Servant (TV series)

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Servant
Servant Title Card.jpg
Genre
Created byTony Basgallop
Written by
  • Tony Basgallop
  • Nina Braddock
  • Ishana Night Shyamalan
Starring
ComposerTrevor Gureckis
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes20 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Cinematography
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time26–36 minutes
Production companies
DistributorApple Inc.
Release
Original networkApple TV+
Original releaseNovember 28, 2019 (2019-11-28) –
present (present)
External links
Website

Servant is an American psychological horror streaming television series created and written by Tony Basgallop as well as executive-produced alongside M. Night Shyamalan. The series follows Dorothy and Sean Turner, a Philadelphia couple who hire a girl named Leanne to be the nanny for their baby son, Jericho. Leanne's arrival brings about strange and frightening occurrences for the couple.

The series stars Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell, Nell Tiger Free, and Rupert Grint as the four central characters. The series is produced for Apple TV+ and debuted on November 28, 2019. The series has received generally positive reviews from critics. Ahead of the premiere, Apple renewed Servant for a second season which premiered on January 15, 2021.[1] In December 2020, ahead of the second season premiere, the series was renewed for a third season.[2]

Premise[edit]

A wealthy Philadelphia couple, Dorothy and Sean Turner, experience a fracture in their marriage after the death of their thirteen-week-old son, Jericho. The couple undergoes transitory object therapy using a lifelike reborn doll after Dorothy experiences a full psychotic break. The doll, which Dorothy believes is her real child, was the only thing that brought her out of a catatonic state following Jericho's death. Six weeks after his death, they hire a young nanny, Leanne, to move in and take care of Jericho, the reborn doll, opening their home to a "mysterious force".[3] While Sean deals with the grief on his own, he becomes deeply suspicious of Leanne.[4]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

  • Lauren Ambrose as Dorothy Turner (née Pearce), a local television news reporter, recently bereaved but mentally ill mother, and wife to Sean
  • Toby Kebbell as Sean Turner, a stay-at-home consulting chef, recently bereaved father and husband to a mentally unwell Dorothy
  • Nell Tiger Free as Leanne Grayson, a mysterious young nanny from Wisconsin hired by the Turners to look after "Jericho."
  • Rupert Grint as Julian Pearce, Dorothy's younger brother and Sean's brother-in-law.

Recurring[edit]

  • Mason and Julius Belford as Baby Jericho
  • Phillip James Brannon as Matthew Roscoe, Julian's private detective friend
  • Tony Revolori as Tobe, Sean's commis chef
  • S.J. Son as Wanda, a babysitter that Leanne befriends (season 1)
  • Molly Griggs as Isabelle Carrick, an up-and-coming reporter at 8News where Dorothy works
  • Boris McGiver as Uncle George, Leanne's uncle
  • Jerrika Hinton as Natalie Gorman, Dorothy's friend and therapist
  • Todd Waring as Frank Pearce, the father of Dorothy and Julian, and maternal grandfather of "Jericho" who, besides his son and son-in-law, knows that his real infant grandchild had died months ago because of the carelessness of his daughter.

Guest[edit]

  • M. Night Shyamalan as a delivery guy ("Reborn")
  • Alison Elliott as Aunt May Markhem, Leanne's "aunt" and leader of the Church of Lesser Saints cult ("Balloon" and "Doll")
  • Katie Lee Hill as Kourtney, Frank's much younger girlfriend ("Goose")
  • Barbara Sukowa as Aunt Josephine ("Josephine")

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
110November 28, 2019 (2019-11-28)January 17, 2020 (2020-01-17)
210January 15, 2021 (2021-01-15)March 19, 2021 (2021-03-19)

