Severance Season 1 Episode 9 Review: The We We Are

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Though it may not feel like it, Severance Season 1 Episode 9 was the most satisfying episode so far.

The Innies achieved their primary goal and learned a lot of information that will shape their future. Whether they will be allowed a future remains to be seen.

We are still left with many questions, but the advances in the action were significant.

Dylan holds on - Tall - Severance Season 1 Episode 9

It took a long time to get to this point. Admittedly, what the Innies achieved is likely something no other Innies have achieved until now.

Dan Erickson, the creator of the series, wrote this episode, and it shows the care he has for his characters as they all had moments of catharsis and discovery.

If you'd have told me after watching Severance Season 1 Episode 1 that the season finale would be filled with edge-of-your-seat suspense, I wouldn't have believed you, but here we are. After so many episodes of walking slowly down these halls, it was oddly cool to see someone running through them finally! Go Milchick!

As Milchick sawed through Dylan's belt, he mentioned that the tempers must have been "disappointed" in him, referring to the masked dancers at the waffle party.

(Various sources have pointed out that these dancers represented the four tempers Eagan "tamed" that reside in every person — woe, malice, frolic, and dread. They appear in the wellness waiting room painting in Severance Season 1 Episode 2).

Cobel knows - Severance Season 1 Episode 9

Does this mean the dance was a prelude to more adult shenanigans? Was the waffle party going to escalate further to actual sex? That makes everything so much more horrifying, especially if they are severed, which they most certainly are. They would be sex slaves with no escape.

How is anyone at Lumon supposed to enjoy a waffle party knowing that? It does explain why Dylan always acted like he was such a player -- since he was getting waffle party action.

The ethical ramifications keep piling up! How could Lumon even hire people with families or partners? It's still their bodies, even if it's not their minds.

Knowing that now, it's possible the four tempers could correspond to the four Macrodata refiners (rescinding the previous thought that the old woman, bride, jester, and sheep were their own thing) -- Helly as Malice, Dylan as Frolic, Irving as Dread, and Mark as Woe.

Natalie's intro - Severance Season 1 Episode 9

The scope of Lumon's reach is on display here in a subtle way but ever-menacing way.

Devon wasn't joking when she said Lumon has its hand in many pies -- according to Irving's road map, they live in the city of KIER. It makes sense, given that this is a city that Lumon built for its employees.

Also, how perfect that it's in Pennsylvania. It can't be too far from Scranton.

Cinematographer Jessica Lee Gagné is the MVP of this season. Her absolutely stunning work should win all the awards. Look at this shot:

Helly's speech - Severance Season 1 Episode 9

So much of the story is expressed and enhanced by her visuals. Credit must also go to Ben Stiller for his directing vision, particularly on this episode. It was masterfully crafted across the board.

The whole thing seemed to happen in real-time, giving the entire thing a sense of urgency that's been missing up until this point (save for the end of Severance Season 1 Episode 8).

Every shot and sequence is so deliberate -- newly awakened Innie Helly descends in a large glass elevator as she discovers the identity of her Outie. The elevator descent and ascent represent the transition between Innie and Outie, so this was perfect.

Her recitation of the compunction statement into the mirror (always the mirror, because it's just your other self looking back) took on a whole new meaning as she truly internalized those words. Chills.

Helly descends - Severance Season 1 Episode 9

Helly's journey this entire season was surreal, and to have it culminate here -- as Helena Eagan, daughter of Lumon's current CEO -- suddenly made everything make sense. It even explained why her Outie was adamant she stay after the suicide attempt.

Meeting the Artetas again basically confirms my initial theory that Gabby was severed for labor -- what else could she mean by "a little help"? Helly's walk through the photo exhibit was illuminating and disturbing -- now we know why Milchick took all those photos!

I don’t think severance divides us. I think it brings us together.


How could Jame even think that severance is all ethical and compassionate? He must if he let his daughter do it. What does Lumon truly believe they are doing? They must be aware they are creating sentient human slaves, or do they see them as less than human?

Michael Siberry makes for a terrifyingly calm cult-leader figure as Jame Eagan, Helena's father -- a wax figure come to life. He carries himself with a strange sombreness, his voice barely above a whisper as he remembers Helly's childhood view of the first severance chip.

In Severance Season 1 Episode 3, Helly noted, "I wish I could remember my childhood." Now, I'm sure she's glad she can't.

Jame Eagan - Severance Season 1 Episode 9

Britt Lower has been seething with pent-up rage this whole season, but she maintained her poise until the moment of truth. Lower conveys the brutal discovery of her true self with harrowing conviction.

Having been a huge Adam Scott fan from the beginning, it's been difficult to see him so sad and careworn -- though he's always portrayed both versions of Mark authentically and decisively differently.

Innie Mark had so many beautiful moments in this episode that it was impossible not to be totally invested as he tried to make sense of his surroundings with wide-eyed innocence.

Mark: How’s our baby?
Devon: I’m going to assume that you mean that in the "It takes a village" sense, but she’s good.

It was so satisfying to watch him realize that he was sitting down to a reading of the book that changed his life, by the author. How touching, too, was how he expressed his love to Ricken for the book.

