Hide and Seek is the sixth episode of the first season of Severance.
Mrs. Selvig, dressed in a matronly white nightie and braids, sits on an institutional-looking bed in what appears to be her basement. She makes a necklace out of a severance implant and admires it in the mirror. Her phone buzzes. It’s Graner. Tests on Kilmer’s chip show the console used to hack the chip has a signature that ties it back to Lumon. Graner thinks it traces back to Reghabi. He’s going to look for her. Selvig ends the call.
Selvig kneels at an altar illuminated by white candles and folds her hands. A framed black-and-white photograph of Kier Eagan hangs centered above it. It is surrounded by numerous articles of Kier-adjacent totems and memorabilia - an original canister of Lumon Industries topical salve, a yellowed snapshot of a girl in braids standing next to the sign for the Myrtle Eagan School for Girls, and, strangely, a coiled ventilator hose labeled Charlotte Cobel, DOB 3-17-44. She begins to recite, or pray: “Tame in me the tempers four / that I may serve thee evermore. / Place in me the values nine, / that I may feel they touch divine.”
Mark hurries down his basement steps and digs Petey’s phone out of the box. He checks it, closes it and pockets it. He gets into his car and backs out of his driveway. He reverses to get even with the trash bins. He rolls down his car window and removes the battery from the phone. He throws both pieces in the trash.
Lumon, Severed floor. Irving and Burt enter a room filled with greenery. Burt tells Irving he found it a while ago and sometimes visits alone. Irving thinks it’s beautiful. Burt suggests it can be their secret place. They quietly discuss the loopholes in the Lumon rules on workplace romance. They face each other, hands touching. Burt goes in for a kiss. Irving can’t do it; he isn’t ready. He apologizes. Their foreheads meet in a kind of embrace. Burt asks Irving to stay there with him.
Devon Scout-Hale strolls through a snowy park with Eleanor strapped to her front in a carrier. Below her, in an open area, Devon spies Gabby. She waves her hand and calls out a greeting to her. Gabby doesn’t recognize Devon. Devon walks down to get closer and re-introduces herself, mentioning the coffee. Devon asks how William is. Gabby answers, a little icily, “His name’s Bradley, actually.” Gabby’s husband wanders over and introduces himself - Angelo Arteta. He asks if Devon and Gabby know each other. Devon mentions meeting at the birthing cottages. Angelo pauses, makes an excuse, and rounds up his wife and two boys. They walk out of the park, leaving Devon bewildered.
Assembled in the kitchenette, Dylan, Helly and Mark listen as Irving tries to convince them all to go back with him to O&D. Dylan suspects Irving just wants to see Burt again; Irving insists it could be the start of uniting the two departments. Mark asks Irving to clarify what he meant by O&D making things. Irving responds that they didn’t ask. Dylan suggests O&D are making goat-murdering implements. Helly believes O&D is an important piece of the puzzle. Then Mark and Helly have a flirty moment, leaving Mark looking a little flushed.
Milchick walks in on Irving and Dylan ribbing Mark and asks what they’re talking about. Together, trying to recover, they come up with “Ms. Casey.” Mark, suddenly realizing he hasn’t seen her, asks where Ms. Casey is.
Mark is in Ms. Cobel’s office. She sternly lectures Mark about accountability. Mark tries to defend Ms. Casey, reminding Cobel that he is the one who snuck Helly out of MDR, and he should be bearing the consequences for what happened, though he covers their excursion as “just a walk.” Cobel zeroes in and shows him security camera footage of Mark and Helly in the unused office. Cobel reprimands Mark for exploring the halls while MDR has still not met its quarterly quota. Mark demands to know what their actual job is for. “We serve Kier, you child!” Cobel screeches at him from across the desk. She revokes MDR’s hallway privileges.
Dylan sulks that Ms. Casey hasn’t returned to MDR, saying he wore a nice shirt just for her. Helly retorts that his Outie doesn’t know anything about Ms. Casey; Dylan proposes that love transcends Severance. He tries to turn the conversation to Helly and Mark, insinuating that “baby goats” is a euphemism for a tryst. Helly attempts, possibly unsuccessfully, to convince Dylan that there were actual baby goats.
Mark gets back to MDR from Cobel’s. He tells Helly and Dylan that Ms. Casey is in the Break Room. Mark angrily tells them that until they meet their quota there are no more inter-departmental visits. Irving apologizes to Mark for the bad example he has set. Mark asks Irving to take them all to O&D.
