A visually stunning powerhouse Servant Season 2 Episode 2 delivered perfectly balanced laughs, chills, and genuine scares, just like one of Sean’s recipes.
If Servant Season 1 was the amuse-bouche, Servant Season 2 Episode 2 was the tasty canape. We got just a taste, one single bite of weirdness last season. All of that has changed, and now each episode seems to be crammed with the darkest of absurdist humor and bond deep fear. The complexity of spicy notes permeates every episode, a touch of sumac here, a pinch of black cardamom there. If Season 1 was perfectly seasoned, Season 2 is a cacophony of flavors that threatens to burn the pallet if not for the gorgeous cinematography, direction, and acting cleansing the heat. Nothing is out of place or callously added to the recipe. It might be robust, but it is never dull.
There is something rotten in the Turners house, affecting everyone and everything they come into contact with. The cracks in the foundation mirror the cracks in the family. Julian has taken to sleeping in the house again. Now he is sleeping in Leanne’s old room, and it offers us another tantalizing glimpse of the mural. This time we get an up-close view of many lion heads. In the bible, the lion represented Jesus resurrected and the lamb his sacrifice. There is also this curious passage.
Something is being worshipped and I doubt it is holy. With all the potential resurrections, including a cricket, a dog, an unknown daughter, and most importantly, Jericho, this is an important thing to note.
A gorgeous scene that begins as a closeup of Julian’s face superimposed into a recorded video of Dorothy holding Jericho 2.0 pulls back to review the ruse. The arresting shot has me wondering what we are missing by focusing on the wrong details. Is our perception skewed by what we are allowed to see? An even more disturbing one trumps that unsettling scene. Dorothy and Julian are curled up together on a small velveteen couch. Dorothy is trying to convince Julian that Jericho must be crying because her stomach is tight. The gorgeous but disturbing overhead shot makes the viewer feel like a voyeur listening in from the spiral stairway. The interchange ends with Dorothy accusing Julian of being an atheist and dressing the doll in Jericho’s spacesuit.
He treats the doll with disdain, but his actions betray him. Julian is all swagger. He misses the child as much as they do but admitting it would make the tragedy real. Lingering shots of the baby are intended to make us look hard for things that are probably not there while missing details we should be looking for. What else is hiding in the shadows or the meticulously chosen wallpaper?
Julian, who is ever practical if improbable, suggests a fake ransom to keep Dorothy busy appraising jewelry. Julian and Sean are a nice pair. The chemistry Kebbell and Grint have is electric. Somehow the bizarre conversation about choosing a reasonable ransom amount for a fake ransom that they will never pay is charming.
Sean is back to doing the only thing he knows to do. He is caring for Dorothy. He shares our misconceptions, it seems. For the second week in a row, he makes her something he thinks is her favorite but is not. Is he that out of touch with his wife’s favorites, or is he lost in memories from the past? While he cooks, Dorothy watches a terrifying video of a naked older man whipping himself while the cult, including Aunt May, watch and encourage him. How did she get this recording? What does it all mean?
Finally, Roscoe’s fate is known. We watched as the cult took him in the finale. Now we know where he went, sort of. He is alive, but he has no recollection of the last four days. He thinks only the previous 12 hours have passed. Only a short frightening audio clip from his phone lends any information. Leanne’s voice tells him not to be afraid. As the episode descends into a Weekend at Bernie’s parody, Sean lets Dorothy go into work to hide Roscoe’s presence, which leads to the single most strange, most off the wall and creepy segment in the series thus far. At the same time, Roscoe is being hypnotized by Natalie, Dorothy coos to the screen about gridlock and murder before bedtime. Nobody could sell such a ridiculous conceit as Lauren Ambrose.
Under hypnosis, Rosco remembers being taken to a dark room and having his hands tied with straw. He claims he never left. The smell of something rotting is awful. Maybe the cult worships someone or something that is dying, decomposing and needs children, babies specifically to be born again. It would explain why Uncle George climbed into Jericho’s crib last season. Roscoe does have one last memory, which reads more like a warning. Someone passed the baby to whoever was being worshipped and threw his eyes away. We know from Roscoe’s recovered memories that there is a door, and people were worshiping something. We also know he felt abject and total fear. What if Roscoe and the cult never left because they are in the house?
Julian again gets accused of believing in nothing. He believes deeply in things; he masks his emotions in bravado. The ginger is more swagger than substance on the surface. Scratch a little deeper, and you will find a man who loves his family unconditionally and is terrified by how quickly happiness can be destroyed.
Finally, as Dorothy showers, Leanne calls asking why Dorothy is looking for her in the closing moments. It seems Dorothy’s crazy plan worked. Leanne saw the broadcast. The water stops running and begins flooding the basement just as Leanne asks, “Why haven’t you told her what she did?” Instead of Rome burning while the city slept, everything is flooding. If this is the great flood, who is Noah? Are any of our protagonists going to be safe when the apocalypse comes?
As per usual, with each answer, ten more questions spring. How long will we have to wait to see Leanne? It looks like she will make an appearance next week. Until then, find all our Servant coverage and theories here.
- The symbolism of straw in the bible pertains to the lowest form of memory or knowledge. Because straw is the beasts’ food, straw knowledge is therefore flawed and fraught with falsehoods and inaccuracies. What does Roscoe remember wrong? Are these implanted memories placed there to confuse everyone?
- More food references this week with caramel french toast and cherries. Oddly very little alcohol was consumed, though.
- If eyes are the windows of the soul, were Jericho’s eyes removed to extract his soul, or are the eyes enchanted somehow?
- The naked whipping scene reminded me of another nude older person scene from modern horror classic Hereditary. I wouldn’t be shocked to find they were from the same universe.
- Hopefully the baby eyes Roscoe says removed were just doll eyes.
- Julian again steals the show with, “There’s no such thing as a life or death experience. There’s a life experience and a death experience and fuck all in between.”
- Interestingly, the group is a triad. They each play a part. Hear no evil-Sean, who has been oblivious to Dorothy for some time now, is being punished for not listening to Dorothy when she was overwhelmed with Jericho. He also refuses to listen to Leanne, who tells him he should tell Dorothy the truth. See no evil-Dorothy with her inability to remember what happened to Jericho and accepting a doll and later a new baby as her original child. Speak no evil- Julian who will fake his way through the grieving process one snarky comment at a time. If you don’t admit there is a problem, there won’t be one.
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.