Apple TV’s Servant
Season 1, Episode 10: “Balloon”
Directed by John Dahl
Written by Tony Basgallop
* For a recap & review of the penultimate episode, “Jericho” – click here
* Season 2 to come later this year
Sean’s preparing the placenta from Jericho’s birth. He’s frying it up and preparing it to bake. When it’s hardened, he crushes it up and then puts it into another baking mixture. He’s building what looks like a puff pastry tower, coated in a drizzle of decadent sauce. Is he going to serve that during the reception after the baptism? Good lord, Sean.
After the ceremony, Leanne’s rushing around to get ready, and then they all return. The nanny watches with a semi-horrified, semi-amazed look on her face while Dorothy acts normal around everybody. In the kitchen, Julian and Sean figure “no one suspects a thing.” That doesn’t mean that the two of them and Natalie don’t know the truth. Perfectly weird timing in the middle of everything for an Amber Alert to come across everyone’s phones. And even weirder, Julian spies the nanny’s creepy Uncle George in a video taken at the church post-baptism. He’s got Roscoe outside on watch just in case.
While everyone else is enjoying themselves, Dorothy talks to a little girl with a doll. She asks the doll’s name, but the girl, like most children, says it’s “not a doll” and introduces her as Pamela. An eerie mirror of the delusion Dorothy experienced with the reborn doll, particularly watching her interact with Pamela. This brings back memories of dead Jericho in her arms and she drops the girl’s doll down the stairs.
Again, Natalie talks to Leanne about what’s really going on. She warns Dorothy will wake up and “blame us all” one day for playing into the delusion so deeply. At the same time, the party guests are served desert with Jericho placenta in it.
Yuck, Chef Sean! You’re gross, dude.
Leanne rushes off upstairs to discover that Aunt May’s turned up like her uncle previously suggested. The older woman starts to ask about Dorothy, warning the child will be hurt again. Eventually Dorothy goes upstairs. She meets Aunt May, though doesn’t especially want to be around the woman on instinct. Auntie’s busy trying to get Leanne to leave with the child.
Downstairs, Uncle George is in the cellar talking to Sean, who’s got $86K to offer the man in return for him to leave them alone. He refuses the chef’s offer. He ominously questions: “Do you know who you welcomed into your home, Sean?” He reveals how Leanne met Dorothy, that day on TV, and the girl became obsessed with her. Uncle George asks about Sean’s “wounds” and the chef admits to getting splinters and not being able to taste since the nanny arrived. The two men clasp hands as Julian comes in. George tells Sean to ask God for what he wants. The chef admits he wants Jericho to stay.
Soon we see Dorothy’s dad making a speech, trying to make things all the more real for everybody, as much as for Dorothy herself. It’s a sweet speech about making mistakes and how “every day is an Amber Alert” one way or another when you’re a parent. The speech resonates with Dorothy differently than it does Julian or Sean, in spite of its sweetness. The whole party toasts baby Jericho, then Sean shows off by using a sword to open up champagne. In between it all, Uncle George is there looming, saying strange shit. Dorothy’s trying to recall where she’s seen Aunt May before, too.
And then the police come knocking at the door looking for Dorothy.
They’ve come to investigate a missing child. It’s actually the little girl with the doll. She wandered with them to the house after church. A wildly intense moment, leaving Sean with glass wounds. He says he can’t feel it, but Julian passes that off. What’s happening to him? He’s convinced it’s the nanny, and he’s also convinced Jericho is really Jericho. “She brought him back,” he tells his brother-in-law.
“I almost don’t believe he’s real”
Creepy stuff outside as Roscoe sees Aunt May skulking around his car.
Inside the house, Dorothy’s had an epiphany. She rushes to find tapes of her reports. She fast forwards through a bunch of tapes until she sees one about a standoff in Wilmington at a compound belonging to the Church of the Lesser Saints, where cult leader May Markham operated. Goddamn! Then there’s Sean, holding his hand over the open flame of his oven to see if he can feel the pain.
Off Dorothy goes to Jericho’s room, where she sees a flash of the day someone in a Hazmat suit had to carry the dead child’s body out. She looks down onto the street. Leanne walks with a balloon into a crowd of people awaiting her arrival. This is cut with more footage from the Wilmington standoff, showing how dangerous it became. In the street, Leanne’s meeting with Aunt May and her cult, all of whom embrace her with open arms. Strange sight for a cop to see in passing, so he decides to go back and check it out, except the cult have suddenly disappeared.
In the baby’s room, Dorothy finds the reborn doll, not a real child, in the crib.
Father Gore enjoyed the tense, suspenseful nature of the finale. However, even with Season 2 already confirmed, it’s a bit of a cop out not to give some more info. The whole May’s cult angle is great, but it isn’t like we never suspected Leanne was part of a cult. That was all but guaranteed. A definitely fun and freaky finale. Yet there was something lacking for Father Gore, and hopefully Season 2 can start to actually give us more juiciness apart from the predictable cult. Regardless, this was a great season!