Servant: “Fallen” Review

Dorothy having finally remembered what happened to Jericho is forced to come to terms with everything the past year has brought, while Leanne struggles to find her place in an ending that’s equal parts poignant and tragic.  All this and more on the series finale of Servant!

(Spoilers Ahead – You’ve Been Warned)

Impossible Choice
Following last week’s cliffhanger, Dorothy has a very difficult choice ahead of her: stay with Leanne and live in the fantasy of having “Jericho” returned to life unnaturally, or face reality knowing and accepting the truth.  She asks for more time but it becomes quite clear that Leanne was bluffing the entire time.

Not bluffing in terms of her not being able to do any of the things she said, bluffing in the sense that she desperately wanted to live there with Dorothy.  Not because of Jericho, but because all Leanne has ever wanted was a mother that loved her, which is why she obsessed over Dorothy for so long.  The series built Leanne up almost to supervillain status, but inside was a scared little girl that just wanted to be loved.

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It’s downright sad to see Leanne going from confident and powerful to tearfully pleading with God

Ultimately, Dorothy admits that she needs to feel the grief and guilt as part of the human condition.  And while she still tries to help Leanne, she succumbs to the fate that Uncle George had for her, gruesomely slashing her arms with the ceremonial dagger and self-immolating along with the entire house.

For a series that always stayed in the fringes of the supernatural and the very edge of horror, Leanne’s death is pretty over the top, as we watch the flesh burn right off her face.  It’s definitely not the ending that character deserved.  Even at Leanne’s worst, she felt more like a kid playing pretend supervillain.  But if there’s one theme consistent with this series, it’s that people don’t get what they deserve.

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It’s not as climactic an ending as you’d expect, but it’s definitely as melodramatic as you’d expect from Shyamalan.

The Value of Grief
The series spent most of its time on how characters interacted with and around Dorothy, when the series finale demonstrates that she was the protagonist having an arc all along.  Essentially this whole TV show can be boiled down to one person coming to terms with grief and coming to acceptance.

These last few episodes saw Dorothy the most down to Earth she’s ever been, and her revelation is both sobering, tragic, and even a little inspiring.  Having “Jericho” around for months was an absolute joy, but it was ultimately just an exercise in her own grief process.  Where the ethics lie on how “alive” that baby was to simply return to nothingness is a matter for another day.

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In a strange way, the reborn doll did serve its ultimate purpose.

Because if “Jericho” was unnaturally alive just like Leanne was, it still means he was capable of growing and forming memories.  Which in essence means the poor boy died twice, once as an infant in the car as accidentally left by Dorothy, and secondly when Leanne turned him back into the doll, never to animate him again.  We saw how Leanne had a life and even a relationship, but much like “Jericho”, she didn’t really exist as human, as evidenced by the lack of her corpse in the wreckage.

It raises a lot of philosophical questions that the series is just leaving its viewers to ponder until the end of time.  Likewise, we learn that because Julian was brought back to life by Leanne during his overdose, he too is “marked” by the Church of Lesser Saints, who wind up coming out on top.  And having the murderous religious cult win does seem like a staple of horror, but the series doesn’t seem to be sure on whether that outcome is a bad one or not.

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Let’s be honest, hellfire was always going to be involved one way or another.

Fitting Finale
For a little while, it seemed like Servant was building up to some climactic finale, but for anyone who’s familiar with M. Night Shyamalan’s previous work, this was never going to be the case.  Granted, he didn’t write and direct all of the show, but it has his style and fingerprints all over it.

So a more character-driven/dialogue-heavy finale was always going to be the case for this story.  It successfully wraps up enough, although for going supernatural, it doesn’t do nearly as much as it could have with that premise.  In hindsight, it probably could have told its entire story in just two seasons, especially since the plot seemed to meander a bit in seasons 2 and 3.

But overall, it’s a satisfying ending for these characters, well at least for the trio of Dorothy, Sean, and Julian. Having gone through everything, they come out oddly on top.  Sure the house has burned down and they’ll have to rebuild and restart from scratch.  But after everything that’s happened, a fresh start is exactly what they need.

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The three of them seem to have a new understanding and growth with one another.

What did you think of the final episode of Servant?  What did you think of the overall series?  Let us know in the comments!

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