This article will contain full spoilers for Servant Season 2, Episode 3. Click here for our coverage of the previous episode.
After an episode that emphasized the bleak horror at the heart of Servant, a change in directors brings with it a madcap romp in the third episode, “Pizza”. Taking over directing duties this time is Ishana Night Shyamalan, who you’ll immediately recognize as M. Night’s daughter. Don’t be fooled, her Servant debut indicates that talent indeed runs in the family.
“Pizza” kicks things off with a flashback. Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose), pregnant, is bleeding and crawling through the front door. A visit from the doctor indicates to her and Sean (Toby Kebbell) that she must stay off her feet for around a month to avoid health complications. Smash cut to the present day, where Dorothy maniacally works on a flowchart that looks like when Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia had too much coffee. Her path for blood continues.
Dorothy and Sean receive a FaceTime call from Julian (Rupert Grint), who is stationed outside a house that Dorothy believes Leanne (Nell Tiger Free) is hiding in. A frustrated Julian can’t deduce that anything strange is going on in the house belonging to the Marino family, and prepares to leave. However, a food delivery truck entering the gates of the home gives Dorothy an idea. To gain entry into the house, they need to start a food delivery business.
On paper, the idea is absurd. In execution, it’s a grim Looney Tune, and it’s delightful! To entice Leanne, they name the restaurant “Cheesus Crust” to appeal to her faith. The lengths these people go to find Leanne are simply bonkers. They make a dedicated menu, take professional photographs, and of course make the pizzas, with the help of Sean’s assistant Tobe (Tony Revolori). Julian, of course, is on the duty of passing out flyers to the Marino household and the neighboring household.
As expected, this causes other homes to order from “Cheesus Crust”, meaning they have to produce more pizzas. Not that the Turner household is profiting off the pizzas. They’re actively losing money, selling the $30 pizzas at a loss of $13. It would’ve been so Servant to allow this plan to fail, but we actually get some pretty significant furthering of the plot.
The Marinos do, in fact, order one of the Cheesus Crust pies. Initially, Julian was supposed to deliver them, but for whatever reason, he’s just come home from the opera and is dressed, well, like an English butler. It’s a laugh-out-loud moment, only increased when they strap Tobe with a live-streaming iPhone and send him to record the delivery. Whenever he protests? Julian slips him a $100 cash tip and tells him to shut up. You can always count on Rupert Grint for hilarity in Servant.
When Tobe arrives at the house, he finds nothing but a kid’s birthday party downstairs. Eventually, he goes upstairs and pays their mother. As he climbs the stairs, out of nowhere, Leanne is standing there. It’s a stomach-dropping moment. I was positive they would hold off on revealing her until near the end of the season, but here she is, asking Tobe what he’s doing there. She flees the hallway, and before Tobe can process the moment, the mother of the household calls Tobe in. She’s very clearly sick, frailly handing Tobe the money as he proceeds to leave the house as quickly as possible.
The sequence is pure found footage perfection. It doesn’t try to fool us that it’s real, yet uses an iPhone as a lo-fi point of view that makes the surreal moment tangible. Tobe returns to the household, and suddenly there’s an order for another pizza from the same residence. They send poor little Tobe back to the house, where Leanne is waiting for him. She’s calm, telling Tobe she just wants to say goodbye to him.
Leanne dodges questions about where she is going, or even what she’s doing there. The only thing that gets a response is when Tobe asks why she left. She responds that she couldn’t stay in the house with Dorothy, who is in her eyes a selfish, evil woman. Cut back to Dorothy in bed in the flashback. There’s smoke coming down up, which she makes the choice to walk down the stairs to put out. As she does so, Sean, walks through the door, asking why she didn’t just call him. It casts some light on Dorothy’s character, who, by finding what she thinks is Jericho, might be trying to make up for selfishness in her past.
Cut back to the present. Leanne starts to feel woozy, passing out almost instantly. Dorothy talks directly to Tobe, informing him that she drugged Leanne through the pizza and that if he does not put her in the trunk and take her back to their home, he will be framed for drugging her. It’s a hell of a mic drop ending to the episode, indicating that Leanne is now fully in the fray.
“Pizza” isn’t as revelatory or atmospheric as the prior two episodes, but it’s a strong first showing for Ishana Night Shyamalan. The seriously funny premise and quick pace make up for any lack of overbearing dread. If the first two episodes were a bold reintroduction to Servant, we’re fully back in the trenches now. – James Preston Poole
Episode Rating: 8/10
Season Rating (So Far): 9/10
Servant is available to stream on Apple TV+.