Almost until the middle of the first season, nothing was clear to me watching this bizarrely mysterious dystopian workplace series that seems as if Charlie Kaufman shot something based on a screenplay he co-wrote with George Orwell and Franz Kafka. Until the very end, the feeling of complete confusion does not stop watching “Severance”, and the very name of the series whose six of the nine episodes were directed by Ben Stiller means a medical procedure that separates the memory of workers. Thus, all employees of the mysterious and even infamous biotechnology corporation Lumon Industries have a severed brain – one half of the brain is activated while at work and in that period they do not remember anything from private life. The other half of the brain, you guessed it, “works” outside the corporation and when they’re at home they don’t remember anything that happens at work.
It all seems completely unnatural, inhuman, all the characters are somehow dehumanized. Employees of one department have no idea what is going on in another department, and it is completely unclear what that corporation is doing at all and what all these people are doing. All of them are strictly and strictly controlled by their superiors, the Lumon building consists of endless corridors, offices with some strange people (there is even a flock of sheep in one office) and all this is completely bizarre, frightening, confusing and uncomfortable . The concept conceived by a certain Dan Erickson, and for him “Severence” was the first television content to work if IMDB is to be believed, is truly extraordinary, original and totally weird, and from episode to episode the story is getting crazier and crazier.
One such “split” worker on one of the departments is Mark (Adam Scott). After the former head of the department just disappeared, he was promoted, and his first task was to test new employee Helly (Brit Lower). And that introductory scene is totally intoxicating and at the start it is clear to us that nothing is normal here, and the other two employees in Mark’s department are Dylan (Zack Cheryy) and Irving (John Turtutto). All of them have gone through the process of division, and their superiors are the head of insurance Mr. Milchik (Trammel Tillman) and floor director Harmony Cobel (Patricia Arquette). When he leaves work, we learn that Mark was once a history professor who failed to recover from his wife’s death and to forget about suffering, loneliness and sadness, he decided to undergo a brain split. But his first neighbor is Mrs. Selvig, for whom he is completely unaware that it is actually his director Cobel.
As time goes on, it will become clear to us that Mark and the rest of the team are actually some kind of guinea pigs in the plans of a corporation that aggressively promotes sharing and wants it to become generally accepted. Although it is completely unclear to him what is happening in the second part of the day, Mark, with the help of Helly and other colleagues from the department, will begin to realize that something very, very strange is happening there. It will seem to him that this must be a serious conspiracy, all the more so because a guy will soon appear at the door of his house, claiming that his former head of department is from Lumon. Of course, nothing is clear to Mark, but some worm of doubt seems to start working in him.
This part of the content described in the above two paragraphs concerns only the first of nine episodes and although it took me a while to get used to this concept in the first few episodes, “Severance” proved to be a series that is very noteworthy. The filming of the second season has already been announced, and it is as frightening a dystopia as it is a subversive satire of the corporate system and conditions in work environments in general. The very thought of a procedure such as sharing the brain at first seems completely bizarre and unreal, but as time goes on it seems more and more real and causes discomfort and horror. It is a series that is a great subversion of reality and that thinks in a black-humored way about the future and what it could bring.
Of course, something similar, at least I hope, will not happen in our lifetimes, but dystopias that reflect on what kind of future all this technology development brings us, are always interesting to watch and think about. Now that I’m writing this, I have a feeling I could have given the series at least a minimally higher rating, but if “Severance” continues in the following seasons in this rhythm and style, I believe it could be one of the best and most intriguing series of its time. The cast is outstanding and in addition to the above, there is also Christopher Walken in another bizarre role as created for him. He is the caretaker who, along with the management, is the only one who has access to all floors of the corporation and the various departments, and his presence could be one of the keys to Mark and the rest of the team trying to find answers to questions. Rating 8/10.
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