Severance Season 1 Episode 6: Hide and Seek Recap

In episode 6, Graner and Cobel close in on the person who helped Petey with reintegration. Cobel punishes Ms Casey for letting Helly out of her sight the day before and warns Mark to keep MDR in their own office. Mark rebels against her orders and takes the team to O&D instead, where they meet the rest of the department. Outie Mark goes on another date with Alexa. While out on a walk, Devon runs into Gabby, the other expectant mother from the birthing center, but Gabby doesn’t remember her. Later, Devon learns that Gabby’s husband is a pro-severance state senator.

Recap

Dressed for bed in a homespun cotton nightgown and braids, Harmony (Patricia Arquette) finishes turning Petey’s (Yul Vazquez) implant into a pendant and clasps its chain around her neck. She’s made her bedroom in the basement, enclosed on two sides by the basement’s cinderblock walls, painted an institutional white, with only partially framed walls on the other sides, almost suggesting bars. Her bed has an old cast iron bed frame. The room is lit by a single fluorescent light, mounted on the wall over the head of bed, and candles the size and shape of Gemma’s candle, but Harmony’s are white.

It looks as though she’s recreated her childhood bedroom from a mid 20th century orphanage or school. Or she’s a survivalist who’s very worried about natural and manmade disasters, so she sleeps in her basement bunker.

Continue reading “Severance Season 1 Episode 6: Hide and Seek Recap”

Severance Season 1 Episode 5: The Grim Barbarity of Optics and Design Recap

In episode 5, Helly continues to work through her issues with the help of Mark and Ms Casey. Irving and Dylan find a disturbing painting which shows O&D attacking MDR. When they confront Burt about the painting and his lie about the size of his department, he tells them that the rest of the O&D department believes false rumors about MDR. Ms Cobel asks Milchick to have Petey’s implant analyzed. In the outside world, Devon goes into labor and Outie Mark joins her support team at the nature retreat birthing center.

Trigger warning for self-harm. And more about goats than anyone wants to know. There are some things you can’t unsee. Metamaiden was traumatized by flying goats, so I promised her that I will finally analyze Petey’s map in episode 6. Somehow this one got long, even for me. I didn’t even talk about the kelp. 💦

Recap

The episode begins moments after the end of episode 4, continuing Helly’s (Britt Lower) suicide attempt. The elevator reaches its destination and the doors open, revealing Outie Helly hanging from the ceiling and struggling to breathe. Judd (Mark Kenneth Smaltz) is missing from his desk once again. We’re briefly shown the view from one of the surveillance cameras, which is recording the scene. The elevator doors close again and Helly rides back down to the severed floor, still struggling.

Continue reading “Severance Season 1 Episode 5: The Grim Barbarity of Optics and Design Recap”

Severance Season 1 Episode 3: In Perpetuity Recap

In episode 3, Petey tells Mark more about how he became reintegrated. After Mark leaves Petey alone in his basement for the day, Devon and Ricken drop off an advance copy of Ricken’s latest self help book outside on Mark’s front stoop as a gift for Mark. Suspicious of what Mark has been up to lately, Cobel/Selvig finds the wrapped gift and takes it with her. Then she searches his house, driving Petey to escape back out into the cold.

At the office, Helly continues to be unhappy and to search for a way out. Mark and Irving decide she needs more meaning in her work life, so they arrange a group tour of the Perpetuity Wing, the corporate museum which highlights founder Kier Eagan’s family dynasty, Lumon’s corporate philosophy and it’s good works.

Recap

By the beginning of episode 3, Petey (Yul Vasquez) has recovered from whatever it was that happened to him in the shower at the end of episode 2 and put on the blue and red striped robe Mark (Adam Scott) that left for him. Mark must have heard something happen because he asks if Petey is okay and apologizes about the robe, saying it was a gift from Ricken (Michael Chernus). Petey says he just slipped a little in the shower and to respect the robe.

It does look like a cozy robe.

Continue reading “Severance Season 1 Episode 3: In Perpetuity Recap”

Severance Season 1 Episode 2: Half Loop Recap

In episode 2, we follow Helly as she goes through the severance procedure in a flashback, then jump back to the present and watch her first full day in the Microdata Refinement department. Mark calls in sick in order to visit the address on Petey’s card.