The four walk the hallways defiantly. Cobel sees it on her camera feed and shouts for Milchick. “I’m on it,” he says.
Burt takes the four to the back room of O&D. Helly and Mark are astonished by the number of people working there. Burt tries to ease the surprise to his workers. He welcomes MDR and hopes O&D would be welcome in their office as well. Burt encourages the O&D people to ask MDR a question. One woman, holding a white watering can, asks what MDR refines. Mark struggles to find an answer. Irving asks if she has a watering can. She looks at Burt searchingly; he guesses they are supplies for the executives upstairs, though the hatchets they made last week had more of an aggressive feel.
Mark tells everyone that they have been trying to figure out how it all fits together. He mentions the baby goat room. Burt stresses that everything they do there is important. Helly questions his statement.
Mark proposes working together to try to find out more. He points out that nobody will tell them what they’re doing; that they work in the dark while the Eagan philosophy is “Illumination above all.” “Beyond all,” corrects Irving.
Burt agrees with Mark’s argument, adding that he and Mark should go to the goat department together and find out what they know. While Burt makes this case, Dylan strolls the room. Dylan finds a bin with picture cards stacked in it. They illustrate movements and martial-arts-esque attack stances. He takes one and pockets it.
Milchick opens the back-room door and looks upon the scene with disappointment and accusation. He walks MDR back to their office while Mark protests. Cobel is waiting there for them. She sings a short song in tribute to Kier in a loud, strong voice. After she finishes, she dresses Mark down for the breach of trust. Graner appears. Cobel tells him to take Mark to the Break Room.
As Mark enters the hallway to the Break Room, the door at the other end opens and Ms. Casey comes out. They walk toward one another. Mark whispers, “I’m sorry” as they pass each other in the middle.
Mark and Alexa are out on another date. She notices the knuckles on his right hand are bright red. She asks what happened to it. He repeats what Lumon told him happened at work, some incident involving moving a water jug. Alexa doesn’t seem completely convinced.
They discuss Devon’s need for a lactation consultant. Alexa asks if Mark and Gemma ever considered having children. Mark explains how it never really happened, and Gemma’s philosophy was to accept the life she had. Alexa approves. Mark starts to relate an anecdote about how pragmatic Gemma was, and stops himself. He feels weird talking about his late wife on a date. Alexa encourages him to talk more about it, since Gemma is a part of him. She starts to say, “You can’t just separate yourself…” - “Oh no, but you can, Alexa, with this exciting new procedure!” Mark interjects wryly.
At Devon and Ricken’s, Devon is looking up Gabby Arteta on social media. Her profile is blocked. She finds an article about Gabby’s husband Angelo. He’s a State Senator who was recently re-elected. She reads a news article about them in the Reservoir Journal. The headline refers to them as a “power couple.” A profile in the Insider section of Kier Life details Angelo’s political rise to State office from being the Mayor of Wileston, attributing the trajectory of his career to his support for legalized Severance.
Devon clicks on a link in the Kier Life article, which brings her to a news article in The Kier Chronicle. Arteta is apparently a leading figure in the quest for legalized Severance. Other smaller headlines on the page link to pieces about Arteta’s strong support for Severance, and Lumon’s financial backing of Arteta’s campaign. Devon’s interest is piqued.
As she reads, Ricken announces that the lactation consultant has arrived for an interview. Devon shuts the lid of the computer. Ricken leads the consultant in while Devon retrieves Eleanor from her bassinet.
Ms. Selvig, dressed in scrubs, comes into the room and greets Devon warmly. Ricken and Devon are aware she is Mark’s neighbor. Selvig offers Devon a small gift of Shea butter salve. Ricken cautions her that they are considering a few candidates. Eleanor rouses with a little cry. Ms. Selvig offers to calm the baby; she takes her from Devon and gently hums the tune to Kier, Chosen One as she soothes her. Eleanor is quieted in seconds.
On a TV, a cartoon lightning bolt saws through the center a cartoon cloud. The cloud looks like a brain. A child in pajamas sits before of it, his hands covering his eyes. He is counting. “701…702…70-hundred-43….70-hundred-46…”
Dylan is in…a closet? His face changes from “Outie” to “Innie.” Milchick is there, crouched in front of him. He tells Innie-Dylan that he’s been awakened at home. Dylan looks around, disoriented. Milchick interrogates him - he needs to know where Dylan put the ideographic card he took from O&D. Was it smuggled out? Is it here, in Dylan’s house? Dylan examines the articles in the closet amazed, hardly listening. “Holy shit, is this my house?” he asks.
