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REVIEW: Servant is the best scary show on TV right now

By Rory Cashin

January 13, 2021 at 9:01am

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If you like horror, then do not miss out on Servant.

When it comes to horror, TV has been kind of hit-and-miss. The first season of The Terror was amazing, but it got kind of dull when the second season arrived. The Haunting of Hill House was fantastic, but sophomore Bly Manor left us all a bit disappointed. The Outsider was great, but no sign of a second season yet.

So when it came to the second season of Servant - if you haven't watched the first season yet, go watch it right now, this review will be waiting for you when you get back - hopes weren't particularly high, and we're pleased to say we've been proven wrong.

Picking up exactly where season one dropped us off, with Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) and Sean (Toby Kebbell) realising that their live-in nanny Leanne (Nell Tiger Free) has disappeared, and with their recently-returned-from-the-dead (or is he?) baby Jericho is missing.

Sean and Dorothy's brother Julian (Rupert Grint) are forced into a balancing act of trying to appear to Dorothy to be looking for the missing baby, without raising any suspicions with friends, family, and co-workers that their dead baby has somehow been brought back to life.

If it all sounds horrifically morbid, you'll be happy to hear that somehow the show manages to keep a thick vein of dark humour throughout, much more so than the slightly overly-serious first season, especially through Grint's rich, spoiled brat who doesn't understand how problems don't just go away when you throw money at them.

Essentially a single-location supernatural, psychological horror - the only time we leave their lush multi-story home is via video calls - it helps that all of the actors are swinging for the fences with their performances, as entire episodes can fly by with just three or four people in them. Ambrose in particular has a very difficult role to play, a grieving, damaged mother who you should feel sympathy for... except she is slowly turning into one of the most evil characters on TV right now. Watching that evolution is a joy to watch, with the barely half-hour running time of the episodes absolutely burning through plot developments and sudden twists, guaranteeing you'll be cursing the fact that the episodes are released one per week.

If it sounds like we're talking around the plot, then that is because we purposefully are. The less you know about the specifics, the better, and to be honest, even after seeing some of the directions the story goes in, we're not sure we could do them justice with a simple written description. You just have to watch it and trust that it all makes sense in the bigger picture of the show's story.

Executive producer M. Night Shyamalan is back as writer and director for some of the episodes, and his glossy sheen of creepy horror is evident throughout the entire season, which doesn't just match the first in terms of addictiveness, but surpasses it in terms of actual quality.

Servant Season 2 will begin on Friday, January 15 on Apple TV+, releasing episodes weekly.

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