Servant is the TV series created by M. Night Shyamalan for Apple TV, now concluded after four seasons. The plot of the show revolves around the Tuner family and the mysterious Leanne, a nanny with a dark past who came to take care of little Jericho. However, the child is not real but it is in fact a reborn doll, a ploy necessary to save Dorothy from the catatonic state in which she had fallen after her son Jericho died. The woman does not remember anything about what happened and neither her husband Sean nor her brother Julian have any intention of unblocking that traumatic event.
Within Servant’s claustrophobic narrative, each character plays a specific part in a desperate attempt to keep up appearances and make some sort of atonement.
1) An ordinary man
Over the course of four seasons of Servant we see all kinds of strange and unusual things and, frankly, most of the characters on the show are acting out of the ordinary too. Maybe all but one. Sean Tuner presents himself, right from the start, as a man with a comfortable life but also with a calm and routine nature. Far from the excesses and extravagance often associated with his profession, Sean appears to us as the model neighbor, the cautious husband and family man. It becomes quite easy to relate to him, him reacting to what is happening in his life in an absolutely understandable way.
Sean is the voice of the people, a man who does not willingly accept the extraordinary events connected to Leanne but who, at the same time, never closes himself in an obtuse vision of the world. As a spirit of reason, Sean manages to counterbalance the excesses represented in Servant by his wife Dorothy and brother-in-law Julian.
2) Yes, chef!
How can you not fall victim to a cooking wizard? Inside Servant the food porn component is very high and Shyamalan himself explained the meaning behind those aesthetically satisfying and elaborate dishes. The kitchen, in the TV series, takes on not only the role of a family ritual, around which the members of the Tuner family gather several times in cathartic moments in history. The food metaphorically represents the constant acts of creation and destruction that Sean and the other characters perform on each other.
According to Shyamalan himself, food represents only the respectable, bourgeois and superficial facade of a rich family but unable to express their emotions. Sean, first, takes refuge in food both when he participates in a cooking show away from his family, and as a rejection of what is happening in the present in his home.
3) A profound humanity
In the second season, Dorothy’s behavior reaches such manic peaks that she locks Leanne in the attic and beats her every single night. Unaware of his wife’s actions, Sean unwittingly becomes a balm for the locked up girl. In fact, he begins to bring her food, to treat her gently, to talk and keep her company during the day. Perhaps because he is aware of the truth or perhaps simply because even in the deepest pain, Sean never loses his humanity.
Just as he takes care of Leanne in her time of need, Sean is also ready to play his part within the community where he lives. In the third season, for example, the cook uses his skills to feed the displaced people who live in the nearby park and, during the block party, his ice cream stand is ready to raise money for charity.
4) Husband of the year
For the serenity of his wife Dorothy, Sean is willing to do anything. In order not to reveal the terrible truth, in order not to burden her with a huge sense of guilt, in order to maintain the illusion of a happy family, Sean enters a spiral of lies. The man is the first to harbor suspicions against Leanne and he is actually the first to get closer to the truth. Yet when that same truth threatens to jeopardize his family, Sean takes a step back.
Servant’s is certainly not one of the best couples in TV series but still deserves to be remembered for the particular alchemy of its two interpreters.
5) Even the eye wants its part
Born in 1982, Toby Kebbell is the actor who gives voice and face to our beloved chef in the TV series Servant.
The British actor approaches the world of cinema from a very young age, obtaining some small parts in films such as Alexander e Match Point by Woody Allen. The turning point begins to arrive from 2010 when her name is associated with blockbusters of the caliber of Prince of Persia, Apes Revolution e Kong: Skull of Island. Unfortunately none of these roles, much less that of Doctor Doom in the reboot of Fantastic 4, manages to make him take the big leap. Kebbell still garners critical acclaim, even receiving an award like Best Supporting Actor at the 2007 British Independent Film Awards.
Before Servantanother TV series in which the most attentive eyes will surely remember it is Black Mirror. On the Charlie Brooker Show, Toby Kebbell appears in the episode The Entire History of You, alongside Jody Whittaker.