In Perpetuity is the third episode of the first season of Severance.
You carry the hurt with you. You feel it down there too. You just don’t know what it is.
— Petey, (10:32)
The episode picks up where Half Loop left off. Mark calls to Petey through the closed bathroom door, asking if he is okay. Petey responds that he is, that he just slipped. Mark apologizes for the weird robe he's given Petey to wear, explaining that it's from his brother-in-law. Petey thinks the robe is awesome. Petey, concerned about the security of Mark's house, inquires about the windows and the neighbors. Mark assures him the house is safe.
In a flashback scene at Lumon, Irving and Petey are arguing about company policy concerning employee mixers. Mid-sentence, Petey goes from wearing an office-appropriate suit to the bathrobe Mark gave him. He hears Mark calling “Petey?” and he's back in Mark's basement. He explains to Mark that he's disoriented. It seems like Mark has heard some of Petey's side of the Lumon conversation.
In Mrs. Selvig's messy kitchen, Selvig pours a glass of milk and takes a tray of burned cookies to eat. Sitting in a dark room, she stares out the window - presumably in the direction of Mark's house.
Back at Mark's, Petey attempts to explain the pitfalls of Reintegration to Mark. He describes it as having “two pasts” that blur together and don't line up. Petey and Mark discuss who is fighting against Severance. Mark suspects the Whole Mind Collective - the activists who were passing out flyers - but Petey claims it is someone else.
Mark insists he wants to stay Severed because he finds it helpful; Petey proposes that the cost of that help could be murdering people through his work at Lumon without knowing it. Mark questions this, and Petey says he's found out about a department on the Severed floor where people don't get to leave. Petey gets paranoid and distressed when Mark questions this. Petey tells Mark he has a daughter.
Selvig, snooping out her window and eating a burned cookie, watches Mark in his house.
Mark drinks and watches television alone. The news program shows a cable TV anchor questioning a Lumon spokesperson about an incident involving a Severed employee. The inquiry gets heated. Mark changes the channel.
Mark wakes up the next morning, having passed out on the sofa. Getting ready for work, he goes to the basement to rouse Petey and re-orient him to his whereabouts. Mark restates his desire not to reintegrate. Petey sleepily tells Mark that sometimes Mark would come into work with red eyes - an “elevator allergy.” Knowing now that grief is what keeps Mark in, he tells him that down there, “you carry the hurt with you. You feel it down there too. You just don't know what it is.”
As Mark emerges from his house, so does Mrs. Selvig from hers, wielding a hair dryer. She turns it on and aims it at her front stoop. She apologizes for the racket, explaining that she is de-icing her step. She offers more cookies later, which Mark accepts. As soon as Mark is out of sight, Selvig stands up, turns off the hair dryer and goes back into her house.
Mark arrives at work. A green envelope is waiting for him in the MDR office. It contains four prints of the new MDR group photo. Helly arrives and tells Mark of her success the previous day. Before Mark can begin swapping out the old group photos for the new, Helly suggests he needn't bother because she has submitted her resignation request. Mark is surprised. Helly seems happy and mentions that if she's gone, Mark won't be sent to the Break Room anymore.
Milchick arrives and gives Mark the morning announcements to read to the staff. Irving whispers to the others that it will be different now that Mark isn't interrupting Petey's announcements with “gas-having.” Milchick takes a photo of Mark speaking, while the others poke fun at Mark. Several of the announcements address the office antics of Dylan. The last announcement is about Helly's resignation request. Mark expresses surprise about the speed at which it's been turned around. Mark informs Helly her resignation request has been denied. Helly bolts for the restroom, distraught.
Outside, Ricken and Devon drive up to Mark's house. Ricken is there to drop something off for Mark, clearly giddy about what it represents. Waffling about where to place it, Ricken ultimately decides to set the small package he's brought to the side of the door of Mark's house. The Hales drive away.
Mrs. Selvig exits her house and walks to Mark's.
In Mark's basement, Petey is frantically sketching a map of the Severed floor.
On Mark's doorstep, Selvig takes the package left by Ricken.
Petey has a flashback to Lumon, trading jokes with Mark. He jolts back to reality in the basement.
Selvig turns a key into the lock of Mark's front door; Petey hears it. Selvig slowly walks through Mark's darkened house and enters the basement.
She descends the stairs. Approaching Mark's storage area, she finds the Gemma bin and opens it. She removes the red and green pillar candle and sniffs it. She drops the candle in a tote she is carrying and closes the bin. Selvig's phone rings as she searches the basement. It sounds like Milchick on the other end. They converse while Selvig continues to snoop around. They appear to be discussing a personnel matter. Petey watches her from a hidden spot, flashing back to Lumon. He quietly creeps up the stairs out of the basement while Selvig continues talking on the phone.
Selvig leaves Mark's and gets into her car. She drives off as Petey observes from behind a hedge, still flashing back to Lumon, its hallways and his map. He ends up on the bridge between the Lumon HQ and Mark's neighborhood.