Season 1 (2019–20)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
11"Reborn"M. Night ShyamalanTony BasgallopNovember 28, 2019 (2019-11-28)
Leanne, a dour 18-year-old, moves into the Philadelphia home of Dorothy and Sean Turner as a nanny for "baby Jericho"—a reborn doll. Following the apparent crib death of the real Jericho at thirteen weeks old, Dorothy suffered a "psychotic break", and a therapist suggested the doll as a coping method. Dorothy, who acts as though the doll is real, enthusiastically welcomes Leanne into their home as she returns to her own job. Sean, alone in his grief, is uncomfortable around the devoutly religious Leanne, who also acts as though the doll is real. When Leanne puts the baby down for a "nap", Sean discovers Jericho alive in his crib.
22"Wood"Daniel SackheimTony BasgallopNovember 28, 2019 (2019-11-28)
Leanne appears mystified when Sean demands to know whose baby is in his house, telling him that it's his son. Dorothy acts "normally" when she sees Jericho, as though he'd never died. While both women are sleeping, Sean attempts to take Jericho to the police, but is suddenly unable to disarm the security system. He confides in Julian, Dorothy's brother, who, along with their father, is one of the few who knows Jericho died. Sean destroys a homemade straw cross Leanne hung above Jericho's crib. He begins finding painful splinters all over his body and loses his sense of taste. Dorothy begins having flashes of catatonia, the state she was in after Jericho's death six weeks earlier.
33"Eel"Daniel SackheimTony BasgallopNovember 28, 2019 (2019-11-28)
Leanne passes out while watching Sean, a chef, kill and prepare eels in the kitchen. Using the address from her application letter to Dorothy, Julian and a private investigator, Roscoe, go to Medicine Bridge, Wisconsin, to investigate Leanne. They discover a burned out house that belonged to the Grayson family, and graves for Leanne, who was born in 2001 and died in 2007, and her parents, who also perished in the fire. Julian believes Leanne is an impostоr who is trying to get money from the family through blackmail. Leanne begins to emulate Dorothy.
44"Bear"Nimród AntalTony BasgallopDecember 6, 2019 (2019-12-06)
After realizing that Leanne is taking Jericho into her own bedroom at night, Sean installs a nanny cam in her room to spy on her. Flashbacks reveal Dorothy suffered multiple miscarriages before Jericho was born. Dorothy decides to take Leanne and Jericho to work with her to meet her coworkers, but Sean intervenes and insists Jericho is too young. However, while watching Dorothy reporting live from a murder trial, Sean spots Leanne in the background with Jericho, watching Dorothy. Leanne watches a DVD from 2011 of Dorothy's reporting, which appears to show Dorothy interviewing a young Leanne at a children's pageant.
55"Cricket"Nimród AntalTony BasgallopDecember 13, 2019 (2019-12-13)
Leanne is hurt and angered by both Dorothy and Sean's actions toward her. She feels betrayed by Dorothy, who sends her on an errand so she and Sean can be intimate, while Sean snaps at her after she brings up a yellow onesie from the basement. After Leanne writes their names in her Bible before her evening prayers, Dorothy wakes up with a sudden coldsore and Sean gets yet another unexplained splinter. Julian tries to drive Leanne out of the house by playing cruel pranks on her, including filling her bedroom with crickets and replacing her tomato soup with dog food. Wanda, seemingly another nanny taking care of a neighbor's young daughter, befriends Leanne. However, when Leanne visits Wanda's supposed employer, she learns the family does not have a nanny or a child. When Wanda returns to the house, Leanne induces an allergic reaction in the young girl with one of Sean's dishes and withholds her epipen, forcing Wanda to confess that she was hired by Julian to ask Leanne questions and convince her to leave. An enraged Leanne nearly lets the girl die before finally injecting her with the epipen. That night, as a crying Leanne flogs herself, a dead cricket in the room returns to life.
66"Rain"Alexis OstranderTony BasgallopDecember 20, 2019 (2019-12-20)
Sean goes out of town for business. After Leanne receives a card in the mail with "Found you!" scrawled inside, her bizarre Uncle George arrives. He unnerves Dorothy by exhibiting strange behavior and announces that Leanne is returning with him. Dorothy insists that he spend the night during a rainstorm, with Julian also staying to watch over things for Sean. Julian and Dorothy are alarmed to discover Jericho lying on the floor of his bedroom and George curled up like a baby in the crib. The following day, Leanne insists on staying, and Uncle George relents but says he will return with her Aunt May, whom she can't refuse. He gives the Turners a hand-carved marionette of a chef in honor of Sean, which Sean later finds hung from Jericho's mobile.
77"Haggis"Alexis OstranderTony BasgallopDecember 27, 2019 (2019-12-27)
