Ben Stiller & Adam Scott Tell All on “Severance”
Severance‘s season one finale left viewers on the edge of their seats as the innies were confronted with the outside world.
After figuring out how to use the overtime contingency, Dylan (Zach Cherry), Helly (Britt Lower), Irving (John Turturro) and Mark (Adam Scott) planned to escape the Lumon offices and tell the world about the treatment they’re subjected to as innies (the work version of Severed people).
However, in episode nine, released April 9, the employees find themselves in difficult circumstances: Mark is at his sister’s house with his boss Harmony Cobel, who his outtie knows as neighbor Ms. Selvig (Patricia Arquette); Irving learns his outtie has been doing some research of his own and Helly is at a Lumon event, where she’s scheduled to speak about the benefits of being Severed.
It’s while they’re in the outside world that they make fascinating discoveries that are going to shape the trajectory of season two.
For one, Helly finds out that she’s no ordinary person—she’s actually Helena Eagan, the granddaughter of Lumon founder Keir Eagan. Show creator and writer Dan Erickson told Variety that like Mark, Helly had good reason to undergo the Severance procedure: “The purpose of what she’s doing is to sort of show that severance is good enough for an Eagan. This isn’t something that we would just do to the unwashed masses.”
Though viewers only saw Mark’s outtie in the first season, it seems likely that season two will explore Helly’s life outside Lumon, with Erickson saying, “the more we get into the Eagans, there’s so many weird cult-like dynamics. And it becomes sort of about Helena having to prove her loyalty and prove her worth and prove her commitment to her ancestor’s vision.”
Courtesy of Apple TV+
Meanwhile, Mark realizes that his wife Gemma, who he thought died in a car crash, is actually alive. It turns out that she’s been with him all along, as Miss Casey (Dichen Lachman), the office’s psychologist of sorts.
Erickson declined to elaborate on their plans for this plot line—”I just worry that [director] Ben Stiller is going to leap out and kill me if I say anything,” he joked—adding, “Those are all left unanswered this season, but we will get into it.”
In a separate interview with Deadline, Stiller explained they’re mindful of giving away too much since the mystery is half the fun of watching the show. “If too many questions are answered, then you don’t have a chance to really speculate and live in the world as much,” he said. “So, we’re trying to figure out how to live in that world and figure out that balance, but the answers are there. It’s just, we want to try to mete it out in a way that feels fun and satisfying.”
Courtesy of Apple TV+
Regarding Irving’s research, Erickson said that the character’s outtie isn’t a rule follower like his innie. “That is the big surprise for Irving in the finale, that his outtie is there for a reason, he’s doing something maybe a bit more subversive than what we would expect from Irving,” he told Variety. “And that he may be actually working against the company or trying to garner information. That was the fun surprise.”
These stories will be explored in further detail in season two, which Erickson confirmed is 10 episodes. As for how long Severance could last, Erickson joked that in a dream world he’d get “exactly 14 seasons,” though he acknowledged there’s no guarantee. “I always tried to keep it fluid enough that this is a story we could tell in two seasons, this is a story we could tell in six seasons.”
All nine episodes of Severance are streaming now on Apple TV+.
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