Let me bring your attention to an underrated show that’s one of my absolute favorites at the moment. Servant was the first show series I watched on AppleTV+. With so many streaming service options to choose from, I believe it was fate that I landed upon Servant and quite a few other gems on this platform. Servant is centered around the Turner family, who hires a live-in nanny, Leanne ( Nell Tiger Free ), to help Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) and Sean Turner (Toby Kebbell) with their newborn Jericho. But, something is casting a dark shadow over the family once Leanne steps beyond the threshold of the Turner’s home. Something is off about Leanne… and the Turners.
It doesn’t take long for the weirdness to begin. I unleashed a genuine gasp of horror by the end of the first episode of season 1. Then in true Michelle Halloween fashion, I binged the entire first season in a solo Friday night. Season 2 was about to premiere, and the show had become a Friday night ritual by then. Tony Basgallop created this dark, disturbing psychological horror thriller with a few episodes directed by M. Night Shyamalan and his daughter Ishana Shyamalan.
Season one revolves around the effects of grief and denial. The inability to confront the truth and its pain emanate from Dorothy, making her very unlikeable at times. Easy for a viewer to say, but her love for Jericho transcends into a sort of make-believe world that Sean, her Brother Julian (Rupert Grint), and even Leanne nurture to avoid the severe effects of Dorothy’s grief. I don’t want to go into details as to why Dorothy is a fucking psychopath driven by her grief, but the bitch is fascinating to watch. As each episode of Servant plays out, you find yourself sympathetic towards Dorothy and then wishing she would shut the fuck up the next. I also need to know if her wardrobe was done to compliment her descent into madness because, goth damn.
But, for some reason – love, loyalty, inherited wealth, Dorothy is supported almost without question by her professional chef husband Sean and brother Julian. Dorothy’s two leading men’s only purpose is to make sure Dorothy doesn’t go utterly insane and do the unthinkable. For the Turner and Pierce family is to ruin Dorothy’s reputation and institutionalize her. There are times I don’t see how Dorothy is worth it. Sean wants to move on with his life. As far as Julian, well, I thought his addiction and manic behavior would have ended his character in Season 2, but, as Servant goes, Julian seems to be a strong character that we haven’t quite figured out what his true intentions are. They change from season to season, but Julian isn’t as empathic towards Leanne as Sean and Dorothy are.
Oh, Leanne. The character has been flexing supernatural abilities that were sadly capitalized on by a crazy cult. It took two seasons to confront Leanne’s odd upbringing. Even though Servant fans know that she has unique abilities and was held captive by a religious cult before finding her way into the Turner’s home, what Leanne is exactly is still unknown. Leanne has this disturbing obsession with Dorothy that stemmed from her childhood. I can’t tell if Leanne genuinely loves infant Jericho or is only there to appease Dorothy. Sean had to violently learn to respect and embrace Leanne’s role in his family’s life. Julian goes back and forth on how far he is willing to go to discover what Leanne is and her true intentions, but nothing Dorothy has done has wavered Leanne’s loyalty. Again, Dorothy does some insane shit besides deciding on her outfit for the day.
That is what I love about Servant. Once you think you have it figured out, the writers pull the rug out from under you. A new episode runs, and there are new terrifying mysteries to solve. All of these centers around this ridiculous family, their mutual love for Jericho, and their sweet but creepy live-in Nanny.
In all, I don’t know what the fuck is going on in Servant. I know this show is something every horror fan should give a shot if they have AppleTV+. If fans are discouraged from watching Servant because M. Night Shyamalan’s name is tied to it, that’s a terrible reason to skip it. You’re missing out for the wrong reason. Like Candyman 2021, everyone initially thought Jordan Peele was directing the film when Nia Dacosta directed it. Jordan Peele was a contributing writer. Even still, I believe M. Night Shyamalan is a brilliant visionary, and I will make an entire live chat about him and his contributions to the horror genre. Until then, I hope you can give Servant a chance if you have that damn AppleTV+ app and need a good horror thriller to binge.