Milchick, very serious, stresses the sensitive nature of the card. He asks Dylan if someone paid him to smuggle it out of Lumon. Dylan tells him it’s in the MDR restroom, second stall, behind the toilet. He had no idea what it was. Milchick thanks him for the information. At that moment, the little boy from the other room bursts into the closet, saying, “Daddy! Daddy!” He hugs Dylan around his neck. Dylan has no idea how to react. Milchick grabs the child by its pajama top and drags him off Dylan. “We told you to count to a thousand and wait outside!” scolds Milchick. Dylan demands, “Is that my kid?!”
“End it,” Milchick orders into his phone.
Somewhere a switch flips and Innie Dylan is Outie Dylan again. He clutches his son. Dylan and Milchick stand up. “We good here?” Dylan asks Milchick. “We’re good,” says Milchick.
Mark and Alexa’s date is about to end when Mark notices a flyer pasted to a wall advertising a concert by Fissureman. He recognizes June in the band photo. The concert is happening right then. Mark asks Alexa if they can go to it, explaining he knows someone in the band. He promises they can leave if it’s lame. “You mean, if it isn’t as cool as we are,” Alexa teases. “Exactly,” Mark replies.
It’s less a venue than a dark alley. A punk show is in progress. Mark feels out of place. He gets beers for himself and Alexa. The band rips into a song about losing someone to Severance. The crowd chants along. “FUCK YOU, LUMON. I HATE YOU, LUMON.” Mark awkwardly joins in the chant on the second verse, then feels it, shouting it with a smile on his face.
Mark and Alexa hang back after the show ends. June walks by and recognizes Mark. They have a stilted conversation. June radiates contempt for Mark. A fight breaks out in the alleyway and Mark and Alexis decide to leave.
Away from the alley, Mark starts to explain how he knows June. Alexa stops his talking with a kiss.
Graner raps on Selvig’s front door. He refers to her by “Harmony.” He begins to tell her he got a tip from a Ganz College campus cop. He notices she’s wearing scrubs. Defensively, Selvig tells him she has been doing “private research.” She demands to know why he couldn’t tell her his news over the phone. He continues that someone is using an old research building on the campus and the dean has instructed the security there to “look the other way.” He thinks it’s Reghabi. He’s going to go to the college to find her.
Mark is in bed awake late at night, thinking of Petey’s last moments. Alexa lays asleep next to him. He goes outside and fishes the phone out of his trash bin. He puts the battery back on it and waits for it to buzz, which it does almost immediately. He accepts the call this time. “Who is this?” asks a woman’s voice on the other end. Mark identifies himself as a friend of Petey’s. There is a long pause. The woman’s voice on the phone asks if he is Mark Scout. He looks around himself nervously. Before he can respond, she asks him what Petey told him. “Nothing,” he answers,“I want to understand.” The voice asks him if he can meet. Now.
A van is parked in front of the entrance to Lumon. Inside on the Severed floor, two workmen disassemble the entry to MDR. They install a sliding security door activated with badge control.
Mark walks down a series of outdoor stairways in the rain. He reaches a subterranean area of a large concrete building. From the shadows a woman approaches him. She asks if he is alone. Mark says he is. He asks her who she is. Hearing a strange sound, she doesn’t answer the question, but tells Mark to come with her.
Irving, you know, the Lumon manual doesn’t say anything about lip-to-lip contact.
— Burt, (05:58)
You are sparing with the facial encouragements.
— Irving, (11:04)
She’s just a wellness counselor, Mark.
— Cobel, (12:02)
Goddamn tragedy for the ages. MDR will mourn the “will-they-won’t-they” energy shared by Ms. Casey and myself.
— Dylan, (13:12)
Dylan: Is ’baby goats’ code for sex with Mark S.?
Helly: No, they were actual goats. Why would we call it that?
— Dylan and Helly, (13:53)
It’s important because it actually is or because you’re saying it is?
— Helly, (17:24)
Mark: If the Eagan philosophy is illumination above all…
Irving: Illumination beyond all. But yes.
— Mark and Irving, (18:02)
If the Eagan philosophy is illumination above all…[…] Then why doesn’t that include us? Why are we down here still working in the dark?
— Mark, (18:02)
Your inefficiency and free-range chicken roaming is ultimately your responsibility.
— Cobel, (20:32)
Apparently, I jammed my hand at work replenishing a watercooler. Or at least that’s what they tell me.
— Mark, (22:26)
She was very pragmatic. Always had a plan B.
— Mark [about Gemma], (23:56)