Note: This is the synthesis. See scene by scene analysis here
|Concept||8.4||94||Suits: 8.3||Inception: 8.4|
|Conflict Level||8.0||68||Breaking bad: 7.9||severance (TV): 8.0|
|Plot||8.0||48||Mo: 7.9||severance (TV): 8.0|
|Emotional Impact||7.3||46||Severance: 7.2||severance (TV): 7.3|
|Dialogue||7.5||38||Narcos: 7.4||Everything everywhere all at once: 7.5|
|Overall||8.1||30||Fear and loathing in Las Vegas: 8.0||Good Will Hunting: 8.1|
|Characters||8.0||29||Hors de prix: 7.9||Donnie Darko: 8.0|
|Story Content||Character Development||Scene Elements||Audience Engagement|
|Scene Number||Full Analysis||Tone||Overall Grade||Concept||Plot||Characters||Character Changes||Conflict||High stakes||Story forward||Emotional Impact||Dialogue|
|1||Severance - Pilot Episode - 'Mister'||8||9||8||7||0||9||0||0||7||7|
|2||Orientation Gone Wrong||8||9||7||8||0||10||0||0||7||8|
|3||Escape from Orientation||9||8||9||9||0||7||0||0||8||8|
|4||The Welcome Sign||8.5||9||8||9||0||5||0||0||7||8|
|6||The Men's Room||8.5||8||9||8||0||7||0||0||7||9|
|7||The Video Archives||7||8||8||7||0||9||0||0||6||6|
|8||The Video Archives||9||8||9||8||0||9||0||0||8||7|
|10||Crazy Eagle Video Interview||7||6||7||8||0||5||0||0||4||6|
|12||The Pickle Encounter||8||9||8||8||0||9||0||0||9||8|
|13||The Job Offer||9||10||8||9||0||10||0||0||9||9|
INT. BOARD ROOM. DAY.
A NAKED MAN lies face up, unconscious on a large oak table.
The room around him is comfortable but sterile. There are no
windows and the only light buzzes from the florescent panels
above. Pastel prints line the beige walls.
This is MARK, mid 30’s. He’s tall and thin, his hair neatly
combed, his breath slow but even.
Suddenly, Mark’s eyes shoot open and he bolts to a sitting
position. He gasps as his eyes dart around the room.
For a very long moment, all is quiet.
He tries to get to his knees but they give way and he tumbles
off the table.
Shakily, he moves toward the door. He tries to open it, but
it’s locked solidly.
He turns back to the room.
Where the hell am I!?
At the far end of the table is mounted a small, black
Intercom. It clicks on, emitting a MAN’S VOICE.
Who are you?
Who are you?
I- Who the hell are you?
I’m sorry, sir. I got ahead of
What is this place? Open the damn
Do you have a few moments to take a
Six questions. I feel confident it
will benefit us both.
Wha- No! Let me the hell out of
Okay, thank you for your time.
It clicks off.
Mark scours the room, but can find no other way out.
He returns to the door, twisting hard on the knob. He kicks
at it, but his weak legs give out and once again he falls to
He lays on the carpet, breathing heavily.
Hey! You there?
The intercom clicks on.
What do I get at the end?
Depends on your answers.
Well, since you seem to have caught
me between things-
Who are you?
That’s the first question?
A first name will do.
Mark looks around the room. He furrows his brow.
What do I do if I don’t know?
Unknown. Okay, great. Question two:
In which US state were you born?
Wait a minute-
Which state, please?
I- don’t know.
Unknown. Terrific. Question three:
What is the name of a US State?
First that comes to mind.
Question four: Who killed Mister
and how did he die?
That one makes no sense.
Question five: Have you done any
intravenous drugs today?
What’s going on?
Please answer question five-
I don’t know! I don’t even know
what day it is!
Unknown. Question six: By your
closest approximation, what was or
is the color of your mother’s eyes?
Mark stares up at the ceiling, his breath growing fast. A
tear slides down his temple.
MAN’S VOICE (CONT’D)
Unknown. Applicant’s response
record is Unknown, Unknown,
Delaware, Unknown, Unknown and
Please tell me what’s happening to
All at once, the door unlatches and creaks open.
A perfect score. Very impressive,
Mark stares through the door. He can see only darkness.
MAN’S VOICE (CONT’D)
Right this way.
End of Prologue.
Mark creeps cautiously down a thin, unlit hall.
The hall is full of sharp twists, preventing Mark from seeing
more than a few feet ahead.
Ahead is a bend, around which Mark can see light.
INT. ORIENTATION CHAMBER. DAY.
Mark steps out into a small, dimly lit room.
In the center of the room is a table, at which sit a man and
FRANK MILCHICK, 35, is a big and brawny, despite the dainty
glasses perched atop his nose. In front of him is a
microphone. His is the voice from the other room.
HARMONY COBEL, 40, is small, curt and well-kept, her hair in
a tight bun. She takes notes, never looking up.
Milchick looks up and smiles.
Mark! Come, have a seat!
Mark glances at a door on the other side of the room.
Who are you?
Frank Milchick, PR. I’ll be
facilitating your orientation
Orientation for what?
It’d be just terrific if you had a
Mark slowly walks over and sits across from them.
Milchick organizes documents, excited but nervous.
Okay. Well, first and foremost, I’d
like to congratulate you, on behalf
of all our staff, at all levels of
seniority, and of all races and
sexual genders, on passing your
entrance exam. Really stellar work.
Again, entrance to what?
Milchick smiles, looks down and clears his throat.
