6 New “Severance” Theories (Including 1 That Finally Explains Harmony)

severance theories defiant jazz cat

*Warning: Spoilers ahead*

Listen, when you’re wrong, you’re wrong. But when you’re only sort of wrong, I still feel like you should get some credit for being slightly right. All of which is to say, I’m going to go ahead and pat myself on the back for some of my Helly from Severance theories I wrote up last week, which were only slightly off-base.

Namely, my totally-out-there theory that she was Mark’s (not) dead wife was wrong, but I was onto something. Because… [insert flashing red spoiler alert] at the end of last week’s brilliantly titled episode, Defiant Jazz, we learn that… Ms. Casey is actually Mark’s (not) dead wife!

Bottom line: I’m taking partial credit for knowing, in my soul, that Mark’s wife was not exactly six feet under.

So what else did we learn in this episode? Well, we learned that Burt’s outie likes cardigans and awkward preamble. We learned that any severed employee can have their brain manually turned on outside of Lumon with the flip of a switch (and that there’s a switch board where we can see who is and is not severed). We learned that Harmony is testing the limits of Mark’s memory. We learned that Milchick has some MF-ing moves. And obviously I’ve got a new round of theories about what’s coming next. Here it goes.

1. I still think Helly is a Lumon exec and/or Eagan descendant

I spent the first six episodes sort of ignoring all of Harmony’s conversations with the board (via peppy-meets-creepy proxy, Natalie). But they’re still happening, and this show is too smart to have a mysterious person or group of people on the other end of the line that doesn’t pay off later. Additionally, we’ve now got mention of an upcoming Eagan family gala where, if I know anything about narrative arc, everything’s going to come to a head. My theory? Helly is probably not actually on the board (she’s presumably at work during those conversations), but she is somehow related to the board, and we’re definitely going to see her outie at the gala, supporting Lumon and all its dystopian glory.

2. I think Lumon is stealing bodies from the hospital

While some Severance theorists have posited that Lumon staged or orchestrated Gemma’s entire car crash, I don’t think it goes quite that far. Instead, I think Lumon is in cahoots with the (presumably Eagan-run) hospital to take brain-dead or coma-riddled bodies and implant them with a new or used memory chip—and then imprison them, full-time at the facility (more on that later).

3. I don’t think the real Gemma is 100% dead

So far we have no indication that a human can actually die and still walk around with a Lumon chip in their head. So per my above theory, I think Gemma, who was in a coma, was taken to Lumon and given the Ms. Casey chip. BUT…deep, deep down the real Gemma is still there, and I do think we saw her once, in that chilling scene where she’s coming out of the break room and Mark is going into it. Here, as they pass awkwardly in the hall, Mark says, “I’m sorry,” and she says, “I forgive you.” Clearly there’s some ambiguity (could just be an apology for getting her sent to the break room), but I wonder if this liminal space between the office and the break room could be a place where one’s outie and innie meet and, for just a second, Mark and Gemma had a moment of recognition—and an apology for the way their lives turned out.

4. I think there’s a whole camp of fully severed people living at Lumon

Remember Petey’s map where he’s written “some people might live here”? Maybe that’s where Ms. Casey, and others like her, live—away from a world that doesn’t believe they’re still alive. What’s confusing is that Cobel refers to Ms. Casey as a “part-timer.” But if she’s living there, wouldn’t she be full-time? Or are other weird experiments happening in her off-hours?

5. I think Harmony might actually be severed

Shout-out to the Redditer who was able to screenshot the control panel from when the MDR team broke into the control room. Here (and warning, another spoiler), we see the name Harmony S. listed as having a deactivated chip. Does this mean that Mrs. Selvig actually is a real person…but Harmony has been in full severance mode (with the Cobel chip implanted) and simply impersonating her? Maybe there’s a real Mrs. Selvig we need to free!

6. I think/hope Burt and Irving are a couple on the outside

This theory has already been debunked by Adam Scott (womp womp), but I’m posting it anyway, damnit. I, like many internet Burt and Irving stans, just want to see these lovebirds together, touching hands and enjoying oil paintings. Maybe the two are together in their outie world? Or maybe they will be, once Burt retires and has more time to seek out the place where Irv’s black goo resides? C’mon, Ben Stiller, THROW US A BONE.

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Editor-in-Chief, Avid Reader, Wallpaper Enthusiast

Jillian Quint is the Editor-in-Chief of PureWow, where she oversees the editorial staff and all the fabulous content you read every day. Jillian began her career as a book editor...