Would Severance be the best Apple TV+ series? [critique]


A semi-fantasy thriller with insane suspense, which quotes as much Brazil and The Truman Show as The Twilight Zone. Really smart, really human.

Every morning, Mark Scout (Adam Scott) parks in the parking lot of Lumon Industries, a very mysterious company where he has worked for several years. He gets out of his car, changes in the cloakroom, carefully leaves all his belongings from outside in his locker, takes the elevator and… nothing, total emptiness. He only regains consciousness when he returns home. Like all Lumon employees, Mark voluntarily had a chip implanted in his brain that blocks the memory of his time spent at the office. Officially, it is for the box to preserve its secrets. Unofficially, things seem a little more bizarre than that… So there are alternately the Mark of the “real world” and that of Lumon. Neither has access to the other’s memories. Two individuals in a single body, the first spending his evenings boozing, the other only knowing work. There remains this haunting question on both sides of the fence: what happens when the elevator door opens?

Relentless sci-fi thriller in the form of an entrepreneurial drama, Severance seduces first with its acerbic criticism of capitalism, before revealing itself in a formidable character study that cites as many The Fourth Dimension and Brazil thatEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The series, always on the wire, juggles between existential vertigo and moments of total absurdity The Office (Mark and his open space colleagues, trained to hunt on antique computers the ” scary numbers “); insane suspense and deeply human character development. It goes through little things – hands that shouldn’t touch each other, hope that can be read in a look – that Ben Stiller, behind the camera for several key episodes, captures with great sensitivity. While the bureaucratic coldness of its staging inevitably takes over in the next scene.

We therefore follow the protagonists who seek to complete themselves through a double investigation, both inside and outside. The tour de force being to make this confusion palpable for the spectator, while almost all of the puzzle is nevertheless visible to him. Clear, the plot built in back and forth is nothing less than a screenplay feat, carried by a really robust cast (Adam Scott, in the best role of his career, plays subtly on the way of holding the two Mark , bringing them together on a common frustration and curiosity; John Turturro and Christopher Walken form a heartbreaking pair; Patricia Arquette excels both as a sadistic manager and as a neighbor ready to help…). The extremely frustrating ending is sure to have you clamoring for a season 2. In the meantime, these nine episodes make Severance Apple TV+’s biggest series yet.

Severance, created by Dan Erickson, available on Apple TV+

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