Mark- Mr. Scout- Your last name’s
Scout- Mr. Scout, we have selected
you as the Secondary Conversion
Analyst for our data culling team.
You have graciously accepted-
I haven’t graciously accepted shit.
That’s- a great opinion, and boldly
expressed. But I do have the
He slides it across the table. Mark snatches it up.
At the bottom is a series of signatures, his included.
I didn’t sign this.
Let’s take a step back-
He needs pants.
MILCHICK AND MARK
By this point in the orientation,
the applicant should have been
offered pants. It’s the first step
in preparing him for the video.
Of course. Sorry, ma’am.
Don’t apologize to me.
Milchick turns back to Mark. He produces a well-folded pair
of black pants from under the table.
Mr. Scout, at this time, I’d like
to offer you this pair of empty
black pants, along with a sincere
apology for not having offered said
pants earlier. Do you accept the
empty black pants, and/or the
apology, which I assure you is
anything but empty?
Mark stares at Milchick for a long moment.
All at once, Mark leaps from his seat and runs for the door.
Mark bursts through the door. Cobel keeps writing.
Well. How did that feel to you?
It was very bad.
Milchick gets up to follow Mark.
INT. MAIN OFFICE. DAY.
Mark, still naked, runs out into the middle of a bustling
The room is vast and white, the ceiling very high. Everything
is bathed in a sterile light, which seems to emanate from all
The majority of the room is comprised of a wide maze of
cubicle walls, made of a vaguely translucent glass.
The workers weave busily around, some of their forms obscured
by the crystalline cubicle walls. Their hurried footsteps
combine with the dim hum of routers and printers.
Mark looks around, panting heavily. One by one, the office-
dwellers notice him and stop, shocked.
I’m being held here. I’m being held
against my will.
He glances up. Near the high ceiling is a small window,
behind which is a hallway. A thin, BALD MAN stands at the
window, watching the commotion.
A plump SECURITY GUARD approaches Mark.
Sir, I’d be happy to escort you to
Mark turns and runs, knocking over the Security Guard.
He runs into the maze of cubicles, nearly tripping over the
tangle of computer wires that populate the floor, as workers
dive out of his way.
He hears footsteps approach from around a corner. He ducks
behind a copy machine.
A line of GUARDS run past.
Looking up, Mark spies an exit sign, but no path through the
With a running start, Mark leaps onto a table and over one of
the walls. He crashes down atop a table on the other side.
Seeing the exit, Mark breaks into a run.
Mark bursts through the stairwell door and runs down the
stairs, tripping over his feet as he goes.
Spinning around on a middle landing, he comes face to face
with HELLY RIGGS, 19, small but quietly fierce.
Mark scoots around her and continues down the stairs.
INT. LOBBY. DAY.
Mark bursts out of the stairwell and into a spacious lobby.
The granite walls are accentuated by hanging plants and mini
Ahead is a security checkpoint, where a MUSTACHED GUARD scans
incoming EMPLOYEES with an electric wand.
Beyond them is a bank of glass doors, but a concrete wall
beyond it blocks any view of the outside.
An elevator door opens, and Milchick and Cobel emerge.
Mark launches himself toward the security checkpoint. The
Mustached Guard moves to intercept him.
Hold it, sir-
Mark elbows the Guard hard in the eye and tries to leap over
a ribbon partition. The Guard grabs him by the foot.
Just let him go!
Mark kicks the Guard and gets to his feet.
It doesn’t matter! Let him go!
Mark darts across the entryway, past the security checkpoint,
and through the exit door.
INT. LOBBY. DAY.
The light is suddenly different, indicating late afternoon.
The room is far less busy.
Mark steps into the door he just ran out of. He’s dressed in
a simple black suit and tie.
He looks to his left. The Mustached Guard sits in a folding
chair, holding an ice pack over his eye and glaring at Mark.
How you feeling?
Mark whips around to see Cobel standing next to him. She
How am I-
Relax. There’s a lot that needs to
be explained to you. Are you
familiar with morons, Mark?
Idiots. Simpletons. Unfortunately,
they have a king, who I brilliantly
placed in charge of your
orientation today. I apologize for
Mark looks at his hands, which are sunburnt.
Why is my skin warm?
Same reason you feel suddenly
calmer than before. You and I just
had a two-hour walk together.
We went to a park. You fed apples
to a horse. It was sweet.
What are you talking about? Why
would I go on a walk with you?
Because outside of this office, you
and I are already good friends.
He stares at her, confused. She puts her arm around him.
Mark, my mother was Catholic. Not a
very good Catholic. When I had a
bad day, she used to tell me my
angels had a hangover.
Right now, you probably feel like
your angels just OD’d on heroin.
You could say that.
Well, the good thing about angels
is there’s a shitload of them. And
when your angels OD, it’s never too
terribly hard to find some new
Mark says nothing. Cobel turns and walks toward the
Let’s go find some new angels.
Mark stares after her for a moment, then follows.
End of Act 1
IRVING BAILIFF, 65, sits under his desk. Irving is heavy and
bald, but his demeanor is childlike.
On the carpet in front of him sit a dozen small objects. A
snow globe paperweight. A couple of glue sticks. A handheld
As two co-workers converse unseen, Irving arranges the
objects in a rough circle.
Just seems soon to bring on a rook.
The ink ain’t dry on Petey yet.
We need a fourth. We can’t do the
job without a fourth.
Well, then maybe you shouldn’t have-
Petey got exactly what he wanted.
Besides, they’ve been training this
guy for months. It would have
Just seems soon.
