Doll – | Review Score – 3/5
How long can you string out a mystery box show without giving any answers? This is a question many creators have faced over the years, with varying degrees of success. Give away your secret too quickly and you end up with something like Emergence, too long and you end up with a never-ending soap opera like Manifest.
It’s a delicate balancing act between keeping your audience hooked and rewarding their patience, something Servant Season 2 constantly tests across its seven episode follow-up. The first season, with its delightful blend of suspense, tension and drip-fed mystery, did a wonderful job building up a moody and atmospheric story chock full of numerous questions just waiting to be answered.
Given the cliffhanger ending and 2 year hiatus, fans will undoubtedly go into season 2 expecting a few answers – or at least extra layers to the mystery. Instead, Servant drags its heels across 7 episodes while giving absolutely no answers to anything that’s going on. Given the recent reveal that this show is going to have 40 episodes, it’ll be interesting to see how many people actually stick it out until the end – especially given the agonizing week wait between episodes.
Explaining what season 2 is actually about without diving into big spoilers is difficult, especially given how thinly the story is spread across its run-time. In its simplest form, season 2’s story shifts the focus across to finding Jericho as both Dorothy and Sean work together to bring their child back. The elaborate schemes range from staking out a shady estate house belonging to the Marino’s across to Dorothy hijacking a live news broadcast to ask for news on Leanne.
All of this haphazard detective work builds up to a changing dynamic leading into the second half, something that’s strung along until episode 7 where another cliffhanger ending leaves a few fragmented clues and ideas but not very much else. There’s very little here beyond that though and nothing in season 2 suggests the series is in a hurry to give us answers any time soon.
Thankfully, the acting from Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell and Rupert Grint is enough to elevate the material, allowing the season to at least dive a bit deeper into our characters. One of the more intriguing juxtapositions this year comes from the changing fortunes of Sean and Dorothy. While last year saw Sean play up the emotionally selfish chef who just wanted to get on with his life, here we see him much more driven to finding Jericho. This changing attitude even sees him meet some good fortune along the way.
By comparison, Dorothy goes completely off the rails. She’s erratic, angry and absolutely obsessed with bringing Jericho back – even if that means doing unspeakable acts to do so. As they say, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. That much is especially true here as Dorothy is pushed to breaking point but with very little to show for her efforts.
When the dust settles on Servant Season 2, it’ll be interesting to see what the reaction from fans will be. Releasing 2 episodes a week may have actually helped the pacing of this one a little more because the way this season is set-up, even as a binge-watch it’s far too slow and sluggish.
Servant fails to capitalize on its creepy and suspenseful first season, delivering a rather dull and stagnated follow-up.
Servant Season 2 releases weekly on Apple TV+ starting 15th January 2021