Apple TV’s Servant
Directed by Logan George & Celine Held
Written by Kara Lee Corthron
* For a recap & review of 3×06, click here.
* for a recap & review of 3×08, click here.
Sean’s back with Gourmet Gauntlet. His inspirational life story is given the reality television treatment for entertainment fodder, including an almost Gordon Ramsay-style intro catchphrase. Everyone at the house watches the clip, but Leanne questions whether Dorothy’s actually happy and supportive of Sean being back on TV. Outside, Dorothy confronts Julian, telling him to “stop fucking the nanny.” She tells her brother people attacked Leanne. She’s worried about the young lady. She’s also concerned she can’t remember Sean being on Gourmet Gauntlet last season. She blames it on “postpartum fog” for now. It all concerns Julian, for obvious reasons. A bit later, Dorothy asks Leanne to avoid the park on walks with Jericho, due to all the “transients.” The nanny assures there’s nothing to worry about with the houseless folk. Dorothy brings up Leanne and Julian having sex, which troubles the nanny, not liking her privacy violated. It’s a tense house currently.
Dorothy goes upstairs and pokes around in Leanne’s room, looking for anything suspicious. She searches through the closet, then the dresser, where she finds the nanny’s diary. She again violates Leanne’s privacy, flipping through the diary’s pages, seeing all the sketches Leanne’s done, from the strange flock of birds to Jericho to Julian and all kinds of creepy things, especially insects. The worst is a sketch of Dorothy herself with milk squirting from her breasts. Dorothy goes to Sean, pretending she doesn’t want to “victim blame” while absolutely blaming Leanne as a “magnet for the deranged.” Her husband thinks it’s just job stress driving his wife nuts. This just pisses her off more.
At the park, a houseless woman gifts Leanne a strange necklace, inviting the nanny and Jericho into their makeshift camp. All the people look at Leanne like she’s a goddess, calling Jericho “a miracle.” Roscoe’s watching it all, too. The people invite Leanne to see more while Roscoe asks a houseless man what’s so special about the nanny. They’re a fan of Leanne’s rebellious spirit, apparently.
From the window at home, Dorothy sees the houseless people passing Jericho around, so she runs down immediately to get her baby, ordering the nanny back home. Back at the house, she rages at Leanne, but the nanny insists the houseless folks are “kind and gentle.” Leanne compares Dorothy to Aunt May because of the way the mother tries to forbid her from going to the park. Now Dorothy goes to Sean, all but saying she wants to throw Leanne out. (And is the nanny growing a God complex? Or is she merely accepting her own power?)
The next day, Dorothy brings Veera over to get Leanne into a dance institute. It’s a way for her to push the nanny out of the house. Veera and Dorothy go on about the program, talk of building a career, so on. Veera can even get the nanny in right away with her connections. Dorothy’s pushing hard for it, booking a train ticket. But Leanne never agrees to it, saying nothing. She feels rejected in the worst kind of way. That night, Sean isn’t too impressed that his wife did this so suddenly on her own without consulting him. Yet Dorothy won’t change her mind. She’s angry about being gaslit by her husband.
At night, Leanne puts on her necklace made of found things and dances around the perilous basement. She unearths the oozing hole in the floor and stares into the darkness a while. The next day she’s prepared to go off to the dance camp she’s been pushed into so desperately. Right then, Julian bursts in, telling his sister this is all “a bad idea.” Dorothy refuses to change her mind. Everybody’s arguing, and even Julian insults his girlfriend, but Leanne interrupts them all and says she’ll go. She even gives Dorothy a passive-aggressive hug before heading out with Tobe for the train.
When Leanne’s gone, Dorothy goes to look after Jericho, and Veera’s about to leave, rightly insulted. The mother lets a scream loose, so everyone comes running to see her holding a lifeless plastic baby. Dorothy’s panicking, then they hear a child’s cry from the basement. They go down and find nothing, only a floor cracking apart and rumbling. More cries take Dorothy back upstairs, first to the kitchen and then further upstairs. What’s happening is obvious: Jericho and Leanne are intricately connected. But everyone rushes around the Turner house, looking for Jericho and finding nothing whatsoever. Julian goes to the surveillance system, looking through the footage, and Dorothy rushes around everywhere after the baby’s cries as Sean finds party ribbon on the stairs. Sean takes the plastic Jericho, along with the ribbon, up to the crib, and begins to pray.
Dorothy goes to look in the Leanne’s room, peeking into the walls where Aunt Josephine’s corpse is rotting. Then she rushes downstairs as Leanne decides not to leave, going back inside. She asks Dorothy where the baby is and Leanne simply says he’s upstairs, like always. That’s right where the mother finds Jericho, waiting in the crib. Again: Leanne and Jericho are weaved together somehow. It’s all too much for everyone to handle or comprehend. And clearly the Turners can’t push Leanne out of the house if it means Jericho goes.
We’ve come back to a point in Servant where it’s no longer clear whether Leanne is a force of good or evil. There’s something sinister to Leanne in this episode, like the earliest days of the series. Very exciting.