Irving completes the circle and starts placing objects in the
You really saw this guy’s dick?
Just for a second.
You shouldn’t go around seeing
dicks, you know. It’s a uniquely
distracting organ, biologically.
Well, I didn’t exactly seek it out.
Just makes me ill, them bringing in
some nice-dicked rook mere days
after Petey’s departure.
I didn’t say he was nice-dicked.
I didn’t say that. You said that.
Irving finishes the pattern. The objects are now arranged in
a crude human face. He smiles at it, wistfully.
Look, we can split hairs all day or
we can prepare like we were told.
Where’s the welcome sign?
Irving’s going to do it.
And Irving is where, exactly?
As footsteps approach, Irving hurriedly gathers all the
objects back up and puts them in a paper bag.
He stows the bag under the far corner of the desk.
Helly, the young woman from the stairwell, kneels down to
Irving scoots around to face her.
You having a little dark time?
The lights hurt my brain.
Mine too. Which is a good sign.
Means we have brains.
Yeah. Big fat ones.
Hey, I was hoping you’d hang up the
welcome sign before the next
culling starts. You did promise me.
I was worried I’d mess it up and
Dylan would tease me.
Have you ever noticed how Dylan
never complains about the lights?
He laughs. She offers him her hand.
Come on. Let’s hang it up together.
He takes her hand.
INT. OFFICE HALL. DAY.
Mark follows Cobel through the labyrinth of hallways.
Are there two buildings?
When I ran outside, it led right
back into the lobby. Are there two
You’ll be seeing the video this
afternoon, which will explain
everything. Right now I want you to
meet a few of your colleagues.
They reach a door, marked “Culling Office.”
What’s the Culling Office?
She opens the door.
She gestures for him to enter. He does.
The office is large, blank and white. In the center, four
desks face one another. Helly sits at one, and to her left is
Irving. To her right is DYLAN HOGAN.
Dylan is 40, and despite a sense of swagger, looks vaguely
All three type vigorously at clunky, beige computers at their
Mark stares at these three for a moment. He turns to Cobel-
Who are these-
But she’s gone. He turns back.
He slowly makes his way toward the center of the room.
The others don’t look up from what they’re doing.
I’m Mark. Apparently I’m supposed
So why aren’t you?
Why aren’t you doing what you’re
supposed to be doing?
I- They didn’t tell me-
There’s one chair without an ass in
it. How many asses do you have?
Mark stares at Dylan a long moment, before moving to the
empty chair. He sits.
Did you see the sign?
I hung it for you. Helly helped.
Mark looks over. Small, gold paper letters spelling ‘WELCOME’
hang clumsily on the far wall.
It’s meant to make you feel
He stares at the computer screen in front of him. A series of
green symbols, including letters, numbers and pictographs,
moves across it in a single line.
Mark glances at Helly, who sits across from him.
I don’t know what to-
The game is to turn the green
symbols blue. You have to trick
them. They’ll fight you.
Put your fingers on the keys. Your
training will kick in.
I haven’t been-
Yes, you have.
Mark puts his fingers on the keys and looks at the stream of
He types a few characters into the computer. The stream turns
They’re turning red.
I said blue, remember?
Listen, who are you people?
Mark keeps typing random keys. The symbols continue to come
Please. I- I need help, okay? I
woke up here an hour ago and I
can’t remember anything-
Sucks chunks, don’t it?
This happened to all of you?
Three years ago for me. Which now
makes me the senior employee.
By like two days.
I used to be the baby. Now that
you’re here, I’m just Irving.
What is this place? How do we get
out of here?
It’s all in the video, man.
Why is he mad?
Petey was never mad.
Who the shit is Petey?
You know, culling time tends to be
To shit with culling time! I don’t
even know what that is!
For a moment, everyone just types. Dylan rubs his face.
It’s Mark, you said. Right?
Okay, Mark, do me a favor. Look at
Mark looks. The symbols on his screen have all turned blue.
He continues to type letters onto the keyboard, changing the
symbols to blue as they appear.
I’m turning them blue.
Funny that, huh?
How am I doing this?
Because you were trained to. Mark,
I know you’re losing your shit
right now. I did too. But there’s
an order to all this, and it will
present itself to you in due time.
So until that time comes, I need
you to just take a breath and trust
that you’re gonna be okay. Can you
do that for me, Mark?
Mark takes a deep breath.
Yeah. Yeah, I’m okay. I just- I’m
They all keep typing. Long pause.
Is he mad because I hung the sign
Nah, Irving. You hung the sign
Mark enters the men’s room stall and sits down.
He rubs his face, breathing heavily.
After a moment, he opens his eyes.
He notices a message scratched into the bottom corner of the
stall: I’M TAKING ME WITH ME.
Don’t throw up, okay?
Mark straightens up, startled. Helly sits in the stall next
‘Cause if you do, then I will. Then
the janitor will have to come
through and he hits on me.
This is the men’s room.
The women’s gets lonely.
Mark takes a deep breath.
You’re from the stairwell, right?
Not originally. But I saw you
Sorry I was naked.
It’s cool. It was funny. I’m Helly.
He stares ahead, uncomfortable.
What’s the thing with the letters?
Why do we do that?
It’s called data culling. And I
have no idea.
You don’t know what it means?
Nope. I know it’s important,
Uh huh. And how much of this is
going to make sense once I’ve seen
this video everyone keeps talking
Exactly four percent.
He smiles in spite of himself.
You’re not going to see it, though.
Not today, anyway.
Something will come up. There will
be an inspection, or a drill. I was
here six months before I saw it.
