The real question isn’t whether or not to watch Servant but whether or not to get a subscription to Apple TV. Servant, an atmosphere-rich but plot-poor new thriller (part directed by M Knight Shamalan), is one of Apple’s first shows rolling out and tempting us to gift ourselves another shiny new streaming service.
Created by Tony Basgallop, Servant follows the Turner household – almost exclusively as trips outside their Philadelphia townhouse are rare. However, they are not your usual family. There is the mum, Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose), the dad, Sean (Toby Kebbell), and the baby, Jericho, who also happens to be an inanimate doll. Yes, quite literally a doll baby. It’s lifelike with soft skin and bug-eyes but also not living, like a doll. We quickly learn it’s all a part of her Transistiory Object Therapy in the wake of their infant’s death.
So, to give the show a little plot and to help the couple keep up the charade, they hire a live-in nanny, Leanne. It’s a little odd since Sean is actively against the entire facade but swiftly justified in the script by his nervousness to shake the boat and induce another one of his wife’s psychotic breaks. Yet, soon after Leanne’s infiltration, the baby is alive. Was it stolen? What did Leanne do? We have a season, if not many (Apple has already made a second series order) to find out.
Aside from the born-again baby, the house is doused in creepiness. Odd noises emanate from the pipes. Sean (the Chef) is always whipping up lavish and gross dishes which we see in total from the eels killed and sliced open on the counter to melted lobster ice cream served on the table. When he’s not cooking, Sean and Dorothy’s brother, played by Rupert Grint disguised in an American accent, have a steady supply of red wine sloshing around in their pristine glasses as they attempt to sniff out the nanny’s scheme. In a world where the women are either borderline hysterics or religious sycophants, it’s up to the boys to discover the truth.
Servant is well-acted and clearly has a high production value. Ultimately, each episode revs its audience up with the sense that something is about to happen and when it does you are left asking yourself, “ Is that it?”
Servant is available digitally on Apple TV+.
Watch the trailer for Servant here: