Servant Season 4 Episode 3 Recap – why do the nurses perform a seance?

By Adam Lock
Published: January 27, 2023 (Last updated: January 25, 2024)
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“Seance” is an expertly directed half-hour of television. Rupert Grint is sensational as the comic relief, yet his character continues to develop more intricacies throughout the seasons as well. Whilst the seance itself takes center stage, delivering plenty of tension in the final third. This is Servant firing on all cylinders.

We recap the Apple TV+ series Servant Season 4 Episode 3, “Seance,” which contains spoilers.

Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) and Leanne (Nell Tiger Free) have been at odds with one another for well over a season now. Their rivalry is deep-seated and complex, yet it takes on a new, profound meaning in “Seance”, which is wonderfully directed by Ishana Shyamalan. As you will rightfully predict, this episode contains a seance, but it also focuses on the trauma the household is going through, seen afresh from the nurses’ perspective. It’s an expertly crafted installment that plays into Servant’s main sweet spot, it’s laughably ludicrous, but thoroughly entertaining at the same time.

Servant Season 4 Episode 3 Recap

The two nurses introduce themselves to the other household members with a synchronized rhyme. Sean loves Bobbie and Bev’s quirky little song, but Leanne is instantly mistrustful, believing the elderly duo to be spies sent by the Church. Julian is equally perplexed by these strange ladies, calling them The Shining twins at one point, but he doesn’t think they’re from the cult. Leanne orders him to investigate the nurses, although he doesn’t find any incriminating information on his first research project.

Dorothy hired the nurses to give her some independence and keep her at arm’s length from Leanne, but she also wants them to cure her. The mother is desperate to care for her baby boy, but she is still confined to her bed. She asks the nurses to help her walk again, something that the doctors aren’t even sure is feasible. The nurses are impressed by Dorothy’s enthusiasm, but admit these things take time. Dorothy is open to try absolutely anything, she is one determined woman after all.

The nurses make themselves at home. They decorate their own room and tidy up the entire house, placing scented candles about the building. They organize all of Leanne’s clothes and make her bed. Each member of the house is gifted with a book that specifically addresses their own internal issues and the nurses try to therapize each individual. They start with Julian, who isn’t best pleased by the ambush. Leanne is then angered by their tampering and finds a new cuddly toy in Jericho’s cot, which she bins straightaway.

What does Julian find in the nurses’ bedroom?

The nurses perform exercises with Dorothy, but she is impatient. The mother asks that they think outside the box, nothing has worked so far. She asks to try standing and the nurses gingerly accept her proposal. While they assist Dorothy, Julian investigates the nurses’ quarters. In a hilarious scene, Julian finds a wooden box containing sex toys, which sends him into a state of shock. Dorothy is elated to stand with the aid of crutches and then demands to attempt walking too. The nurses try to dissuade her, but it is no use. Unfortunately, Dorothy isn’t ready to walk just yet and she falls forwards on her first step.

Leanne finds the same cuddly toy in Jericho’s cot once again and confronts the nurses. The nurses talk with Sean next, addressing the main issues of the day. Dorothy is quickly losing hope and Leanne distrusts them greatly. Sean admits that this household doesn’t cope well with trauma, we’re a mess. The elephant in the room is obviously ignored, Sean isn’t going to tell these kind, old ladies about baby swapping and that whole conspiracy, but he alludes to it nevertheless. Sean tactfully mentions loss, focusing mainly on Dorothy’s mother. The nurses suggest a seance, as you do, to put Dorothy’s mind at ease.

What happens at the seance?

The seance is delivered in Dorothy’s room, around her bed. All the gang are gathered together and candles set the tone. Bobbie orchestrates the seance, asking Dorothy to state what she is after. Dorothy asks for guidance and help, in a touching and surprisingly vulnerable moment from the mother. Bobbie becomes a vessel and fumbles her first interaction, pretending to be talking with Dorothy’s Uncle. Next, they address Dorothy’s mother. Bobbie talks about Dorothy sharing the bed with her mother when she was having bad dreams as a child, a memory that Dorothy had nearly forgotten herself. Bobbie passes on advice to the siblings, telling Dorothy to accept support and for Julian to forgive himself.

The vision takes a turn though, which is possibly controlled by Leanne, and Bobbie sees the Turner home rotting away, with a dark shadow haunting the rooms. Bobbie hears a baby crying and sensing danger, Sean demands they stop the seance. The idea of Dorothy remembering the death of Jericho is a hook that the show uses now and again for additional tension, but it works a treat here. Sean and Julian worry that Bobbie is going to say something that will trigger a memory for Dorothy, but they cannot stop her. She talks about the baby being left alone, crying out for help.

Servant Season 4 Episode 3 Ending Explained

Leanne ends the seance in style. She brings out her dagger and orders that the nurses admit their true intentions, the reasons why they are in this house. Bobbie acts innocent enough, unsure of Leanne’s questioning. Leanne then rips at Bobbie’s clothing to inspect her back for scars. Bobbie’s back doesn’t contain any self-inflicted wounds though. Leanne is appeased, she just had to make sure. Dorothy orders her to go to her room, highlighting the mother/daughter dynamic between the two.

In the next scene, Julian returns Leanne’s dagger and asks about her intentions. Leanne admits that she would have killed the nurses if their backs contained scars. Sean pays Dorothy a visit and explains that the nurses haven’t been scared off by this minor altercation. They believe that Leanne is dealing with the situation in a common way, although this is how the children would normally react in this given situation. Sean offers Dorothy blueberry pancakes, after she turned down his last meal earlier in the day. Dorothy states that their relationship has changed now, which explains why she has been so distant, but she accepts the pancakes anyway.

The episode ends with an apocalyptic vision. It is unclear whether this is Leanne’s dream or Dorothy’s. In the dream, their neighborhood is burnt and abandoned, plagued by ash. And that dark shadow roams the house. Dorothy wakes to find Leanne curled up asleep on her bed, just like the seance memory stated. Considering the themes and messages explored in this episode about mother/daughter relationships, this is a significant ending. Is this implying that Leanne sees Dorothy as a motherly figure or is there a supernatural element to proceedings? It could even just be misdirection. What do you think that final scene means?

What did you think of Servant Season 4 Episode 3? Comment below.

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