Oh, you wanted answers, Severance fans? Well, Friday’s Season 1 finale provided a whole lot of them in a heart-pounding tightrope walk of an episode that saw Mark and his Lumon pals finally getting a glimpse of the outside world.
We pick up just as Dylan flips the “overtime” switch, awakening Mark, Irving and Helly to their lives outside the office. Mark finds himself talking to Cobel at Ricken’s book party, Irving finds himself painting to Motörhead — and Helly finds herself at a swanky party with that obnoxious Lumon board liaison at her side. We quickly learn “Helly” is actually… Helena Eagan, the CEO’s daughter and the descendant of Lumon founder Kier Eagan! (Where’s that “mind blown” emoji?)
At first, Mark thinks Devon’s baby might be his, but he pieces together that she’s his sister, and that Ricken’s book is the one that has inspired him so much at work. Irving slowly makes his way through his house, petting a dog named Radar and finding a host of war medals, along with a photo of his dad in his Navy uniform. Helly meets Gabby — the mom who didn’t remember Devon — and her politician husband Angelo, who’s eager to vote in favor of severance. (So Gabby definitely used severance for her child’s birth, right?) “Let’s change some minds,” Angelo tells Helly. “I’m certainly going to try,” she replies.
As Helly makes her way through the party, we see it’s an exhibit dedicated to her life at Lumon: “Helly: A Severed Story.” There’s video of “Helena” talking about growing up as an Eagan and reciting the Nine Core Principles before bed every night. She took the job at Lumon to show that severance is safe, she says: “I don’t think severance divides us. I think it brings us together.” Mark, meanwhile, gushes to a confused Ricken about how much his book changed his life and fends off a concerned Cobel… but when he leaves her, he says, “Thanks, Ms. Cobel,” which sets off alarm bells in her head.
Mark finally corners his sister to talk, so she hands her newborn baby over to Cobel — and the next thing we know, Cobel is speeding off in her car, cursing at Milchick for not answering his phone. Irving finds piles of research about Lumon employees suing the company (is he actually an anti-Lumon mole trying to bring them down?) along with a map of employees’ home addresses. Yep, he immediately zeroes in on his beloved Burt’s address and screeches off in his muscle car to go find him. Helly escapes to the bathroom to process all of this, where she’s interrupted by her father, who just hates “what that ‘Innie’ tried to do to you.” She has a big speech to give, and he recalls how, as a kid, she thought everyone should get a severance chip, and now they will, “because of you. They’ll all be Kier’s children.” When she’s called to give her speech, Helly recites the Lumon apology pledge in the bathroom mirror: “All I can be is sorry. And that is all I am.”
Mark tells Devon everything, and her mind is understandably reeling. “I just want to know why,” he says. “Why he put me in there.” She explains that his wife died in a car accident: “He hoped you’d be spared from the pain.” Cobel finally gets through to Milchick, telling him that the overtime switch has been flipped. She’ll intercept Helly at the gala: “I’ll fix it like I fix everything.” Milchick sprints to the security office, but Dylan has rigged the door shut. He offers Dylan more perks to open up, but all Dylan wants is to “remember my f–king kid being born!” Then Milchick reveals Dylan has two more kids — and offers to tell him their names. Oh, and Mark asks why his Lumon boss is at the party, and when Devon checks on her baby, she discovers Cobel is gone.
She frantically stops the reading to look for her missing baby as Irving pulls up to Burt’s house (and sees him getting cozy with another man) and Cobel arrives at the Lumon gala. She stops Helly just as she’s about to go on stage and threatens to make her work friends suffer if she speaks ill of the company, but Helly is undeterred. They find Devon’s baby safe and sound in another room, and Mark glances at some photos of him and his wife… aka Ms. Casey, Lumon’s wellness advisor. Helly takes the stage and announces: “Everything they’ve told you about severance is a lie. We’re not happy, we’re miserable. They torture us down there! We’re prisoners!” As she’s yanked off stage, Irving pounds on Burt’s door, and Mark cries out, “She’s alive!” — just as Milchick bursts into the room and tackles Dylan, ending the overtime switch and snapping them all back to their “Outtie” state. Ding!
OK, once you’ve recovered from all that: Give the Severance finale, and Season 1 as a whole, a grade in our poll, and then hit the comments to share your thoughts. (And how glad are you that we’re getting a Season 2?)