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What's Up With The Goats In Severance? Breaking Down Some Of The Best Theories And How They Could Impact Season 2

 The goats in Severance.
The goats in Severance.

When Season 1 of Severance ended with more questions than answers about Lumon, innies, outies, and goats, the theories surrounding this scary corporate world began to fly. So, as Season 2 of Severance gets to work, I’ve been pondering many of the questions and queries surrounding the show, and specifically those silly goats.

You likely remember that during the episode "The Grim Barbarity of Optics and Design,” Mark and Helly – played by Adam Scott and Britt Lower in the Severance cast – go for a walk. While Mark checked in on Helly and they wandered the halls, they accidentally walked into a room full of baby goats. At this point, we have absolutely no idea what the small animals mean or how they impact Lumon. However, fans have some great ideas, so let’s break down those theories.

Patricia Arquette and Tramell Tillman in “Severance,” now streaming on Apple TV+.
Patricia Arquette and Tramell Tillman in “Severance,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

The Goats Are Running Lumon

While going over theories fans have about Severance not long after Season 1 came out, I came across a Reddit theory from Wambaloma. They posit that the goats are the board members of Lumon, who we notably have not seen. This fan has presented the idea that the company has created some form of goat-friendly technology so the board members can vote. They wrote:

I imagine that Lumon figured out how to store human minds in goat bodies a while back and aim to advance their technology to taking over human bodies. The board members, Egan ancestors, are in goat bodies for now and there may be goat-friendly typing stations or easy yes or no votes being made with their hooves. Or even more fun but unlikely is that the goats herd themselves to different letters on a giant ouija board installed on the floor. The board has a human interpreter who speaks for them to communicate with Natalie.

The theory goes on to explain that since goats have short life spans, Lumon has to keep a supply of the animals so they can transfer the consciences of the board members from goat to goat. That would explain why there’s a man taking care of so many baby goats when we see them.

They also noted that these goats are being used to house the board members' consciences because Lumon is still figuring out how to transfer them into another human. This fan theorized that the severed employees are the lab rats in this situation, and eventually Lumon will move from experimenting on goats and keeping the higher-ups' spirits in them, to using humans. If they’re right, that could have some serious implications in Season 2 if our beloved MDR crew ends up getting experimented on.

Mark, Helly, Dylan and Irving take a group photo in Severance.
Mark, Helly, Dylan and Irving take a group photo in Severance.

The Goats Are Lab Rats

After the premiere of Severance, the original pilot script was released by TVwriting.com. Notably, there are many differences in it, and that includes the use of a rat that has Lumon’s severance chip inside it. ScreenRant used this knowledge to posit its theory about the goats, which is that they’re being used for Severance experiments. So, before humans get these chips, they are tested on animals first. The theory says:

Viewed from the lens of Erickson's Severance pilot script, the goats in the basement are clearly meant to be test subjects for Lumon's more dangerous and unethical experiments with severing memories and manipulating consciousness.

Overall, this theory is one of the simpler ones, and the outlet said that it’s used to “underscore the problem of animal experimentation by biotechnology companies” in the show moving forward.

Baby goats on Severance.
Baby goats on Severance.

The Goats Aren’t Actually Goats, And Reality Is Being Distorted

Here’s a wild theory: what if the goats aren’t actually goats? In a popular Reddit theory from Mortazo, they hypothesized that what we’re seeing inside Lumon isn’t actually reality. They said:

The innies have perception filters on. For example, the numbers they're seeing aren't actually numbers, but something like video or images. The numbers feel scary or happy because the pictures are. The goats aren't really goats, but actually human children, possibly clones.

As you’ll remember, Mark and his team don’t know what the numbers are for that they’re sorting. So, it’s logical that the numbers aren’t just numbers, they might be masking something else, especially since they elicit emotional reactions from the people sorting them.

Therefore, this would help justify the idea that what the characters are seeing in and around Lumon’s offices also isn’t necessarily real. So, are the goats masking what the company is actually working on? If the baby goats are actually human children that would be pretty morbid and dark, and Season 2 would be headed down an even more complex path. To me, clones feel more likely, especially since it seems fairly clear that the higher-ups worship Keir on a creepy level, and they want to keep him alive.

Dichen Lachman in “Severance,” now streaming on Apple TV+.
Dichen Lachman in “Severance,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

The Goats Are Being Used To Figure Out Cloning

Alright, with this theory we’re honing in and getting more specific about experimentation in Lumon when it comes to cloning. Numuhukumakiakiaia on Reddit presented the theory that the goats are being used to test cloning.

The reasoning for it, according to this fan, is that Lumon might want to take “wiped versions” of people and use them to their benefit. They wrote:

I think they're using the goats to test cloning. Cloning was, oddly, more of a thing in the 80s. I think there are plenty of reasons as to why they would want people to clone - you can clone wiped versions of individuals and basically have a free slave.

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Adam Scott in “Severance,” now streaming on Apple TV+.
Adam Scott in “Severance,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

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This theory also relates to Mark’s wife Gemma. In Season 1, we never find out how she ended up at Lumon, and admittedly, something seems off. I don’t think she’s an innie like Mark, and this theory has me convinced that the company has actually been experimenting on her. So, maybe the goats were phase one of clone experiments, and now they’re testing on humans too. Talk about terrifying.

If Mark finds that out, it would totally change the game, and Season 2 would likely follow him as he figures out what happened to his partner, who he thought was dead.

As you can see, there are absolutely bonkers theories floating around about how the goats will impact Severance, and it’s likely one of the reasons why the show’s creators stay off Reddit, because you can really fall down a neverending rabbit hole.

Now, it’s simply a matter of time before we find out if any of these theories prove to be true, or if we all went down some seriously wrong and wonky paths. Hopefully, all will be revealed sooner rather than later, and Severance Season 2 will premiere on the 2024 TV schedule.

However, while we wait, I’ll be pondering all these theories a bit more, and you can go back and analyze Season 1 of Severance with an Apple TV+ subscription.