Created By: Tony Basgallop
Starring: Nell Tiger Free, Lauren Ambrose, Rupert Grint, Toby Kebbell
Plot Summary: Following the suspenseful season three finale, season four will bring the final chapter of the Turner story to an epic and emotional conclusion. Leanne’s war with the Church of Lesser Saints heightens, threatening Spruce street, the city of Philadelphia, and beyond. Meanwhile, the shattered Turner family must not only confront the increasing threat of Leanne, but the certain reality that Dorothy is waking up. As the Turner family brownstone continues to crumble, questions are finally answered: who is Leanne Grayson and who is the child in their home?
This season of Servant is truly the culmination of the last three seasons. Leanne has amassed an army, and it seems as if there is a secret war brewing that could literally rip the posh Philadelphia neighborhood in two. This was an overall solid season with highlights like the spooky episode, “Boo,” which really allows the showrunners to just go nuts. This also might be the most overtly horror centric season, which ramps up the unnerving and eerie presence that was so masterfully cultivated in the seasons before it. Of course, this season is the last and therefore needs to tie up loose ends like Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) finally coming to terms with the loss of her child, and the true secret behind the titular servant, Leanne (Nell Tiger Free). So, how does the show do at wrapping things up?
Overall, the show does have a nice emotional arc that leaves you satisfied. Lauren Ambrose really gets to show off her amazing range, and your heart breaks for her when she puts the pieces together regarding her child, Jericho. This is an aspect of the show that has been teased at since the very beginning, and the payoff is well worth it. Speaking of, the finale finally acknowledges the Wizard of Oz/Dorothy connection which is a really nice touch. It often felt like the showrunners subtly toyed with this Oz-like parallel, in how Dorothy feels very much akin to the wide-eyed heroine, not to mention they both share the same first name.
As strong as this season is overall, the ending is sure to leave some with mixed emotions. Those who have invested so much time into the show’s mythos and otherworldly aspects may be left disappointed by the 180 the show takes in the finale. It’s a bold move to be sure, however, it feels like a sloppy resolution – as if the writers felt backed into a corner. It’s a great series that sadly didn’t completely stick the landing. Yet, it’s not so bad that it retroactively salts the earth for the entire season a la Game of Thrones.
It will be interesting to see what the legacy of Servant will be once the dust settles. Despite having M. Night Shyamalan attached, as well as a stellar cast, the show never really gained a massive following. It never got the kind of buzz that other AppleTV+ shows like Severance and Ted Lasso received. Still, for our money, it’s one of the more interesting and thought-provoking shows around. This is especially true when you consider that the current movie and television landscape is dominated by re-working existing IP’s. As much as we love shows like The Last of Us and The Mandalorian, audiences do crave some original programing, as well.
Taken as a whole, Servant is a chilling mind labyrinth that tackles themes of motherhood, chosen family and religion. It’s thanks to the genius of Shyamalan and creator Tony Basgallop that they are given new life, recontextualizing these well-worn themes. Couple this with a haunting score, amazing production design, and a creepy atmosphere, and you have the makings of a future classic. Yes, the show builds to a nearly end-of-the-world finale that it never lives up to, but the show is so gripping and engaging that you really didn’t mind that much. Will this show be a cult classic that is talked about a la Twin Peaks or, will it be an oddity beloved by some but forgotten by most?
Servant as a whole is a journey into every dark space in your mind, which is both intoxicating and dread filled. This is reflected brilliantly in each season’s opening which creepily explores a different part of the upscale house that the Turners live in, which in turn relates to that season’s overarching plot. We truly hope that more people discover this show and it gains a loyal fanbase.
All episodes of Servant are now available to stream on AppleTV+.
Servant as a whole is a journey into every dark space in your mind, which is both intoxicating and dread filled.
Big film nerd and TCM Obsessed. Author of The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema from Schiffer Publishing. Resume includes: AMC’s The Bite, Scream Magazine etc. Love all kinds of movies and television and have interviewed a wide range of actors, writers, producers and directors. I currently am a regular co-host on the podcast The Humanoids from the Deep Dive and have a second book in the works from Bear Manor.