Servant Season 2 Episode 1-Doll-Recap And Review- The Mural On The Wall, Leviticus, And The Opening Credits
Servant Season 2 opens with a brand new opening credit sequence, more dark humor, and the endless dread the series has become known for.
Everything has purpose and meaning in the crystalline sharp Apple TV + hit. Season 1 was an unexpected bent into the incredibly eerie world Tony Basgallop created. There was something so otherworldly and weird about the hyper-stylized house and the leading quartet’s increasingly strange behavior you never knew what was going on. Even after the tumultuous season finale, there was more confusion than clarity, and viewers loved it. Servant Season 2 Episode 1 capitalizes on the emotion brought on by Leanne and Jericho’s disappearance and lets its freak flag fly. Doing what no other show does, it mingles the completely absurd with the horrifically bleak with a liberal dash of gallows humor.
Two days in the Turners and Julian’s life are represented in the premiere episode directed by Julia Ducournau of Raw fame. Keeping with the tradition of meticulous detailing and intense strangeness, Servant Season 2 Episode 1 picked up right where we left off. Leanne’s words greet us. An eerie voiceover details why Leanne thought she should be considered for employment as the Turner’s nanny. Nevermind that the child in question was a doll. She hoped to be the moral guardian for their child. Those words should have concerned Dorothy. Who decides what is moral? What if any of the parents or Jericho himself is deemed immoral? Considering the baby and Leanne are both missing, those questions probably have disturbing answers.
Each of the Turners is dealing with the day’s events differently. Dorothy is frantically searching the house for Jericho while Sean is testing his numbness, oblivious to the baby’s absence. His absorption in his task is hard to watch but not nearly as challenging to watch as what happens later with his hand. It’s hard to tell if he is burning his hand out of a sick fascination or utter terror in what he is becoming. He snaps out of it when Dorothy tells him she has called the police. He frantically races through the house, throwing away all signs of the baptism party from earlier. Luckily for Sean, Officer Reyes, who was present when they found the original Jericho dead, arrives. Between Dorothy’s erratic behavior, bizarre theories about Aunt May, and Julian’s manipulation, they can convince the police there was no crime.
Lauren Ambrose(Dorothy) does some of her best work in this first episode showing just how brittle Dorothy is. She is holding herself together by will and purpose alone. However broken her mind is, she channels everything she has into finding Jericho. Throughout Servant Season 2 Episode 1, she swings like a wild carnival ride between debilitating despair and laser-focused discipline. It’s not hard to imagine that she was once an accomplished journalist regardless of what she became.
Sean is physically numb, but emotionally he is beginning to show signs of stress. He has been taking care of Dorothy for years. Based on the dates of the recordings and the officer’s appearance, Jericho’s death was roughly six years ago. He was unable to grieve for his child because he had to be strong for her. The strain of that coupled with the intense guilt he felt is finally taking his toll. Dorothy’s purpose is finding and protecting Jericho, while he is, and has always been, protecting Dorothy. That is evident from his making her favorite dish, which apparently isn’t, and his continued deception with Julian. Toby Kebbell displays enormous range in the Season 2 opener. He was cold and often dismissive last season, but faced with losing his child a second time(maybe), his facade is cracking just like the foundation of their house.
Sean is keeping the lies up for now, however. He doesn’t tell Dorothy he placed the camera in Leanne’s room when she finds it and plays his part when asked to canvas their neighborhood with flyers. As much as he knows Dorothy is mentally ill, he knows her head for journalism is intact. She recognizes Aunt May with Uncle George at the baptism. The new Jericho is a second chance, and he isn’t willing to let it go. He tenderly bathes the Reborn doll in the tub after saving him from the trash truck in the heartbreaking final scene.
Dorothy lashes out at him and tells him he isn’t a good father, but his actions say otherwise. She accuses him of being absentee, and he retaliates but stops short of telling her what she did to the first Jericho. That single conversation speaks volumes to their relationship. Dorothy is so absorbed in her feelings and grief that she doesn’t even realize that her husband is injured until much later. His focus was on her. It is a funny beat when she says she would commit suicide if anything happened to Jericho by using her Hermes belt, but the darkly comedic beat holds Dorothy’s truth. She is self-absorbed and superficial, even in an imagined death. She may end her life to be with her child, but she would do it in style.
Sean’s indifference to his burn is shocking and grotesque. After removing his bandage to see what damage he had done, Sean cuts away the blistered skin with scissors. The visual is unsettling, but the sound is even worse. I’m not sure how he has kept it together this long between all the lies and stress. From the looks of it, copious amounts of alcohol helped.
Julian, per usual, is the most collected. Arriving at the Turner’s with Natalie and eye masks is a nice touch that betrays the inner turmoil. The evening’s seriousness calls for something stronger than wine, and Julian is always ready with a glass. Sean shows him the recording of the baptism and points of Uncle George and Aunt May. Helpfully Julian notes that when you open your door to crazies, this is bound to happen. His role in the family dynamic has been comic relief and a steadfast denier of oddness.
