Severance season 1, episode 3 recap – “In Perpetuity”

February 25, 2022
Cole Sansom 3
Apple TV+, Streaming Service, Weekly TV


Irving takes the group to learn of Lumen’s founders while Petey struggles on the outside.

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Irving takes the group to learn of Lumen’s founders while Petey struggles on the outside.

This recap of Apple TV+ series Severance season 1, episode 3, “In Perpetuity,” contains spoilers.

Read the recap of the previous episode. 

A major theme running through Severance’s three episodes so far is how the way we view the world is tied to memory. The Mark of the outside world is a ball of simmering emotions, morose on the surface but ready to burst into tears or fists at any moment. His severed counterpart, on the other hand, is calm and collected. He makes his way through corporate-speak with ease, while never succumbing to it as a totality the way Irving does. Even though one only knows work, they both came from the same person, and their ensuing attitudes stem from how they are forced to face these circumstances. The routine sedates “innie” Mark, or, from another perspective, the loss at the core of “outie” Mark is what prevents him from ever being able to relax and enjoy himself. But if Petey’s theory is to be believed, these two sides aren’t quite so separate. While the memories are distinct, the emotions bleed through.

Severance season 1, episode 3 recap

That would certainly say something towards Helly’s character if we knew anything about her outie. Her fight-or-flight desperation must in some way relate to whatever happened outside that is keeping that self from accepting the work self’s resignation. She’s clever too, even if her attempts to pass a note through the elevator keep getting caught by Mark. There’s a chance he may be bluffing, not quite sure how good the detectors are but trying to keep his employee in check, but it’s very possible that Mark knows these eventualities because he’s tried them before. It’s possible that the room Helly is sent to (that Mark went to last episode) where she’s forced to repeat an apology until a lie detector discerns that she means it, is what led to Mark’s current disposition. It’s unclear if her last-ditch attempt to escape, smashing the exit window and sticking her head out so she can read a note, worked, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

I get the sense that Irving is not a super fun person outside of work. He’s the one who more than anyone else buys into the corporate speak and seems most comfortable in the office. He tries to bring Helly more into the fold by taking the team to the “Perpetuity Room” a weird museum deifying the company’s founder. There are creepy wax models of every CEO (all members of the Eagan family), and other corporate propaganda, that Irving takes very seriously. If work is your life, then the founder is God and the president combined. He flips out when he sees the rest of the office with “Eagan Bingo” cards; his belief system is a joke for these people. 

The ending

On the other end we have Dylan, who’s constantly making jokes about what they do, but nevertheless doing his duties without complaint. He’s quick to temper, hurling abuse at the Optics team, who they run into again in the corridor. There are rumors of some kind of uprising that occurred, something that makes Dylan quick to be mistrustful. That would explain why each group is so separated, although it’s clear that any uprising would not be so one department would take control, but of each department coming together against their employer.

And as we learn, Cobel is far from the top of the chain, getting chewed out on a conference call she’s not even privy to hear. Although their concern, Petey’s “reintegration” really shouldn’t be a cause of worry for much longer. His “reintegration sickness” means he keeps slipping through time, coughing up blood, and worse, Irving keeps showing up (ok maybe not worse, but still no fun). His memory is screwed up; his early days in the severed basement feel like his childhood due to their comparative placement in the two halves of his life.

This sickness eventually gets the better of him but not before, in true thriller fashion, he mumbles some words (“Sunset Park”) and hints at larger intrigue to Mark that of course, he can’t share right now. All Mark has is Petey’s cell phone and the knowledge that a) their work involves killing people, and b) somewhere down in the basement there’s a department that has no other half. Everyone’s a prisoner, but some more than others. 

Additional notes

  • I’m not quite sure if it’s main character bias but there seems to be special importance the corporation place on Mark. Hopefully, something will explain why Cobel lives next to him specifically, and also why she steals his packages!
  • The package in question is from Mark’s brother-in-law, some silly-looking self-help book called “the You You Are.” Sounds like Mark’s better off without it!
  • Also during the Optics/Walken exchange, nobody seems to know how many departments there are.
  • Cobel loves to be difficult. “Door open or closed?” “Both.”
  • The four “tempers” Eagan espouses are Woe, Frolic, Dread, and Malice.

What did you think of the Apple TV+ series Severance season 1, episode 3? Comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Apple TV+.

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