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This article is about the episode. For the book, see The You You Are (book).
|The You You Are|
|Directed By||Aoife McArdle|
|Written By||Kari Drake|
|Premiered||March 4, 2022|
|Previous Episode||In Perpetuity|
|Next Episode||The Grim Barbarity of Optics and Design|
The You You Are is the fourth episode of the first season of Severance.
The work is mysterious and important!
— Mark, (16:46)
Things pick back up in the Break Room with Helly and Milchick. She repeats the compunction statement. She looks tired. Her eyelids are drooping. Her wound is still bleeding. Again, she fails to read the statement with convincing enough remorse for Milchick. He glances at the clock, which displays 17:14, then clicks over to 17:15. He turns off the projector and the recorder. He announces in a bright voice that they will try again in the morning.
Milchick leads Helly to the elevator and she gets in. “See you tomorrow, Helly,” he says. The elevator door closes.
And then it opens again; Milchick appears not to have moved. Helly is in the elevator dressed for a new day. “Fuck me,” she says wearily.
In the Break Room they are back in their places. With frustration, Helly tells Milchick she’s read the statement 300 times already. “259. Again, please. Now,” says Milchick. Helly hears someone speaking. She begins again. Her voice cracks and her eyes fill with tears. The muffled sound of a man talking can be heard in the background. Helly breaks the script. Milchick admonishes her for paraphrasing, and orders her to start again.
On the floor of Mark’s basement, the phone buzzes insistently. He hastens down the stairs and picks the phone up off the floor. The screen shows numerous missed calls from a blocked number. Mark takes the phone to a cardboard box and stashes it under a sleeping bag.
At Lumon, Mark sits in a stall in the restroom, holding Petey’s map. It looks vaguely insane and has some strange doodles on it. Mark leaves the restroom and is intercepted by Irving, who is concerned about how long Helly has been in the Break Room. While Irving attempts to convince Mark to get involved, Burt arrives in the office. Dylan, immediately on guard, grabs the stapler from his desktop and opens it in a defensive fashion.
Burt begins with an amiable greeting to the group, but is interrupted by Dylan who demands to know how he found their office. Mark puts a stop to the tense exchange, asking Burt what they can do for him. Burt says the purpose of his visit is to drop off the new Handbook totes. They are pre-release, and Burt believes the group will be excited to have them. Burt also invites MDR to come for a tour of O&D. He leaves directions for them. Dylan, all the while, stubbornly rebuffs Burt’s attempts to make nice.
Irving is eager to take Burt up on his offer immediately. He leaves without Mark and Dylan.
Helly returns to MDR, looking wrecked. “How many times?” Mark asks. “1,072” is Helly’s answer.
Irving begins his walk toward O&D, following Burt’s directions.
Helly and Dylan, sitting in the Kitchenette, discuss the Break Room. She asks him about the “voice behind the door” that she heard. “Crying baby?” Dylan clarifies. Helly says she heard an angry, mumbly guy. Mark reminds them sternly that they shouldn’t be talking about the Break Room. Dylan offers his trick for getting through the Break Room, namely imagining his Outie cuckolding and ultimately pitying the husbands of his conquests in order to fool Milchick’s machines. Mark promises nobody will end up in the Break Room as long as they follow Lumon’s protocols and procedures.
Irving arrives at O&D. He re-introduces himself to Felicia who stares him down with contempt. She tells Irving where he can find Burt and leaves the room.
Burt shows Irving around the drawers and shelves where the Lumon art is kept. Irving confesses to having cried when O&D briefly hung The Youthful Convalescence of Kier where he could admire it. Burt, recognizing Irving’s passion for the art, gives Irving a special showing of the painting again. They quote the Kier Eagan adage that inspired the painting.
Moved by the moment, their hands briefly touch on the frame of the painting. Irving, noticeably abashed, makes an excuse about the time and hurries off.
On his way back to MDR, Irving spies The You You Are still set on the conference room chair where Milchick left it.
In MDR, Helly has found Petey’s map that Mark didn’t hide well that morning. Dylan snatches it from her. Helly asks why mapping the office is forbidden. Mark quotes Kier: “Render not my creation in miniature.” They discuss the locations that are labeled on the map, in particular the spot that says “People Live Here.” Mark unconvincingly insists they are just doodles. This begins an argument between Mark and Helly about how things have changed since she arrived. They question each other’s loyalty.
Attempting to put an end to the situation, Mark grabs the map back and puts it in the office paper shredder. It is cut into ribbons.
Irving gets back to MDR. He tells Mark there is an emergency. He brings Mark and Dylan to the conference room where the book is. Irving recites the company policy against outside reading material. Mark picks the book up and opens it. On the flyleaf, the book is inscribed: “To Mark, Intrepid cartographer of the Mind.” It is signed by Ricken Hale. They debate among themselves whether this is some kind of loyalty test.
Helly, left alone in MDR, finds a paper cutter in a cabinet.
Mark, Irving and Dylan return to MDR from their visit to the conference room. Helly is gone.