Natalie, Dorothy's friend and kinesiologist, is revealed as the "therapist" who suggested the reborn doll to bring Dorothy out of her catatonic state following Jericho's death. After a session with Dorothy, Natalie is critical when she discovers the Turners hired a nanny for the doll. Later, Natalie hears a baby cry and goes into Jericho's room, but Leanne attacks her and flees with Jericho before she can see that he is a living baby. Dorothy invites Natalie over for dinner, where Natalie intends to confront the Turners about their prolonged use of the baby doll, while Sean and Julian struggle to hide the living baby from her. Natalie tries to confront Dorothy first, but Dorothy becomes convinced that Natalie, Sean and Julian are trying to talk her out of going back to work, and becomes defensive. When Leanne is in the basement to get wine, a large crack appears in the concrete floor. Natalie hears a growl and goes into Jericho's room, where she discovers the baby. She is then chased out by a large wolfhound that follows her downstairs, where Julian kills it in front of a horrified Leanne. Explaining the real baby to Natalie, Julian claims it belongs to Leanne and may be adopted by the Turners. He also reveals to Natalie that he is still disturbed by Jericho's death, having seen something especially upsetting that day. Natalie comforts him and they have spontaneous sex before going home together. After Leanne takes her Bible into the room with the dead dog, it runs out of the house, now very much alive.
88"Boba"Lisa BrühlmannTony BasgallopJanuary 3, 2020 (2020-01-03)
Tobe and Leanne go out bowling, while Sean and Dorothy go out to a news awards gala. Julian is tasked with babysitting at the house, but is avoidant of the nursery, repeatedly flashing back to the day of Jericho's death when he saw something traumatic there. Noticing that Jericho's baby monitor is unusually quiet, he finally works up the courage to check on him, only to find him missing and replaced once again with the doll. A panicked Julian calls Sean, but their video chat is interrupted by Dorothy before he can explain what happened. He also contacts Roscoe, who is keeping tabs on Leanne and Tobe, but nothing seems out of the ordinary on their bowling excursion. When Tobe brings Leanne back to the house, she tries to kiss him but he pulls away, embarrassing and upsetting her. Inside the house, Julian confronts Leanne about the doll and her past in Wisconsin. Leanne is dismissive of Julian's questions, and resumes treating the doll as a real baby like she did before it was replaced. She also continues to ask Julian about Jericho's death and what he saw. Julian holds the doll over the banister, threatening to drop it. When he does so, he suddenly hears a baby's cry and catches the doll, then starts searching for the baby in the house. After his search is unsuccessful, he calms down and starts telling Leanne about the day Jericho died. After this, the doll is suddenly replaced again by the real baby. On a nearby street, Tobe runs into Wanda carrying a cradle. Sean and Dorothy return, and Julian admits to Sean that he told Leanne the truth about Jericho's death.
99"Jericho"M. Night ShyamalanTony BasgallopJanuary 10, 2020 (2020-01-10)
In a flashback, Jericho is born at home in a tub and Dorothy's placenta is kept in the freezer. While Sean is away judging a cooking show, Dorothy struggles to take care of a loud and colicky Jericho during a heat wave, causing sleep deprivation and wearing on her mental state. After bringing groceries in from her car one afternoon, Dorothy forgets to close the front door. Jericho is quiet for the rest of the day, but that night Dorothy discovers his crib empty. Dorothy then realizes that she forgot Jericho in the car while bringing in the groceries earlier, and he has been left there for hours. Dorothy returns to the car and recovers Jericho, now long dead from hyperthermia. This prompts Dorothy's catatonic state; alone in the house, she tends to Jericho's corpse as if he were still alive for the next two days, until Julian arrives and discovers what has happened. In the present, Dorothy's car alarm continuously goes off. Leanne is revealed to be controlling the alarm in an effort to remind Dorothy of Jericho's death in the car. Leanne confronts Sean, who now knows she is aware of the details of Jericho's death. Leanne condemns Dorothy, blaming her for it completely. Sean defends his wife, revealing that he blames himself for leaving her alone at a time when she needed his support. Leanne is nonetheless wary of Dorothy, refusing to let her hold the living baby that night.
1010"Balloon"John DahlTony BasgallopJanuary 17, 2020 (2020-01-17)
After Jericho's baptism, the Turners and dozens of guests return to the house for a reception. Sean prepares a pastry dish including Jericho's placenta for the oblivious guests. Julian sees Uncle George in the background of footage of the baptism ceremony, and instructs Roscoe to keep watch outside the house in his car. However, both Uncle George and his companion Aunt May have already infiltrated the house. May confronts Leanne in the nursery, demanding she bring the baby home to them, while George convinces Sean to pray with him. Dorothy is troubled by a young girl's doll among the guests. It later turns out the young girl was a runaway when the police arrive at the reception looking for her. May and George depart without incident, but Dorothy encounters May and recognizes her. Going through tapes of her old newscasts, she finds a story identifying the woman as May Markham, the leader of a cult called the Church of the Lesser Saints, who supposedly died in a fire along with most of her followers after a standoff with the ATF. Sean discovers that he has lost his sense of feeling along with taste, and holds his hand over a stovetop burner until it is scorched. May and George return to the house at night, confronting Roscoe, whose car is later shown empty. Tobe leaves a balloon tied to the doorknob of Leanne's room. Leanne leaves the house with this balloon and her suitcase. She is greeted outside by a large group of people standing in the street, who encircle her in a group hug. When a passing police officer spots the huddle and backs up to investigate, they have vanished in a matter of seconds. Dorothy discovers that Jericho has been replaced by the doll in his crib. No longer seeing the doll as a real child, she drops it in the crib.

