The only thing more uncomfortable and awkward than the interpersonal interactions on Servant this season is a Christmas meal filled with tension. The penultimate episode of Season 2 combines both of these for an episode that’s admittedly less intense than ones we’ve seen thus far, but the events that happen have been a very long time coming.
(Spoilers Ahead – You’ve Been Warned)
Putting aside the whole kidnapping a teenager with false imprisonment, Dorothy and Sean manage to put together a seemingly normal Christmas lunch, with Leanne in full attendance. Upon George’s exit in the last episode, Dorothy desperately clings to the hope that he’s gone to retrieve Jericho and will be bringing him.
Along comes Julian with his and Dorothy’s father Frank, and his new girlfriend who’s at least several decades younger than him. In a nihilistically hilarious moment, Julian (with a bit of drunken hostility) recounts to her everything from Season 1 with the fake (then real) baby, along with the kidnapping plot, which again no one seems too bothered by.
To say that the lunch is tense would be a gross understatement. Dorothy is distracted with awaiting Jericho’s return, Sean is trying to keep everything calm and under control, Frank is merely trying to impress and entertain his much younger girlfriend, Julian is barely keeping it together, and Leanne is acting awkward around him following them sleeping together the night before.
After lunch, they play charades, while Julian keeps excusing himself to the bathroom to snort more and more cocaine. Eventually he collapses up there and Leanne manages to bring him back by breathing into him (more on that later).
The ambulance arrives to take him in for observation. And just when Sean and Dorothy have had enough excitement, it isn’t George who comes to the door, but Leanne’s Aunt Josephine, dressed all in the black.
All while Dorothy has been receiving the utmost level of support and understanding (especially considering all the felonies), Julian has clearly been suffering in silence. Even back during Season 1, Dorothy was deemed too emotionally fragile to be aware of the investigation into Leanne.
But Julian was there in the thick of it, often having to devote more time and energy simply because Sean was home. After long enough, that can certainly take a toll on anyone. Julian is clearly unhappy with his life, probably lonely, and it’s very possible that his sleeping with Leanne was the final straw.
As demonstrated by everything we’ve seen, she clearly has supernatural powers (and may have even “animated” fake Jericho into a real baby), so when they were intimate together, she took away all his pain.
But once it was over it all returned, and the sudden contrast made him realize just how down in despair he’s truly been. When he was just miserable and alcoholic, he didn’t mind because he didn’t have anything good to compare it to. But one night of feeling amazing made him see just what he’s missing out on.
Given his father’s cavalier attitude towards everything, we can surmise that his upbringing was less than ideal, and thus he remains the most complex character in the series. Everyone else is certainly capable of going to the extremes, but their motivations are often much simpler and more direct.
Julian’s always been hard to read, and he’s honestly the most compelling character that Rupert Grint has ever played. He also remains the most entertaining character in the series for the very same reason.
And of course, there’s no discussing this episode without mentioning its cliffhanger ending with Josephine. She showed up the very end of Season 1 in a similar vein; she only seems to arrive when things get really interesting. She wasn’t holding a baby when we saw her (though it’s possible he’s just in the car).
This is most likely because she was never going to bring Jericho back, because he wasn’t meant for this world. Leanne “creating” him (assuming that theory is true) was an unnatural act, and an example of her defying her Holy Orders, as set forth by God or whomever the cult takes their orders from.
I don’t believe for one second that Josephine would come to return the baby, rather it’s far more probable that she is there for Leanne. George left in abject terror, and now Josephine as come to do what he couldn’t (once again).
The fact that she’s dressed like a funeral possibly bodes ill for baby Jericho, or Leanne, or both. Last season ended with a large baptism party, and this one is poised to end with a smaller, but infinitely more tense confrontation!
What did you think of this episode? What do you hope to see in the season finale next week? Let us know in the comments!
Servant is streaming exclusively on Apple TV+