Friday, December 6, 2019

REVIEW: 'Servant' - Dorothy Wants Jericho to Witness the Outside World While Sean Explores the Boundaries of Their Home in 'Bear'

AppleTV+'s Servant - Episode 1.04 "Bear"

Leanne disobeys an order and discovers why Sean is so protective of baby Jericho.

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.

"Bear" was written by Tony Basgallop and directed by Nimrod Antal

Dorothy returns home from work and declares that it's time the family starts showing Jericho off to their loved ones and colleagues. She wants Leanne to come with her the next day so that he can see her at work and meet her colleagues. Sean is against the idea. That's likely fueled from his continued suspicion that this isn't actually his baby. The real Jericho died weeks ago. The world at large is ignorant to that fact though. Everything may be allowed to move forward smoothly without anyone missing out on any crucial developments. Sean may even be opening himself up to the potential of having this baby in his life. He doesn't see any reports of missing children. He still allows his mind to wander about where this children came from. Now, he wants to convince himself and Julian that Leanne smuggled her own newborn into the house through her suitcase when she first arrived. That's such a terrifying image. It makes sense to Sean. It may only make sense in his own mind. That's a creative place to be in though. It allows him to experiment with food. Everyone balks at the suggestion of lobster ice cream. However, Leanne is the one who helps him crack the formula of how to potentially make it a culinary delight. Of course, it's all theoretical at the moment. His taste buds are gone. He doesn't know what happened. He can no longer taste the food he is constantly preparing. Instead, he has to trust the opinion of others. That may not be a bad concept for him to learn in general. He doesn't act with full autonomy in this world. He may have control over a great deal. However, he is still that creepy guy drilling holes into a woman's room in order to monitor what she is doing. Right now, he only sees her taking the baby in with her at night. Yes, that is strange and unusual. But it's also something that Dorothy does on occasion. As such, no one should be skeptical based solely on that concept. Instead, it's more startling when Sean sees Dorothy and Jericho onscreen behind his wife after a man is acquitted in his murder trial. The outside world remains such a strange and foreign concept in this series. The action is primarily set in the Turner brownstone. Whenever the show feels the narrative need to go beyond that space, it is seen only through the technology available to Sean, Dorothy and Leanne. And so, Dorothy frequently appears on the television as a reporter telling stories she sees as important. There are also video calls with Julian to provide updates on some of the mysteries currently happening. But it's a confined space. One that remains within Sean's control because this is his professional and personal environment. He works here and he lives here. He is afforded that luxury. This space is always evolving. The family is pushing past its boundaries. Sean explores the crawl space in order to plant his camera. All of this presents the sense of an artificial reality happening outside this home. Sean is only interacting with the world through these screens. He confronts the people in his house only when he knows he has the physical evidence to back up his claims. For years, it was traumatic for Sean and Dorothy to get pregnant only for it to end in miscarriages. They suffered five before Jericho was born. He died shortly into life. They may be cursed as a couple. However, Leanne remains drawn to them. This isn't her first interaction with Leanne. She first met her years ago during a children's pageant. That highlights how there are these cross sections of life that are so intriguing and tantalizing. Here, the show wants the audience to be unsettled by the notion. But it remains such a forced endeavor. One in which it's difficult to see much narrative drive and purpose at the moment. The pace is certainly methodical and pointed. But it also presents as the creative team not really knowing what it wants to do and how quickly it needs to do it. As such, this is another lackluster episode that fails to keep up any sense of momentum. There are major revelations and important teases here. However, it doesn't feel like everything is collectively coming together to create a fully engaging whole for the ongoing narrative.