Season 2 (2021)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title [6]Directed byWritten by [6]Original release date [7]
111"Doll"Julia DucournauTony BasgallopJanuary 15, 2021 (2021-01-15)
No longer convinced by the doll, Dorothy calls the police to report Jericho 2's kidnapping, still believing him to be her real baby. Before the police arrive, Sean hastily hides all traces of the baptism reception. One officer who arrives, Reyes, was also a first responder after Jericho's death. Sean, Julian and Natalie feed her the cover story that Dorothy has seen the doll as her baby up until now, and believes Jericho is missing because her mind finally rejected the doll. Reyes is skeptical that they have used the reborn doll for so long, but maintains the pretense that Jericho is still alive for Dorothy's benefit. The officers leave, disregarding Dorothy's story about May Markham and the cult. Sean inspects his severely burnt hand, still unable to feel pain. He finds Leanne's bible left behind, with his name written next to a passage about the “test of leprosy”. Sean resolves to find Jericho, but he and Julian continue to suppress Dorothy's efforts to spread the story of his disappearance, throwing out her missing persons posters of Jericho, May and Leanne when sent to post them around the neighborhood. Julian also recycles the doll, and steals Jericho's shoe from his room. Using the shoe, he sends the Turners a fake ransom note reading “Tell no one, baby lives” in order to stop Dorothy's search. Sean later sees the doll in a recycling truck, and takes it back into the house to bathe it, using the therapeutic doll for its intended purpose.
122"Spaceman"Julia DucournauNina Braddock & Tony BasgallopJanuary 22, 2021 (2021-01-22)
Four days after Jericho's disappearance, Julian is staying in the house. He finds the bathwater running in the empty bathroom with no explanation. His baptism gift, a spaceman suit for Jericho, arrives late, and Julian puts it on the doll. Dorothy continues to research the cult. When she is called to co-anchor her news show, she agrees not to say anything that would alert the cult, but recites the news stories in a soothing and motherly voice in the hope that Jericho is watching, making the other anchor visibly uncomfortable. Roscoe reappears and wakes up in his car outside the house, believing he just fell asleep for one night. Sean and Julian convince Natalie to hypnotize him, believing he has repressed memories of the past four days after being brainwashed by the cult. Roscoe recounts the cult taking him to a dark room, and a disturbing story of a man with a hook for a hand removing a baby's eyes. Sean does not believe the story, but Julian is deeply shaken. Meanwhile, Dorothy ends her broadcast with an announcement that Leanne Grayson is missing. Leanne calls the house, asking Sean why they are looking for her, and why he hasn't told Dorothy the truth about Jericho's death. Cracks form in the basement, and liquid seeps through.
133"Pizza"Ishana Night ShyamalanNina Braddock & Tony BasgallopJanuary 29, 2021 (2021-01-29)
In a flashback, complications with her pregnancy force Dorothy to stay off her feet until childbirth. She stays in bed for the duration while Sean takes care of her. An oven mitt left by the stove catches fire, setting off the smoke alarm while Sean is out. Rather than calling him, Dorothy walks downstairs to put the fire out. As Sean returns home, Dorothy tells him that she "handled it". In the present, a small sinkhole has opened up in the basement of the Turner home. This goes unremarked upon, though Julian slips and drops a wine bottle into the hole. After Dorothy's newscast, the Turners field alleged sightings of Leanne. One report leads them to a huge, gated nine-bedroom mansion, which Dorothy finds suspicious. In order to get inside, the Turners create a fake pizza delivery service and leave a menu on the gate. Eventually, the mansion's owners place an order of twenty-two pizzas, which Dorothy suspects is for the cult members. Sean sends Tobe undercover as the delivery boy, with a camera attached to his lapel so the Turners and Julian can watch. The large order turns out to be for a young boys' soccer team hosting their party at the mansion. Tobe encounters Leanne, apparently working as a caregiver for the sickly, bedridden homeowner, but there is no sign of Jericho. After Tobe leaves, Leanne places an individual order of her own for one pizza. Dorothy insists on making this pizza herself. Tobe returns to the mansion with this second delivery and confronts Leanne, asking why she left the Turners. Leanne says Dorothy is selfish and cruel, and begs Tobe not to tell the Turners that he found her. During this conversation, Leanne suddenly collapses. Dorothy calls Tobe, revealing that she drugged the last pizza without Sean or Julian's knowledge, and orders him to bring the unconscious Leanne back to the Turner house.
144"2:00"M. Night ShyamalanTony BasgallopFebruary 5, 2021 (2021-02-05)
