M. Night Shyamalan’s Apple TV+ horror/thriller series Servant premieres its second season today.
Check out our review for the first episode, “Doll,” below.
(Note: this review contains some spoilers! Jump down to the Bottom Line for the spoiler-free take.)
Servant season 2 picks up exactly where season 1 left off – there’s no missed time here. Leanne just returned to the cult, Dorothy just realized Jericho is missing, and Sean is burning his hand on the stove just because he can’t feel anything.
Then things get complicated, because Dorothy naturally contacts the police about her missing son.
And one of the responding officers was there for the call when the real Jericho died.
What proceeds is a weird kind of tightrope-walking-gaslighting, in which Sean, Julian, and Natalie all try to make the cops think Dorothy is crazy – without explicitly denying Jericho’s existence to Dorothy herself.
It’s a strange thing to watch, although admittedly dramatic. It makes sense from Julian and Natalie’s perspective; they never wanted Jericho 2.0 in the house. Now that he’s gone, they think maybe Dorothy can finally process her loss.
On Sean’s end, things are more confusing.
Or at least, his actions and motivations confused me. He too plays along with the others in convincing the cops there is no Jericho (in fact, he starts the whole thing). But Sean actually does want the baby back, just like Dorothy. So when she asks him to hang fliers and talk to the neighbors to see if they saw anything, why doesn’t he do that? I get he’s trying to keep the police from finding out. But if Sean really wants Jericho back, it seems like he’s not doing much to make that happen.
There’s plenty of drama built in to the Servant season 2 premiere, but frankly, not much horror. I guess the episode banks on a parent’s fear of losing a child to uphold the tone. It’s definitely frightening to be a parent trying to get your child back. But from an audience perspective, this falls flat for me. I mean, we know Leanne loves Jericho. There’s really no reason for us to believe he would come to any harm at this point. For me, that undercuts the tension and terror.
Servant S2E1: The Bottom Line
The season 2 premiere of Servant serves up some decent dramatic tension, but it’s pretty low on scares.
Servant season 2 episode 1 “Doll” is streaming now on Apple TV+.