Spoilers ahead for Episodes 1-3 of Servant Season 1. The call is coming from inside the house, and it's crying over the baby monitor. Such is the premise of Apple TV+'s latest series, Servant, which revolves around a creepy baby named Jericho. Well, it's not a baby so much as it is a disquietingly realistic doll who suddenly transforms into "a real boy" à la Pinocchio after an equally ominous nanny moves in with the child's parents.
Viewers aren't told what exactly is going on with Jericho until halfway through the pilot episode. His mother, Dorothy Turner (Lauren Ambrose), dotes on the weirdly silent child, but he just kind of...lays there, staring at nothing in particular. His eyes? Too big. His skin? hyperrealistic. His hair? A rat's nest. From the moment you see him, it's clear that this baby is an infantile uncanny valley that came from the gates of hell.
The first tip-off that the baby isn't real is when the husband, Sean (Toby Kebbell), picks Jericho up by the ankles, bonking his head carelessly on the metal crib frame before plonking him on the floor. Later, he explains the situation to their nanny, Leanne Grayson (Nell Tiger Free). "It's called a reborn doll," he explains. "We lost Jericho when he was 13 weeks. Just didn't wake up one morning, poor little guy. Dorothy took it hard. She was catatonic for weeks — full psychotic break. And this is the only thing that brought her back. Transitory object therapy, or so her unlicensed quack likes to call it."
Leanne, however, is alarmingly unfazed by this news, running her fingers through "Jericho's" sparse, artificial hair. She continues taking the doll for walks and changing his diaper as if he were a real boy. Until one night, he suddenly is.
Servant raises a number of questions that the first three episodes don't answer, such as: what is Leanne's real name? What's up with that straw crucifix? Why do the Turners insist on using bottled Fiji water at such an environmentally dire time? And, most importantly, whose baby is this and where did it come from?
That Jericho "miraculously" sprang to life means that either Leanne switched the doll with a real baby (which this first batch of episodes appears to disprove), or that the creepy straw crucifix she hung over Jericho's crib did...something. What, it's not clear, but when Dorothy's brother, Julian (Rupert Grint), visits the nanny's house in Wisconsin, he finds it burned to the ground — except for an area of the wall that held a similar cross.
Viewers also learn that "Leanne" is dead, so whoever she really is is likely unfit to take care of children, real or imaginary. She appears to be deeply religious, kneeling by her bed and praying each night, and yet has no moral qualms about snooping around the Turners' house when they're not home, grabbing Julian's crotch, and slicing off the head of an eel (especially confusing, given that she'd feigned horror upon seeing the first one killed).
Furthermore, the Turner residence seems eerily similar to the one in The Exorcist, in which a little girl is possessed by a demon after playing with a ouija board she found in the basement. It could just be that it's a townhouse... or Jericho could be an animated version of the reborn doll, much like Annabelle.
So far, the baby seems perfectly normal, but given that this is a horror series, it's only a matter of time before he starts terrorizing the Turners...and haunting your nightmares.