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Severance review: The new Apple series turns office life into a sanitizer


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It can be difficult to achieve a true work-life balance like zero inbox. It’s very difficult, in fact, that the characters in it to cut Go too far to get there: brain surgery. The series, which airs on Apple TV Plus, takes its name from a surgery in which a person’s brain is essentially cut into two, creating two distinct people: one for work and one for home life. The result is a display that looks a bit like a cross between them black mirror And IT crowdexploring the horrors of capitalism and technology with a corny kind of glee.

At the center of the story is a company called Lumon Industries, an Amazon-style behemoth that shares a little bit of everything. (“what don’t do Someone asks early.) That means there are a lot of sensitive documents to sort through. Instead of a non-disclosure agreement for those tasked with triage, the company uses a procedure called severance, in which access to someone’s memories becomes “spatial-enforced”. Basically, your memories are explicitly connected to a place. What happens in the records department at Lumon headquarters stays there.

It may seem like a new way to separate your life, with work problems continuing at work, so that you can focus on the rest. Practically speaking, the action creates two minds in the same body: one living a normal life, and the other trapped in a hellish existence where they can never leave the office. And the two are never able to interact.

Photo: Apple

I first learn about how this happened through Helly (Britt Lower), a Lumon rookie who wakes up at a conference table with no recollection of where she is or how she got there. When her new manager, Mark (Adam Scott), starts asking her questions, she realizes she doesn’t remember anything at all. Not even her name. Everyone in her department is in the same position. The only life they know is inside the office.

Where the show succeeds most in portraying just how messy this is for people stuck in the office. Think about it: All the good parts of their day don’t happen to them. They don’t even sleep. For them, they leave the office one second, and the next day, they come back immediately. Mark says he can feel the effects of sleep, but that’s not something any of them actually experience. Life is just a work in progress – endless sanitizer inside a room. To make matters worse, they have no say in being there either. The only way to quit is to apply with others, and since this self has no idea how bad things are inside the office, the answer always comes in the negative.

Le Monde attempts to paint this terrifying scenario with a kind of blind optimism. Employees are excited about having a watermelon party and work hard so they can draw caricatures of themselves. (This work includes A minesweeper-Like the file system for encrypted data where workers need to find the “scary” numbers in a spreadsheet, which they do delightfully on modern computers. It won’t look out of place in loki.) Negativity is not allowed, handshakes are available upon request.

to cut

Photo: Apple

The office is clean and mostly empty, but there is darkness lurking beneath. In order to improve their ‘mental health’, after periods of prolonged stress, employees go to wellness sessions that involve silently listening to some (possibly made-up) facts about their out-of-office doppelganger. The office manager, Melchic (Trammel Tillman), seems too calm and fun to be around for sure. And when someone breaks the rules, they are forced into the “break room,” which involves a troubling kind of punishment that I won’t spoil. You can’t even send hidden messages to outside work, thanks to some sci-fi technology in the elevator that detects any codes. There’s also an inaccurate religious adjective for how employees are forced to see Lumon and its founder, a kind of extreme version of the cult-like masses that are forming around tech tycoons like Elon Musk.

Meanwhile, doppelgängers continue happily unaware of how bad things can be. Life is normal, except that they skip the work pieces and have to deal with very curious questions about what the pieces are like. In Mark’s case, he took the job in hopes of overcoming the loss of a loved one; I think eight hours of not remembering the pain would help. This, of course, turned out to be not so. His days are still quite sad, but they are a little shorter now.

The setting was enough to suck me in for the first two episodes of the show. At a time when the boundaries between work and life are becoming more blurred than ever, it’s great to watch these characters go in the exact opposite direction, so far away from work that they don’t even know what their job really is. It’s something I might think of… if it weren’t for the whole “Office of Hell” topic.

real tension to cut It comes as Mark’s life begins to converge, and his real-life character confronts the realities of Lomon and the effect of the action. It’s too soon to tell if this story will carry the show for a full nine-episode season. But the way the show explores her basic perception with such detail and earnestness has helped him get off to a great start — and made me realize that perhaps I should stop working on time more often.

to cut It begins streaming on Apple TV Plus on February 18 with two episodes, with a weekly release schedule thereafter.

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