Note: Contained in this article are general spoilers of plot and character background for the television show Severance (although the ending is not spoiled).
The excellent series ‘Severance’, recently released on AppleTV+, is full of mysterious twists and turns as well as wry surrealist commentary on the role of the workplace in our lives. Another theme woven throughout the story of the main character, Mark (played by Adam Scott), is the experience of grief. The show poignantly illuminates the anguish of living with grief, the primary motivator behind Mark’s choice to undergo the process of “severance”.
In the show, a “severance” effectively splits the conscious mind into two distinct parts (a work “self” and a home “self”) each one oblivious to the other yet operating in the same body. At home, Mark has no knowledge or memory of his work-life whatsoever–who his coworkers are, his job satisfaction, the business he’s in, his role in the company… all of it lost to him. At work, details of his personal life are equally absent, including the recent and tragic death of his wife. In the eerie totality that defines the severance process, his work self is entirely unaware of ever having had a wife at all.