Servant: Season 4 TV Review

Plot: 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?

Review: When Servant first debuted back in 2019, it made me incredibly uncomfortable. With static shots, extreme close-ups, and lingering camera angles, the visual framing of the series was unlike anything else on television. M. Night Shyamalan‘s first foray into episodic storytelling posited the question of what would happen if grieving parents suddenly had their child back but told it through the lens of a supernatural nanny, strange occurrences, and morbidly beautiful cuisine. With each successive season, Servant delved into more genres and evoked paranoia and potential paranormal abilities, making it one of the most mysterious series on the air. Now entering its fourth and final season, Servant is delivering the answers that have kept us guessing for over three years.

Servant,M. Night Shyamalan,Rupert Grint,AppleTV Plus,Horror

So many series set up questions that they fail to deliver satisfactory answers, and it can be frustrating for dedicated audiences stuck with a story from the beginning. Having seen the first three episodes of the final season, I cannot say whether Servant sticks the landing many have been waiting for after a thirty-episode commitment. With seven chapters left unseen, I am still hoping that the series delivers the answers we have been asking for since the premiere: Is Leanne supernatural? What is her connection to the Turners? Is their home a conduit for her power? Who are the cult members Leanne is running from? Will Dorothy realize what happened to Jericho? What does it all mean? I can say with certainty that this season begins by setting up new questions without answering any of the ones we already had.

Before you throw your hands in the air at that last comment, I can also say that the premiere episode of Servant‘s fourth season is unlike anything we have seen in this series. Servant has bucked the trend of television dramas by airing in half-hour segments, and the first episode this season fills those thirty minutes with more tension than most hour-long series can fit in an entire season. Without giving away any details, I can say that after the shocking conclusion of the third season found, Dorothy Turner (Lauren Ambrose) plummeting from atop her staircase to an uncertain fate, the premiere almost entirely focuses on her return home and the beginning of her rehabilitation. With the focus on Leanne (Nell Tiger Free) as she prepares for the homecoming, threats arrive, and Leanne must contend using her nascent abilities. It is quite the episode, and director Dylan Holmes Williams and writer (and series creator) Tony Basgallop rachet up the paranoia and the special effects before the series settles back into its expected cadence.

Over the first three episodes, Servant again shifts its inspiration, evoking elements of Rob Reiner’s Misery and the films of Roman Polanski as we meet Dorothy’s new caregivers, much to Leanne’s chagrin. The trust in the Turner home is now broken. Still, Leanne’s hold on the clan remains formidable as Julian (Rupert Grint) continues to share an intimate connection with her. At the same time, Sean (Toby Kebbell) yearns to keep Dorothy sane and Jericho alive. Sean’s career continues to expand while Dorothy’s success collapses, a factor that remains a constant thorn in their relationship. Sean keeps cooking beautiful food, an ongoing theme in this series, while his family barely holds together. The literal structure of their home continues to fracture, starting with the foundation in the basement, but what becomes of this has yet to be seen. Leanne’s homeless minions are also back and present a significant component of the impending showdown with the religious fundamentalists that have haunted Leanne since the first season.

With direction from several returning helmers from the first three seasons, including Nimrod Antal and Ishana Shyamalan, it is notable that M. Night Shyamalan does not direct any of the three episodes that open the season. While his directing duties have been sporadic over the series, I hope the filmmaker found time to direct one of the final seven episodes despite his obligations to direct the upcoming film Knock at the Cabin, which was in production at the same time. Still, the tone and style Shyamalan set for the series with the first episodes of the premiere season remain intact. The claustrophobia of being inside the Turner home has waned slightly as the series has expanded to the surrounding neighborhood, with the premiere episode set almost entirely on the Philadelphia street in front of the house. The chemistry between Free, Ambrose, Kebbell, and Grint continues to be vitally important as this story begins its final season, and all four are at the top of their game in these three episodes.

Servant,M. Night Shyamalan,Rupert Grint,AppleTV Plus,Horror

It is difficult to judge whether the final season of Servant is a fitting conclusion to this series, but the first three episodes are a masterfully constructed set-up for the end of this tale. I am cautious as I have been let down by Shyamalan before. Still, his recent output has far exceeded his missteps, and this cast and crew have regularly made this series one of the most unsettling experiences I have ever had on television. I enjoyed these first three episodes immensely in all of their skin-crawling glory. From the eerie score, the subtle special effects, and the tease of the endgame, Servant is better than ever, driving the terror home with every scene. I hope the episodes I have not seen live up to the tremendous first three, as this is shaping up to be one of the best final seasons of any series.

The final season of Servant premieres on January 13th on AppleTV+.





About the Author

5931 Articles Published

Alex Maidy has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been'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.