There’s only one thing wrong with the Turner baby...
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST THREE EPISODES OF APPLE TV+ 'SERVANT' AHEAD
...It’s alive! No more creepy doll and instead Jericho appears as a moving and breathing baby. Daniel Sackheim (director/producer of such shows as X-Files, House, The Americans) directed Episodes 2 and 3 of M. Night Shyamalan's Servant and the storyline already deviates from the advertisements for the show.
EPIDOSDE 2: WOOD
We no longer have a life-like doll serving as a coping mechanism for the grieving mother, but instead the nursery now houses an actual baby. However, Dorothy now spends less and less time at home and therefore Sean finds himself alone with his re-animated baby and eerie nanny.
To keep busy, Sean obsesses over his investigation of Leanne and the process of how she came to be chosen for her current position. Also, since the baby is no longer an object, the husband takes his frustration out on other inanimate possessions. He sands his front walkway into oblivion as he exacts revenge for a splinter. The house does seem out to get Sean because later that night his wife must extract toothpick sized splinters from a very tender part of her husband’s body. And Leanne keeps Sean busy with her insistence on leaving the baby with a hand made cross, despite the father’s attempts to remove all traces of religion from the home.
In the first episode, there is mention of Dorothy becoming catatonic due to her inability to accept the death of her baby. In episode 2, we witness this experience, so we start to understand more of the physical and mental damage left behind after Jericho’s death. Certain stimuli trigger the heartbroken mother into remembering the day her son died, but her brain protects her psyche by basically shutting everything down. That is, until the final shot of the episode. As Dorothy holds her living baby, the usually ecstatic expression briefly slips and instead we see Dorothy convey unassurance and unease.
EPISODE 3: EEL
The investigation of Leanne heats up with some sneaky late-night photography and a newly introduced private investigator (Phillip James Brannon). Armed with the knowledge of Leanna’s hometown, the invested Julian steps up as a protective brother and heads to Wisconsin with the intention of asking questions about the nanny. However, once he and the PI arrive, they find the quaint Wisconsin upbringing apparently ended abruptly via fire. And as Julian and Roscoe inspect the charred remains, they find few clues other than the familiar cross which Leanne continues to make.
Back home at the Turner household, director Daniel Sackheim adds some pretty intense shots which involve beating an eel, then skinning and gutting the animal while it still writhes around on the counter. The camera does not shy away from any gruesome detail, so if you have a weak stomach you might commiserate with Leanne at this moment. While watching Sean and his assistant Tobe (Tony Revolori) butcher the eels, the nanny passes out. The scene gives credence to Leeanne’s innocent persona, but any sympathy the viewers might hold for the nanny become dashed as Leanne willingly participates in fatally preparing the remaining slimy creature for a late-night snack. Was Leanne faking her initial shocked expression during the eel death? Or did seeing the act cause her to snap? Regardless, any allusion of naiveté also quickly dissipates when Leanne attempts to seduce Julian in the kitchen.
The episode ends with Julian sharing more of the intel he gained from his little trek to the Midwest. During a visit to the local graveyard, Julian finds the Grayson family perished in the fire in 2007. Meaning Leanne did not live past the age of six. The angered brother-in-law adamantly explains to Sean that the nanny and the ‘thing’ that replaced Jericho must be removed from the home. However, does Sean completely believe this?
Tune in December 6th when Episode 4 drops to find out!
By Amylou Ahava
Like Amylou's writing? Tip her here through Ko-fi!