Helly barges into Harmony Cobel’s office, carrying the paper cutter with one of her hands gripping the cutting edge, blade held firmly in the other. She demands a camera. She wants to immediately tape a resignation to her Outie, and threatens Cobel that she will cut off her fingers if it’s not provided. Mark shows up. Cobel tells Milchick to get the video camera. He begins to film Helly.
The whole group - Cobel, Milchick and all of MDR including Helly - walk to the elevator. Helly inserts her badge. Facing Mark, she says, “Well, boss. I guess this is the part where I should tell you to go to hell. Except you’re already here.” The elevator door opens and she enters. To Milchick she says, “I was never sorry.”
Inside the elevator, Helly looks at the disk in her hand - the video message to her Outie.
The elevator dings. The door opens, the group still standing in the elevator lobby. Helly looks down at the disk again, which now has a different cover on it. She sighs discontentedly.
In MDR they all watch the video. Outie Helly explains that Innie Helly has to accept her life even if she is unhappy with it. With the slightest touch of venom in her voice, Outie Helly says that she is a person, while Innie Helly is not. Outtie Helly makes all the decisions. Further, she threatens Innie Helly with unspecified but terrible consequences if her fingers are cut off. Outie Helly denies the resignation request.
At home, Mark views a website for the Damona Birthing Retreat while talking to Devon on the phone. Mark doesn’t think much of it, and assumes using it for the upcoming birth it is all Ricken’s idea.
Mark gets a news alert on his phone. The Kier Chronicle reports, “Severed Lumon Worker Dies after Collapsing from ‘Unknown Ailment.’” The picture below the headline is Petey’s work photo. Mark thinks about the phone he hid in the basement, which is still buzzing.
The next morning at Lumon, Graner walks into Cobel’s office. He asks if she has heard from The Board yet. She answers in the negative. Graner repeats that what happend with Petey wasn’t her fault. They briefly discuss Reintegration, and the necessity to get the chip from Petey’s brain. Graner has information that Petey will be cremated following his funeral service. Graner leaves the office. Cobel quietly recites the Core Principles of Lumon, sitting at her desk and looking at a small, framed photograph of Kier. “Wiles,” she repeats.
It’s Petey’s funeral. Mrs. Selvig approaches Mark before the service begins. She asks him why he’s there. He makes up an excuse about thinking he could have known Petey since the paper said he worked at Lumon. Selvig claims Petey was a good customer of hers at her shop. Mark goes to the bar and orders a red wine.
Mrs. Selvig approaches a young woman in the viewing room. It is Petey’s daughter June. They have an awkward conversation.
At the bar, a woman introduces herself to Mark, explaining that she is Peter’s ex-wife. She realizes Mark must be from Lumon. With a slightly judgmental tone, she remarks that Mark never really knew Petey at all. June comes in and she and her mother leave together.
Inside the chapel, June approaches Mark in the pews. She seems interested that Mark knew her father. Mark clarifies it was “from work.” This addition disappoints June. “You’re one of those,” she sighs. Looking right in Mark’s eyes, June ponders, “Do you ever think that maybe the best way to deal with a fucked-up situation in your life isn’t to just shut your brain off half the time?” It seems that perhaps Petey’s and Mark’s reasons to undergo Severance aren’t too dissimilar.
The service begins. A home video plays. It is June and Petey standing in what looks like a garage. Both wear electric guitars. June begins playing the opening notes to “Enter Sandman” by Metallica. Father and daughter playfully perform a duet of the song as June sings the lyrics. While the loud music fills the chapel, Mrs. Selvig ducks out the back. She approaches Petey’s casket behind a curtain. She opens the coffin and removes an electric drill from her bag. Checking behind herself first, Selvig tips Petey’s head to the side and begins drilling through his skull above the ear.
Sitting in his pew, Mark looks overcome by his scant memories of Petey.
Selvig digs the implant out of Petey’s head with a pair of tweezers.
The video ends with Petey and June in fits of laughter. Mark hurries out of the chapel. He opens the curtain that conceals Petey’s casket. It is closed and a flower arrangement is on top of it. Mrs. Selvig feigns a bout of cystitis. They leave together.
Back in the neighborhood, standing outside, Mrs. Selvig asks Mark why he was so emotional at the funeral. She offers to be his sounding board if he wants to talk. He thanks her and they part, heading in the direction of their respective houses. Mrs. Selvig goes into hers. Mark pauses pensively at his door and doesn’t turn the lock.
Mark drives through the dark on a thickly wooded road. He comes to a curve where the road is bordered by some mangled guardrail. He stops the car and gets out. He looks at something. It is a tree on the other side of the guardrail. Stepping over the guardrail, Mark goes to the tree. He caresses the bark. Tears stream from his eyes. He begins to sob silently. He touches his forehead to the tree for a moment and then steps back from it.
Sitting in her office the next day, Ms. Cobel slides a zip top plastic bag across her desk. A severance chip is in it. “That’s Petey?” Melchick asks. “That’s Petey,” Cobel affirms. She asks Melchick to take the chip to diagnostics.
