The Progressive: Severance Imagines the Power of Workers’ Movements


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Sitting under the incessant glow of fluorescent lights, corporate drone Mark Scout gets a dressing down from his boss, Harmony Cobel. Scout earned the reprimand for a relatively honest breach of protocol, but that does not prevent Cobel from getting philosophical and theological.

“My mother was an atheist,” Cobel explains as she leans over Scout. “She used to say that there was good news and bad news about hell. The good news is hell is just the product of a morbid human imagination.” The camera cuts to a close-up of Cobel, her expression made more menacing by its lack of emotion. “The bad news is whatever humans can imagine, they can usually create.”

The Apple TV+ show Severance is hardly the first television program to critique capitalism, but as the above quote indicates, it unwaveringly plumbs the depths of just how far companies are willing to go to assert control over their employees.

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