‘Servant’ returns for the third season of supernatural wonder [Apple TV+ recap]

Servant, the darkest and most excitingly disturbed show on Apple TV +, returns for its third season on Friday. The Turner family and their mystical nanny from the nightmare have finally turned some corners from which they cannot return. Now is the time to see what the writers planned for this gang of thieves, liars and sinners.

The idea of ​​director / producer M. Night Shyamalan and writer Tommy Basgalop turns three today – and I couldn’t be happier attending the party.

Servant summary: ‘Donkey’

In the introductory part of season 3, titled “The Donkey,” the strange nanny Leanne (played by Nell Tiger Free) finally broke away from the religious sect in which she grew up. She did so contrary to the express wishes of her uncle George (Boris McGiver) and aunt Josephine (Barbara Sukowa), the most dangerous of the group’s emissaries.

While Leanne is still on the edge, the Turners finally love life. Sean (Toby Kebbell), Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) and her brother Julian (Rupert Grint) just enjoy finally having baby Jericho in their care and don’t feel guilty about everything they went through to come here, to be a happy family.

Previously on Servant

If you are new to Servant, here is a brief background: Leanne appeared to the Turners because they needed help, which members of her religious order do. Dorothy lost Jericho soon after his birth and mentally replaced him with a reborn realistic-looking doll. Sean and Julian didn’t have the heart to tell her she loved the fake baby.

And then one day Leanne somehow replaced the Jericho doll with a real living baby. Dorothy didn’t act as if anything had changed. Then Leanne disappeared with Jericho, and the Turners had to kidnap her to bring them both back, prompting cult members to capture them. After a brief battle, Turner and Leanne emerged seemingly victorious.

Of course happiness remains far away, far away far away. Leanne can’t get out for fear of revenge for her shame. She also lost the ability to treat animals after fleeing the group. Julian continues to try to break up with her (he is technically having fun with another girl he met in rehab), but she does not allow him to do so, also fearing that he will be hurt if he is far from her sight. (He seems to have been nearly killed by the fall of a lamp from the ceiling confirming that spiritual damage lurks around every corner.)

Dorothy is, as always, the only one appears to be freed from the grip of trauma and tragedy, even though it is mostly a finely honed act of deliberately ignoring everything that happens around her at all times.

At first, Leanne seems too cautious … but then someone breaks into the house.

That old Shyamalan magic

The strangest family of TV is together for another season.
Photo: Apple TV +

M. Night Shyamalan is back in the director’s chair for this outing at the opening of the season and his touch is felt. Stunning camera movements are everywhere, from a few creepy, old-school zooms to violent puppets and the extensive use of negative and maliciously suggestive space.

Take, for example, the last shot of the episode, in which a doll hangs over Leanne’s shoulder as she stares intently at a moth. Or when it scans every FaceTime call that Turners make on vacation. There is always a figure in the distance who looks like he is spying on his family.

Between this and the previous season, Shyamalan and cinematographer Mike Gioulakis released their film, Old, which has raised the bar of the genre camera, and it is good to get back into their hands.

Weirdos to win

This week’s episodes are acceptably low stakes, not focusing on also a lot of incidents (although burglary is a big deal). Instead, it shows what a day in Leanne’s life looks like. She keeps a diary, checks the locks on the doors and windows once more, cleans them and eats tomato soup in the basement (right where she buried Aunt Josephine). And, at Sean’s invitation, she drinks a whole bottle of wine.

This thing shows the great work of Nell Tiger Free, who usually doesn’t “have fun” like the persistent and easily frightened Leanne. Her drunken phone call to Sean’s assistant Tobe (Tony Revolori), with the swimsuit Dorothy bought her covered over her, but not really he her body for fear of inappropriateness is the climax.

“Tobe … do you want to come?” She asks. “No one is here. I’m wearing a bathing suit. Those are two pieces. ” Magnificent.

The entire cast is great in unconventional ways. Indeed, Ambrose, Grint and Kebbell seem to see who can make the least convincing impression of a human being – and that’s not an insult. It does for super TV.

All in all, the first episode of the third season takes us back to an awkward world Servant without throwing us into the depths. I’m terrible excited to be back on the wavelength of this show. There is nothing like it on TV.

Look Servant on Apple TV +

Season 3 of Servant premieres January 21, 2022. New episodes will follow every Friday.

Rated: TV-MA

Look at: Apple TV +

Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of a long series of video essays The Unloved for He wrote for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books i Nylon Magazine. He is the author Cinemaphagy: On the psychedelic classic form of Tobe Hooper, the director of 25 feature films, and director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at

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