The premise of “Servant” is quite clever. Dorothy Turner (Lauren Ambrose) lost her 13 week old son Jericho and this led to what you might call a mental breakdown where she takes care of a doll as if it were her child organic. The doll was the only thing that could pull Dorothy out of her catatonic grief, and so everyone around her should play as much as possible, including going so far as to hire a nanny named Leanne (Nell Tiger Free) to look after her. by Jericho. Dorothy Sean’s husband (Toby Kebbell) and brother Julian (Rupert Grint) hope that she will come back to reality, but Jericho the doll suddenly becomes Jericho the breathing child. Did Leanne kidnap another baby? Did she really bring Jericho back to life? The action of the first season not only explored why Leanne was really there, but also some of the secrets of Dorothy and Sean’s past. And then it ended by revealing a connection between Leanne and Dorothy in that the girl was part of a cult that mom reported on while working. Leanne disappeared with Jericho at the end of the first season, leaving everyone in the Turner house adrift and confused.
And that’s where season two opens. Dorothy is in desperate need of finding Jericho, but it’s difficult to find a missing child who is technically already dead. Sean and Julian struggle to figure out how to deal with what happened at the end of the first season, and the writing on “Servant” struggles to find momentum. Once again, the show creatively confines itself to Turner’s Brown Stone, showing glimpses of the outside world only through TV reports and things like FaceTime. A show that locks its characters in one place plays a little differently during the pandemic than writers could ever have imagined, but that formal choice remains one of its greatest strengths. Dorothy and Sean feel trapped in their own excess. They are incredibly wealthy but there is a cold, towering and dark nature in their house that amplifies the tension of the “Servant”.
Unfortunately, the route takes a bit of time for the first time. It looks like they’re gearing up for some major events in these final three episodes, but too little is happening in the 3.5 hours before them. Without spoiling how, Leanne finds herself back in the house, and there’s a “what do we do now” aesthetic to the storytelling that gets a bit flat and repetitive. It’s a season where the characters often act in panic, but he’s too happy to meander through his quirk instead of pushing his characters forward. “Servant” circles the themes without really digging its teeth into them, too often feeling like its waiting time.