Heading into its fourth and last season, M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller Servant has a number of questions left to reply. In truth, just about all the large ones stay unanswered. The Apple TV Plus sequence is ostensibly a couple of younger couple dropping their youngster, solely to have it miraculously returned to them not lengthy after their new nanny arrives. But after three seasons, the mysteries have solely continued to pile up. In addition to these core household secrets and techniques, there’s a crumbling home that feels nearly cursed, warring non secular factions, unusual magical powers, and probably even angels.

It’s lots, and early on in season 4, the present doesn’t appear too bothered with tying up all the unfastened ends: it’s extra involved with ratcheting up the stress and making you are feeling as uncomfortable as ever.

Note: this overview is predicated on the primary three episodes of Servant season 4. It consists of very gentle spoilers for these episodes and a few key spoilers from the earlier three seasons.

But earlier than we get into that, a bit reminder about the place we’re following season 3’s cliffhanger conclusion. That chapter ended when Dorothy Turner (Lauren Ambrose), fearing for the security of her child, Jericho, determined to sneak him out of the home. But within the midst of a battle along with her husband Sean (Toby Kebbell), brother Julian (Rupert Grint), and the nanny she’s so frightened of, Leanne (Nell Tiger Free), Dorothy ended up falling a number of tales due to a creaky railing infested with termites.

The last season opens with Leanne, seemingly oblivious to how Dorothy feels about her, getting the home prepared for her return. She cleans and decorates and begins baking Dorothy’s favourite cake. It’s mundane domesticity rendered unsettling by the close-up photographs and the nagging feeling that one thing unhealthy is nearly to occur. Then, naturally, a member of the cult intent on bringing Leanne again into their fold reveals up, and all hell breaks unfastened.

One of the defining traits of Servant is how clearly influenced by Alfred Hitchcock it’s. The overwhelming majority of the present takes place in a single Philadelphia townhouse, and even with all the weird child dolls and magic, it has the type of grounded core that calls again to Rear Window, as in case you’re spying on the Turner family via the home windows. The early moments of season 4, nonetheless, ape a unique Hitchcock traditional with a sequence that pulls straight from The Birds. It’s pure chaos. Leanne is chased by cult members, with seemingly everybody on the block — joggers, sizzling canine distributors, mail carriers — probably in disguise and out to get her. This is the closest Servant has ever come to motion, with the road outdoors the Turner residence become one thing like a struggle zone as Leanne begins to combat again. She solely manages to flee with some avian assist.

From there, the present will get again to its typical vibe — which is to say, creeping dread and sudden reveals. Dorothy returns residence however is confined to her mattress following the accident, and her distrust of Leanne has now become full-blown hatred. Despite Leanne’s fixed makes an attempt to look after her, Dorothy refuses to have something to do along with her youngster’s caretaker, ultimately going as far as to rent a pair of lovely but prying live-in nurses named Bev and Bobby (Denny Dillon and Barbara Kingsley, respectively) to deal with these duties.

All the whereas, the Turner residence continues to actually crumble, because it has slowly been doing for the previous few seasons. Early on, all the neighborhood is pressured to take care of a sudden and intense breakout of mattress bugs, which is very enjoyable for bedridden Dorothy. And following the assault on the street, Leanne is more and more paranoid concerning the cult that’s making an attempt to get her, additional mobilizing her personal followers for cover. There are hazmat fits and hidden rooms and a particularly unnerving bout of leg shaving. At one level, there’s even a seance.

Lauren Ambrose in season 4 of Servant.
Image: Apple

Part of what makes Servant so delightfully enjoyable to take pleasure in is the truth that it doesn’t waste your time. The episodes are solely round half-hour lengthy and full of so many intriguing threads and unusual moments that it may be exhausting to attend to see what unexpected growth occurs subsequent. The quick episodes additionally offer you an opportunity to catch your breath after being bombarded with a concentrated dose of creepy. And even with so many needles to string, that construction stays in place firstly of season 4.

That stated, with Bev and Bobby, this season does a minimum of introduce characters to assist briefly break that rigidity. The pair instantly and forcefully insert themselves into everybody’s lives. And whereas it’s clear there’s extra to them than their bubbly personalities, it’s nonetheless hilarious to observe them hand Julian, a recovering alcoholic, a Marie Kondo e-book to assist him clear up his life or give Leanne a self-help information for troubled teenagers. They present simply the type of outdoors perspective the household desperately wants.

The first few episodes don’t reply the largest query for the sequence: specifically, if it can handle to stay the touchdown. It’s an issue that has plagued this fashion of puzzle field thriller present since Jack determined to stay across the Lost island. I nonetheless do not know what precisely Leanne even is or how the Turner’s youngster is ready to rework from reborn doll to dwelling human child and again once more. And I’m nonetheless desperately ready for somebody — anybody — in Dorothy’s life to lastly inform her what she did to begin this complete unusual sequence of occasions.

So yeah, it might all nonetheless be going nowhere. There’s a lot that might be left unresolved by the tip, and the solutions we do get won’t fulfill those that have caught round for the previous few years. But the start of Servant’s last season pushes ahead with the type of confidence that a minimum of ensures I’ll be having fun with the trip to wherever it’s really taking me — and the one factor I do know for sure is that I do not know the place that could be.

Servant’s fourth season begins streaming on Apple TV Plus on January thirteenth, with new episodes launched on subsequent Fridays.

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