Check out season 4 of the Apple TV+ series ‘Servant’
After four seasons it’s been great and we’re finally getting answers in a show that’s all about vagueness.
Then, four years ago, the psychological thriller series Server began, the project turned out to be intriguing due to its vagueness and elusiveness. The series, handled by Briton Tony Basgallop and director M. Night Shyamalan, revolved around a seemingly successful young family in Philadelphia facing great tragedy. His newborn son, Jericho, passed away due to an unfortunate combination of circumstances and was replaced with a lifelike doll to save his traumatized mother.
At first it seemed as if Jericho’s mother, Dorothy, a successful television reporter, believed that her son was actually alive. At the end of the first season, she actually hugged a living child again. The arrival of the mysterious nanny Leanne caused great changes in the couple, but mainly it resulted in a succession of repressed emotions, tensions and curious incidents.
Now that we’ve reached the fourth and final season of Server we can take stock of the matter of what we have actually been watching forty episodes. The first and second seasons were dominated by a sinister mystery. The third season was given the benefit of the doubt due to the lack of a clear plot, especially due to the almost listless performance of lead actress Lauren Ambrose.
After the big cliffhanger last year, in which Dorothy fell from a great height into the stairwell, she’s thankfully still alive. Bedridden, much to Leanne’s frustration, she seeks support from two nurses. Her husband, Sean, is a successful television chef with Gordon Ramsey features. Leanne, however, begins to behave more and more strangely and mostly (passively) aggressively, perhaps inspired by members of a religious cult that are becoming more and more entrenched in her life.
It is a special observation that Server managed to feed itself for four seasons with a minimum of plot and a maximum of atmosphere. Where this previously managed to evoke a sense of curiosity, once you get to the final season it mostly causes frustration. Is it all just talk, despite specific incidents like a bed bug infestation or a ghoulish Halloween celebration? Where the creators managed to get away with vagueness for a long time, now it’s suddenly against you.
Where the coldness of the characters and their heartbreak for each other at first seemed appealingly unconventional, it now causes a great deal of annoyance. This is mainly due to the fact that Server it’s forced and pretentious and leaves the feeling that somewhere eventually redemption and clarity seemed to come. It’s true that the opening episode is remarkably physical and has a high level of palpable tension, but it’s a level the writers fail to maintain for long.
Luckily, in the last four episodes it turns completely around. Suddenly things become remarkably concrete and almost explained, which almost feels like a break in style. However, all this clarity comes at just the right time. Then, the creators resort to small details that were already present from the first episode. Therefore, it is almost inevitable that the perseverant will feel rewarded and cheated. The feeling of “what have we really been looking at” is still there, albeit in a whole new context.
Server can be seen in ]AppleTV+.