Skip to main content

Servant season 4 finale ending explained

Servant’s final season was emotional, horrifying, and heartbreaking all in one. Apple TV+ wrapped up the twisted and disturbing Alfred Hitchcock-like M. Night Shyamalan story, one of the first Apple TV+ original series, in a way that seemed rushed yet also satisfying.

The story begins when a married couple enlists the help of a young woman named Leanne (Nell Tiger Free) to care for their infant son. As revealed in previous seasons, however, Jericho sadly perished after being accidentally left in the car on a hot night. His mother Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose), stricken and catatonic with grief, was given a lifelike doll to help her cope, a radical new form of therapy. But she eventually repressed the memory of her son’s death altogether, believing the doll to be a real baby. Then, something weird happened. When Leanne entered their lives, the doll became real.

Through a series of supernatural happenings, a twisted story of cults, and the acceptance by Dorothy’s husband Sean (Toby Kebbell) that Leanne, while powerful, did not actually bring Jericho back to life, the third season ended with tragedy. An awful “accident,” coincidentally just as Dorothy was trying to disappear in the middle of the night with Jericho, left the woman temporarily immobile. Leanne had even more leverage now, and she was ready to use it.

A meaner, more sinister Leanne

Leanne dressed up for Halloween walking outside in a scene from Servant.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Season 4 begins with Leanne smugly enjoying Dorothy’s predicament and the control it gives her over the woman. A mystical being or just a troubled young woman (or both), it’s obvious Leanne just wants Dorothy and Jericho all to herself. They’re a symbol of the family, and mother figure, she wished she had.

While Leanne is still being hunted by The Church of Lesser Saints, she is protected by her strange powers and the homeless defectors who worship her as their new leader. But Leanne can’t trust anyone. A neighbor, a woman going for a jog down the street, or a friendly passer-by could all be, and probably are, cult members in disguise.

The paranoia increasingly drives Leanne to do horrifying things like willing birds to attack enemies, creating a bed bug infestation, and even brutally attacking an innocent young boy and breaking his arm because she believes him to be “one of them.” As Leanne confesses to the mother-like mannequin in her bedroom, the power is consuming her. But she also kind of likes it. For the first time, viewers begin to wonder if Leanne might be the manifestation of evil, not the cult to which she once belonged.

When two elderly caregivers Bobbie (Barbara Kingsley) and Bev (Denny Dillon) move in to care for Dorothy, Leanne’s anger deepens. Of course, one of them, it turns out, is a member of the cult who tries to kill Leanne. Julian saves her in the nick of time, but a desperate Dorothy and Sean, finally seeing eye to eye again, recognize how dangerous Leanne is and try to hatch a plan to get rid of her. That’s easier said than done.

I’ve been watching you

Dorothy looking up at something, shocked and terrified expression in Servant.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While fans have long known that Leanne participated in a child beauty pageant Dorothy had covered for the news channel years prior, Dorothy finally sees it with her own eyes. The creepy Uncle George (Boris McGiver) delivers some harrowing supposed truths to Sean and Julian (Rupert Grint) that prompts Dorothy to check her old tapes. As she grabs tape after tape, Dorothy spots Leanne in the background of every segment on the same day each year: the day her mother perished in a fire.

It’s a chilling discovery that only intensifies Dorothy’s desire to be rid of Leanne once and for all. But Dorothy also feels a sense of motherly empathy, perhaps even flattery that Leanne had done so much for Dorothy. Leanne is dangerous, but deep down, she’s just a troubled, lonely young woman. So much so that she ingratiated herself with Dorothy with the promise of bringing her son back to life.

Following a second failed attempt at killing Leanne, this time by Uncle George who winds up dead himself, Leanne commits her most heinous act and almost kills both Sean and Julian. Now, she can be alone with Dorothy and Jericho the way, according to Leanne, it should be.

Dorothy finally snaps out of it

Dorothy slumped on the stairs in her home in Servant.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The over-arching question throughout the entire series has been: when will Dorothy snap out of it and remember what really happened to Jericho? That moment finally comes in the penultimate episode.

The reaction is just as fans imagined. Dorothy is at first confused, but the sincerity in Sean and Julian’s confessions causes the memories to come flooding back. Dorothy screams, cries, and falls to the ground. In one fell swoop, she needs to decide if she’s going to deal with her grief or hope for a second chance with “her son,” who has now turned back into the doll, through Leanne’s promised powers of resurrection.

The most surprising part of the finale is not that Dorothy finally allows herself to grieve, but that she wants to forgive and help Leanne. She reassures the young woman that she is worthy and loved, isn’t responsible for her parents’ death, and deserves to be happy.

But it’s too late. Leanne realizes she’ll never get what she wants. She spreads gasoline throughout the Turner home and lights a match that symbolically falls right beside the doll baby on the couch. She sings, dances, and listens to music in the attic while anxiously waiting for the flames to rise high enough to encapsulate her. They do, and the scene is tragic, explosive, and cathartic.

