Friday, March 4, 2022

REVIEW: 'Severance' - Helly Threatens Severe Bodily Harm to Escape Working on the Severed Floor in 'The You You Are'

AppleTV+'s Severance - Episode 1.04 "The You You Are"

Irving finds an intriguing book at work. Helly aggressively pursues a meeting with her outie. Mark attends a funeral with Ms. Selvig.

"The You You Are" was written by Kari Drake and directed by Aoife McArdle

Outie Helly is a person. Innie Helly is not. One has the ability to resign from this job while the other has to suffer through it. That's how this relationship works. The innies have no agency themselves. They are separate identities. However, they are tasked with only doing a specific thing. They have to devote their lives to Lumon Industries. They are required to treat the founder as a deity whose teachings much be upheld at all times. They can approximate emotions. They aren't trusted to have an opinion about their well-being. It's all delivered under the allure of family. These co-workers will bond together as if they are related to each other. They didn't choose each other just like their actual family members. They are simply stuck together. As such, they have to make it work. Innie Helly doesn't want to work here. She is terrified by the it. She hasn't been able to deal with the transition at all. That is used to condemn Mark and Harmony's own leadership skills. They are failing because they haven't done the simple job of continuing the conformity of the staff. That should be easy. This procedure can never be reversed. It shouldn't take this long to break a person into accepting this as the totality of their life. Of course, it's fascinating to see the show reflect so much agency with the characters at work. The set design of the office is so amazing and intricate. It presents as a simple maze. One meant to cordon off the various departments. Making a map is banned. The Macrodata Refinement division is breaking the rules. Dylan is the only person who seemingly wants to do the job. He is incentivized to do it. He projects importance onto this task. It doesn't consume the lives of his co-workers. Their stories take them elsewhere. The Severance procedure was designed as a way for companies to have a blank slate with their employees. They wouldn't have to deal with their unreliability on the job. Instead, they know exactly what to expect each shift. The procedure is sold to people who want to escape their lives. It's not exactly ethical. So many lies are told. Outie Helly learns some details about the threats her innie has been making. It doesn't change her decision whatsoever. That's the most soul-crushing aspect of this entire narrative. People are fighting to be heard. They yell and scream to be noticed. When they finally get attention, they are only shut down more viciously and cruelly. It doesn't even require Harmony to be some master manipulator or shrewd boss. She simply has ownership over everything Helly does.

Of course, Lumon is actually possessive over everything its employees do no matter which version is in control. Harmony has to defile a corpse to retrieve the Severance device. It's proprietary technology. It doesn't belong to Petey or his family. It's something that cannot be seen outside of the company. She completes this gruesome task to hopefully present the case that reintegration is being attempted. People are willing to undergo that procedure. It's a threat that could jeopardize the company's bottom line. She sees that clearly. She doesn't have the support of the team. She takes those risks though. She runs into Mark while doing so. That too threatens to blow his cover of also questioning the nature of his reality. The Severance floor isn't offering him some grand salvation. It's only contributing to more confession. He is just as broken now as he was when his wife died. He hasn't improved. He hasn't healed or learned how to cope with that pain. He is stuck. That's what the company wants. They need these employees to loyally show up for their jobs every day. As such, they approve these spying measures to ensure nothing disrupts the work flow. Harmony suggests Mark should have a wellness session. She doesn't explain herself. She's the one monitoring him. This company can't control everything. Ricken's book has made it to Mark's desk. His words are being shared to him and Dylan. That's the first outside material that suggests a world beyond these walls. The confinement limits what they should ever expect. That allows things to be miraculous even in small doses. Dylan is terrified of anyone from optics and design. And yes, he may be right to be fearful given Irving's discovery of a much more robust staff. But it's also joyous to see Irving and Burt grow closer together. They are focused on the work. They also appreciate someone showing the same admiration. That attraction is palpable through each meeting. As a result, they find ways to see each other. It's something they pursue. That romance has meaning even though they wouldn't recognize each other outside of work. On the inside, it's something to brighten their days. The company may see it as a distraction. One that can topple the productivity of their departments. It's worth exploring. It's complicated because of the various dynamics involved. It's still in the joyous stage though. That may change at some point. Everything escalates to such a perilous degree. Nothing in this office should be seen as safe and secure. Helly has to recite a passage a thousand times until she is told she is adequately apologetic. Even after all that, she is still propelled to create a makeshift noose and hang herself in the elevator so her outie feels the pain most acutely. That's a searing image. One that further highlights the destruction of this environment in such chilling fashion.