Here are 4 things we learned about TV series Severance

Severance left viewers with several burning questions following the first season

What does Lumon Industries actually do? What else is being hidden on the severed floor? Will Burt and Irving ever get the happy ending they deserve?

Turns out, we may be closer to answers than we thought. On March 18, Apple Books released Severance: The Lexington Letter, a free, supposed “tell-all” book exposing the sinister goings-on at Lumon.

The book doesn’t follow Mark S. (Adam Scott) and his cohort. Instead, it takes the form of a letter sent to a Topeka newspaper by former Lumon employee Peggy Kincaid. Peggy underwent the severance procedure that separated her work memories from her personal ones. However, during her time at Lumon, her work self — or “innie” — found a way to bypass the code readers in the elevator to communicate with her non-work self — or “outie.” As the two talk use a secret code to communicate, they begin to realize something dark and strange is afoot at Lumon.

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The Lexington Letter doesn’t answer any of our biggest questions outright. We’ve still got a TV show to watch, people! However, it does give us some interesting tidbits of information that may lay the groundwork for what’s to come. Here are the four most fascinating things we learned from The Lexington Letter — spoilers ahead.

What does macrodata refinement actually do?

Severance spends a lot of time with Lumon’s department of macrodata refiners, but beyond some discussion of sorting numbers into bins and meeting quotas, we never fully understand their purpose. What does it mean when files are fully sorted?

If The Lexington Letter is to be believed, macrodata refiners are unknowingly engaging in corporate espionage. Peggy’s innie tells her that she completed a big file, titled “Lexington,” at 2:30 p.m. Later that day, Peggy hears that a truck belonging to Dorner Therapeutics — a Lumon competitor — had been blown up, destroying several Dorner devices and killing six. The bomb went off at 2:32 p.m., just after the Lexington file had been completed. Peggy acknowledges in her letter that it could just be coincidence, but knowing how sick and twisted Lumon is, the timing is too close to be an accident.

Unfortunately, we don’t learn anything else about the Lexington file, because Peggy’s innie gets sent to the Break Room, leading Peggy to resign. The letter is a start, though, suggesting that the numbers Mark S. and his team are filing correspond to Lumon-engineered calamities in the outside world.

Mr. Milchick has family

Peggy sends her letter to Daria Thorne, a reporter at the Topeka Star. While Daria is interested in pursuing Peggy’s story, her editor Jim dissuades her, writing in an e-mail, “Seems more like a disgruntled employee making stuff up. I called over to a source I trust implicitly at Lumon and it sounds like she was let go because of too many absences.”

On the very next page, Jim’s last name is revealed to be Milchick, meaning he’s somehow related to Lumon floor manager — and likely trusted source — Mr. Milchick (Tramell Tillman). While this gives us just a tad more information on what Milchick’s life is like when he isn’t hosting creepy music dance experiences, it also reminds us of Lumon’s reach in the outside world. Lumon has connections in the media, and we’ve already seen that Lumon and the severance procedure have political support. If Lumon’s innies do manage to escape, how much support will they really have?

Lumon has a history of car crashes

After Jim Milchick shuts down the Peggy story, we learn that Peggy has died in a car accident. Obviously, this is no coincidence: Lumon somehow orchestrated Peggy’s death. Who else do we know in Severance who died in a car crash? Mark’s wife, Gemma, who is revealed in episode 7 to still be alive. However, she’s not Gemma anymore: She’s Ms. Casey (Dichen Lachman), Lumon’s Wellness Counselor with no memory of her previous life.

Nothing is a coincidence when it comes to Lumon. So what could these Lumon-related car crashes mean? Could Gemma have been like Peggy and attempted to expose Lumon secrets before her death? Likely not — we have no proof connecting her to Lumon before her death. However, another theory posits that Lumon is taking injured bodies from hospitals and reviving them as full-time residents of the severed floor. Remember that Petey (Yul Vazquez) told Mark in episode 2 that there are people who live down there full-time. Perhaps Gemma is one of them. Maybe Peggy is still alive, just trapped on the severed floor at Lumon’s Topeka office.

What do the numbers mean?

The last section of The Lexington Letter is the orientation booklet for macrodata refiners, which includes a breakdown of the different types of numbers and how they will make refiners feel. The categories are: WO, numbers that make you sad; FC, numbers associated with happiness and joy; DR, numbers that will scare you; and MA, numbers that make you angry.

These numbers correspond to the four tempers laid out by Lumon founder Kier Eagan: woe, frolic, dread, and malice. Do the feelings evoked by the numbers correspond to the real-life world events the macrodata refiners are unknowingly causing? Or is this simply another form of strange Kier Eagan worship that we’ll have to wait to unravel? Whatever it is, Severance will keep us guessing until the very end.

‘Severance’ review: An anti-capitalist fable with a ‘Black Mirror’ twist

Severance is now streaming on Apple TV+.

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Scott Baber
Scott Baber
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Manages incoming enquiries and advertising. Based in London and very sporty. Worked news and sports desks in local paper after graduating.


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