Spoiler alert! This story contains major spoilers for the first season of Severance, so fire up that Apple TV+ subscription and watch the whole series before reading any further!
Severance blew the minds of its collective audience back in 2022 with its brain-bending premise of taking the work/life balance to the extreme. Over the course of the nine-episode first season, a lot of questions were posed about the mysterious Lumon Industries and its severed employees, including some big ones regarding Mark Scout (Adam Scott) and his wife Gemma, who we’re told died in a car accident. So who is Mark’s wife? What really happened to her, and how does Lumon’s wellness counselor Ms. Casey (Dichen Lachman) factor into everything?
While Season 1 probably caused more confusion about Mark’s situation than it provided answers, there’s still plenty to break down as we wait for more information about Severance Season 2, including when it’s coming back to Apple TV+. But let’s start at the beginning:
What We Know About Mark’s Wife Gemma
While we get to know the four employees of Lumon’s macrodata refinement division pretty well, the drama revolves mostly around Mark. The severed employees have all voluntarily undergone a supposedly irreversible procedure to alter their brains, so that the employees (or innies) have no recollection of their lives outside of the office, and the outies similarly have no idea what they do at work. However, Mark is the only outie we learn anything about (at least until the end), signaling early on how important his and Gemma's story is to the overall plot.
Mark’s wife Gemma was a teacher of Russian literature who died two years ago in a car crash, but it’s clear that the grief is still fresh and overwhelming for her husband, who sobs in his car before going into Lumon to start his work day. In fact, Gemma’s death was the catalyst for Mark undergoing the controversial severance procedure, as we learn he did it to provide himself (or his innie at least) an escape from his despair.
However, over the course of the first season, we start to get the sense that more nefarious forces are at play in Mark’s life, both inside and outside of Lumon, and by the shocking last moments of the Severance Season 1finale, Mark catches up to the rest of us to realize that his wife might not be dead after all.
Lumon’s Wellness Director Ms. Casey Is Revealed To Be Gemma, But Mark’s Innie Doesn’t Recognize Her
A huge reveal in Episode 7, “Defiant Jazz,” shows us that Ms. Casey is more than just the wellness director and one of Lumon’s part-time employees (meaning she never leaves the building). She is actually Mark’s wife Gemma, and Severance had been dropping hints to this fact all along. In Episode 4 “The You You Are,” Harmony Cobel (Patricia Arquette) says she’s “trying something new with Ms. Casey,” requiring Mark to attend a session with the wellness director, where one of Gemma’s old candles is lit.
While Mark doesn’t recognize Ms. Casey, part of his subconscious appears to be triggered, as he molds the tree from Gemma’s accident out of clay. A couple of episodes later, in “Hide and Seek,” we witness a tension-filled scene in which Mark and Ms. Casey pass each other in the narrow hallway outside of the breakroom. It’s clear at that point that these two must be connected in some way, and that fact is confirmed in the next episode. It takes Mark a little longer to come to the truth though.
Mark Finally Learns The Truth About Ms. Casey’s Identity
After the MDR workers realize that they can wake their innies up in the outside world, Mark, Irv (John Turturro) and Helly (Britt Lower) set out to inform their loved ones on the outside of the terrible things afoot inside Lumon. Mark tells his sister Devon (Jen Tullock) everything he knows, but just before his outie is reawoken, he finds a photo from his and Gemma’s wedding. In the closing moments of Season 1, Mark screams to his sister, “She’s alive!” But is she really? There are some pretty wild Severance fan theories about what really happened to Gemma/Ms. Casey.
Is Gemma Dead Or Alive? Fans Have Theories Ahead Of Severance Season 2
There are lots of unknowns regarding Gemma and how she and Mark got to the places they’re at within Lumon. First and foremost, did Gemma really die or not? Mark’s outie clearly thinks Gemma is dead, but did he ever see her body? Or is it possible that she was in a coma or brain dead, and Lumon was able to sever her then? One fan theory suggests Ms. Casey is a clone of Gemma (and if Lumon is into cloning, that might explain the mysterious baby goats).
With Cobel keeping a close eye on Mark both inside and outside of work, is it possible that Lumon was responsible for the car crash, and it was Cobel who convinced Mark to sever himself for the exact purpose of running her experiment?
It also begs the question of how many other innies have relationships with each other in the outside world, and if there really is a Testing Floor of part-timers who never leave, what happened to their outies? Are they all thought to be dead too? Ms. Casey did tell Mark that she’d only been awake for a total of 107 hours, mostly in the 30-minute increments of one of her sessions, so it seems she has spent the majority of the past two years (since Gemma’s supposed death) in an unconscious state.
We also don’t know Ms. Casey’s current condition, as she informed Mark in their last session that she’d been fired and was returning to the Testing Floor. With Mark’s innie now knowing her real identity, my guess is that getting back to his wife is going to be his primary focus in Season 2, and hopefully we’ll get some more answers in regards to Gemma and what really happened to her.
Suffice it to say, Severance fans like myself can’t wait for the series to return to Apple TV+, and with executive producer Ben Stiller seemingly putting to rest the rumors that behind-the-scenes drama has delayed production, hopefully we’ll see Season 2 hit the 2024 TV schedule before too long. In the meantime, you can rewatch the first nine episodes and check out some of the other best shows to stream on Apple TV+.