Lumon Industries’ memory-branching compensation chip does so much more than protect company secrets and keep employees on track.
Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for severance pay.
The life of severance pay‘S Gabby implies that separate collaborators may have signed on for something much darker and more sinister than was originally revealed. Following the surgical implantation of Lumon Industries’ memory-splitting settlement chip, a person’s memories are divided into two separate personas: their inner person, who knows nothing of their own personal life outside of the severed ground, and their outer person, who remembers nothing of what happens at work. However, Gabby inadvertently reveals that the severance chip can do so much more than enforce an extreme and dystopian form of work-life balance.
in the severance pay In Season 1 Episode 5 “The Grim Barbarity of Optics and Design” Mark’s sister Devon meets Gabby, a pregnant woman who plans to name her baby William. Gabby gives Devon a coffee and the two chat about parenting and pregnancy. In the following episode, Devon sees Gabby holding her new baby, but Gabby doesn’t remember her and even corrects her when she names the baby William, explaining that his name is actually Bradley. Devon, always curious about what Mark actually does for Lumon Industries, later finds out that Gabby’s husband is US Senator Angelo Arteta, a leader in legalizing the settlement process.
severance pay, through Gabby, implies that the severance chip is used for other things than protecting company secrets from leaking out into the world. The reason Gabby doesn’t remember Devon even though they only met yesterday is because Devon actually met Gabby’s innie and Gabby’s outie doesn’t know about it. In short, Gabby is separated too, and she used her innie to prevent her outie from experiencing the pain of childbirth. Much like Helly doesn’t see her insides as human and treats her like a tool, Gabby doesn’t even let her insides name the baby she just gave birth to. This reveals the possibility that the separated may actually lock their painful, traumatic, or difficult memories inside through the terrifying process of separation—while protecting their outside from such experiences. Gabby’s innie also tells Devon it was her third child, meaning she was used three times as much.
This possibility opens up a much darker world for anyone with a compensation chip in their brain. The chip might not even be limited to splitting a person’s memories in two. Gabby could have multiple innies taking the fall and doing the dirty work for the one outie privileged enough not to remember anything their innies do. This is essentially a way of enslaving yourself to be comfortable or rich at a certain point in life, consistent with severance pay‘s social commentary on modern corporate culture and distorted notions of work-life balance. Additionally, the settlement chip may not be limited to two, but multiple “personalities” — possibly one for each of Kier Eagan’s four temperaments. Angelo Arteta could even be severed himself, which would make it easier for the US senator to make work-related decisions that aren’t held back by his outie’s moral sense.
severance pay posits a dark existence for the workers of the future, and with the Artetas entering the picture, it appears that Lumon Industries has even darker plans for the world. Since the first episode, it has been repeatedly implied that the compensation chip is a problematic advance in biotechnology. It is now painfully clear that the Separation process paves the way for actual slavery.
More: Separation: The Real Reason Innies Can’t Nod Off (And How To Stop Them)
severance pay releases new episodes on Apple TV+ on Fridays.
The last season of The Walking Dead introduced (and killed) the same villain twice.
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