Severance Season 1 Ending Explained: Is the truth about Lumon revealed?

The We We Are 

With Dylan holding both override switches together, the season 1 finale of Severance sees Helly, Mark and Livery all try to make sense of their newfound lives. Mark awakens in his “outie’s” body right in the middle of Ricken’s big party. With Devon there with baby Eleanor, Mark quickly notices Harmony lurking about too. He tries to keep his cool but it’s clear he’s cracking under the pressure.

Does Harmony find out who Mark is?

Ricken steps up to read passages from the book that Mark has clung to like his own personal religion inside Lumon. After listening to his speech, during a reflection break Mark approaches Ricken. Mark is quick to praise Ricken for the work done with his book and how it has changed his life.

Unfortunately, with Harmony Cobel there serving as the link between these two worlds, she notices that Mark is tense and questions him about this. She indirectly brings up his early utterance of wanting to quit Lumon, asking if he still wants to go ahead with it. Mark obviously has no idea what’s going on and does his best to improvise. Unfortunately, he calls her “Ms Cobel”, which immediately rings alarm bells for her given everyone here knows her as Mrs. Selvig.

Who is Helly R? Why is she so important?

As for Helly, we’ve known that she’s someone important on the outside and now we find out who. She’s actually Kier Eagan’s daughter, Helena! Helly is thrust into this world head-first, finding herself on the cusp of giving a big speech all about the severed life.

All those pictures Mr Milchick has been taking through the season are showcased here, used as back and white promotional images for these important investors and businesspeople. It’s clear they’re about to vote on whether to allow severance. Helly even finds her alter-self, Helena, giving a promotional speech on the monitors about how severance unites them all.

Helly R eventually finds herself face to face with Kier, who shuffles into the bathroom. He asks whether she’s in pain, throwing disdain at the “innie” who tried to commit suicide.

Kier continues on, bringing up the prototype chips and how it had the blue and green lights back then, a recurring colour theme throughout the series. Kier’s dream is for everyone in the whole world to get a severance chip so they can become “his children.”

A megalomaniac and greedy capitalistic boss; Kier is called away as Helly prepares for her big speech. After 1000+ times of reading those lines in the breakroom, Helly has that etched in her memory and she whispers them to herself like a mantra in the mirror, ready to make a big change.

What does Irving find in his apartment?

Irving meanwhile, finds himself in his apartment and soon opens up a locked trunk holding his father’s old navy gear. Interestingly, there are also newspaper clippings about Lumon needing to be found accountable for their actions. There’s also a severed employee list here – including Irving’s name. The list has extensive names and even addresses for some people. Naturally, he finds one for Burt and immediately decides to head out.

Why did Mark choose to work at Lumon?

Back with Mark for a second, he speaks to his sister and reveals all. Devon is incredulous as Mark urges her to get investigators involved to sweep Lumon and discover the truth. So why did Mark decide to take up severance? Well, it occurred a little after losing his wife, Gemma (whom we know is Ms Casey from the Wellness program.)

Mark was a professor of history and tried to press on and keep teaching but 3 weeks after she died is nowhere near enough time to grieve. Inevitably, the whole thing was a complete disaster. Mark believed the severed job would actually free that part of him, doing this out of kindness to spare his other-self from grief. Unlike Helly’s cruel fate, Mark’s wasn’t a malicious act after all – it was one of mercy.

Is Harmony’s true identity revealed?

Mr Milchick soon picks up his phone and learns that the OTC has been triggered. Charging down the hallways, he tries to break into the office.

Time is of the essence, and Devon admits to Mark that he needs to be careful who they speak to, given Lumon appear to have a lot of influence across the nation. Just then, Mark reveals that Harmony Cobel (Mrs Selvig) is his boss, sending shivers down Devon’s spine. “Jesus Christ.” She says. Mrs Selvig has gone, Eleanor is in her car-seat in the bedroom and Mark has the biggest shock of his life when he finds wedding photos of other Mark and Gemma on the counter.

Does Helly deliver her speech?

Helly walks purposefully toward the stage, determined to shake up the very foundation of severance, while Irving arrives at Burt’s house and looks inside. He finds Burt… but also Burt’s partner too. It breaks his heart.

Eleanor shows up and finds Helly in the back, promising to make Mark and everyone else’s lives a living hell, leaving them in absolute pain – but alive – when they make it out of this. With Dylan holding the fort, Helly makes it onto stage and prepares to talk, with Kier watching on from the back. “I’m an innie and everything they told you about severance is a lie.” She pleads with the crowd. They begin by thinking this is a joke, but soon stop laughing as she continues. “We’re not happy, we’re miserable. They torture us down there. We’re prisoners.”

How does Severance Season 1 end?

Mr Milchick breaks into the security office, tackling Dylan to the ground, which subsequently knocks his fingers off the switches. As he does, Mark tells Devon that Gemma is still alive, Helly gives her bombshell speech and Irving looks set to reach Burt’s house. Unfortunately, because of the switches being knocked, all our characters return to their usual forms, and the fate of all our characters is left wide open.

The Episode Review

What an outstanding finale to an outstanding show. The ideas and themes in Severance have been nothing short of fantastic, and the visual motifs we’ve seen through the previous 8 episodes – recurring blue and green colours for example – are actually explained by Kier, who happens to be alive.

Whether Kelly’s actions will actually make any difference remains to be seen, but given a second season has already been green-lit, it’s fair to assume it probably won’t. I’d imagine we’ll see Ricken and Devon work together to uncover the truth about Lumon, including their lies about Gemma’s death. But why even cover that up?

There are a lot of loose ends here, including exactly what Lumon are doing and why severance is so important. The work they’re doing could all be random and not really have a deeper meaning; a way of working out any flaws in the chips before distributing this en-mass to different companies.

As for final episodes though, that is one hell of a cliffhanger and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one groaning and wishing there was more to this story!

Either way though, Severance has been one of this year’s best shows and it’s easy to see why. The themes are relevant, the ideas are presented in an interesting and poignant way, and topped up with some excellent acting all round. It’s just a pity that this wonderful show is stuck on AppleTV with its 40 million subscribers. This deserves a much bigger audience as it’s fantastic!


Read More: Severance Season 1 Review

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2 thoughts on “Severance Season 1 Ending Explained: Is the truth about Lumon revealed?”

  1. Great analysis of the final episode. I love this show and just watched it a second time with my husband.

    Can’t wait to know how/why Outtie Irving already had Outtie Burt’s address. I wonder if Petey had helped him already?

    Just wanted to let you know you have a few issues with spellcheck — Livery for Irving and Kelly for Helly. Also Helena Eagan’s father is James Eagan, not Kier.

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