Apple TV’s Servant
Season 1, Episode 9: “Jericho”
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Written by Tony Basgallop
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Boba” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 1 finale, “Balloon” – click here
We see the day Jericho was born at home. Dorothy gave birth to him then she and the baby got to lay in bed together quietly. She was likely amazed at finally having him there after struggling so long to successfully get pregnant. Sean was wondering whether to keep the placenta. On TV, fellow anchors at the station were congratulating Dorothy and showing off a selfie she sent them with her and Jericho. Things were great, at the start.
After a month or so, Dorothy was looking into a nanny. She had to stay at home with the baby all alone, too. Sean was going off to do his chef thing on TV helping to judge a reality cooking show. Mother and baby were together plenty, just the two of them. Not piece of cake, either. Naturally, she was having a rough time occasionally. Especially when Jericho just kept on crying and crying.
“…and this marshmallow is offensive.”
One day, Dorothy went about her regular routine. Except she forgot about Jericho in the car. She went about the rest of her day, as if nothing changed. Of course it was extremely hot out and was only getting hotter. The sun kept beating down on Philadelphia. Not a great day for a child to be left in a hot car.
Dorothy fell asleep, not hearing anything on the baby monitor when she woke up on the couch, so she turned over to sleep again. In the middle of the night, she went for a glass of water then headed upstairs to check on Jericho before going to bed. It’s then she realised the child wasn’t there. The mounting dread of this sequence is enough to stop your heart. It’s the old Hitchcock trick: show the audience the bomb, then let them sweat it out until the thing explodes.
Cut back to current day. Dorothy’s bleeding— “fertile again“— and Leanne just so happens to see it. This gets them talking, or arguing after a moment. But Leanne’s trying to be helpful, offering to make her a nice egg breakfast from Sean’s recipe. The chef interrupts her. Apparently Dorothy likes the idea of spicy food more than the actuality of it. So “as long as she believes it‘s there,” she’ll taste it. Not unlike her mental state overall, considering the situation with their child. Before the nanny takes breakfast upstairs Sean quietly tells her not to judge his wife for what happened, that it happens “more than you think.” Later, Dorothy’s rushing to work when she gets sick at the smell of haggard fish in the backseat. While she’s puking, her husband decides he’s going to bag up the egg their nanny made earlier. Does he think Leanne would try to poison his wife? Oh, my. She’s already fucking with the mom using the car’s panic button
Back to Dorothy going to the car that night. She took Jericho, surely dead by then, and went upstairs. They bathed together. She put him in his crib and pumped breast milk. The next day, she went about her day-to-day like normal. She had to receive a meat delivery for Sean who wasn’t yet home, which was laid on the table— the weird, rotting thing we’ve previously seen from Julian’s memory of the fateful day he came over.
Dorothy was going over the edge after the hot car incident. She heard a baby crying over the monitor, yet it couldn’t be her baby. Because hers was dead. She was hearing the monitor pick up somebody else in the neighbourhood likely. She went to look at Jericho, seeing him lying there like a stone in his crib. Then she went catatonic, so Sean called Julian. The brother went to check on his sister, only to discover rotten flesh from the kitchen table to the baby’s room.
Sean has Leanne trying blowfish made into a dish called ceviche, “cooked without heat” dating back to how the Inca used to do it. A dangerous thing to eat. They can be poisonous if not prepared correctly (remember that old Simpsons episode?). A dangerous game, indeed. The nanny eats. She doesn’t like it. Then she questions why Sean would stay with Dorothy after what happened. He urges that it was “a mistake,” and sometimes in life people make them, even if they’re horrible ones. Still, the nanny gives a horrific answer to how the blowfish tastes, referencing an apple that’s “been in the sun too long.” Yikes, girl!
And now Leanne is being meaner with Dorothy. Or at least more forceful.
There’ll be problems, you can bet.
A stunning episode of television. Masterful storytelling that never had to be overtly graphic to sell its shocking terror. This has been one hell of a series. Glad that it’s been renewed already because it’ll be interesting to see where things will go. There’s already a massive swell of tension ready to snap heading into the finale.