At Lumon, Mark begs Helly to come out of the restroom, stating she has been in it for 45 minutes. He gives her a warning and enters. Helly is standing by the sinks. Mark calls her out for writing on her skin, which she denies. He reminds her about the Code Detectors. She then puts her forearms together to show Mark she has written 'LET ME OUT' over both of her limbs. Dismayed, Mark tries to remind Helly that things have been getting better for her, but she is intransigent. He tells her to scrub her arms.
Irving, having overheard Mark and Helly's interaction in the restroom, suggests that Mark bring Helly to the Perpetuity Wing. He believes it will instill Helly with the deeper meaning of Lumon Industries.
Ms. Cobel arrives at her office. She shows Milchick the package she took from Mark's door and tells him to open it and look for messages. The package contains a hard-bound book called The You You Are authored by Ricken Hale. Cobel and Milchick recognize Ricken as Mark's brother-in-law.
Mark enters into Cobel's office suite unannounced. He asks Ms. Cobel for permission to take the MDR team to the Perpetuity Wing. Cobel critiques Mark's leadership skills because of the way he asked the question and throws a mug at him. She demands that Mark get his team to its numbers. Mark leaves without receiving a definitive answer.
In MDR, Dylan hypothesizes that his Outie does muscle shows. He and Irving quarrel about how much money can be made that way, while Helly writes “I don't want to work here” on a Lumon-branded post-it note. She folds the note into a tiny parcel and fits it inside the cap of a Sharpie pen. She tapes over the open end. In the Kitchenette she retrieves a glass and fills it with water. Just as she puts the pen cap into her mouth, Mark appears. He offhandedly tells her that the code detectors can sense messages even inside the body. He briefly describes the extraction process that would take place when she is caught. Helly spits the pen cap out into Mark's waiting hand.
Mark takes the team on a field trip to the Perpetuity Wing. Irving, carrying his company handbook in a Lumon tote, drones on about Lumon trivia as they walk the hallways. Walking behind Irving, Dylan quietly hands out “Eagan Bingo” sheets to Helly and Mark, claiming it is a way for the team to bond (except Irving).
At a junction of the hallways, the MDR team comes upon Burt and Felicia from Optics and Design. The two groups observe each other distrustfully. Though Irving attempts to ease the tension by greeting Burt in a friendly manner, Dylan becomes confrontational, demanding to know O&D's business. Felicia claims they are returning from a team-building exercise. Dylan casts doubt on that explaination. Mark introduces Helly and tells Burt and Felicia that they are on their way to the Perpetuity Wing. The two groups part ways while Irving watches wistfully as Burt disappears down the hallway.
Cobel enters her office where she finds Natalie and Milchick. Natalie announces that there is a meeting about Peter Kilmer and The Board will be joining them. Milchick makes some last minute adjustments to a speaker on Cobel's desk and leaves the room. Static crackles from the speaker. Natalie instructs Cobel to speak first, and Cobel greets the Board. Natalie looks searchingly at Cobel until she continues talking about the hunt for Petey. Hesitantly, Cobel mentions that Petey showed signs of reintegration before he left. Speaking for the Board, Natalie tells Cobel that the Severance Procedure is irreversible, and chastens Cobel that the manager of the Severed Floor would know that. Trying to recover, Cobel hails her nimble new Refiner, but the Board ends the call mid-sentence.
In the hallways, the team discusses the traits of O&D. Dylan asserts that O&D attempted a violent coup on the other departments years ago, which is why their department now consists of two people. Mark strongly refutes this story. Helly proposes killing Mark if O&D come back to attack them, so O&D will think they are crazy with nothing to lose. Dylan supports the idea.
MDR finally makes it to the Perpetuity Wing. Irving opens the door to a concrete-walled room. They come upon a large wax statue of Jame Eagan, current CEO. While Irving and Dylan take it in with admiration, Helly regards the statue with an unreadable look. Down a flight of stairs, similar statues of past CEOs stand on short pedestals in a grey, concrete atrium.
Outside, Petey walks the cold streets, confused, in his bathrobe. The philosophical words of Kier Eagan play over while the scene switches to the inside of the Perpetuity Wing. Helly plays Eagan Bingo while the words of the CEOs echo through the concrete room. Irving mentions Myrtle Eagan declared, at the age of seven, that she would be the first woman CEO of Lumon. Helly wryly expresses regret that she can't remember her own childhood. Irving agrees that having no history is unnatural, but implies the company's history is her history now.
They walk into the Lumon Legacy of Joy, the walls of which are covered by screens. Each screen shows the static close-up smile of a person. The images are black and white. They are meant to represent actual people that Lumon Industries has helped. Irving expounds on Lumon's distinguished history, noting that the true number of smiles could be in the millions. Helly asks if Lumon is a dental company. Dylan calls the exhibit “the Mouth Wall,” vexing Irving, and asks if they can leave now. Irving insists they just got there, and Helly hasn't seen the Kier part yet.
