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What's Happening in the Final Season of M. Night Shyamalan's 'Servant'?

By Dustin Rowles | TV | February 14, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | February 14, 2023 |


Once or twice a season, if only for my own sake, I like to do a quick catch-up on where we are in M. Night Shyamalan’s Servant, a series that is now rounding the bend into the final 5 episodes of the series. For those who have never watched, Servant was one of the streamer’s first original series. Viewers may recall the initial ads promoted it as a series about a family who hired a nanny to babysit a doll. Both the mother Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) and nanny, Leanne (Nell Tiger Free), behaved as if it were a real baby. Dorothy could not process her grief after the tragic passing of her actual baby at 13 weeks old, so she denied its death. Leanne enabled the denial. Dorothy’s husband Sean (Toby Kebbell) and brother Julian (Rupert Grint) played along, assuming that at some point, Dorothy would reconnect with reality.

We are in the fourth season now, and Dorothy still has not reconnected with reality. The fake baby, however, was short-lived. Leanne replaced the doll with a real baby, which Dorothy treated as if it were her own child Jericho. The first season was mostly about that adjustment — Dorothy and Leanne treating their relationship with Jericho as a normal mother and nanny might. We find out that the original Jericho died when an exhausted Dorothy left him in a car during a hot day while Sean was away for work (Sean is a celebrity chef). Dorothy had a psychic break from reality, and Sean and Julian believe that forcing her to confront that reality could be emotionally catastrophic.

We also learned that Leanne came from a shady cult and witchcraft may have been involved. We still don’t understand the true provenance of the second Jericho — was it Leanne’s baby? Did she steal the baby from someone else? Is the baby some kind of supernatural entity?

Leanne runs away at the end of the first season, and when she leaves, the doll returns in the place of baby Jericho. In the second season, Dorothy recognizes the doll for what it is. However, she believes that Leanne kidnapped Jericho and returned to the cult. This turns out not to be the case, either, because when they finally retrieve Leanne, she doesn’t have Jericho. However, one of the cult leaders agrees to exchange Jericho for Leanne. The exchange is interrupted when the cult’s fixer, Aunt Josephine, arrives and threatens to murder and mutilate Leanne. Before she can do so, Dorothy hits Josephine in the head with a shovel, and unbeknownst to Sean and Dorothy, Leanne murders Josephine and stashes her burned corpse behind the wall in her bedroom. Soon after the death of Josephine, baby Jericho mysteriously reappears. No explanation is provided.

In the third season, it is Leanne who is traumatized, thanks to her experiences with the cult. She suffers from agoraphobia and doesn’t want to leave the house, while Dorothy is ready to take Jericho out to the beach, hang out with other parents, and otherwise reenter society. This doesn’t sit well with Leanne, who is paranoid and believes that everyone who enters their house is a possible cult member out to abduct or kill her. A homeless encampment set up outside their home does appear to be defectors from Leanne’s cult. Initially, she is afraid of them, but after they pin her against a tree and assault her, a bizarre shift occurs. Leanne becomes the leader of the defectors, who worship Leanne. Leanne appreciates and feeds on the attention.

Leanne’s relationship with the defectors does not sit well with Dorothy, who attempts to send Leanne away. The attempt backfires. Leanne uses her supernatural abilities to force a banister to give away while Dorothy is leaning on it. Dorothy falls down three floors in the shocking season three finale.

In the fourth season, Dorothy is bedridden and paralyzed from the waist down, at least at the moment. Dorothy is still determined to get rid of Leanne. Over the course of the first three seasons, Sean was reluctant to push Leanne away because he didn’t want her to reveal the truth about Jericho to Dorothy for fear that the psychic break would kill Dorothy. Midway through the fourth season, though, Sean finally sides with Dorothy and decides it’s time to get rid of Leanne because she is even more dangerous than Dorothy awoken to the truth.

It doesn’t work. Sean and Dorothy arrange to have Leanne abducted. In Leanne’s struggle, she causes some kind of earthquake. A crack in the Earth opens up on the street outside their door. A chandelier falls and nearly kills Sean. When the abductors finally relent, Leanne turns to Julian, Sean, Dorothy, and the baby amid the rubble of the earthquake and quietly insists, “We’re a family.” The implication is that if she leaves, they all die.

There are five episodes remaining, and a few questions left to be answered: How will Sean and Dorothy get rid of Leanne? Will they have to kill her? Or will they have to live with her indefinitely? Will we find out where Jericho came from? Will Dorothy reconnect with reality? Most importantly, after four seasons, will Shyamalan finally be able to answer the question: Is Servant any good? Because while it is occasionally entertaining, and while I sometimes enjoy the mysterious nature of the series, I still can’t decide whether it’s a good show or not.