Apple TV+’s ‘Severance’ revolves around a company called Lumon Industries in New York City where a “severance” programme is put in place. It is used to surgically divide memories of employees between their work and personal lives, however, when a mysterious worker shows up outside of work, the employees start figuring out the truth about their jobs.
The third episode premiered this week and deals with Mark learning more about the programme from the estranged Petey.
The episode opens with Petey explaining to Mark that the reintegration process he underwent to undo the severance was possible due to the help of mysterious benefactors.
He urges Mark to learn more about his appointment at Lumon, much to his dismay. The next day, as Mark heads out for work, his sister and brother-in-law drop a book for him on his porch which is picked by Mrs. Selvig, who has it checked for hidden messages.
Meanwhile, she ventures into Mark’s house and searches his basement for clues and Petey recognises her as Harmony Cobel. However, before she can spot him, he runs out into the woods.
Unfortunately for him, Petey experiences the side effects of his reintegration once again and starts hallucinating being inside Lumon hallways. His hellish nightmare finally ends when he passes out at a convenience store.
Back at the office, Helly is told that her resignation request submitted to her outie has been rejected, annoying her. She makes numerous attempts to sneak out a note to her outie but her attempts are foiled by Mark.
Irving hypothesises that her constant efforts to quit stem from her limited understanding of the company and suggests that the data refining team visits the Perpetuity Wing — a historical complex where they learn about Lumon’s founders, the Egan Family and former CEOs.
An unconvinced Helly pulls off her most daring stunt yet by trying to escape through the stairwell by breaking open the door glass, but again, Mark gets in her way.
She is then escorted to the infamous Break Room for her actions by Graner where she is forced to continously repeat an apologetic statement by the supervisor, Seth Milchick, as Harmony keeps watch.
The scene shifts to Harmony having an intense discussion about Petey vanishing with Lumon’s board members. While she reassures her visitors, the boss shows signs of visible concern as she fears Petey might make Lumon’s dark secrets public. She is also told to fix Mark’s team’s functioning as their numbers are constantly declining.
Mark, interestingly, before heading home, discovers the floor map which Petey had mentioned in the previous episode, behind a team portrait and tries to figure out its importance.
After his shift, he heads home, notices his former colleague’s absence and goes out to find him. He comes across ambulance traffic and follows them to the convenience store.
There, Mark notices Petey’s worsening condition and paramedics enter the picture. As he is being taken away for treatment, it is implied that Petey passes away due to his brain’s inability to adjust to the reintegration.
Mark is flustered and heads home to remove traces of a guest from his place, but stops when Petey’s phone — which he had accidentally forgotten — starts ringing.
- Severance successfully maintains its highly secretive and gripping narrative with ‘In Perpetuity’. Ben Stiller returns to direct this episode and does a brilliant job in making sure that the Story’s flow is consistent.
- The stakes are significantly raised for Mark due to Petey’s death, giving him an incentive to look into Lumon’s dubious workings. Helly’s constant attempts to escape too add to the tension that is gradually on the up since the show’s inception. The phone’s presence at the end may hint at how Mark will further explore the situation without Petey.
- The slow burn nature of Severance makes parts of it a little cumbersome but it manages to hook back the attention very quickly.
- Performances are still top notch and not one character feels out of place in this episode.