Having kidnapped Leanne, Dorothy locks her in the old and disused attic of the Turner house. She interrogates Leanne about Jericho's location, but Leanne pleads ignorance. Dorothy hides the attic key and forbids Sean from speaking to Leanne, believing she will be able to manipulate him. Leanne decorates the attic with various items she finds, including an old mannequin and an analog metronome. Dorothy begins waking up at exactly 2:00 A.M. each night in a panicked frenzy, during which she physically abuses Leanne while demanding to know where Jericho is. Confused by this pattern, Dorothy starts to suspect she has some form of repressed memory regarding Jericho. While Dorothy is at work, Sean finds the attic key and visits Leanne without Dorothy's knowledge, bringing her gourmet meals while asking her more gently about Jericho. Leanne remains steadfast, and reminds Sean that the real Jericho is dead. Sean returns Leanne's bible to her, and she is later shown praying at the page where his name was written. During dinner with Dorothy and Julian, Sean's sense of taste abruptly returns. On her fourth night of captivity, Leanne anticipates Dorothy's 2 A.M. routine and leaves the mannequin in her bed as a decoy, ambushing Dorothy and striking her in the head with the metronome before fleeing. Dorothy corners Leanne at the front door, where Leanne finally admits to knowledge of Jericho's whereabouts, claiming she and the cult are protecting him from Dorothy. Enraged, Dorothy strikes Leanne unconscious. Sean is woken up by the severe pain in his burnt hand as his sense of feeling suddenly returns as well. With Dorothy absent from their room and the attic empty, he searches the house, finding that Dorothy has buried Leanne alive in the basement sinkhole. Sean digs Leanne out and comforts her, accusing Dorothy of going too far. A flashback reveals the significance of 2:00 A.M. as the moment Dorothy woke up and remembered Jericho the night after she left him in the car.
155"Cake"Lisa BrühlmannTony Basgallop & Nina BraddockFebruary 12, 2021 (2021-02-12)
Leanne is still captive in the Turner home, though they allow her to walk freely inside the house at certain times of day. Remorseful for her actions, Dorothy invites Tobe over to keep Leanne company, providing him with the cover story that they abducted Leanne to save her from a cult and deprogram her. A package arrives in the mail under Sean's name - a small baby figurine and a ransom note for $200,000. Sean initially suspects Julian, who pleads ignorance. The Turners pool their resources, including a package of cash Sean and Julian had set aside for a ransom scenario. Sean also sells his beloved espresso machine to reach the $200,000 mark. That night, while Sean and Dorothy take the money to the mall as instructed, Julian stays at the house along with Leanne, who bakes a cake with help from Tobe. Leanne places the baby figurine in one of the cakes, reminiscing about how her alcoholic mother would make her follow the same recipe and always take the prize of the "baby" for herself. She has Tobe hide in the attic, showing him that the Turners have been locking her in there. Julian calls the Turners, who receive no contact from the kidnappers at the mall. When Julian speaks to Sean alone, they realize that Leanne was able to access Sean's laptop and place the order. Julian confronts Leanne, who explains this wild goose hunt was more punishment for Dorothy. Uncle George suddenly appears at the mall, confronting the Turners. They bring him back to the house, where he demands to know where Leanne is. In the attic, Leanne devours the cake in search of the baby figurine while the lights around her flicker and pop.
166"Espresso"Isabella EklöfTony Basgallop & Nina BraddockFebruary 19, 2021 (2021-02-19)
Uncle George demands Leanne be brought back to the house from which she was kidnapped, secretly promising to heal Sean in return. He claims he and Leanne are people who were "given a second chance at life" to serve others and says Leanne was not supposed to come to Sean and Dorothy with Jericho, which is why he was taken. In flashbacks, Sean brings home a new coffee maker and gets invited to be the judge on a cooking competition TV show, initially declining because he has to care for Jericho but later agrees, leaving Dorothy alone with the baby. Dorothy tries to bribe George to leave but he takes the money to the flooded basement and dumps it in the hole where Dorothy buried Leanne. He finds a strand of Leanne's hair in the hole and becomes afraid, praying and suggesting the flood is a divine punishment for Leanne being in the house. Sean tries to sneak Leanne out of the house, while she explains that George is lying and will not bring Jericho back no matter what. They are stopped by a news report on TV talking about gunfire at the Marino house, where Leanne was taken from. The whereabouts and status of that family are unknown.
177"Marino"Nimród AntalIshana Night ShyamalanFebruary 26, 2021 (2021-02-26)