Recap

The episode opens with Helly (Britt Lower) filming her video testimony consenting to the severance procedure. Milchick (Tramell Tillman) records the video then walks her to the procedure while going over some of the details of the day. They walk through an upper floor of the vast, open lobby that we watched Mark walk through in episode 1. Milchick stops in front of the monolithic bust of corporate founder Kier Eagan (Marc Geller) to comment that he loves the smell of napalm in the morning the look of the sunrise over Kier’s face. The window frame shadows create a series of bars across Kier’s face, enhancing the prison quality of the building’s architecture. Shadow bars are a staple of Film Noir cinematography, so they instill a subliminal sense of peril all by themselves, without Big Brother watching behind them or the reference to the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Continue reading “Severance Season 1 Episode 2: Half Loop Recap”

Severance Season 1 Review- Minimal Spoilers

This is a review of season 1. You can find detailed episode recaps at the tag HERE.

Severance is an AppleTV+ series created by Dan Erickson and executive produced and directed by Ben Stiller. Season 1 consists of 9 episodes. Production has already begun on season 2, which will be 10 episodes (if IMDB is correct). This review was written after viewing the first 5 episodes, but only includes minimal spoilers for the first episode.

Adam Scott stars as Mark Scout, a widower who takes a job on the “severed” floor of Lumon Industries, a giant corporation with a cult-like following. Yes, it’s on the streamer brought to you by the cult of Steve Jobs. Sometimes, Apple is shameless. I say this as the parent of one of their lifelong devotees, while typing on a Macbook. Full disclosure- my laptops have all been Macbooks. I am also a fringe member of a corporate cult or two.

Because Mark’s work involves corporate secrets, he agrees to go through the severance medical procedure, in which a chip will be implanted into his brain, bifurcating his memories into two separate personas: one that can only access his time at work and another that only surfaces outside of his job. In addition to benefitting the corporation, the procedure will supposedly improve Mark’s work-life balance.

This has unforeseen consequences.

Severance is a cerebral science fiction dark comedy that, like its main character, has two personas. Much of the show takes place at the Lumon offices, on the windowless “severed” floor, located deep in the basement. This side of the show is a surreal, retrofuturistic psychological horror-thriller filled with characters who only know the world of the Lumon offices, which they aren’t allowed to leave, because they are “severed” personas, the Winter Soldiers of office drones. The walls are bright white, the fluorescent lights are always on and the hallways seem to go on forever, with only a few doors. Other than white, the main colors are the artificial turf green of the carpets and the blue of the men’s suits.

It’s stunningly but subliminally oppressive, in the way the clinical feel of the dentists’ offices of my youth let me know there was no point in resisting what was about to happen there.

Continue reading “Severance Season 1 Review- Minimal Spoilers”

Creamerie Season 1 Episode 1: Pilot Recap

Creamerie, a new half hour, 6 episode dark comedy from New Zealand, takes place eight years after a plague kills all the men, when women have had time to rebuild society in their their own image. Alex (Ally Xue) and her sister-in-law Jaime (JJ Fong), who run a local organic dairy farm, and Jaime’s best friend, Pip (Perlina Lau), who works for the mayor, live together peacefully, even blissfully, in a small utopian community modeled on Wellness philosophy. The mayor, Lane (Tandi Wright), is positively evangelical about ensuring the Wellness of her constituents, down to the most intrusive details of their lives.

If this is starting to sound dystopian on the order of Brave New World, you’re on the right track. Creamerie also takes cues from The Handmaid’s Tale, Y: The Last Man (obviously), Mad Max: Fury Road, Stanley Kubrick‘s work and the Wellness industry. Creamerie blends these influences into an unpredictable, wickedly funny send up of the modern world while also leaving viewers with hope for the future.

The comedy, which is streaming on Hulu in the US, was co-created by showrunner/director Roseanne Liang (Shadow in the Cloud) and its three main stars, Fong, Lau and Xue. All four previously created the web show Flat 3 together, which is available on Youtube.

Recap

The episode opens on a men’s locker room with Reb Fountain’s cover of What A Wonderful World playing over the scene. As we watch, the helpful ticker at the top of the screen fast forwards through the first 2,920 days of the apocalypse. On day 1, the guys celebrate their team’s victory, until one sneezes bright red blood. By day 14, women in hazmat suits scrub blood from every surface of the room, while outside the men’s bodies burn in a heaping funeral pyre that belches thick black smoke. At day 30, all that’s left of the guys is the funeral pyre, which soon becomes a pile of ashes that then turns into a hill growing grass and a memorial tree.

