Apple TV’s Servant
Episode 3: “Eel”
Directed by Daniel Sackheim
Written by Tony Basgallop
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Wood” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Bear” – click here
Note: There are many biblical allusions throughout Servant, from Jericho’s name to the eerie faith of the nanny herself, and more. The title of this episode and the animals that turn up later are another connection to the Bible, particularly Leviticus 11:9 which designates clean/unclean aquatic animals. The eel would be an ‘unclean’ animal in this biblical sense.
Sean and Dorothy lie in bed at night asleep, though he’s restless. He hears a notification pop up on his phone, so he sneaks off downstairs. Someone outside flashes their lights, parked across the block. Julian’s there with a friend named Roscoe (Phillip James Brannon), a “qualified” private eye. Roscoe’s digging into Leanne’s “farm girl” persona. Nothing appears too out of the ordinary. Julian and his buddy are going to look into the young woman’s hometown. This requires legwork from Sean— they want a picture to show people. He heads inside to look at Leanne’s resume. Except he can no longer find it, despite the fact it was there only recently. He decides to slip into the nanny’s room and snap a photo of her while she’s asleep. Creepy, but possibly necessary.
At home, Sean continues to have trouble with his taste buds. He’s got a commis chef, Tobe, along with him today to taste as they cook. There’s a big event coming up expecting great culinary perfection. Leanne and Dorothy, along with Jericho, are in the kitchen as a seafood delivery arrives. Sean’s preparing eel for his bourgeois clients. The sight of the eels disturbs Leanne, particularly when Sean beats one brutally off the edge of his cutting board, then nails it down so he can prepare to “salt bake” the thing. She’s horrified by the skinning of the eel and passes out, hitting the floor.
The nanny wakes in bed a bit later with Dorothy watching over her, waiting with chamomile tea. She’s okay. She’s happy to be living and working there, regardless of the nasty eel incident. Such is life living with a chef. Sean soon gets a call from Julian and Roscoe. They’ve landed in Wisconsin, but the call cuts out from poor reception.
Not only does Sean have all his catering business to take care of, he’s also left with Jericho for the day while Dorothy takes Leanne out, feeling bad for the incident with the eel. He gets yet another call from Julian and Roscoe. They’ve found Leanne’s family home: it’s burned up. The pair search the ruins and see a wood and twine cross hanging on a wall.
That night, Leanne offers to babysit so Dorothy and Sean can go out for a romantic evening together. She asks Dorothy questions about their life, but Mrs. Turner’s more interested in the nanny, hoping to know more of her past in Wisconsin. Leanne doesn’t like to talk much about herself, if at all. She’s left there at home, along with Tobe, whom Sean paid to stick around and watch the place while they’re gone, too.
Leanne has Tobe break out a bottle of wine. They sit and sip together, until she suggests something to eat. He looks through the fridge and gets a surprise when she whacks the last remaining eel to death for them to cook. Very intriguing! Tobe starts cooking and soon a meal’s ready. But a knock comes at the door.
Julian shoves his way in and shoves Tobe out. He pops open a new, fancy bottle of wine. He’s in a grim mood and starts interrogating the nanny. He gets quietly aggressive with her. She counters by asking him about the night Jericho died. “Did you see something?” she asks. He’s uncomfortable and deflects with more chat about wine. She begins to come onto him fast, right when Dorothy and Sean get back home, bickering to one another. The baby’s also crying, taking Dorothy upstairs. It gives the husband and brother-in-law a moment to catch up re: Wisconsin. Roscoe and Julian went to a graveyard there, where they found graves from Leanne’s family, including one for Leanne herself.
Question is, did the nanny steal a dead kid’s identity?
Or, again, is the truth much darker and more terrifying?
Another great episode! Many strange, unnerving things happening.
Father Gore’s a sucker for the slow burn— Servant is dishing that out in spades. But it isn’t frustratingly slow. If the build up isn’t worth the pay off, that’s another story. Right now, we’ll see what “Bear” brings next.