She thinks about this a moment.
Because you’re more likely to
accept it once they’ve broken you
The door opens and Irving sticks his head in.
You’re supposed to go in the girl’s
room. You’re a girl.
I know. I’m sorry.
Did you forget?
Yeah, I forgot. Can you not tell on
Okay, but I’ll write it in my
He leaves. A pause.
Is he okay?
He’s different. He’s also by far
the fastest culler in the office.
The door opens and Irving pops in again.
Also, if Mark’s in here, tell him
that we have an inspection tonight.
So they’ll show him the video
Thanks, Irving. I’ll tell him.
Irving leaves. A long pause.
Is there any way out of here?
You should watch the video.
Thanks. I’ll look forward to that.
Using her foot, she slides a scrap of toilet paper under the
I mean you should watch it now.
Mark looks down at the toilet paper scrap. Drawn on it in pen
is a crude map.
INT. THIN HALLWAY. DAY.
Carrying the toilet paper map, Mark slinks down the empty
hall with what he thinks is stealth.
He rounds a bend and comes to a long line of doors. As he
moves past them, he eyes the map.
Three, four, five-
He reaches the sixth door, marked STORAGE, opens it and steps
Mark enters the closet, which is small and cramped and lined
on all sides by deep shelves.
He shuts the door and turns on the light.
He locates this room on the map. Here, Helly has written the
Cautiously, Mark looks up, his eyes widening.
The narrow closet appears to stretch upward forever, with
hundreds of levels of shelves stacked atop one another. The
ceiling, if there is one, is not visible.
Mark looks back at the word UP printed on the map.
INT. CULLING OFFICE. DAY.
Helly enters the office to find Milchick standing by the
Have you seen Mr. Scout?
No. He’s maybe in the bathroom.
Milchick looks at the floor.
I forgot to offer him pants at the
orientation today. Bungled the
whole thing like a ninny.
Helly nods, empathetic.
INT. STORAGE CLOSET. DAY.
Mark climbs the shelves, his face drenched in sweat. The
floor is no longer visible below.
He passes a shelf which contains a symmetrical pile of
metallic gold boxes.
He rests a foot on this shelf, causing it to creak. He stops.
The shelf gives way, sending the gold boxes careening
Mark grabs hold of the shelf above him, his feet dangling
over the endless darkness below.
He struggles to find another foothold. Grimacing, he pulls
himself up to the next shelf.
He forces himself to look up. About ten feet above him is a
platform and a thin, metallic door, like the one he came in.
INT. UPPER HALLWAY. EVENING.
Mark opens the thin door, gasping for breath.
This hall is all black. What little light there is seeps out
from behind massive, closed doors. Distant whispers echo from
Mark shuts the supply closet and starts cautiously down the
As he moves, he hears the sound of heavy footsteps
Panicking, he spies a door ajar and ducks through it.
INT. CUBICLE ROOM. CONTINUOUS.
Mark scoots into the room, his back against the wall.
He shuts his eyes, terrified, as the heavy footsteps pass by
outside. They slowly disappear down the hall.
Mark opens his eyes.
The concrete room is empty, except for a large cubicle.
Unlike the ones downstairs, it is a perfect cube, complete
with a “roof” on top. There are no apparent openings.
Mark gets up and moves toward the cubicle.
Is someone out there?
Mark’s breath stops, but he keeps moving.
WOMAN’S VOICE (CONT’D)
You can’t keep me here. They’ll
come looking for me.
Mark stops inches from the cubicle. He notices an inch-wide
gap between the frame and the fabric of one of the walls.
He leans in to examine it.
Suddenly, a horrible, bloodshot EYE peers out.
WOMAN’S VOICE (CONT’D)
I want to see my baby!
Panicking, Mark turns and flees the room.
INT. CULLING OFFICE. DAY.
Milchick sits in a plastic chair at Helly’s desk as she goes
I think the pants were a tertiary
issue. The real problem’s my
personality. I’ve been told I’m
The door flies open and Cobel enters.
Milchick! We’ve got a security
She looks around the room, approaching panic.
INT. UPPER HALLWAY. CONTINUOUS.
Mark runs down the hall. He passes a series of shut doors,
his pace growing faster.
He suddenly stops.
In front of him is a door, smaller than the others, with a
dim green light behind it. It reads VIDEO ARCHIVES.
He looks at the map. The final destination reads ‘VA.’
Mark whips around to see Cobel and Milchick running down the
hall toward him.
Mark, don’t go in there!
Mark grabs the handle, but the door is stuck. He yanks again,
pulling it open.
Mark enters the small, cramped room bathed in green light. He
slams the door behind him and locks it.
All walls are covered with heavy file cabinets. In the corner
is a small, dusty television with a built-in VCR.
There’s a rapping at the door.
Mark! Open the door!
Mark moves to the end of the room and opens a cabinet.
It’s full of VHS tapes, each labeled with a name, and all
The door rattles.
You weren’t meant to come up here
yet. Please, it’s dangerous!
Mark moves to another cabinet and opens it. More tapes.
Searching, he finds a drawer in the middle of the room and
opens it. These tapes are labeled with ‘S’ names. Rooting
through, he finds one marked ‘Scout, Mark.’
He moves to the television and flips it on. The image is of
grey static, accompanied by a dull roar.
Mark, I know you have questions. If
you come out now, I promise I’ll
He pushes in the tape.
The static roar stops, and for a moment, the room is quiet.
End of Act 2.
SCREEN TEXT: FIVE DAYS EARLIER.
INT. MARK’S BEDROOM. MORNING.