Continue reading “Creamerie Season 1 Episode 1: Pilot Recap”

We Are Lady Parts Season 1 Review

Amina Hussain (Anjana Vasan), the narrator of We Are Lady Parts, would like to have it all. And she’d like to have it all without vomiting all over the stage every time she’s the center of attention, thank you very much. She already has quite a lot: she’s working on her PhD in Microbiology, she has understanding parents and a squad of best friends, and she teaches guitar in her spare time. But her friends are all getting engaged and she’s barely dating. And her music is a big deal to her, but it’s a turn off to the young men in her Muslim dating pool. What’s a young, aspiring Bridget Jones to do?

Join an all-Muslim female punk band, obviously. Amina’s parents raised her right.

Continue reading “We Are Lady Parts Season 1 Review”

Made for Love Season 1 Episode 8: Let’s Meet Recap

Made for Love S1Ep8 Hazel & Herb Watch TV

Hazel and Byron meet in a remote diner to discuss their relationship. They show each other how much they’ve changed since they’ve been separated and what they want for the future. Judiff and Herb attempt to listen in from the parking lot, with mixed results.

Recap

Hazel takes a bus to meet Byron at a diner in an undisclosed location in the desert where the press won’t be able to find them.

Hazel takes a bus to meet Byron at a diner in an undisclosed location in the desert where the press won’t be able to find them. As voice over, we hear the phone conversation where they negotiate the terms of the meeting. Hazel refuses to go to the Hub and wants to meet in public, but Byron wants to avoid being recognized, so they settle on the Sunrise Diner, which Hazel suggests.

Byron is already seated in a booth waiting for her when she arrives with the divorce papers held out in front of her like a shield. He said on the phone that he’d give her a divorce if that’s what she really wants, but in exchange he wants to have a face to face, candid conversation.

I doubt that he’s ever fully opened himself up to her in a conversation.

Continue reading “Made for Love Season 1 Episode 8: Let’s Meet Recap”

Made for Love Season 1 Episode 7: I Want to Feel Normal Recap

Made for Love S1Ep7 Judiff & Herb

In episode 7, Hazel starts a job at the bowling alley, but Byron is still on her mind. Herb asks Hazel to give him and Diane some privacy for their anniversary, but remembering the way Byron forced isolation on her in the Hub, Hazel pushes Herb to take Diane out to dinner. Feeling forgotten, Byron searches for a way to get Hazel to notice him again.

Recap

Hazel’s new job as a maintenance worker gives her joy as she imagines how grossed out Byron must be by what he sees as she dusts and scrubs her way through Shangri-Lanes. She stops to speak directly to him to rub in how disgusting the urinals in the men’s room are. She’s caught by her coworker Jay, who can’t figure out who she’s talking to, since she appears to be alone. He brought her some extra cleaning fluid, just in case she needs it and apologizes for their boss, Jerry, assigning the worst jobs to her.

Jay might be interested in her, but Hazel doesn’t notice. She’s too preoccupied by the idea of what Byron is seeing. Instead of looking at Jay, she looks straight into the mirror and tells Byron that she’s happy to do the gross jobs, “all day, everyday.” As Jay leaves, confused about what just happened, princessy harp trills play in the background. Cinderella has figured out where she can put in the required hours of physical suffering and oppression so that her mental and emotional suffering will finally be taken seriously.

Continue reading “Made for Love Season 1 Episode 7: I Want to Feel Normal Recap”

Made for Love Season 1 Episode 6: I Want You to Give a F*** About Me Recap

Made for Love S1Ep6 Hazel & Herb Discuss Fun

In episode 6, the word of the day is authenticity, as Byron tries to figure what will satisfy his craving for connection with Hazel. Hazel tries to bring meaning and purpose back into her life after ten years stuck in the Hub serving as Byron’s muse. Herb hires an old flame who is also a professional investigator to help free Hazel from Byron’s surveillance. After her encounter with Hazel, Fiffany reassesses her priorities.

Recap

We begin with Byron and Hazel on beach date, as seen through Byron’s eyes. Hazel wakes up from a nap and tells Byron how great the real sun feels. He offers her a donut hole, which she eats with perfect calm and grace, the way that Hazel only acts when she’s putting on her perfect hostess act.

While she eats, Byron tells her that he’s changed. Now he just wants to connect with her, not control her. The real her. Hazel gives him a side eye and tells him that donut holes aren’t enough to make her forgive him for ten years of imprisonment in a luxury prison. Then she blips out of existence.

The “real” Hazel that Byron is trying to connect with is a simulation. So is the “real” sun they were enjoying. Byron can’t even keep his simulated Hazel happy when he controls all of the parameters of the encounter.

Fake Tardis dates just aren’t doing it anymore, even for Fake Hazel, Byron’s version of Diane.

Continue reading “Made for Love Season 1 Episode 6: I Want You to Give a F*** About Me Recap”