The final twists

Officer Reyes sits at the table with Sean and Dorothy in a scene from Servant.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The twists, however, keep coming. In the aftermath of the blaze and the suspicious absence of a body, Dorothy learns something shocking about Officer Reyes. Dorothy now remembers the compassionate female officer who shared kind words with her on the day of Jericho’s death. She also returned to the Turner home a second time in an earlier season to search for Leanne. As it turns out, Officer Reyes is actually a member of The Church of Lesser Saints. She wants Dorothy to know that she, and the others, are there for her.

But Dorothy and Sean have no intention of moving back into their home. They’re ready to focus on one another, to finally process the death of their son, and move forward.

Julian, mouth agape in horror in a scene from Servant.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Meanwhile, Julian tries to recover from everything by grabbing a coffee back in town when Officer Reyes approaches him. She reveals who she is and reminds him of the time Leanne restarted his heart when it stopped beating due to a drug overdose. It was for a purpose, she says, for him to do something meaningful with his second chance.

The skeptical Julian blows her off, but when he turns around, he sees the reflection of the painting of a dove across the street in the store window, two wings appearing on either side of him. Either Julian has now become the new fallen angel, absorbing all of Leanne’s powers, he will feel compelled to join The Church of Lesser Saints, or they will forever harass him until he does. And he knows it. The family might be free and clear of Leanne, but they can’t escape the cult’s grasp.

At its core, Servant was about love, loss, obsession, preying on the vulnerable, and the importance of dealing with grief. In many ways, Leanne and Dorothy were more alike than they realized. Neither dealt with their grief in a healthy way and, out of desperation, it brought them together in a toxic, dangerous pairing. In the final moments, they were both finally set free, even if it wasn’t in the way they intended.

Editors' Recommendations

Christine Persaud
Christine has decades of experience in trade and consumer journalism. While she started her career writing exclusively about…
5 questions we have after The Mandalorian season 3 episode 6
Bo-Katan sits next to Baby Yoda in The Mandalorian season 3 episode 6.

Most of episode 6 of The Mandalorian season 3 is dedicated to a side quest. The episode, titled Guns for Hire, sends Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), and Grogu to the opulent planet of Plazir-15, where they hope to convince Bo-Katan’s former Mandalorian followers to rejoin their cause to retake Mandalore. Before they can do so, however, they have to perform a task for the planet’s leaders, a former Imperial officer named Captain Bombardier (Jack Black) and his wife, The Duchess (Lizzo).

As its guest stars suggest, Guns for Hire is a surprisingly silly installment of The Mandalorian. However, that doesn’t mean it didn’t leave us asking a few important questions.
Are there more Mandalorian privateers?

Read more
The Super Mario Bros. Movie’s ending, explained
Mario and Peach walk through a mushroom field in The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

Warning: this article contains major spoilers for The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023).

At the end of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Mario (Chris Pratt) accidentally brings Bowser (Jack Black) and all of his minions to Earth. Desperate to save Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) and the Mushroom Kingdom from one of Bowser’s powerful Bonzai Bill bombs, Mario redirects the missile into one of the magical green pipes that connect all of the film's universes together. Mario doesn’t realize that, in doing so, he momentarily destroys the barriers between worlds.
What happens in the last act of The Super Mario Bros. Movie?
The final act of The Super Mario Bros. Movie takes place in the same Brooklyn neighborhood where Luigi (Charlie Day) and Mario’s family live. Determined to put Bowser’s quest to forcibly marry Peach and conquer the multiverse to an end, Mario faces off against Bowser on the streets of his own home. Unfortunately, even with the help of some of his new friends — namely, Peach, Toad (Keegan-Michael Key), and Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen) — Mario can’t quite get the edge on Bowser.

Read more
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves’ ending, explained
Simon, Doric, Edgin, and Holga stand in an arena in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves follows Edgin (Chris Pine) and his fearsome companion, Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), as they set out to rob a former compatriot named Forge (Hugh Grant) after discovering that he'd betrayed them 2 years prior. In doing so, Edgin and Holga hope to win back the trust and affection of the former's daughter, Kira (Chloe Coleman), who Grant’s Forge has slowly but surely turned against her father with his lies. To pull their plan off, though, Edgin and Holga must team up with Simon (Justice Smith), an insecure sorcerer; Doric (Sophia Lillis), a shape-shifting druid rebel; and Xenk Yendar (Regé-Jean Page), a compassionate and immortal paladin.

While the group faces more than their fair share of obstacles over the course of their journey, they eventually make it back to Forge’s castle and into the very vault where his riches are stored. Unfortunately for them, it turns out that Forge was anticipating their infiltration all along. After capturing the group, he allows his necromancy-obsessed, red wizard companion, Sofina (Daisy Head), to send them into the same arena games they were hoping to sabotage. The group, thankfully, manage to make it out of the games alive.
What is Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves about?
They subsequently ambush Forge at a nearby harbor and proceed to sail away in his ship with not only all of his treasure but also Kira. Onboard the ship, Edgin tells Kira about his plan to use a “Tablet of Reawakening” to bring back her deceased mother (and his former wife), Zia (Georgia Landers). Before they get the chance to live happily ever after, though, Edgin and co. discover Sofina’s plan to unleash a cloud of magic that turns all who are exposed to it into mindless, undying zombies. If she succeeds in doing so, Sofina will greatly further the work of her necromantic mentor and leader, Szass Tam.

Read more