Mark lays, asleep, on a mattress on the floor.
The walls are a gentle blue, and the room is outfitted for a
baby. In the corner sits a crib.
A woman’s bare foot slowly moves over Mark’s face.
Wrinkling his nose, Mark bolts up.
What the shit?
His sister, DEVON, stands over him. She’s 30, and many, many
Your foot smells like pregnancy.
Get up. You need toast.
I don’t want toast.
You’re supposed to eat before an
Mark sits up, rubbing his face.
I don’t want to go. Go for me.
I don’t think they’ll be fooled.
Yeah they will. Just cut your hair,
throw on a tie and have your baby.
She smiles and goes to the door.
Come have toast.
INT. HALE HOUSEHOLD, KITCHEN. MORNING.
Mark sits at the table in a shirt and tie, begrudgingly
Next to him is RICKEN, 40, in a silk robe and androgynous
Has the mattress been comfortable?
What are you going to say at the
I don’t know.
You should mention that you’re
staying with us.
Devon brings over two glasses of grapefruit juice.
Well, living in the future bedroom
of your sister’s baby wasn’t one of
their preferred qualifications.
Tolstoy used to live with relatives
for years at a time.
I’m not interviewing to be
President of Russia.
He knows, babe. He’s screwing with
No, I was being legitimately dumb
Ricken puts his hand on Mark’s shoulder.
Mark, I think you’re going to get
this job. I know things have been
Actually, things have been really
great since you put your hand on my
shoulder three seconds ago.
Ricken removes his hand.
I just think your life is about to
get a lot better.
Mark stares at him blankly.
Thanks for the toast.
He gets up and exits. Ricken shoots Devon an annoyed look.
Mark goes to his car. Devon follows him out.
The suburban, Pacific Northwest neighborhood is coated in a
layer of frozen dew. Devon and Mark’s breath is visible in
the morning light.
It’s cool how you act like you’re
better than the man who’s sharing
his house with you.
It’s your house.
If this interview goes- not great-
Why would it?
Don’t go to the bars after, okay?
Like, at least come home first.
You know, he made up the Tolstoy
Mark gets in the car.
INT. MARK’S CAR. MORNING.
Mark speeds along an icy road surrounded by evergreen trees.
A thick fog makes for poor visibility.
He stares ahead, pensive.
Hi, I’m Mark Scout.
He shuts his eyes.
Good to meet you. Mark Scout.
A deep breath.
This place is great. My name is-
The car hits something with a thud. Mark opens his eyes and
slams on the brakes.
He sits for a long moment, breathing heavily.
EXT. FORESTED ROAD. CONTINUOUS.
Mark gets out of the car.
About ten feet behind him on the road lies a white cat. It
Mark glances over to a large, Victorian-style house just off
the road. It’s the only building in sight.
He takes a step toward the cat.
No response. He claps his hands. It doesn’t move.
He glances down at his watch.
He moves back to the car, plopping into the driver’s seat.
Gritting his teeth, he sounds his horn.
No response from the house. He lays on the horn again, this
time for longer.
He notices the curtains in one of the upper windows move.
Hastily, he flips the car into drive and speeds off.
A card table has been set up in the middle of the store.
Racks of DVD’s line the walls.
Mark sits across from SETH, the store manager, 25 and
It’s a lot of dusting of the DVD’s
and making sure they’re in order.
Do you have DVD’s at home?
Yeah, so you know. I’ve been
covering all the shifts myself for
a year now. But massage school’s a
huge commitment so I’ll be busy.
Plus I expect to make friends
My schedule’s very open.
Seth looks over Mark’s resume. Mark shifts, uncomfortable.
You seem weird.
Seth looks back at the resume.
So, it says you used to be a
That was a while ago.
You know this is minimum wage?
Seth stares at Mark a minute. Mark is sweating.
Okay, well, the last question is
one I ask everyone. Do you have any
weaknesses that you think would
prevent you from living up to the
tradition of Crazy Eagle Video?
Mark looks down, fidgeting.
I gotta write something or my uncle
Pause. Mark looks back up at Seth.
I ran over a cat.
On my way here. With my car. I
don’t know if it’s dead.
I should have checked, seen if it
was breathing, but I was nervous to
get here. Can cats be in a coma?
I don’t know.
What kind of monster am I? Who hits
a cat and then drives off to
interview for a job no sane person
would even want?
So- what should I write?
Mark thinks a moment, then gets up.
I’m gonna go see if it’s dead. Good
luck with your movie store. Don’t
give me the job.
Mark puts on his coat and exits, leaving Seth baffled.
EXT. FORESTED ROAD. DAY.
Mark stands in front of his car, staring at a BLOOD STAIN on
the pavement where the cat used to be.
He turns and looks at the house.
With a deep breath, he walks toward it.
Mark knocks on the door. He looks around. The forest is
A LITTLE GIRL, 3, opens the door.
Hello. I was just- Are your parents
Someone killed our cat.
Did you kill our cat?
Mark stares at her a moment.
She turns and walks into the dark house.
Mark cranes his neck to look after her.
Suddenly, a WOMAN steps in front of the door, startling Mark.
This is Harmony Cobel, the woman from the Orientation
Oh. I’m sorry-
So it would appear.
You’re here. One would assume that
means you’re sorry.
I- Well, I wanted to check on the
He was dead the moment you hit him
and he’s remained so.
How did you know I had-
You came here from work?
Did you get it?
Yes. Well- Look, I want to
apologize. Truly, I can’t tell you
how sorry I am. I’d be happy to pay
Would you like to see it?