Upon hearing the news of the gunfire at the Marino house, Leanne tortures herself and George becomes unresponsive. Officer Reyes' unannounced visit forces the Turners to hide George. It is reported that the bodies of the Marino couple have been found but that their son, Sergio, is missing. When Reyes insists on searching the house, she fails to find George but discovers in the attic a massive amount of straw crosses made by Leanne. Reyes reveals that she came to warn Sean of Dorothy's deteriorating mental state which is similar to that of Mr. Marino, who had failed to cope with his wife's sickness and had harmed his family. She also discloses that a note was found at the crime scene, written by Mr. Marino, indicating that Sergio's body should be searched. After Reyes leaves, Leanne is shocked to find out that Sergio's body was recently discovered having been shot by his father. She infers that she could have stopped the homicides if she had been there. Eventually, the Turners receive a mysterious wooden box addressed to George. It contains a Betamax tape, a note saying 'Reunite them by Christmas' Eve', a dagger, and some vials. Meanwhile, Leanne tears down the straw crosses in the attic and apparently rebels against God as the skylight in the attic shatters.
188"Loveshack"Isabella EklöfStory by : Nina Braddock
Teleplay by : Nina Braddock and Ishana Night Shyamalan
March 5, 2021 (2021-03-05)
As George assures the Turners for Jericho's return, he begins collecting the 'ingredients'. Suddenly, Roscoe appears and shuts the couple out. He reveals that George strictly asked him to do so. Dorothy confronts George, who desires isolation for the 'process' and reassures her to expect a reunion when 'the clock turns'. Sean's hand begins to heal from the paste George made him. Meanwhile, Julian tries to bond with Leanne when he finds out that the burnt house was actually hers. Leanne discloses that her mother was cruel to her so she burnt her dress, causing the fire. Julian convinces her that he ignored Dorothy's calls when Jericho died and he is the person to be blamed. Both of them sharing guilt, they have sex. George plays a song and starts to bang his head on the wall in Leanne's previous room. When he finds out Leanne sleeping with Julian, Leanne confronts him. She accidentally shoves a candle on the floor, creating a wall of fire between herself and George. When she declares she can deal with May, intimidated George assures her that May is not the woman she has to be afraid of but someone else. Scared, George runs out of the home only to be hit by a car as Leanne watches from the window.
199"Goose"Nimród AntalTony BasgallopMarch 12, 2021 (2021-03-12)
Leanne tells the Turners that George left, leaving them oblivious to the confrontation and car accident the previous night. Expecting Jericho to be returned on Christmas Eve, Dorothy prepares for his return by hosting a family gathering. In attendance are the Turners, Julian, Leanne, Frank, and his younger girlfriend Kourtney. Frank and Julian explain the situation with Jericho in its entirety to Kourtney before they arrive, but she has difficulty following it. Over the course of the dinner, tensions rise as the Turners gradually realize that Jericho is not coming back. Meanwhile, Julian indulges heavily in alcohol and cocaine while ducking calls from Natalie. Leanne confronts him about their sexual encounter, hoping to continue their affair, but Julian refuses, claiming it was a bad idea. Returning to the bathroom, Julian overdoses and Kourtney finds him dead. Leanne revives Julian with methods that ambiguously resemble CPR. Julian claims that he saw Jericho while he was dead, and the baby seemed "fine". After the Christmas guests depart, Leanne discovers that Dorothy has created a noose in the basement out of Jericho's clothes, to commit suicide if he is not returned to her. A woman arrives at the house wearing a veil and asks Sean if he is looking for Jericho.
2010"Josephine"Ishana Night ShyamalanIshana Night ShyamalanMarch 19, 2021 (2021-03-19)
The woman in the veil introduces herself as Josephine. She speaks to Dorothy, hinting at the truth of Jericho's death and showing her the onesie he died in. Troubled by this, Dorothy locks herself in Jericho's nursery. Josephine then lures Sean to another room, locking him inside before she confronts Leanne in the attic. Josephine plays the Betamax tape for Leanne, an instructive Church of Lesser Saints video on the process of "purifying" wayward members by ritualistically mutilating, blinding, and killing them before burning the bodies. Josephine refers to this video as a warning and instructs Leanne to pray with her. When instructed to forget about Dorothy, Leanne flees to the basement and prays alone there. Sean's door unlocks and he goes to the nursery, where a despondent Dorothy now believes the Church has killed Jericho, and is preparing to commit suicide. Sean pleads with Dorothy and successfully talks her down. In the basement, Josephine attempts the "purification" process on Leanne, but Dorothy arrives and knocks Josephine out with a shovel. When Dorothy leaves the basement to retrieve Sean, Josephine attacks Leanne again, but Leanne stabs her through the eye. The basement sinkhole is later shown filled with burning coals, and Josephine nowhere to be found. Sean attempts to tell Dorothy the truth about Jericho's death, but they are interrupted by singing on the baby monitor. They find Leanne cradling a living Jericho in the nursery. Leanne declares that the Turners are her family. Later, back in her spare room, Leanne talks to herself, referencing a growing darkness in her and declaring war on the cult. The power goes out along the street, and a burnt corpse is shown behind the wall of Leanne's room; presumably that of Sister Josephine.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Promotional poster

