A cleverly crafted episode 7 of Servant confirmed we are all just praying at the altar of Apple TV +’s Servant.
Just when you think you might be getting a handle on the crazy situation that is the Turner’s house, the rug gets pulled out from under you. This week two new faces and more exposition left us questioning everything we thought we knew. The more we know, the less we understand as we prepare for the last three episodes of season one. There has been foreign language praying, Pinnochio references, ambitious cuisine, and Bible verses all carefully curated to skew the viewer’s mind. With each new reveal more theories rather than less are possible and that’s just the way Apple TV + wants it.
Episode seven brought Natalie into our purview. A brief flashback to right after Jericho’s death, murder, accident(?) introduced Natalie the kinesiologist turned therapist. At least this piece of the puzzle finally makes sense. Dorothy was not being treated by the very worst psychologist ever, it was a cover-up.
Whatever happened in that house the night Jericho died it broke Dorothy. Julian, Dorothy, Sean, and Natalie were all present for the event that left a baby dead and Dorothy broken. They all decided to use the Reborn doll to “fix” Dorothy. Whatever happened was clearly not a simple case of sickness or SIDS. Whether it was an innocent accident or something more sinister like neglect it was bad.
Dorothy feels more centered than she has in a long time. She certainly is less manic than she has seemed in the earlier episodes. Lauren Ambrose was the picture of purposeful overacting in the first part of the season. She is now becoming a woman more in charge of her life and mind. Granted that control came in the form of a bizarre delusion, but she is less “extra” now.
After receiving one final treatment from Natalie, Dorothy discontinues her therapy with Natalie. Likely her subconscious knows she must cut people out of her life who threaten New Jericho. Like all good narcissists though her conscious and subconscious mind is seldom on the same page. When Dorothy invites Natalie to dinner, Sean, Julian, and Leanne must do everything they can to protect their secret.
Julian and Sean have continued to investigate those who threaten their lives. Not surprisingly, Uncle George does not exist at least on paper. Since last week he has not made any further contact, but Julian thinks it is only a matter of time. they are pooling money in preparation for a payoff.
Showrunner Tony Basgallop is a master at deflection. When Leanne pulls out a strand of Natalie’s hair and then later collects it there is a distinctively voodoo vibe happening that I predict means very little to the overall plot. Another completely out-there option is the viewer has been shown only what Basgallop wanted us to focus on up to now.
Perhaps Leanne is an innocent bystander. One with a decidedly bizarre family mind you, but maybe the core group did some kind of spell to make a baby when Dorothy had yet another miscarriage. If that’s the case, everything we have seen so far is symptomatic of the magic/curse. Sean’s wood chips and taste loss, Dorothy’s fugue states, and even Julian’s alcoholism are all just the price that had to be paid.
Creative camera work by Mike Gioulakis continues to set a tone that is deeply unsettling. Coupled with the continuous plinks and dings by the soundtrack and the entire experience is more disturbing than a trip to Walmart. The basement laundry scene with Leanne is particularly effective at literally drawing the viewer in and then widening the angle to show danger is always just outside our periphery.
Odd moments that confuse rather than clarify add to the air of mystery surrounding Jericho and his rebirth. Foundations that crack in the basement during the dinner party could spell a disturbance in the force as the guilty parties are all together again. It could also be a symbol of the actual fractured foundation of Dorothy and Sean’s relationship.
When a feral dog potentially threatens the lives of the party-goers, Julian takes smatters into his own hands. The world’s most awkward dinner party concludes with basement sex between Julian and Natalie and slow dancing for Dorothy and Sean. For all her bluster at dinner, Dorothy needs help carrying the load. The all too appropriate words of the Teskey Brothers Carry You ring true.
With only three episodes left you would think would start to gel. There are more questions then answers at this point. So many theories seem to fit from one week to the next, only to be dashed by a heaping helpful of very weird. A complete shift in perspective allowed for even more possibilities than narrowing the field. Natalie and Julian had a relationship before all of this. Both couples know exactly what happened to Jericho and it wasn’t pretty. Leanne with her magical bible could be a healer, a life bringer, or just a sheltered girl caught up in something she couldn’t possibly be prepared for.
There are more theories than there are facts to this point and anything is possible. Leanne is a demon, angel, witch, or a simple young girl in way over her head. There could be spells, magic, curses, or mental illness. Maybe it is all in our heads and this is nothing more than a girl running from incest with a baby in her luggage. Nothing weird about that right?
As our perspective shifted this week it occurred to me, maybe we are looking at the wrong person. Each time Jericho watches Dorothy on television the story she is covering invades their lives. However, he got there maybe he’s the one that brought the rain, the crickets, and the stray dog into their home? Afterall he did see his mother do a story on all three.
Catch up on all our coverage here.
- That stray dog is giving me some serious hounds from Hell vibes.
- Did Leanne bring something else back from the dead, or did Julian just not kill him?
- Haggis, Tatties, and Neeps is a traditional Scottish dish. This dish is made from sheep offal(organs) and encased in the animal’s stomach. Tatties and Neeps are potatoes and turnips. If you are feeling the urge, you can find the recipe here.
- How much money must that wone collection be worth?
- The best line of the night is a tie between Julian and his concern for the wine collection and Dorothy who compares herself to She-ra.
- Heather is used medicinally for urinary tract infections, colds, and gout among other things. It symbolizes tranquility and admiration and Pink Heather is good luck.
- Squids symbolize defense, adaptability, and mysteriousness. That pretty much sums up the show in three words.
- I still think the titles are more than they appear. Haggis is organs cooked within a stomach or stomach liner. This whole thing is a mystery within an enigma. A Russian Doll where each layer peels back to reveal another.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.