Servant Season 3 TV Review

Plot: Three months after we leave the Turner household in season two, things appear to be back to normal. Dorothy and Sean dote on Jericho, Julian has a new girlfriend and Leanne has moved back into the brownstone. With the threat of the cult looming and suspicious visitors staked out in a nearby park, Leanne does everything she can to feel secure, ultimately causing more chaos for the Turner family. As Sean starts trusting in Leanne’s power, Dorothy feels increasingly threatened and worries for Jericho’s safety. While the Turners struggle to keep their family whole, they must come to terms with the costs of Jericho’s return. Be careful what you wish for. 

Review: Servant took something of a detour in season two. After starting out as a deeply anxiety-ridden and paranoia-driven thriller with horror elements, Servant channeled a lot of camp and over-the-top dark humor during its sophomore run. Now, for the third and penultimate season of the AppleTV+ series, Servant returns to the first season’s somber and darkly muted tone with new developments as to exactly who and what Leanne Grayson is and how her connection to Jericho will impact the Turner family. It is an interesting season and one that will surely entertain fans of the show while simultaneously befuddling them with a deliberately slow pace.

Picking up some time after the conclusion of season two, Servant opens with the Turner family stronger than ever before. Everyone has found a rhythm to their lives which includes Leanne (Nell Tiger Free) becoming a formal member of the family. Sean (Toby Kebbell) has found some clarity in his spiritual life and is excited to feed Jericho actual food, Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) is back to work and even Julian (Rupert Grint) has sobered up and has a new girlfriend. The only outlier is Leanne who is collecting dead bugs in her room and fears leaving the house in case members of the Church of Lesser Saints come for her. Oh, yeah, and the burnt corpse of Aunt Josephine (Barbara Sukowa) is still neatly stowed within the walls.

Of the five episodes made available for this review, it is immediately noticeable the number of scenes that take place outside of the Turner’s home. A character unto itself, the house is still home to the mysterious sinkhole in the basement and serves as a haven for Leanne from the forces trying to find her. But, several scenes find the main characters venturing around the immediate neighborhood, including the Turner’s backyard and a local park populated by homeless teens. Any strangers on this show should be met with immediate skepticism as to their motivations and M. Night Shyamalan and the directing team this season do a great job of ratcheting up the tension every time we see someone we have never seen before.

This season also provides Nell Tiger Free with the most range she has shown so far on this series. A meek and quiet girl in the first season, Leanne is now front and center for most of this season. Free’s wide eyes and naive approach to Leanne has begun to shift into a stronger character who is afraid of what could be around the corner. This, in turn, shifts the characters around her who have started to find peace in their lives only to find that things are not what they seem. A lot of time is spent in the first half of the season delivering quiet moments of dread with only one or two scenes of truly shocking moments, both of which are likely to have audiences gasping and questioning if they actually saw what they think they saw. One specific scene, hinted at in the episode’s title, will likely be repeatedly rewound and watched once the episode debuts.

The directing team this season features new and returning talent including Shyamalan’s daughter, Ishana, who writes and helms multiple chapters this year. Her skill behind the camera echoes her father and continues to cement this series as a benchmark for skin-crawling cinematography, editing, and composition. This season is brighter and more vibrant than ever before but also continues to thrive with static camera shots and extreme close-ups and framing that make every moment feel just a little bit off. The biggest problem I found with Servant is the uneven writing between the three seasons thus far with season two feeling the most out of place compared to the first and third. What this season has failed to do is build up as much narrative momentum as the first two did, but where the fifth episode leaves off has me desperate to find out what happens next.

Servant‘s third season returns to the anxiety-ridden structure of the first season while diving into new wrinkles surrounding the nature of the cult that raised Leanne. The horror elements of the story this season are far more heavily leaning towards paranoia and anxiety than more visceral scares, but there are some solid moments of terror this season. Looking back at the five episodes I have seen, not much happens as is teased leaving a lot for the second half to deliver on. With one season left, Servant‘s third year lives up to the potential this premise started out with and will hopefully stick the landing. At the very least, you are definitely going to rethink wearing rings on your fingers by the time you finish watching this show.

The third season of Servant premieres on January 21st on AppleTV+.

Servant

GREAT

8

Source: JoBlo.com

About the Author

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Alex Maidy has been a JoBlo.com editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been JoBlo.com's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.