Created by M. Night Shyamalan for Apple TV+, we now enter week seven of Servant. After the death of their infant son Jericho, Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) and Sean Turner (Toby Kebbell) fill the void of their lost baby with an eerily realistic doll. Refusing to acknowledge the loss of her son, Dorothy continues to mother the doll while Sean neglects to inform friends and family of the passing of Jericho...
...To perpetuate the ruse further, the young nanny Leeanne (Nell Tiger Free) moves into the Turner household and begins caring for the doll. After the doll comes to life, the family strangely adapts to the presence of the mysterious baby, but where did the baby come from? How will the Turner’s explain the appearance of the now living Jericho? And how did the Turner baby die?
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Episode 7 of Servant, “Haggis”, brings back a character we have not seen for quite a while: the Doll! For most of the show so far, the focus has revolved around the nanny and her origin. Now for a change of pace, director Alexis Ostrander lets Jericho take the spotlight for a change. When showering Dorothy experiences another one of her black outs and while in her catatonic state, the lifeless doll can be seen resting on her soaked body. The mother once again seems to come close to accepting the tragedy connected to her baby, but she quickly recovers and in the next scene we see her in a talkative manic state.
Relying on new wave medicine, Dorothy has a kinesiologist named Natalie (Jerrika Hinton) treat her at home. However, the nervous mother fails at any attempt to relax and instead weirds out her friend. Dorothy subconsciously realizes her baby died, but still cannot bring herself to admit it. Furthermore, Natalie belongs to the small circle aware of Jericho’s passing, but still believes the Turners substitute their dead baby with a creepy doll. After Dorothy announces she will no longer need Natalie’s services, the kinesiologist sneaks into the baby’s room to catch a glimpse of the doll. However, Leeanne’s protective side takes over and the nanny attacks Natalie before the secret of the living baby becomes known. And even with Leeanne’s aggressively disproportionate response to Natalie, Sean sides with the servant and stresses how no one can know about the secret baby.
During a small dinner party, the avoidance of the topic becomes physically represented by a floating balloon placed directly in the center of the table. As Dorothy, Natalie, Sean, and Julian (Rupert Grint) gather around the table for their haggis dinner, the inflated toy disrupts everyone’s line of sight towards each other. The lack of direct eye contact prevents the conversation from focusing on Dorothy’s current mental situation, but as soon as Leeanne violently removes the physical obstruction, Natalie bluntly broaches the topic of Dorothy’s health. However, despite her friend’s attempt to address the issue, Dorothy remains oblivious to her dead baby.
With the inclusion of Natalie to the home, the dynamic of the entire household changes. Dorothy becomes more frenzied and adamant about her position in the family. Sean and Leeanne’s relationship continues to grow into a supportive partnership. And Julian finds an ally in Natalie which allows him to finally reveal how deeply the death of Jericho hurt him. Julian’s character develops beyond the angry drunk brother and his candid discussion with Natalie raises an obvious question which should have been addressed much earlier: how did Jericho die?
Curious enough, with so much attention placed on the whereabouts and wellbeing of Jericho, the nanny becomes a much smaller focus in this episode. With less scrutiny on Leeanne, we see how some of the powers apparently circling the nanny perhaps come from another source: the house. As Natalie gears up to unleash her displeasure on Dorothy, a massive crack rips through the basement floor, giving a symbolic representation of the house becoming divided or the inhabitants being torn apart. Also, curiously a stray dog (believed to be rabid) chases Natalie through the house and only Julian armed with a wine bottle can stop the beast from attacking. Yet, the house does not let anything stay dead and later the fatally injured animal returns to life and flees the home.
Based on the original tv advertisements for the show, the life-like doll seemed it would play a larger role in the storyline, so it is good to see the return of the toy. Expanding on Jericho’s backstory also appears heavily. Thus far in the show, everyone stays fairly tight-lipped about that fatal day, but Ostander implants a dark see of dread inside of us. We learn a bit more of who was involved on that day and the anger-inducing orange jumper also comes back into play. In the coming episodes we will hopefully learn what happened to Jericho and learn where the Lazarus-like abilities are coming from.
Episode 8 of Servant, “Jericho”, drops on Apple TV+ on January 3rd.
By Amylou Ahava
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