The Severance Experience at Comic-Con Was Like Walking Into the Show

The Severance Experience at Comic-Con Was Like Walking Into the Show
Image: Gizmodo/Germain Lussier

San Diego Comic-Con can be a very trying experience. So what better way to deal with it than to sever your memory of it from the rest of your well-being? Thankfully you can do just that, hypothetically of course, at Apple TV+’s Severance activation located at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego, CA.

There, the streamer has converted a massive ballroom into Lumon Industries, the company from the hit TV show Severance starring Adam Scott. You go in and basically go through an entire first day at the company, complete with your brain being severed in two so your “innie” personality is at work and your “outie” personality can live on its own.

In this slideshow, we’ll take you through the activation, with all of its highlights and even a few Easter eggs. But suffice to say while most people at Comic-Con will only get to do it once, it’s so densely packed with information you could do it five or six times and not see everything that’s in it.

Don’t Get Lost

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Though you might think the entrance to the activation is in the front of the Hard Rock, this big sign tells you otherwise.

The Beginning

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The entire side of the hotel has been converted to let you know where the activation begins.

Enter here.

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Once you go up the steps to the actual activation, the theming beings immediately.

Welcome

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Once inside, the theming continues not only with these signs but with multiple TVs featuring words of wisdom from Lumon founder Kier Eagan.

Retro TVs

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Several TVs spread the word of Kier and also set the stage.

Checking in.

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Once you get to the front, an iPad allows you to sign in, and sign your outie self away.

Orientation video

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Mr. Milchick did a nice, specialised orientation video for you.

The Conference Room

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The first room is the conference room, just like in the show. There Mark’s voice asks you some questions from the speaker, just like on the show, and the first actor comes in and gives everyone their “Innie” name. I was “Noah P.”

The Hallways

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After getting your new name, you enter Lumon’s very bright, very white hallways. We were greeted by another actor basically playing Christopher Walken’s part who welcomed us and brought us to the first room.

(Of note, the security guard pulled a few of the group off and told them another story, they joined the rest of the group later. It was unclear how their experience was different.)

Optics and Design

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The actor brought us to Optics and Design, just like on the show. On the way, there was a door to the “Break Room” but it was closed.

Many, many paintings

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Optics and Design is filled with paintings. Some are ok, some are not, but you can open and close all the drawers in the office until you’re asked to leave. One person opened this drawer and the worker was not pleased.

Finger traps

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Every shelf of the Optics and Design office has fun things to check out. One small example was a bunch of finger traps, much like the ones Dylan enjoys on the show.

The Wellness Centre

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Next was the Wellness Centre (which was not down a long hallway) where one of the actors chose a member of the group and told them all about their outtie. “Your outtie conditions her hair every day” was one just piece of information. If anyone laughed, as I did, points were arbitrarily deducted.

Security!

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Once you get out of the Wellness Centre, you pass the door to security. You don’t go in but, fans of the show know it’s important to know where security is.

Smile!

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At this point, another actor greeted us. He had been feeling down so he went into Lumon’s smile room where he could enjoy all the smiles that his work at Lumon was doing to the world. It’s a very awkward, weird encounter, but funny.

Work time!

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Finally, it was time. Two actors greeted us to go into the Macrodata Refinement lab where we’d be spending most of the work day.

Desk photos

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Four desks make up the office and two of them have group photos on them. Here’s one.

Number time

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The refinement computers work and you can press buttons, move the mouse and interact.

Easter eggs everywhere.

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Every inch of the exhibit has weird little jokes and asides. One of the funniest examples was these post-it notes.

Crunching numbers

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I tried to file some numbers but couldn’t figure out how it worked. Which, maybe, was the point.

The Kitchen

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The office also has a kitchen with a working vending machine.

Dance party!

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I had to stop with the numbers because the actors decided we’d earned a dance party. So he put on some music and started to dance. We were encouraged to join in.

Music Menu

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As the dance party was happening, I snagged a photo of the music playlist. Every detail is accounted for.

Another photo.

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As I said, not every desk is the same, which is part of the fun. Spoilers!

Desk trinkets

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The four desks all have different decorations, including this memorable one.

Back to reality

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Once the dance party is over, so is the work day. So you take an elevator out and emerge back as yourself. On the way out you get your own office work photo and Lumon badge.

The Severance experience is open through San Diego Comic-Con. Read more here.