Apple TV’s Servant
Season 1, Episode 4: “Bear”
Directed by Nimród Antal
Written by Tony Basgallop
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Eel” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Cricket” – click here
We see a flashback to when Dorothy found out she was pregnant, letting Sean know as he woke up in the morning. They were planning a life together, jumping far ahead of themselves. He thought it was “bad juju” to name the baby so early, after she suggested Harry for a boy’s name. Back to current day and Sean’s not feeling so hot in the middle of the night. He has to go check on the baby, too. When he does he can’t find Jericho. Naturally he goes to Leanne’s room and hears her with the child.
Currently Sean’s attempting to make lobster ice cream— truly hideous. Dorothy goes to work reporting, having a fun day shooting on-location with a bunch of sewage workers clearing out a tunnel. That evening, Sean sneaks into the nanny’s room and pokes a hole through the wall. He takes the camera out of a nanny cam and uses that for surveillance. He manages to get the job done quickly while Leanne’s downstairs making something to eat. A tense sequence as Sean slips out just in time to avoid being caught.
When Dorothy comes home she calls Leanne down, telling the nanny she wants to bring Jericho into work to meet everybody at the TV station. This doesn’t sit well with Sean. He isn’t able to say much. He casually pushes his wife not to bring the baby to work, making it sound like it’s a burden on others to show off their child. It’s actually about his fear that Jericho’s an abducted child. She succumbs to the pressure. Meanwhile, Sean keeps an eye TOO closely on the nanny, as the young lady’s about to undress for the night.
Things are awkward in the morning when Leanne is excited to get out for a day, ready and dressed with Jericho prepared to go. Dorothy makes her husband do the dirty work and tell their nanny. Might this decision cause trouble? Sean’s back in the kitchen cooking again while his wife’s at work. His brother-in-law drops by with yet another bottle of wine to taste, in spite of the chef being unable to taste anything lately. He shows off his homemade surveillance to Julian, too. He starts bouncing a theory of the nanny’s “religious upbringing” resulting in her being the real mother of the baby, suggesting that’s how Dorothy found the child.
While Sean’s watching TV coverage of a murder trial for a man called Timothy York, he sees Leanne and Jericho in the background watching Dorothy. He tells his wife as soon as she comes through the door, angry at the nanny for breaking his rule. He shows her the footage recorded on the TV. Leanne admits to bringing the baby by while they were out. It so clearly doesn’t sit well with Sean that their employee’s gone against his word.
At night, Sean’s peeling in the kitchen. The nanny comes down for a snack, taking out the lobster ice cream and eating it without a single complaint. The chef confronts her about taking the baby out to the courthouse when he told her not to before. She felt jilted because Dorothy had promised to let her go watch. Their conversation brings out backstory: Dorothy’s had trouble getting pregnant, her womb is near infertile, and she kept getting pregnant only to miscarry, convincing herself “she killed them all.” A sad shot shows Sean throwing Jericho’s positive test in a box full of other positive tests with names on them. Such motherhood trauma, no wonder Dorothy seems half crazy at times. This is why the married couple’s had intimacy issues, because they could barely make love without it bringing up horrible memories.
Another positive part of the conversation is when Leanne suggests chocolate sauce for the lobster ice cream, bringing out all sorts of ideas from the chef. Maybe it’s not so bad having the young lady around after all. He asks why she came to them. She tells him: “I knew I‘d be happy here.” There’s an eeriness about her statement. Plus, the strange way she watches an old tape of Dorothy at a kids’ beauty pageant. And who was one of the little girls there? Tiny Leanne, from Wisconsin. Oh, damn.
Love the way trickles of information come out in creepy lil drips. Much unsettling fun in Servant. Each episode brings new things to light, as well as adds to the overall eldritch mystery of the series.
“Cricket” is next.