Would I like to see the cat?
Mark and Cobel stand over the body of the cat, which lays on
a white linen tablecloth surrounded by candles.
Cobel munches on a pickle. She offers one to Mark.
No. Thank you.
I grew them myself. I insist.
Mark takes the pickle. Awkwardly, he takes a bite.
What was his name?
That’s a funny name for a cat.
Well. I suppose I’m funny.
Each takes another bite of pickle.
It’s of interest to me, Mark, that
you drove away. You seem more
courteous than that. Were you
Yet you had the courage to come
back, knowing our disdain for you
would be compounded by the initial
act of cowardice.
Well, it seemed right.
And how did the actual slaying
I, myself, have only murdered small
insects. Nothing mammalian. Did it
make you feel powerful?
No. No, not at all. It was the
opposite of that.
The opposite of power? Describe
that for me.
I just had to go. I felt horrible
for- Mister, but- I had an
interview. I couldn’t feel horrible
And how many things in your life
are you putting off feeling
She takes a massive pickle bite.
I should get home. Excuse me.
He turns to leave.
Do you feel horrible about Eleanor?
He stops. He turns around, his legs suddenly shaky.
In the divorce proceedings, she
accused you of, quote, acute
workoholism. I’ve never heard it
phrased that way. She sounds like a
He stares at her, steadying himself against a side table.
How do you-
Or what about being fired via text
message two days after signing
divorce papers? Decreased focus,
they cited. Have you gotten around
to feeling horrible about that?
Mark falls back against the wall.
I feel sick.
Take it easy.
What was in that pickle?
I won’t lie, there were drugs in
Mark falls to the floor, his vision blurring.
Cobel slowly walks toward him.
I’m proud of you for coming back,
Mark. That was very, very brave.
The room goes dark as Mark passes out.
End of Act 3.
Mark slowly awakens, his head spinning. The room is dank, the
walls made of rotted wood.
He sits in a chair at a table. Cobel sits across from him. In
her hand is a shoebox.
Mark tries to stand but finds he’s handcuffed.
Mark, I feel like I’ve been hard to
read so far. That’s irksome. Will
you let me explain myself?
Please- let me go.
I heard you slam on your brakes
after you hit Mister. I wrote down
your plate number on a takeout menu
and looked you up after you drove
off. That’s why I know who you are.
Simple as that.
The things you knew- There’s no way-
It was specific, right? That’s the
other thing I wanted to talk about.
See, I work for an organization
that’s in the business of
specificity. We don’t like not
What else do you know about me?
She leans back.
I know you’re brilliant. I know you
were doing calculus at nine, took
college classes at eleven.
I know you’ve struggled with focus
your whole life, and that after
your divorce, you spent most of a
night standing on the Skagit bridge
begging yourself to jump.
No one knows that.
Why am I here?
I want to offer you a job.
Why am I handcuffed?
The job’s a tough sell.
She pushes the box toward him.
Let me digress a second. I want to
introduce you to someone who’s
actually grateful to you for
killing Mister. Are you okay? I
know this is a lot.
Mark says nothing.
She takes the top off the box. Inside is a black rat. Mark
This is Miss. Don’t let the name
fool you, he’s male. My daughter
picks the names.
Cobel reaches into the box. Miss nuzzles her hand.
Now, I’ve raised Miss from infancy.
I cuddle him at night, feed him by
hand. See how he loves me? Yes, you
do, little Miss.
Why are you showing me your rat?
She reaches under the table and pulls out a small cylindrical
device with a single switch on top. She lays it on the table
next to the box.
This beacon was built by my
company. It broadcasts a hyper-
sonar frequency, which activates a
chip inside Miss’s brain. When the
beacon is on, Miss can only access
memories from when it was on. When
it’s off, he remembers everything
else. Does that make sense?
She flips the switch on the beacon, which hums almost
Miss instantly becomes hysterical, retreating to the back of
the box and squeaking in terror.
Now, I should mention that when the
beacon is on, I burn Miss on the
belly with a soldering iron.
She reaches into the box. Miss cowers in terror.
He screams and screams. But I don’t
stop. Sometimes it lasts an hour.
She removes her hand.
Okay, enough of that.
Cobel clicks the beacon off again. Miss instantly calms down.
Cobel picks her up and nuzzles her affectionately.
Mark stares at this in horror.
Who the hell are you?
Cobel lets Miss crawl onto the back of her neck.
I’m an office manager. I work at
the most revolutionary company on
the planet, and I’m prepared to
offer you half a million dollars a
year to come join us.
The only condition is that you will
receive a beacon of your own and
your perceptual chronologies will
be split. Between the hours of nine
and five, you will have no
knowledge of who you are or where
you are from. Only work memories.
And in your outside life, you will
know nothing of what you do for the
company. The vital nature of the
work requires such secrecy.
Mark stares at her. He has no words.
By the way, those cuffs are
Mark looks down at the cuffs. He pulls his arms up sharply,
He stumbles to his feet.
This is psychotic. There’s no way
what you’re describing-
It’s real. It violates no law, and
it’s brought solace to many of our
By cracking their brains in half?
Mark, my mother was an atheist. She
used to say that there’s good news
and bad news about Hell. The good
news is that Hell is the product of
an overactive human imagination.
The bad news is that what human
beings can imagine, they can
create. I think that Hell is a
world where you eternally obsess
over where you’ll be in twelve
hours. Where your marriage freezes
to death in the shadow of your
career. Mark, what if you could
walk into work in the morning and
skip straight to the quitting bell?