If only Ricken could have known how that book inspired the revolution of the Innies!

Mark at the reading - Severance Season 1 Episode 9

Then there was Mark's (too-short and continuously postponed) conversation with Devon. The poignancy of this scene came from how intimately Devon connected with the new version of her brother, even though he didn't know her. He's still her brother, and she loves him.

Jen Tullock and Adam Scott were so tender together. The baby metaphor did not get lost here either -- Devon puts down one baby (Eleanor), so she can nurture and comfort another (Innie Mark).

Adam Scott has been underrated for too long, and it's great to see him show the range of his talents here. When he learned he was a teacher, his little smile was so sweet, especially since he allowed himself that moment of joy as Devon explained his unfelt grief about his late wife.

She was wonderful. She made you wonderful.


It makes sense that the best wellness sessions were learning innocuous details about one's Outie.

Ricken & Mark - Severance  Season 1 Episode 9

Zach Cherry ripped my heart out with Dylan's unyielding fire, released at last at the injustice of it all.

I wanna remember my fucking kid being born!


How many perks has he "endured' and thanked them for when he knows what he could have really had? And when Milchick offered to tell him his children's names, you could see that wavering in him, but he stood resolute, knowing the mission was more important than his needs.

You couldn't help but feel for him at that moment -- what a hero.

Irving, it turns out, is an actual hero. He's got the medals to prove it.

Irving wakes up - Severance Season 1 Episode 9

How much does Outie Irving know about Lumon, and has he got a way to communicate with Innie Irving? Is he a mole, a secret undercover agent for the government (or for Rugabe?) trying to infiltrate Lumon and even got severed as a way to do it?

The paintings and black ooze seem to suggest a connection between Irving's selves that isn't present with the other severed employees.

Did Burt get fired because he was compromising the mission? How awkward will it be when Burt opens the door to find Outie Irving standing on his doorstep, unaware of how he got there. Do they know each other on the outside?

In a perfect world, John Turturro will be showered with accolades for the remarkable humanity and empathy he has brought to Irving Bailiff.

Devon - Severance Season 1 Episode 9

What will Devon and Ricken do with Innie Mark's information?

Not just about Lumon, but about Gemma? How will they convey this to Outie Mark?

Will the Innies try this again? Will they be able to?

Do Ms. Cobel's threats hold any weight? What will happen to her now that she is no longer a Lumon employee? Will she be reinstated, or will this be the final nail in her coffin?

I’ll fix it like I fix everything.

Ms. Cobel

This episode is the Severance Season 1 finale. Ben Stiller promises a multi-season arc, but for nine episodes, there are still many questions left unanswered (this list is not all-inclusive):

  • What are the baby goats for, and who was the man feeding them?
  • What are the numbers for, why are they scary, and what does Macrodata Refinement actually do?
  • What does the Optics & Design Department do?
  • Why/how is Gemma alive, and why does/did she work at Lumon?

  • Are we going to see June Kilmer again, and what is her relevance to the plot?
  • Will Rugabe have any answers about her time at Lumon, and why did she feel it necessary to kill Mr. Graner?
  • What is the meaning behind the room in the Perpetuity Wing with all the smiles?
  • Why does Ms. Cobel have an alternate identity, why does she live next door to Mark, why is she so invested in his Outie's life, what's in her past, and who is Charlotte Cobel?
Mark's confusion - Severance Season 1 Episode 9

Much of Severance has been slow and taken too much time to get to the end-of-season point. However, the back half of the season has been undeniably energetic, with tighter storytelling.

The cliffhangers don't always feel earned (I almost wanted to quit watching after Helly's suicide attempt), and now we have to wait who knows how long until Season 2.

It's frustrating to think that we've hardly had any questions actually answered, apart from the reveal of Helly's Outie, which, granted, was immensely gratifying because it makes sense and infuses potential rewatches with plenty of layers. 

I'll be eagerly awaiting Season 2, but I wish it were because it's a good show that I want to keep watching, not because the story ended mid-chapter, and I need to know what happens next (I'm looking at you, The Walking Dead).

Compuction - Severance Season 1 Episode 9

What, indeed, is "you"?

Ricken (reading from his book “The You You Are”)

It's not a perfect show, but many aspects of it are -- the story and world-building are a clever twist on the office "genre." Most of the characters and actors portraying them are so engaging it's hard not to care for them. 

Despite continued misgivings about the nature of who is supplying us with the story of corporate ennui, I'm solidly hooked. It raises questions about sentience, humanity, and ethics from a new perspective -- even if the jury's still out on the true meaning behind it all.  

What did you think of the finale? Will you continue to watch when Severance returns for Season 2?

Share your thoughts and theories for the future in the comments -- and may you be instilled with Vision, Verve, Wit, Cheer, Humility, Benevolence, Nimbleness, Probity, and Wiles. 

The We We Are Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (66 Votes)

Mary Littlejohn Mary Littlejohn was a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic.

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Severance Season 1 Episode 9 Quotes

Mark: How’s our baby?
Devon: I’m going to assume that you mean that in the "It takes a village" sense, but she’s good.

I wanna remember my fucking kid being born!