The first two seasons of SERVANT have taken viewers on a labyrinth journey of mystery. It’s been like peeling an onion with no end. The answers we’ve received thus far have led to further questions, and the mystery surrounding Leanne Grayson and Jericho continues to deepen. After the climactic season finale, the third season of SERVANT seems poised to address Leanne’s impending reckoning. What will the cult do with her once they get their hands on her? And what exactly has she opened herself up to with her choices? Season 3 may attempt to provide us with answers. As a general disclosure, this review is based on the first five episodes that were provided in advance by Apple TV+.
Season 3 takes place roughly three months after the events of Season 2. Much like last season, the third season of SERVANT has a learning curve for unfamiliar viewers, so I’d definitely recommend doing a re-watch of the first two seasons before leaping right in. Despite what everyone had to face last season, for the bulk of the characters, a sense of normalcy has taken root in the brownstone. Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) and Sean (Toby Kebbell) are busy doting on the returned Jericho. Julian (Rupert Grint) is sober and has a new girlfriend (Sunita Mani). For Leanne (Nell Tiger Free), however, the weight of her actions has started to tear her apart. And her fears that the cult is after her have begun to disrupt the fragile normal that the family has desperately tried to put back together. Her fears, though, are not unfounded.
Viewers see an entirely different side of Leanne in SERVANT Season 3. While Nell Tiger Free was a noticeable standout in the first two seasons, this season she claims that focus and drags it out into the light. In the grips of paranoia, Free hits all the different nuances that come with portraying anxiety, fear, and paranoia. We see Leanne unravel, losing control as fear takes hold. We’re easily there with her in these moments, and empathy is easily formed despite the actions that led her to this part. Deliciously complex and showing viewers a different side this season, Nell Tiger Free’s Leanne Grayson is still easily the most intriguing character of this series.
Once again, viewers see how the family she has claimed so desperately as her own, isn’t quite there to support her in these moments. This season, though, all of the toxicity that viewers have seen develop between Leanne Grayson, Sean, Julian, and Dorothy may finally be coming to a head. Should they actually face consequences, it’ll be a much-needed dose of reality. After the events of last season and the lengths the Turners went to get Jericho back, I do wonder how long will audiences be willing to invest in a class of characters that seem so oblivious to their own privilege and how fucked up their actions really hard. An overarching note so far over the course of SERVANT, the word ”reckoning’ can be applied here. Given where we are left off with by the end of episode 5, it is too soon to say what uncomfortable discussions will be had by the characters.
A note that I have not made from previous seasons regards the overall consistency in look, feel, and tone. With the giant group of writers, directors, and more involved in bringing SERVANT to life, it’s a devil’s task to maintain a certain level of cohesion. However, having watched the series back to back, there is no glitch in the Matrix that I can pick up where the tone or the aesthetics diverges off the path. Even as we explore the outside of the brownstone this season, it doesn’t read visually off-kilter in part due to the extension of Leanne’s fear when she enters the outside world as well as how shots are framed, sound is edited in, etc. It may seem like no big deal to point out, but given the specific tone the show has established from early on, any wibbly wobblies might detract away from the overall finished product.
The past seasons of SERVANT have been consistent in terms of execution, look, tone, and performance. The writing has managed to keep viewers hooked with its spiraling mysteries, with more questions cropping up as soon as we have answers. For myself, the investment is still worth it in part due to the strength of the writing as well as what we’ve seen from the performers onscreen. Nell Tiger Free, Tobey Kebbell, Lauren Ambrose, and Rupert Grint all bring incredibly flawed characters to life onscreen, with the latter two having the additional challenge of veering into unlikable territory due to their characters’ insecurities and narcissism. There’s not much that can be criticized from my perspective. With all that said, though, the question I have is how long can we invest in this family that has yet to truly receive unadulterated judgment raining down on them from on high? As of now, I’m not so sure.
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