The sultry tones of Saleka, M. Night Shyamalan’s daughter played as a backdrop for Leanne and the Turners as the real world starts crashing in in Servant Season 3 Episode 4.
Servant Season 3 Episode 4 was a departure from the previous episodes’ sliding camera work and voyeuristic feel. Instead, the more straightforward camera work highlighted the feminine plight and horrorific late episode accident. However, just because the episode felt different doesn’t mean the tension was lessened. Instead, the real-world stressors of working motherhood, male toxicity, and childhood traumas whipped up a delicious dish of pain, regret, and blood. Here’s everything you need to know about the episode, plus a bonus theory that could throw everything in question.
Who is Vivian Dale?
Vivian Dale is a fictional singer/songwriter who Dorothy talks about during her brief ballet lesson with Leanne. She has her albums and tells Leanne she has a tragic backstory. She died very young from a drug overdose or an abusive boyfriend. Dorothy can’t remember. There is no real Vivian Dale, but the artist who wrote and sang both The Sky Cries, the first song heard, and later One More Night is Saleka. Saleka is M. Night Shyamalan’s daughter.
Leanne’s childhood trauma expanded
Another door is unlocked in this growing Servant universe. The world outside the doors of the Turners is pretty tiny. We only saw glimpses outside of windows, through news reports, and on the street out front for the last two seasons. Then, beginning with Season 3, we saw the park that backs up to the Turners’ house. In Servant Season 3 Episode 4, a new door was unlocked in the house. The white door in the attic that so many speculated held secrets hid a ballet bar and heavy bag. Leanne and Dorothy planned to practice ballet together. It is everything Leanne has ever wanted. To be cared for, nurtured, and approved of.
Unfortunately, Dorothy’s ambition got in the way, and she skipped out early from one lesson and missed another altogether. The brief time Leanne and Dorothy shared gave us another window into Leanne’s childhood. She was abused by a stage mother who starved her and pushed her dangerously far. All Leanne wants is to keep her family safe and with her. If that means she has to systematically isolate them for their own protection, so be it.
Throughout Servant Season 3 Episode 4, Leanne questions Dorothy’s decision to leave the house. She also chastises her for failing to produce enough milk and baby-proofing the house. Visually it is interesting to note that after Dorothy comes home from her disastrous live news story, Leanne locks the baby gate behind Dorothy, symbolically imprisoning her in the house. Leanne has said she wouldn’t let anything happen to Sean or Jericho but never said the same about Dorothy. Partly because this never came up, but also because, like any mother/daughter relationship, there is as much anger as love. Is Leanne desperate to keep them all inside because she is terrified or because she wants her family all to herself?
We are all being gaslit by Sean
I love Sean(Toby Kebbell), and I actively have to rebel against always siding with him. He is the beleaguered father and husband who indulges Dorothy’s every whim and patiently attends to her needs. He also is the same man who put his career aspirations ahead of his family when he left to film his cooking show in Canada. Dorothy was struggling, and he chose not to see the problems. Even though he is the more sympathetic person by a mile, he isn’t perfect.
All of the fears and concerns working mothers have manifested in Dorothy this week. She worried about not providing enough for Jericho. She worries about being left behind at work, and Dorothy worries about not being fulfilled as a woman. Leanne is not immune from these same feelings. She just doesn’t recognize them yet. She wants her family around her, but she also loves working with Sean. Partly because he represents a father figure for her, and she seems to enjoy cooking. She says her family is all she needs, but she was disappointed she wouldn’t be able to help Sean in the kitchen, especially when he hires Tobey’s obnoxious girlfriend instead.
Dorothy is narcissistic, but she is also right to be concerned about independence. She needs to know she could take care of the family if something happens to Sean, and she wants to provide the same choices for Leanne.
This woman’s work
Leanne is trying to branch out. She tries yoga pants instead of her austere clothing. After the sleazy safety guy creeps around her, she screams at Aunt Jospehine’s body behind the walls. The cult has brainwashed her to believe unwanted male attention is her fault. It is equivalent to schools with dress codes that ban yoga pants and things tighter fitting or slightly revealing because boys can’t control their urges. It’s a societal problem highlighted in Leanne and Dorothy’s plot beats in Servant Season 3 Episode 4.
