Brought to Apple TV+ by M. Night Shyamalan, Servant continues digging into the mysteries within the Turner household. Before the start of the series, baby Jericho Turner passed away from an unspeakable tragedy. Unwilling to accept the death of the baby, Dorothy Turner (Lauren Ambrose) finds a replacement by doting on an eerily realistic doll and Sean Turner (Toby Kebbell) neglects to inform friends and family of the passing of Jericho...
...To further add to the strangeness of the home, the Turner’s hire Leanne (Nell Tiger Free) as the live-in nanny for the not-so-real baby and shortly after her arrival the inanimate doll becomes a living breathing infant. Brother-in-law Julian Pearce (Rupert Grint) soon discovers the servant lied about her past and his relentless investigation of the nanny serves as a distraction from anyone actually discussing how the baby died. Why did Jericho die? How did the doll come to life? And what does Leanne know about the situation?
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
Servant primarily takes place in the Turner’s home and the story consists of four characters: Sean, Dorothy, Leeanne, and Julian. However, even with a limited setting and small cast Servant keeps the plot fresh through exploring the different dynamics presented within the house and allows each character a chance to present their perspective. In episode 8 “Boba”, director Lisa Brühlman allows the Turners a night out and Tobe (Tony Revolori) and Leanne enjoy a bowling date, which leaves Julian as the sole caretaker of Jericho. The stressed-out uncle hates the mysterious baby, but he hates it even more when the creepy doll reappears and there is no living baby to be found. Grint’s performance expertly depicts a frenzied man and as the episode progresses, we understand how the loss of his nephew weighs heavily on him. On the surface, the show centers around supernatural happenings, but under all the unexplainable occurrences we have a family struggling with losing a baby.
Not wanting to leave Julian in the house alone all night with the doll, the Pearce family tree becomes extended further with a late-night visit from Julian and Dorothy’s father (Philip James Brannon). Frank Pearce hates the doll farce and shares with his son a scheme in which he will provide a new baby. Introducing an imposter baby matches eerily with the current situation happening, but Julian withholds any information about the doll’s ability to become alive. The relationship between the father and son comes off as stressed, but good old dad shows even less affection for his daughter as he expresses his embarrassment for her. Curious enough, the baby appears as living when in the presence of the Turners, Julian, or Natalie. The four people who share the secret of Jericho’s death can see the baby, but Frank remains oblivious to any supernatural powers and only sees the doll he hates so much. Even more curious is the fact Wanda (SJ Son) who entered Leanne’s life under false pretenses, can also see the baby. Why does the living Jericho only appear to some and not others?
After returning from her embarrassing date, Leanne encounters a hysterical Julian as he frantically searches for Jericho. He claims he wants to find the baby for the sake of his sister’s sanity, but he also seems eager to preserve some of his own emotional and mental health as well. The uncle’s anger escalates as he tries confronting Leanne about her past and about her whereabouts of the real baby, however, Leanne remains cold and ignores his questions. Julian admits knowing about Leanne’s family and the fire which supposedly killed them all and the feelings of desperation rises more and more as he offers higher and higher sums of money for Leanne to leave. Again, Rupert Grint shows his abilities as he screams and continues to doubt his own mind as he searches for the baby and pleads with the nanny.
In constant flashbacks, we earn tiny breadcrumbs which slowly lead us closer and closer to finding out how Julian found the original Jericho and what happened on that day. Unfortunately for the loyal viewer, the brother-in-law shares his secret with Leanne, but reveals nothing to the audience. Even with vague hints, Servant makes it clear Jericho did not pass from a simple illness, so should we assume an accident? Or murder? Only two more episodes left in the season, so hopefully some of our questions will be answered.
Don't miss episode 9 of Servant, "Balloon", when it drops on Apple TV+ January 10th.
By Amylou Ahava
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