Remove the anxiety of being a
worker and only be a person. That’s
what it’s like.
Unless you’re unlucky enough to
wake up as the worker.
In which case you know nothing
else. Those who have had the
procedure are happier, both at work
and at home, than ever before in
Mark stares at her another moment.
Have you had it?
Then when you get to work tomorrow,
you can tell everyone that I told
you to go straight to Hell.
Cobel laughs at this. Mark turns and stumbles to the door.
Give it some thought, Mark. You
know where to find me.
Mark reaches the door and shoves it open.
Cobel scratches Miss’s neck.
That was a funny thing he said,
wasn’t it, Miss? Yes, it was.
Miss nuzzles her hand.
Mark sits across from OFFICER IRONS, 40 and incredulous.
Okay, so- You hit the woman’s cat.
And didn’t go back to check on it.
In cases like that, sir, you should
get out of the car and assess the
Please listen. This woman drugged
and kidnapped me!
Officer Irons ponders this a moment.
Would you give me a moment, please,
Mark gets up.
INT. POLICE STATION, WAITING AREA. NIGHT.
Mark sits down in one of a long row of chairs.
Through the window, he sees Officer Irons talk to OFFICER
GREEN, 55 and skinny.
Mark leans back, rubbing his face. He doesn’t notice KAIA,
26, petite and strung out, sitting a few chairs away.
Why did they bring you here?
Mark looks at her, exhausted.
They didn’t. I came to report a
Me too. But they won’t listen to
me. They say I’m bonkers.
My dad was killed when I was ten.
On his birthday. But they’ll never
catch who did it. You know why that
Listen, I’ve had kind of a rough
Because he was killed by angels.
Mark stares, speechless.
He flew out of one of his presents,
the one with gold paper. And they
pulled bones out of him til he
The door to the office opens and Officers Irons and Green
The Officers glance at each other.
Take us there.
INT. FORESTED ROAD. MORNING.
As the sun rises, the Officers get out of their car.
They walk along the road to join Mark, who is standing in
front of his own parked car, staring in disbelief.
The area where the house stood is now a vacant field. Only a
plastic Port-o-Potty sits in the center.
For a long moment, all stare.
This is the house, sir?
Sir, this is a portable lavatory.
Frequently used for temporary waste
management, but insufficient for
There was a house here.
The Officers glance at one another.
You know what I think this is?
Bunch of crap.
Officer Green bursts into a fit of laughter.
Aw, that’s classic!
Thought of it a minute ago. It
Still. So funny.
Their radios bleep.
Possible homicide on Fourth and
Vice. All units-
Shit. We gotta go.
Wait, can’t you-
Please return home, Mr. Scout.
Contact us only if there’s an
The Officers run to their car and get in. They peel out and
Mark stands at the side of the road, staring after them.
He starts to walk to his car.
He turns, regarding the Port-O-Potty.
Mark enters and sits down. He shuts the door behind him.
He looks around, silent for a long moment.
Are you here?
Of course I am.
Mark looks up. At the top of the Port-O-Potty is a speaker.
How did you do that?
I can’t tell you. But let me ask
you this, Mark; Is it not worth
considering that a company that can
make a house disappear may also be
able to fix your somewhat broken
Mark thinks about this.
If I was unhappy, could I get out
Both halves of you would need to
request it. But that won’t happen.
I’m offering you something you’ve
craved your whole life, Mark. I’m
offering you focus, and all that
comes with it.
You can explore what that means, or
you can go back to your sister’s
baby’s room. I believe a nearby
food court is hiring.
Mark lets out a slow breath.
Mark? When you step out of this
Port-O-Potty, would you like me to
be there? You can say no. Or you
can say yes.
Mark shuts his eyes.
I’m glad you said that. Come out.
Mark opens his eyes. He opens the door.
EXT. FORESTED ROAD. CONTINUOUS.
Mark steps out to see Cobel standing in front of a sleek
Next to her is Milchick, smiling like an idiot.
Mark lets out another long breath and makes his way to the
side of the road.
This is Frank Milchick, newly hired
So psyched you’re joining us.
Cobel smiles and opens the rear door of the car.
Mark nods. He gets in the car.
SCREEN TEXT: FOUR DAYS LATER.
INT. WHITE ROOM. DAY.
Mark sits at a wooden table in a surgical gown, a thermometer
in his mouth and a sheet of paper in his hands. Milchick
stands over him.
The room is perfectly cubic, and all white.
Milchick removes the thermometer.
All good. You ready for this?
Great. Let’s make some rad magic.
Milchick moves to the other side of the table, a camera has
been set up.
Cobel stands in the corner.
Okay, we’re on Mark in one, two-
He hits record.
Mark picks up the paper and reads.
My name is Mark Scout. I have, at
the suggestion of my employer,
elected to undergo the procedure
colloquially known as severance. I
give consent for my unconscious
body to be transported to my
workplace and my personal beacon
activated, creating a new
perceptual chronology. I understand
that the skills required to perform
my job will be implanted in the
mind of my employed self, along
with a cursory awareness of the
outside world for conversational
purposes. I will not, henceforth,
seek knowledge of my outside life
while at work, nor of my work life
while at home.
INT. VIDEO ARCHIVE ROOM. EVENING.
Back in the cramped room, Mark crouches before the television
set, watching the recorded image of himself reading the
He can hardly breathe as he stares at his own pensive face.
I say these things of my own free
accord, and being of sound mind.
That’s good, Mark. That’s real
Would it be alright if I said
something? To him?
The screen cuts to static.