On February 27, 2018, it was announced that Apple Inc. had given the production a series order for a first season consisting of ten episodes. The series was created by Tony Basgallop who also wrote for the series and executive produced it alongside M. Night Shyamalan, Ashwin Rajan, Jason Blumenthal, Todd Black, and Steve Tisch. Production companies involved with the show include Blinding Edge Pictures, Escape Artists, and Dolphin Black Productions.[8][9][10] Mike Gioulakis served as the series' cinematographer.[11] On October 3, 2019, it was reported that the series was scheduled to be released on November 28, 2019.[12] Ahead of the series premiere, on November 22, 2019, it was announced that Apple had renewed the series for a second season which is set to premiere on January 15, 2021.[1][7] On December 15, 2020, ahead of the second season premiere, Apple TV+ renewed the series for a third season.[2]

Shyamalan stated that he originally envisioned the series to stretch for 60 half-hour episodes, or six seasons, but he ultimately planned the show to be four seasons with 40 episodes in total.[13][14]

Casting[edit]

On August 22, 2018, it was announced that Lauren Ambrose and Nell Tiger Free had been cast in leading roles.[4] On November 30, 2018, it was reported that Rupert Grint had joined the main cast.[15] On December 4, 2018, it was announced that Toby Kebbell had been cast in a starring role.[16]

Filming[edit]

The first season of Servant was filmed in Philadelphia from November 2018 to March 2019. Exterior scenes took place in Philadelphia's Center City near Spruce and 21st Streets. A set for the interior of the Turner home was built in a former paint factory in Bethel Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.[17][18] Italian chef Marc Vetri served as a food consultant for the cooking scenes in season one.[13]

In March 2020, Apple TV+ shut down production of season two due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[19] In September 2020, production resumed to finish the four remaining episodes of season two.[20] Philadelphia chef Drew DiTomo was the food consultant for season two, spending many days making pizzas and teaching the cast to make the pizzas that served as the basis for Cheezus Crust, the fictional pizza delivery company that Sean and Dorothy created during the season.[21]

In February 2021, it was reported that production on season three had begun.[22]

In an interview with Backstage, Grint revealed that unlike many film and television productions, Servant is filmed chronologically, with the cast getting scripts as they film each episode, keeping them just as much a part of the mystery as the characters and viewers.[23]

Release[edit]

The first season of Servant premiered on Apple TV+ on November 28, 2019, and ran for 10 episodes until January 17, 2020. Ahead of the first season premiere, Apple renewed the show for a second 10-episode season, which premiered on January 15, 2021.[1] In December 2020, ahead of the second season premiere, the series was renewed for a third season.[2]

Marketing[edit]

Coinciding with the finale episode of season two, and paying homage to Cheezus Crust, the fictional pizza business that Dorothy and Sean create in the season, Apple partnered with two pizza restaurants in Los Angeles to offer free pizza throughout the weekend.[24]

Reception[edit]

Critical response for Servant
Season Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 83% (60 reviews)[25] 64 (20 reviews)[26]
2 88% (25 reviews)[27] 77 (8 reviews)[28]

Critical response[edit]

The first season of Servant received generally positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a "Certified Fresh" 83% approval rating, with an average rating of 7.26/10 based on 60 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "Though Servant's slithering mystery often wanders into dark, crowded corners, its claustrophobic atmosphere and powerful performances build enough tension to keep viewers hooked."[25] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 64 out of 100, based on reviews from 20 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[26]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season holds a "Certified Fresh" 88% approval rating, with an average rating of 7.6/10, based on 25 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "Servant's second season serves up a solid – if not always convincing – set of thrills with a better grasp on its dark humor."[27] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 77 out of 100, based on eight critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[28]

Author Stephen King has praised the series on multiple occasions, calling it "spooky as hell", "extremely creepy and totally involving."[29][30] Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has called it a beautifully crafted, elegant show which feels like a European slow burn. He also praised the surgical staging and camera work in the episodes directed by M. Night Shyamalan, as well as Rupert Grint's performance.[31]

Accolades[edit]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Golden Reel Awards January 19, 2020 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Sound Effects, Foley, Music, Dialogue and ADR for Live Action Broadcast Media Under 35 Minutes Sean Garnhart, Alexa Zimmerman, Mark Filip, Fred Rosenberg, Lesley Langs, Julien Pirrie and Gareth Rhys Jones (for "Reborn") Nominated [32]
April 16, 2021 Sean Garnhart, Mark Filip, Michael Feuser, Lesley Langs, Julien Pirrie and Gareth Rhys Jones (for "2:00") Won [33]
Hollywood Critics Association August 29, 2021 Best Streaming Series, Drama Servant Nominated [34]
Best Supporting Actor in a Streaming Series, Drama Rupert Grint Won
Saturn Awards TBA Best Horror Television Series Servant Pending [35]
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards September 18, 2021 Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (Half-Hour) Marshall Adams (for "2:00") Nominated [36]

