LeAnne Grayson’s Hidden Force Finally Spreads Its Wings
Our last visit to the Turner household in M. Night Shyamalan’s Apple TV thriller Servant had audiences gripped in chaos, twists and turns, ending with a spine-shattering cliff (or should I say balcony?) hanger. Season four brings us quietly back into the Turner home, with LeAnne Grayson going about her usual duties. Don’t let the immaculate space and decorations fool you, for there is a deep ancient power hidden in the bowels of that Philadelphia brownstone just waiting to emerge.
The penultimate finale season of Servant, brings back the terrifically tormented Turners we all grew to love. Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell, and Rupert Grint reprise their roles as Dorothy Turner, Sean Turner, and Julian Pearce. Nell Tiger Free also returns as the odd and mysterious LeAnne Grayson. Season four brings us a whopping ten episodes that will range from 25-35 minutes each. The ending episodes of season three found Dorothy, Julian, LeAnne, and Sean in the final stages of an intentionally paced and almost grueling therapy session on repressed memories.
After a brush with immortality, Julian struggled to be sober. He found solace in a physical relationship with LeAnne. Audiences saw the power dynamic in the family switch as Sean gained more fans with the media while also turning to religion behind Dorothy’s back to deal with the chaos going on inside his home.
LeAnne only grew bolder, more assertive, and protective of her small, chosen family, manipulating situations and Dorothy’s clouded views on reality. If LeAnne was the beautiful, calculated soufflé last season, Dorothy was the leftover spaghetti you heat up in the microwave. Still yummy and delicious, but if cooked too long will detonate and nothing will be the same again. Viewers saw Dorothy continue to depressingly unravel and explode with pent up fury and grief to a devastating end. While the rest of the family seemed emotionally alone, LeAnne garnered protectors. Is the loyal yet ragtag group of followers she rallied last season enough to keep her protected?
A Quiet, Routine Day in The Turner Household? Never Heard of It!
Under the directorial direction of Dylan Holmes Williams, the first episode of season four opens with almost the opposite of what we as viewers have come to know as the Turner’s home life. Instead of the usual striking string instruments and tightly tense atmosphere that we are used to, we are met with Kebbell’s Sean shouting Gordon Ramsey style on his now popular show Gourmet Gauntlet. There is almost a routine, and innocuous air, while LeAnne goes about her normal duties.
Servant continues with its innovative use of Apple technology as LeAnne receives updates regarding her loved one’s return to their home. Through FaceTime it seems as though Julian has already lost his battle with sobriety, again turning to alcohol and food for relief from his familial stresses and his sister’s condition. Sean, whose voice can be heard in the background, weighs heavy with frustration and exhaustion.
On the heels of a shocking betrayal in season three’s finale, how will each family member carry the weight of their matriarch’s new situation? Jericho’s daily care and the upkeep of their beloved home are in question. Viewers don’t have to wait long for Williams’ directing vision to pick up at a visceral pace and pack a paranoid punch.
The Church of The Lesser Saints is Still Hunting LeAnne
This unexpected story style continues, as LeAnne actually steps outside. The camera begins to act differently. Under Shyamalan’s regular cinematographer Robert Gioulakis perfected eye, it sweeps and creeps with the defined dread we have come to know LeAnne feels when she happens to venture out. A stalking score partners with the cinematography to create a suffocating space as she comes face to face with the group who she was hoping she had banished in season three.
In previous seasons of M. Night’s psychological thriller episodes usually take place entirely in the interior of the Turner’s home with occasional jaunts outside, but still quite close to their home base. In this second act of the season opener, William’s directing quickly unsettles the viewer, forcing them outside, putting them in LeAnne’s shoes, with seemingly no escape.
In the ominous and symbolic space that is Dorothy’s car, Gioulakis creates an even more stifling atmosphere as eerily timed tracking shots wander in and out of the interior and windshield of the car. A haunting score created by Trevor Gureckis cuts in and out, adding to the anxiety of our main character’s fate.
Night Shyamalan is and will always be known for a more slow burn, or “deliberate dread” style of filmmaking. His Apple TV+ Servant is no exception. Besides her hurried walks with Jericho to and from the park in seasons one and two, LeAnne doesn’t seem to find joyous occurrences outside the Turner’s home. This push outside her comfort zone, and methodical pacing of the episode’s beginning, poses viewers for a savage consequence.
The Forces That Have Long Lay Hidden Spread Their Wings in a New Way
When all hope seems lost, and our heroine is in what seems like real danger, LeAnne remembers her empowering journey in season three. Although her self actualization path has carried less meditating and more destruction, it holds weight just the same and gives her just the thing she needs to persevere.
Eagle eyed viewers will notice, not only a more opposite beginning to the start of season four, but a new title sequence as well. Swooping shots of the still crumbling home of the Turner’s is drenched in what seems like a near biblical downpour, with a standing strong LeAnne indifferent to it all.
LeAnne’s forces and true origin have been a looming question mark from the first moments, still to the finale season. Could M. Night be dropping breadcrumbs in this first episode and an introduction to how devastating, or accommodating, these powers could be?
In one powerful moment, the once meek and mysterious LeAnne looks to own her forces, manifesting them in fresh and chaotic ways. Director Dylan Holmes Williams shows viewers LeAnne is no longer hiding.
Things Are Not as They Seem With Dorothy’s Arrival
As LeAnne recovers we finally get to see Dorothy return home, looking as elegant and poised as only Dorothy Turner could look in a wheelchair. Followed by an exhausted Sean, Dorothy meets LeAnne’s hopeful greeting with deafening silence. The tension of this moment is deliciously held with the lack of underscore and dialogue.
LeAnne is further shut out through a short back-and-forth with Julian and Sean. This leads one to wonder: What does Dorothy remember of the incident? Who will LeAnne have to turn to now?
For an ending note of mystery, in the final frames we see the elusive basement crack extend itself into the sidewalk, stopping just short of the road. What is LeAnne capable of? What is she hiding?
If episode one is any indication, M. Night Shyamalan accompanied by his daughter Ishana Shyamalan, audiences are in for one cryptic, thrilling ride!
Servant can be found on AppleTv, with new episodes coming out every Friday.
Servant (2023) Official AppleTV Trailer
|Amber is a writer and co-editor for Dead Talk News. Between writing reviews and the latest trailer releases, Amber keeps four tiny humans alive at home. She has previously written for Giant Freakin Robot and will keep going to see every new horror film, no matter what the other moms think.|