Dorothy has an on-air accident that is embarrassing and potentially career-killing. After fighting to be given more screen time, she interviews a street artist, and her breasts begin leaking milk in the middle of it. It’s something that any mother can relate to. It’s also sad that this natural, albeit awkward, event will probably kill her career. Even more important than the milk, though, is the fact that Dorothy seems to fall into a trance just before the incident. A baby is crying on the street. Is that what set her off? Dorothy is beginning to remember?
Is Leanne the misunderstood abused child we think she is, or could she be something more sinister?
Leanne questions Tobey about his girlfriend because Sylvia is mean, judgemental, and cruel. He explains that she is insecure and leads with aggression to mask it. Although Leanne talks to Tobey about Silvia, she is really talking about herself. She says she wants a normal life and is tired of people doing terrible things to her. It’s a fair assessment of her life so far. We know Leanne is capable of violence, and she seems to be capable of something supernatural. What if she isn’t the hero of the story but the villain, even if she doesn’t realize it yet. Stephen King’s Carrie was sympathetic until she went on a massive bloody killing spree. Or she could be unknowingly serving Jericho, who is making everything happen?
Her behavior so far could be the result of deep-seated fear or an abusive personality. Everything she does brings Sean and Leanne closer to her. It isn’t her fault per se, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a possibility. Just because the Church of Lesser Saints is creepy and potentially evil doesn’t mean they are wrong. Sylvia is a nightmare, and an argument could be made; she deserved what happened to her, but the question remains, was this a fluke accident, or did Leanne do it? It hardly matters if she knowingly is making things happen or not. The only real question is whether or not she has supernatural powers, and if she does, why?
She is building towards something. Her power whether it be ordinary feminine power or otherworldly is growing. Her dance at the end proves she is tired of being scared and feeling less than. She is going to keep her family safe one way or another. She also has no problem putting Sylvia’s ring on. Does she take ownership of what happened to her or is she just taking pleasure from the awful girl’s pain?
Another age and timeline clue
Sylvia may be obnoxious, but maybe her observation about Jericho’s size isn’t just a throwaway statement. As many have noticed, time seems to work differently in Servant. Silvia says Jericho looks closer to 18 months than nine. Assuming everything that happened with Jericho before Servant and what we saw after has all taken place while Dorothy was pregnant and after he died, this would make it Spring. Jericho died in late August or early September when he was a newborn, although he could have been as old as three months. For Jericho to be nine months old in May, he would have been born in early August based on the weather in that part of the country.
Another hint is the “old” record of Vivian Dale, who Dorothy claimed she saw in a club. Depending on what Dorothy considers old, this could be another clue that time is fluid in Servant. It could also be a red herring, though, that simply means an artist with a vintage sound produced a vinyl record that Dorothy has had for fifteen or twenty years. The character is part of Servant canon and is described as a singer from the ’90s. Dorothy could very easily have seen her in the club and had her record.
Are the kids in the park friends or foes? A theory about their purpose.
Servant Season 3 Episode 4 begins and ends in the attic with Leanne dancing. The kids who mysteriously went missing earlier in the episode are back in the park, staring up at her as she dances with Sylvia’s ring on. They appear to be more interested in worshipping her than hurting her. The young homeless man with the heart problem that tried to talk to Leanne earlier in the episode has become the de facto leader of this new group devoted to Leanne. Being on the fringe of society and vulnerable, do they sense something in Leanne that they are drawn to? Do they think she is a healer?
Knowing Sean was homeless when he was younger puts his role in flux. Maybe he was more susceptible to everything happening in the first two seasons because he has more in common with the kids than we thought. On the other hand, maybe Sean and this group are her protectors. They could be disciples of a new splinter group determined to keep Leanne safe in exchange for working miracles. What happens, though, if she refuses to help them?
There is a lot of clever signposting in Servant Season 3 Episode 4. The garbage disposal is turned on and off abruptly. The taffy pulling contraption that looks like a torture device, Silvia’s knife work, and of course, that ring that won’t come off all work to keep us in a heightened sense of dread. When the payoff finally comes, it is just like the show itself—a little gross, pretty gruesome, and morbidly funny. Find all our servant coverage here.
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.