Lawsuit[edit]

In January 2020, Francesca Gregorini filed a lawsuit against Servant producers including Tony Basgallop and M. Night Shyamalan, the production companies involved, and Apple TV+, alleging copyright infringement for her 2013 drama film, The Truth About Emanuel. The Truth About Emanuel is a psychological thriller in which a woman uses a lifelike doll to cope with the loss of her infant hiring a young girl as a nanny to take care of it.[37] Basgallop and Shyamalan responded that neither had seen her film and that any similarity is coincidence.[38] They go further in saying that Servant was in development before the creation of Gregorini's film.[37]

On May 28, 2020, a federal judge threw out the copyright lawsuit against Shyamalan and Apple, ruling that the TV show is not similar enough to the film to merit a lawsuit.[39] Gregorini responded that the, "ruling is disappointing, but not surprising", and that "the balance of power in the entertainment industry has always favored powerful men and institutions" after the suit was thrown out.[40]

On July 21, 2020, the court ordered Gregorini to pay the defendants' attorneys' fees of $162,467. The court emphasized the objective unreasonableness of her claims.[41]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Otterson, Joe (November 22, 2019). "'Servant' Renewed for Season 2 at Apple Ahead of Series Premiere". Variety. Archived from the original on November 23, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Petski, Denise (December 15, 2020). "'Servant' Renewed For Season 3 By Apple". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on December 15, 2020. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
  3. ^ Vadala, Nick (November 7, 2019). "M. Night Shyamalan's 'Servant': Trailer reveals creepy details for the Philly-shot show". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on August 13, 2020. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (August 22, 2018). "Lauren Ambrose & Nell Tiger Free To Star In M. Night Shyamalan's Apple Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on October 3, 2018. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
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  6. ^ a b "Servant". Writers Guild of America West. Archived from the original on January 21, 2021. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
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  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 27, 2018). "Apple Orders M. Night Shyamalan Psychological Thriller TV Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on June 23, 2018. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  9. ^ Otterson, Joe (February 27, 2018). "M. Night Shyamalan to Produce Straight-to-Series Thriller for Apple". Variety. Archived from the original on February 27, 2018. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  10. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (February 27, 2018). "M. Night Shyamalan Psychological Thriller Scores Apple Series Pickup". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on February 27, 2018. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
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  19. ^ Sandberg, Bryn (March 12, 2020). "'Morning Show' Shuts Down Production Due to Coronavirus Concerns". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on April 4, 2020. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
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  24. ^ McShan, Frank (March 19, 2021). "Apple Partners With Restaurants to Offer Free Pizza in Celebration of 'Servant' Season 2 Finale". MacRumors. Archived from the original on March 20, 2021. Retrieved March 20, 2021.
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  31. ^ Guillermo del Toro [@RealGDT] (April 29, 2020). "I enjoyed SERVANT completely. Late to the party, but- this is a beautifully crafted, elegant show. Ruper Gint almost steals it, for me- as does the surgical staging and camera work in the M Night Shyamalan episodes. At times it feels like a European / British slow-burn show" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  32. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (January 19, 2020). "'Ford v Ferrari,' '1917' Collect Wins at MPSE Golden Reel Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 20, 2020. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  33. ^ Pedersen, Erik (March 1, 2021). "Sound Editors Nominate 'Wonder Woman', 'Sound Of Metal', 'Tenet' & Others For Golden Reel Awards – Full List". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 1, 2021. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  34. ^ "Ted Lasso, The Handmaid's Tale, and Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist lead Inaugural HCA TV Awards Nominations – Hollywood Critics Association". Retrieved July 11, 2021.
  35. ^ Hipes, Patrick (March 4, 2021). "Saturn Awards Nominations: 'Star Wars: Rise Of Skywalker', 'Tenet', 'Walking Dead', 'Outlander' Lead List". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
  36. ^ "73rd Emmy Awards Complete Nominations List" (PDF). National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. July 13, 2021. Retrieved July 20, 2021.
  37. ^ a b Vadala, Nick (January 17, 2020). "M. Night Shyamalan, Apple sued for copying creepy baby movie for their creepy baby show". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on January 24, 2021. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
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  39. ^ Maddaus, Gene (May 28, 2021). "M. Night Shyamalan Wins Dismissal of 'Servant' Copyright Suit". Variety. Archived from the original on June 2, 2020. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
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External links[edit]