Thursday, November 28, 2019

REVIEW: 'Servant' - Sean Is Confused About the Seemingly Off Balance World Around Him in 'Wood'

AppleTV+'s Servant - Episode 1.02 "Wood"

As Leanne settles in, Sean worries that Dorothy and Jericho are not in good hands.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of AppleTV+'s Servant.

"Wood" was written by Tony Basgallop and directed by Daniel Sackheim

Sean is at a complete loss on what to do after finding a baby in Jericho's crib. He doesn't know how to react. It shatters the reality in which he has been living in. He feels like the only one actually experiencing just how crazy all of this has suddenly become too. Dorothy and Leanne act as if nothing has changed. From their perspectives, it hasn't. They always played into the narrative that Jericho never died and that the doll was the baby. As such, it's not unusual when a baby is in the house once more. It allows them to fulfill the fantasy of what they had been playing into for a little while. Meanwhile, Sean is just sitting in the corner unsure of how to react. He doesn't even have the basic instinct to care for the baby who is crying and needs something. Instead, that's Dorothy's responsibility when she returns home. In that moment, Sean presents as not a good parent or responsible human being. He doesn't even have the thought that this was a baby taken from another family. He is simply mystified over what has happened. He is just willing to blame the new nanny who continues to present as a mystery that needs to be solved. He asks questions hoping to get a better understanding of where she came from. He wants to know how his wife found her. He wants to understand the presence that now exists in his home. Meanwhile, he finds other avenues to distract himself. It feels as if the house around him is falling apart. He has projects that need to be done in order to create a better living environment. That means he is busy sanding the floors instead of dealing with the more pressing concern upstairs in his house. Julian is the one who has the rational thought of fearing a baby has been kidnapped just to serve this role the Turners once had. He fears that it could have been Dorothy who stole a baby just to imagine a world in which her son didn't actually die. And yes, everyone is concerned about Dorothy's well-being. The first shot of the episode is her staring off into space not engaging with the world around her. She does that numerous times throughout this episode. That doesn't inherently present as a unique character trait worthy of exploration though. It too comes across as a mystery to be solved. Sean sees it as the potential to get his wife back. Since the death of their son, he doesn't recognize her and what she is capable of doing. She is living a fantasy while he tries to embrace the truth. That doesn't seem possible anymore because of everything now happening in this house. Sean believes he has some sense of control over what is going on. The narrative presents a tale of mystical forces at play that should unnerve everyone experiencing this story. Sean may not think that something supernatural is going on. And yet, he keeps being injured by splitters after he destroys the woven cross that Leanne had hanged in Jericho's nursery. He saw that destruction as vital for ensuring control over his domain. To Leanne though, it's a symbol of personal importance. It's an expression of her faith that should be warmly embraced. Of course, it's also a symbol that highlights something otherworldly may be going on here. Those answers remain elusive. The show just wants everyone to be off balance because things continue to happen that don't make sense at all. Julian may finally meet Leanne here. He and Sean see Dorothy as she stands motionless only to come to with no recollection for what has just happened. And yet, none of this really creates a captivating narrative that demands a significant run time to tell. It plays as simple character beats to pad out a story that may not be in a rush to explain what may actually be happening in this household. Leanne is creepy and has unusual reactions. Meanwhile, the world no longer responds to Sean the way that he has grown accustomed to. Knocking him off balance may be a significant message to criticize men always trying to control women's bodies and emotions. However, that potential message is muddled through everything else the show may or may not be trying to accomplish.