Severance Review: The In(ies) ands Out(ies)

It’s been a few weeks since I finished watching Severance and I really can’t seem to get it off of my mind. Since then I’ve looked online for different possible theories, from people not associated with the show, to try and figure out questions that I had at the end of the first season. I’ve been a salesman for the show, telling everyone I can to watch, even going as far as to watching it a second time to encourage my brother to watch. You might be wondering why? Well because it’s an amazing, well thought out, original idea, and extremely well acted show. The core concept of the show is not overly complicated. Mark leads a team of office workers whose memories have been surgically divided between their work and personal lives. When I first read the synopsis I was intrigued but wasn’t jumping at the bit to watch the show. It wasn’t until three or four episodes had aired that I finally decided to sit down and give Severance a chance. I don’t want to say the show starts slow, because it doesn’t, however after you watch the first episode, and as far as the first four, you will have a laundry list of questions. The concept however grabs you in immediately and once you’re on the ride, you don’t want it to end.

When I first saw who was involved with this show I thought it would be a comedy. The likes of Adam Scott, Zach Cherry, John Turturro and Christopher Walken would lead you to believe so. The casting choices are all perfect, and Adam Scott excels as the lead. He practically has to play two characters and he brilliantly does so in what I believe to be the best work he’s ever done. I must admit I haven’t watched a lot of things with John Turturro, but the things I watched, this is a complete 180 in the type of character I’m used to seeing. He plays a by the book character named Irving that has this weird enduring charm to him that makes Turturro’s character so good. Academy award winner Patricia Arquette is also in the show, and she is fantastic as well, so good that I wouldn’t be surprised if she won the Emmy for best supporting actress. The best performance however is from Tramell Tillman who plays the severed floor supervisor Mr. Millchick who is just an unbelievable character brought to life by an award worthy performance. Brit Lower is no slouch as Helly either. It’s not just the main characters that make the show so good it’s the smaller supporting ones that elevates the show even further. Michael Chernus as Ricken, Christopher Walken, and Dichen Lachman are some of the best just to name a few. The show is just brilliantly acted.

The world of Severance starts out small and relatively slow, but as it expands and opens up it becomes this thrilling masterful ride that ends with a bang. The season finale is not just one of the best season finales but one of the best episodes of television I have ever watched. This is due in no small part to how masterfully crafted the world is. Having watched the show a second time I was able to notice smaller things that might seem like nothing at first, but everything has a place and purpose. I have to give a lot of credit to Ben Stiller who was behind the camera for six of the nine episodes. In terms of my knowledge about directing I know very little, I do know however that he does an incredible job. The choices of music are perfect, they create anxiety when needed, or sadness when you are suppose to mourn with the characters. The score by Theodore Shapiro is ominous yet somehow gorgeous. It flows in and out of Severance in a way that makes it easier to get lost in the show. So good that its now the ringtone of my fathers phone.

The choice that you could “technically” turn your brain off with the Severance procedure, there are some big questions at play about grief, connection and identity. What would it mean? There are also questions about why a business would want severed employees and the moral implications it would imply. What are they hiding? What can we handle not knowing about ourselves and those we work with/for when we are behind a desk. Creator Dan Erickson spins his concept in consistently unexpected and riveting ways, pushing his characters through a perfectly balanced series of plot twists and character revelations. It’s a perfectly crafted world from the actors, directors, and writers. Everyone that worked on the show has helped create an original masterpiece that I can’t compliment enough.

So the question lies, would you get Severed? People always say they wish they could just leave work behind and with Severence you can. Would you wonder what you even do and who you work with. We won’t actually be able to get the Severance procedure in real life but it’s always fun to put yourself in the charectors shoes. It really makes you think. It’s funny, terrifying and brilliant in equal measure, Apple TV’s Severance is one of the most impressive new shows of the past decade.

Rating: The Paddington 2 of TV Shows

This review used our old rating system, The Paddington Scale. To learn more please read this post

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