This article will contain full spoilers for Servant Season 2, Episode 4. Click here for our coverage of the previous episode.
Following his daughter’s debut as director in the previous episode, the man himself makes his grand Servant return: M. Night Shyamalan is back in the director’s chair. With his return comes “2:00”, an episode that ranks among the bleakest the series has had yet. And that’s saying something considering this is the “dead infant show”. Yet “2:00” never oversteps its boundaries, despite offering little in the way of humor.
Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose), is in full interrogator mode. She delivers food to captive prisoner Leanne (Nell Tiger Free), who is being kept in a dingy attic. She demands to know where Jericho is, so Leanne plays dumb and says she doesn’t know. This leads to her refusing to let Leanne use the bathroom. Nevertheless, she goes about her day as normal, leaving Sean (Toby Kebbell) to deal with the builders coming to fix the wine cellar that’s been cracked since this season’s second episode.
The delusions Dorothy suffers used to be played for gallows laughs, but now there’s nothing funny about it. She’s dangerous, and people are going to get hurt sooner rather than later. Sean and Julian (Rupert Grint) talk about the situation, realizing how deep they’re in, once more. Sean still can’t feel any of his hands and Julian doubts they can reason with Leanne.
Dorothy gets from a chipper news report on an indoor skydiving complex and takes the mask off to go back into psychological torture with Leanne. The way in which Ambrose is able to go in and out of her personas is nothing less than breathtaking. Without a doubt, she’s the MVP of the season.
Leanne says she needs to get back to the Marino family, where the little boy Sergio is apparently sick, still refusing to give up Jericho. Leanne is playing hardball with Dorothy, who is playing hardball right back. This even extends to subconscious ways, when Dorothy mysteriously wakes up at 2:00 AM. She goes back up to the attic and begins to scream violently to Leanne, begging her to tell her where Jericho is before injuring her. Dorothy is going all in on the desperation here in a way we haven’t quite seen from her yet.
As Dorothy inexplicably goes back to her job once again in the morning, Sean decides it’s time to try a different approach. He rationally, sensitively talks with Leanne. Leanne says that Sean needs to reveal what Dorothy did because she has to face what she did. Sean lets her shower.
At 2:00 AM, Dorothy goes back to Leanne. Her methods are less desperate than outwardly cruel; this time, she pulls her by the hair, demanding to know where Jericho is again. When the morning comes and Dorothy and Sean make Leanne breakfast, Dorothy describes always waking up at 2:00 AM. It’s her body remembering something she’s not, she muses. Clearly, something outside of her control is happening when the clock strikes 2:00.
Seeing a window of opportunity, Sean goes up to see Leanne again, claiming to need to see Jericho. She says, frankly, Jericho’s dead, not giving up on her belief that Dorothy needs to know. As Sean leaves, Leanne begins praying to a specific page marked “Sean”. Why is she doing this?
We get an answer fairly quickly, as Sean, Julian, and Dorothy are having a casual dinner. The eeriness of them ignoring the severity of their situation is over-ridden when Sean has a revelation: he can taste again. This is clearly connected to whatever Leanne did with the bible. He tastes as much as he can, basking in the return of his most treasured sense.
His celebration doesn’t last for long. 2:00 AM comes around. Dorothy goes to check on Leanne; this time she’s prepared. She knocks Dorothy out with a club, sprinting for the front door. But nothing can overpower the rage of a grieving mother. Dorothy grabs Leanne, taking her down to the cellar. Meanwhile, Sean realizes that just as his taste has returned, the feeling in his hand has as well.
The shooting pains return, and he can’t even tend to it before hearing a commotion in the wine cellar. He goes down there and finds Leanne buried alive in cement, with only a hose to breathe out. He rescues her and pleads to Dorothy, telling her this is too far. Dorothy denies him, saying nothing is too far. As we end, we flash to the night Jericho died. Dorothy awakens at 2:00 AM and walks to his crib, realizing he isn’t there.
It’s a shocking ending for an episode that revels in misery. As always Servant goes big, and it never crosses the line of bad taste, but it’s all just a little much. The bizarreness that makes the show so special is missing as we go for straight-up horror. The second episode, “Spaceman”, found that delicate balance between tones a lot better. While this episode wasn’t my favorite of the series, it certainly was still a worthwhile episode of television. Let’s just hope that Servant has a bit more humor next time. – James Preston Poole
Episode Rating: 7/10
Season Rating (So Far): 8.5/10
Servant is available to stream on Apple TV+.