In the TV series Severance, those in the macrodata refinement department excise numbers from a file based on what emotion it provokes. There are 4 emotion categories, and there are 5 bins available, each of which stores any of the 4 categories.

Screenshot of a refiner's workstation screen

You can see here each bin stores any of the 4 emotion categories (WO, FC, DR, MA). It looks like a bin at 100% capacity will have some distribution of these emotions, i.e. not every emotion category has to be filled to 100% for the bin to be 100% full. It is explained in the employee handbook (which is included in the companion book Severance: The Lexington Letter — available on Apple Books) that you can get it wrong and put data in the wrong bin.

It is explained in the TV series that the numbers provoke an emotion allowing you to categorise them, but is there an explanation as to what each bin means, i.e. how do you know which bin to put it in?

I am a mathematician IRL so naturally, I'm trying to figure out what this whole process means, hopefully ahead of season 2. I think it would be beyond the scope to theorise in answers - I am looking for any clues viewers have picked up on that address this question.

  • Are you sure WO, FC, etc are the emotion categories? I thought the numbers bins were--from the ep: "Each category of numbers presents in such an order as to elicit an emotional response in the refiner. Cat 1 numbers, for example, feel a certain way on sight. They'll be sort of disconcerting, scary."
    – Kitkat
    Jun 21, 2022 at 14:42
  • @Kitkat Yes, page 6 of the handbook (which is part of the Lexington Letter on Apple Books) says there are 4 emotion categories. WO = melancholy, FC = joy, DR = fear, MA = rage.
    – JamalS
    Jun 21, 2022 at 14:54
  • I find it quite the Easter Egg that the handbook is on Apple Books. Do you have a link?
    – zmike
    Nov 1, 2022 at 16:57
  • @zmike I don't have Apple Books, I downloaded a pirated copy.
    – JamalS
    Nov 1, 2022 at 19:11
  • @JamalS Can you provide the name of the book? Or an ISBN number? Is it this book?
    – zmike
    Nov 1, 2022 at 20:48


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