After a thought-provoking series premiere (along with two other episodes), Servant continues on its path of odd and uncomfortable tension. It proves just what can be done with minimal actors and sets. In addition to begin a great character study, at times it even feels like a play. So let’s take a closer look at “Bear”!
Spoilers Ahead – You’ve Been Warned!!!
The episode opens with a really cool long take, where the camera slowly does a complete 360 degree rotation. All during this single take, we see Dorothy and Sean in flashback, discovering that she is pregnant with their son Jericho. This happier time in their lives is revisited a few more times throughout the episode, and the stark contrast in lighting really demonstrates how different and hopeful a time that as.
Back in the present, still feeling incredibly suspicious of Leanne, Sean takes a moment to remove the nanny-cam from a teddy bear and put the lens in a small hole in the wall of Leanne’s bedroom. Normally a middle-aged man putting a camera to spy on his child’s young nanny would seem incredibly voyeuristic, but that’s not at all the vibe here. Rather he’s still trying to determine where this baby was abducted from, before the police show up.
Meanwhile, Leanne seems to be taking more charge with Jericho’s care. She even defies Sean and Dorothy’s wishes to take him into the city, but Dorothy doesn’t seem to care at all. Piecing all this together, Sean begins to suspect that perhaps she didn’t abduct this baby after all.
Given that her identity is clearly fake, he theorizes that maybe this is Leanne’s own child, and she fled her home and moved in with them so that Dorothy could have a baby again and Leanne could have a home and still get to take care of her own child.
And given the real life cases of nannies getting pregnant with their employer’s children and acting like it’s not theirs, this might actually make sense. And it would of course be far less disturbing than kidnapping a child.
But things get even more interesting as we learn that Leanne did in fact meet Dorothy when she was a child and Dorothy did a news segment on a beauty pageant she was in. Apparently she watches this and night and twiddles her thumbs excitedly, which reveals that there’s a lot more going on in her head than we’ve previously realized.
Part of what makes this show so interesting is that each character always feels like they’re hiding something, even from themselves. Given the recent tragedy of losing Jericho, one could even interpret the series itself as an exercise in the many different ways that people process grief. Dorothy seems cheery and upbeat while on the news, but quiet and depressed each night.
While Sean spends a great deal of time focusing his energy on his catering business. We the audience feel lost in regards to understanding what each character is thinking, just as they feel lost in their own sea of grief and tragedy.