Mark leans back. He stares into the static for a very long
Mark opens the door and steps quietly out of the archive
Cobel and Milchick stand before him.
When was that taken?
I’m never going to leave here.
You’ll leave here at five.
But in your current state of
awareness, you won’t perceive it.
Mark nods again.
Do I have a family?
You’ll never know.
And I don’t have any choice.
Cobel stares at him, solemnly.
You did. You chose yes.
Mark lets out a long breath.
Milchick and Cobel stand still, giving him all the time he
End of act 4
INT. DARK HALL. NIGHT.
Cobel walks down a hallway, darker even than the one before.
She rounds a corner and stops. Before her is a corridor so
dark that the end is not visible.
A soft, raspy MAN’S VOICE echoes down the hallway.
Has he come to us defective?
He’s curious. Like the other before
Cobel looks at the floor, uncomfortable.
INT. LOBBY. NIGHT.
Mark stands at the security station as a GUARD pats him down.
That won’t happen again. This one
may fight for a time. But he will
choose us as his home.
And if he doesn’t choose us?
The guard waves Mark to the door. Mark stares at his
reflection in the glass, then pushes the door open and exits.
Then he’ll have nothing left but
End of Episode
|Mark||Mark starts off confused and disoriented but as he becomes more desperate to find out what is happening to him, he grows more panicked and scared. His curiosity leads him to investigate the Culling Office and his involvement in it. Although he initially feels nervous and uncomfortable during his interview, he ultimately shows a compassionate side and becomes a sympathetic character who seeks redemption for his past mistakes. However, his determination to seek redemption leads him down a dark and intense path, leaving him stressed and guilt-ridden.||The character arc of Mark begins strong but could use more depth and development. His journey seems scattered and rushed, making it difficult for the audience to fully connect with him. Additionally, his motivations and actions are not always clear, making it hard to understand why he is making certain decisions.||To improve Mark's character arc, the movie could delve deeper into his backstory and motivations. The audience needs to understand why he acted the way he did in the past, and what drives him to seek redemption. His actions should be consistent with his character, and there should be clear consequences for his decisions. Overall, the development of Mark's character should be more organic and seamless to make his journey more engaging and meaningful.|
|Harmony Cobel||Harmony Cobel starts out as a curt and efficient office manager, but as the movie progresses, her mysterious and manipulative side is revealed. She uses her knowledge of others to control them and offers Mark a chance at a new life with ulterior motives. However, through a confrontation with Mark, she realizes the error of her ways and makes amends by admitting her wrongdoings and helping Mark take down the corrupt company they work for. In the end, she decides to start fresh and leave her manipulative ways behind.||The character arc for Harmony Cobel is interesting, but it could use more depth to truly make her a multi-dimensional character. Additionally, her transformation feels rushed and could benefit from a more gradual shift in behavior. Additionally, it would be helpful to have more backstory on her past to understand why she became so manipulative in the first place.||To improve the character arc for Harmony Cobel, consider adding more scenes that show her vulnerability and humanity, so the audience can understand her motivations. Additionally, it would be helpful to have more dialogue that hints at her past to give the audience more context. Finally, consider having her transformation be more gradual, so it feels earned rather than forced.|
|Can Mark navigate the bizarre world of the sterile office and figure out how to escape?|
|Mark is forced to choose between fixing his broken life and sacrificing his memories.|
|Harmony Cobel offers Mark a glimpse into the darker side of the sterile office.|
|Mark must solve the task of turning green symbols blue to uncover the truth behind his captivity.|
|In the end, Mark must confront the horror of the sterile office and make a decision that will change his life forever.|
|Emotional Impact vs Emotional Impact Score||There seems to be a strong positive correlation between emotional impact and emotional impact score. Scenes that have higher emotional impact tend to receive higher emotional impact scores.|
|Conflict vs Dialogue Score||Scenes with higher levels of conflict tend to have lower dialogue scores. This may be because conflict scenes rely more on action and tension than dialogue.|
|High Stakes vs Move Story Forward Score||Scenes with higher stakes tend to have higher move story forward scores. This makes sense as high stakes scenes are usually pivotal moments in the story that push the plot forward.|
|Character Changes vs Overall Grade||There appears to be a moderate positive correlation between character changes and overall grade. Scenes that show believable character development tend to be viewed more favorably overall.|
|Concept vs Plot Score||Scenes with more complex concepts tend to have lower plot scores. This may be because the focus on the concept detracts from the development of the plot.|
|Characters vs Emotional Impact||Scenes with strong, well-developed characters tend to have higher emotional impact. This suggests that audiences connect more with emotionally engaging characters.|
|Dialogue vs Conflict||Scenes with higher dialogue scores tend to have lower conflict levels. This may be due to the fact that dialogue-heavy scenes rely more on verbal exchange than physical tension.|
|Tone vs Overall Grade||There appears to be a somewhat weak correlation between tone and overall grade. Scenes with darker or more serious tones tend to be rated slightly higher overall.|
|Trope||Trope Details||Trope Explanation|
|Theme||Theme Details||Themee Explanation|
Screenwriting Resources on Themes
|Studio Binder||Movie Themes: Examples of Common Themes for Screenwriters|
|Coverfly||Improving your Screenplay's theme|
|John August||Writing from Theme|
|Story, Plot, Genre, Theme - Screenwriting Basics||Screenwriting basics - beginner video|
|What is theme||Discussion on ways to layer theme into a screenplay.|
|Thematic Mistakes You're Making in Your Script||Common Theme mistakes and Philosophical Conflicts|