Ms. Casey comes into Cobel’s office. Cobel asks her to do a special Wellness Center session for Mark S. Melchick inquires what the problem is. Cobel quietly insists, “He just needs it. Trust me.”
Burt completes the hanging of a new Kier painting above a drinking fountain. Irving, coming around the corner, spies him and steps out of sight. Burt inspects his work and has a sip from the fountain. Irving comes up behind him. “Kier Invites You to Drink of His Water,” he reverently intones. Burt seems surprised but happy to see Irving. Irving mentions regretfully that he doesn’t like this painting as much as some others. Burt says it makes him nervous too. They both worry that Kier could slip from the rock in the painting.
Burt thanks Irving for taking an interest in O&D. He also hopes that he did not embarrass Irving. Irving says he was not embarrassed. Burt invites Irving along with him on the remainder of his picture-hanging rounds. They amble down the hall, Burt pushing a cart with paintings, and trade Kier quotes.
Mark reads The You You Are in a bathroom stall. Though it is filled with cliches and platitudes, the book seems to move Mark profoundly.
Irving and Burt part at the entrance to O&D, sharing a long handshake.
At Wellness, Ms. Casey invites a waiting Mark into the session room.
In MDR, Helly stands up from her cubicle and tells Dylan that she’s going to go. She walks out, holding a white extension cord in her hands. Dylan doesn’t notice.
Along the hallway, Helly grabs a metal waste bin.
Dylan, alone in MDR now, rifles through Mark’s file drawer. He finds The You You Are concealed in one of the hanging folders. He takes it out.
In Wellness, Ms. Casey lights a candle. It’s Gemma’s candle. She offers Mark the chance to sculpt his feelings out of clay. Meanwhile, Ms. Cobel watches the session remotely in her office. Ms. Casey retrieves a ball of clay from a drawer behind her chair and sets it in front of Mark on the table between them.
Irving saunters back towards MDR looking a little bit lovesick.
Helly gets to the elevator with the metal waste bin and the extension cord. She inserts her badge.
With MDR all to himself, Dylan begins to read the poem “Destiny” aloud from The You You Are.
Apparently, Irving has turned around and walked back to O&D. He searches the area for Burt. Neither Burt nor Felicia seem to be anywhere among the shelves and files. Irving comes upon a door at the back that he hasn’t noticed before.
Mark sculpts in Wellness and Helly enters the elevator while Dylan continues reading the first lines of “Destiny.” Irving turns the knob of the mysterious door and cracks it open. A massive white room spreads out before him, filled with people and activity and machines. He shuts the door quietly, his intrusion having gone totally unnoticed.
The reading of the poem continues. Helly, inside the elevator, stands on the waste bin and tests the strength of a steel cross-piece in its ceiling. Mark works on his clay sculpture. Irving leaves O&D. Helly, still standing on the waste bin, starts to do something with the cord she brought with her. Cobel watches Mark’s Wellness session. He’s sculpting a tree. The poem ends, “For Destiny, friends, shall deliver all yonder.”
Irving walks back to MDR in a daze.
In a sort of flashback, Mark stands at Helly’s cubicle asking how she is. She responds positively. He remarks that she seems to be getting the hang of stuff here. Helly smiles a secret smile.
Helly finishes securing the extension cord to the cross-piece in the elevator’s ceiling. She slips the noose she’s fashioned over her head and puts her hands behind her back. With one foot she kicks the waste bin from under herself and dangles.
Exactly how the wet fuck do you know where this office is?
— Dylan, (07:05)
Irving: Kier’s whole original vision saw us all working together.
Dylan: That was before O&D started disemboweling people’s bowels.
— Irving and Dylan, (08:39)
I like to imagine my outie’s love-made with a MILF or two, which is obviously badass, but I do pity the husbands.
— Dylan, (10:01)
I never thought I’d see the handbook passage depicted visually. It was only up for a month or so, but, man. What a month.
— Irving, (11:55)
Go lick a boot, Mark.
— Helly, (16:26)
The work is mysterious and important. And we deal with the uncertainty it brings us in the way that Kier would’ve wanted. Together, as a family.
— Mark, (16:46)
I could not, with a razor to my throat, be less interested in being your family.
— Helly, (17:00)
His ego’s pissed ’cause Helly called him out for boot-licking.
— Dylan, (18:23)
It’s just raining contraband today.
— Dylan, (18:03)
Cobel, do I look like I’m fucking around right now?
— Helly, (19:54)
Well, boss. I guess this is the part where I should tell you to go to hell. Except you’re already here.
— Helly, (21:16)
I understand that you’re unhappy with the life that you’ve been given. But you know what? Eventually, we all have to accept reality. So, here it is. I am a person. You are not. I make the decisions. You do not. And if you ever do anything to my fingers, know that I will keep you alive long enough to horribly regret that. Your resignation request is denied.
— Helena [on video], (22:17)
If you want a hug, go to Hell and find your mother.
— Cobel, (25:17)
Do you ever think that maybe the best way to deal with a fucked-up situation in your life isn’t to just shut your brain off half the time?
— June, (30:31)