Rupert Grint(Julian) was a fan favorite last season because he could drink massive amounts of wine and still concoct insane schemes that he managed to make sound reasonable. In Servant Season 2 Episode 1, some of the bravado is slipping. He is sensing that Sean and Dorothy are ready to go to extreme measures to save their second chance child. Out of concern for them all, he decides to secretly send a booty and a note telling the Turners to say to no one about the baby’s disappearance, and Jericho would be safe. Hopefully, the idea is they will give up looking if they think their search would endanger Jericho’s life. His motives are pure. The plan is a little short-sighted and is likely to backfire.
Leanne is absent from this first episode. Where she and the baby have gone, we don’t know. The cult members aren’t present either. They may be out making more miracles or stealing more children. Dorothy doesn’t think they have any special powers, but a previous news story indicates many do. A father insists that Uncle George resurrected his daughter, and hordes of people came to the funeral of those who perished in the fire. We will have to wait and see if anyone has supernatural gifts or everything is sales advertising. Servant returns with a new episode next Friday. Find all our coverage here. Here’s everything else you need to know.
The opening sequence has changed.
Last seasons’ opening sequence was a montage of the many parts of the Turner’s house. It showed the sweeping curves of a spiral staircase; the opening sequence now is only of the stairs in excruciating focus as it progresses up the stairs until what appears to be Leanne standing with a baby is seen in the shadows. Are they trying to tell us Leanne never left? In a series as intricate and purposeful as Servant, there must be a purpose to the change.
The painting on Leanne’s room wall.
The much-speculated mural on Leanne’s room wall gets a lot of time this week. The painting, which looks like something from Hieronymus Bosch or Pieter Bruegel, the Elder, is unsettling. It is an odd choice for any home, and the coincidence that Leanne, who is devoutly religious, would stay in this room is glaring. The artwork appears to be an original work that depicts a naked woman sleeping or dead. There are clothed men, women, children watching, a white horse, an oversized butterfly or bird sitting on an elm tree branch, and at least seven lions.
Nell Tiger Free’s daughter of Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones would be thrilled, but Leanne probably was not. However, lions in the bible are traditional symbols of power and protection. Just as the lioness protects her pride, Christians are tasked with protecting their fellow man. It may have been Leanne’s room that the mural resided in, but Dorothy most close;y resembled it this week with her muted jewel-toned pajamas and her sleeping position on the couch.
The bible passage.
Sean’s name was written in several places in Leanne’s bible. The first time we saw his name was in Servant Season 1 Episode 5 crickets, and it was 2 Samuel 19:24. Now she has written his name in Leviticus chapter 13. Specifically, it is near Levicticus 13:3, which is the Test for Leprosy.
And the priest shall look on the plague in the skin of the flesh: and when the hair in the plague is turned white, and the plague in sight be deeper than the skin of his flesh, it is a plague of leprosy: and the priest shall look on him, and pronounce him unclean.King James Bible
There has been a lot of speculation about Sean’s mysterious affliction. He has lost all sense of taste and feeling, at least in his hands. Leprosy does cause numbness in the extremities and has been linked to taste impairment. Did Leanne or Uncle George curse Sean with Leprosy? If his hair starts turning white and body parts start falling off, we will know.
His name placement in Leviticus could also be another indictment of his unclean behavior. His burn wound is dark, not white, and not a necrotic wound caused by disease. Sean injured himself on the stove, so he does not literally have Leprosy but perhaps a curse resembling the symptoms because of the deep sins within his flesh. The lies he has told to everyone, including Dorothy, about what happened to the original Jericho, as well as new Jericho’s presence, made his soul unclean in Leanne’s eyes. He is not a fit parent, and as a result, she took the baby away from them.
- The best line of the night goes to Julian, who had several zingers. He told Sean, “Well, you opened your doors to the Church of fuck only knows.” and my personal favorite, Homeopathic medicine, saves the day. Said no one ever.”
- Food appeared many times. While it wasn’t obvious references like eel or haggis, it is still noteworthy. Sean made Dorothy scallops with sweet potatoes, pesto, and parmesan crisp. He thought it was her favorite, but it is not. Julian eats a chicken sandwich probably from Popeyes because those things are the bomb.
- Jericho might be in Hell indeed if he’s made it to Wichita. The horror. Curiously there is a Jericho, Kansas.
- Where is Leanne’s resume? Why can’t Dorothy find it? Did one of the Church of Lesser Saints take it?
- Where is Roscoe? What is the cult doing to him?
- What is the significance of the video Dorothy had playing as she was sleeping? Two teen boys dropped a drink on Aunt May’s head inside a mall. She looks up at them as they laugh menacingly. Was this other random footage that Dorothy shot inadvertently, or was the cult stalking Dorothy?
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.