When the first season of SERVANT appeared on Apple TV+, it snuck quietly under our veins until it took over. There were layers of mystery, with some arguing that perhaps there was too much to distract away from the questions that should really snatch our attention. Questions like, “What happened to Jericho?” and, “Who is Leanne Grayson really…?” While we received a few breadcrumbs by the end of season one, there was still a lot left to explore. Will season two have the answers we seek? At the time of the review, with the first seven episodes available at our disposal, this review can’t answer for certain. But we may be getting closer to seeing who Leanne Grayson really is and what horrors she might be capable of unleashing by this season’s end.
For current and future viewers of SERVANT, this reviewer does recommend watching the first season prior to watching the second as there is a substantial learning curve if you’re not up to speed. The second season starts off almost immediately after the events of the finale. As has been revealed in the trailer, the baby Jericho appears to have been taken by the young nanny Leanne (Nell Tiger Free), who has left without a trace. A frantic Dorothy Turner (Lauren Ambrose) runs around her Philadelphia home screaming for the child. With cops called and her husband Sean (Toby Kebbel) and brother, Julian (Rupert Grint), running interference to cover their tracks, tensions are at an immediate high. And they don’t show any sign of alleviating for much of the season as Dorothy spends all of her energy to try to find Leanne and – ultimately – her child.
This season starts off immediately with high-stakes tension as we grapple with the consequences of the season finale. In fact, one can argue that one of the predominant themes that will beat the viewer upside the head this season is the whole concept of actions having consequences. The ripple effects of each of the core four characters’ actions from season one carry over into season two. These ripple effects represent the reckoning each will have to contend with in how they reacted to Dorothy’s biggest mistake. Because, in the end, all signs point back to that and the events leading up to all of this couldn’t have happened without each character trying to keep Dorothy’s mistake a secret from her.
The focus for a good few episodes is on Dorothy, Sean, and Julian as they feed off of each other’s energy. It takes time for us to bring Leanne back into the picture again, which provides ample moments to see each actor shine. Lauren Ambrose, in particular, absolutely steals each scene she’s in. With her character Dorothy taking on more of an active role, it’s a nice change from the more passive side of Dorothy we saw in the first season. However, the levels Ambrose reaches in her portrayal of Dorothy coming undone from the potential second loss of her child is truly chilling. And might have you turning your support more towards Leanne rather than Dorothy as the season progresses.
Because there was so much focus on slow-building tension and mystery in season one, there does feel like something is lacking in this particular season of SERVANT. Perhaps, there is a lack of urgency in needing to know more once we started to put together the pieces in the previous season. This reviewer would be curious to know what others think. However, there is still so much to try to figure out in this season, especially when it comes to figuring out who Leanne Grayson is. When we are reintroduced to Leanne, we see that she has learned from her time at the Turners. She has grown in a way that may come to impact her and those around her for better or worse. And, with growth, there will be painful lessons to learn and absorb along the way. Time will tell and, if we’re lucky, we’ll come to an understanding by season’s end.
What was fascinating about the first season of SERVANT was the breadcrumb laden path we took down the story. We learned a great deal about Dorothy and Sean, but Leanne has always reigned supreme as the enigma of the series. The beacon that all moths and light-seeking creatures are drawn to. However, lights eventually dim with the coming darkness. And, as we continue to discover more about Leanne, this reviewer wonders whether or not our interest in the character will wane the more we learn. Or if we’ll want more once we see her come into her own. With the impending darkness that viewers will see growing inside the character, there’s enough interest, for now, to keep viewers marching forward. How long until that interest fades, however, is a whole other story.
The ten-episode second season of SERVANT will premiere globally on Apple TV+ with the first episode on January 15, 2021, followed by new episodes weekly, every Friday.
To learn more about season one of the series, check out our review!
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