to actually create mindless drones to input all the necessary data they need to function as a company. Those on the inside of the severed floor know nothing but work. It's their entire lives. They have no agency. They just have the jobs. They don't know the purpose of what they do. They are simply told it's important. They are part of a famed lineage. In fact, Irving and Mark believe it's a good idea to take Helly to the Perpetuity wing in order to understand the job and connect with the company. Mark and Dylan largely treat it as a joke while Irving has great reverence for the history. He finds solace in knowing he's part of a legacy. That's comforting to him. It's also alienating whenever Mark's team runs into another department on the severed floor. That's presented with sinister stakes. The refinement team has to be weary of the optics and design division. Those lines are drawn and cannot be crossed. None of this changes Helly's mind whatsoever. She is desperate to get a message out and reveal to her outie self that this work is dreadful. The data is driven by the fear it produces. It's not a victory when she achieves that first collection. She needs to escape. This space is all about mimicking emotion instead of letting humans feel it themselves. Helly must recite a script over and over again in the break room. That's the punishment. One that refines her perspective.

These separations are crucial to maintain the illusion of this great company. Mark views it all as being beneficial to his health. For eight hours a day, he doesn't have to cope with his wife's death. Of course, Petey notes that those emotions are still present within him. His innie self just has no clue where they come from or why they are there. Similarly, innie Mark feels compelled to question what happened to Petey. He can sense that something went wrong. He has those urges because outie Mark is dealing with Petey after he's gone through a reintegration procedure. It's a traumatic life for Petey. It presents as a doomed fate Mark should want to avoid no matter what. That comes with the guarantee that he will forever be an employee of Lumon Industries. He cannot escape this work. It's all built on his desire to escape his life. He deflects from feeling those emotions by losing control of his body. It's presented as an easier option for him to maintain some sense of normalcy. It's not good though. It's pretty disastrous. He has no desire to know what he does for work. Meanwhile, Petey is violently thrown between the past and the present. He cannot separate the two. It's essentially a cognitive dissonance that is wreaking havoc on his mind. His brain is trying to reckon with all these memories that are coming back of a different life. It's cruel and torturous. It's confusing as well. He sees Harmony in Mark's house. He recognizes her from the severed floor. He can't communicate that effectively with Mark. He can't deliver the warning that he is being spied upon even when he is no longer on the job. Harmony invades his life at all times. She sneaks into his house and steals his possessions. He doesn't know either. She's simply the sweet neighbor next door who is interested in fostering a better connection. She is truly on the lookout for any development that can dramatically change his ability to work. No harm should come from reading Rickon's newest book. And yet, Harmony and Milchick fear that it has a coded message meant to infiltrate Mark's mind. So much of this is driven by paranoia. Harmony has bosses who are skeptical of her managerial skills too. She is out to prove herself. She is trusted with full autonomy to do whatever she wants. She can simply use the guise that she knows her employees can handle whatever abuse she throws their way. They can't complain either because of the secrecy. They have no hope or any reason to question anything that is happening. They just have the work. That permeates their lives in deeper ways than they can even comprehend.