They depart the exhibit through the CEO hall, and file through an opening guarded by Gerhardt Eagan. They enter an expansive chamber, many times larger than the previous ones. In it, a perfect, detailed replica of Kier Eagan's house stands. Irving opens the door to the house and the team follows him into the dark foyer. In the bedroom of Kier, just as he might have left it, they examine the room respectfully. Dylan remarks that he hates it, and that it “smells like 19th century ass,” triggering Irving. Like a harried schoolteacher, Irving remonstrates Mark for attempting to sit on Kier's bed. He notices the Eagan Bingo sheet peeking out of Mark's jacket pocket. Irving winds up to give Mark a lecture about it, but Mark evokes Kier's words to “Keep a merry humor ever in your heart.” Irving is disappointed that Mark is setting an example of “jokes and impiety” for Helly.
Mark suddenly notices that Helly is nowhere to be seen. He calls for her, and realizes she's not in the house.
Helly races through the white hallways. Mark pursues her, far behind.
Meanwhile, Mr. Milchick sits in a conference room, reading Ricken's book and shaking his head incredulously.
Helly makes it to the exit door but it's locked. She grabs a fire extinguisher from the wall and uses it to smash the narrow window set into the door. Red lights flash and klaxons whine when she breaks through.
Milchick leaps up from his reading, forgetting the book on his conference room chair.
Helly reaches her arm though the broken glass, holding the Eagan Bingo sheet in her hand. On the back of it she has written: 'NEVER COME BACK HERE.' It seems she is trying to drop it outside of the Severed area for her Outie to find. Mark pulls her back before she can do it. Graner rounds the corner. He orders Helly to come with him. They arrive at the door to the Break Room.
Clutching her injured arm, Helly takes the slow walk to the other end of the dark corridor and enters a space where Milchick has been waiting for her. He expresses his sorrow to see her there. He cleans and treats her cut arm, and calmly tells her to sit. He instructs her to put her hands on the table while he sets up the room. He starts a cassette recorder and brings up the The Compunction Statement. Through a glass barrier the projected words of the statement face Helly. Milchick orders her to read it. Helly refuses. He orders her again.
Helly begins to read the statement in a flat voice while instruments on Milchick's side measure feedback from Helly. Milchick, chastising her for not meaning the words, tells Helly to begin again, which she does in a slightly sarcastic and stilted tone. Milchick rejects the attempt.
In MDR, Dylan is leaving for the day, leaving Mark alone. Mark sits in the dark office. He takes out the new group photos. Retrieving the old photos from their hiding place, Mark begins to swap out the old photos for the new. When he gets to the last one, he sees that the back of the picture has some writing on it. He takes the photo from its frame. It's Petey's Petey’s Map.
Scenes cut between Petey stumbling through a harshly-lit convenience store and Mark looking at the map. Mark conceals the map behind the new group photo in the frame and sets it on his desk. Petey mutters about tokens. Mark leaves work. Petey gasps and groans and collapses on the floor of the store. Mark makes his way out of Lumon and toward his car. It's raining. The nearly empty parking lot reveals he is one of the last to leave.
Mark gets home and calls down the basement to Petey. Mark, panicked that Petey is clearly not in the house, goes on a drive to find him, passing a curve in the road where the headlights of his car illuminate some guardrail that has been severely dented. At an intersection an ambulance wails past him. Mark decides to follow it. He ends up at a gas station, where police and the ambulance are there with lights flashing. Mark gets out of his car and looks around. A policeman is guiding a bathrobe-clad Petey out of the convenience store and to a waiting stretcher. Petey sees Mark. He collapses again and loses consciousness. Mark hastily retreats from the scene.
Back in the basement, Mark works quickly to remove all evidence that Petey was there. As he heads back upstairs, he can hear a phone vibrating below.
You look trim, Mark. I wonder if you were food poisoned.
— Irving, (12:49)
Mark used to find it funny to interrupt Petey's announcements. With gas having.
— Irving, (13:34)
That place is everything.
— Irving [about the Perpetuity Wing], (23:31)
Are you going to make me throw my mug at you?
— Cobel, (25:14)
Dylan: My delts are embarrassingly good today. My outie does muscle shows for sure.
Irving: If your outie did muscle shows, you wouldn't have to work here.
— Dylan and Irving, (26:09)
Helly: What the hell is Eagan Bingo?
Dylan: It's how you don't die of boredom in the Perpetuity Wing.
— Helly and Dylan, (28:42)
I mean, I'm 99% sure there was no coup.
— Mark, (33:12)
In my life, I have identified four components, which I call tempers, from which are derived every human soul. Woe. Frolic. Dread. Malice. Each man's character is defined by the precise ratio that resides in him. I walked into the cave of my own mind, and there I tamed them. Should you tame the tempers as I did mine, then the world shall become but your appendage. It is this great and consecrated power that I hope to pass on to all of you, my children.
— Kier Eagan [on recording], (35:41)
I think that to be an Eagan, either a true Eagan or anyone working in this Lumon family, what you are is the keeper of an ethos, a compact of values that we have long held as precious, and which I do believe will one day save this world. And that ethos goes all the way back through my blood to where we all started, with Kier.
— Myrtle Eagan [on recording], (36:32)
It's the Perpetuity Wing. It's the Eagans. It's the living soul of Lumon and everything she stands for, not a bingo match.
— Irving, (40:29)