M. Night Shyamalan explores guilt through terror with the final season of Servant

For M. Night Shyamalan the supernatural genre is a universe that allows him to be himself and focus on his strengths as a creator. This is why he has enjoyed making the Servant series so much for almost four years, as it led him to explore the fault and the painthrough the inexplicable.

“The approach was so moving, so relatable, and so terrifying on an existential level. What would happen if the worst thing that can happen to a couple happens and they have not accepted it? Pretend forever if there is such an option?

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And he continued: “I wrote that five years ago on a small piece of paper, this show is about acceptance, and that is what our plot represents. Every episode is about not accepting, avoiding all the things we do, story after story.”

The series follows the life of a couple (Lauren Ambrose and Toby Kebbell), after the loss of their newborn due to an accident caused by themselves, after the husband leaves the mother alone at home to fulfill a commitment of worked.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, the mother hires a nanny (Nell Tiger Free) to care for a replacement baby (actually a lifelike doll of a newborn), which the husband agreed to have because the wife did not accept the loss. of his son. The couple did not know that by opening the doors of their house to this young woman, who harbors a dark past, she would put them in danger.

The Oscar nominee for The Sixth Sense, in 1999, noted that the background of the series comes from a documentary he saw, about a man who left his son in the car all day, with a temperature of 110 degrees Fahrenheit. (approximately 43 degrees Celsius).

As he affirms, the supernatural part of the story comes from the fact that it is hard to believe that something like this could happen, and the films and series that he has made throughout his 30-year career have taught him to approach the tragedy in different ways.

In the case of Servant, he made use of the culinary element, since it allowed him to play with pain and the farce in which the characters live. “Since the pilot it became something that never leaves the show, it’s violent, there’s creation and destruction involved.”

“There is a lot of symbolism, of life and death, it ended up being very metaphorical. It is the juxtaposition of minimalism that I approach. There’s a decadence to it, of this family in this fancy house, always throwing these dinners with wine, as if to say ‘everything’s fine, we can talk about it.’”

For actor Toby Kebbell, giving life to a father who has just gone through one of the worst bereavements a person can experience was not an easy task, which is why he watched many documentaries and read a series of articles about people who have caused death. your children to know how to deal with it.

“I played with the character’s double guilt, of having abandoned his wife when she needed it most, and at the same time not believing her capable of having committed such a heinous act,” says the interpreter.

“Parents are forgetful, of course your daughter can put your keys in a shoe, and why would you look for your car keys there. But This was beyond forgetting, it was a terrible tragedy, nothing makes any sense to him. I grabbed from there, because for be (his character) the lie he is telling is ignoring his own guilt.”

Nell Tiger Free highlighted the female role in the series, considering that both her character as the nanny and the mother maintain a bond of trust between them, a fact that makes both characters more aware of what is happening around them and that serves as a guide to the viewer within the story.

“The female experience of the world is very special. We all experience it completely differently, we are all in our own universes, we all exist in our own worlds. When you are a woman and you are presented with these situations, of course you are going to think about it slightly differently than a man”.

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“If you’re in a room alone with a man, your first thought is where the nearest exit is, just in case, or maybe I should cross the street, just in case. We are always more alert and pending to preserve life, because unfortunately that is how the world works ”, he added.

The last season of Servant premieres on January 13, 2023 on the platform AppleTV+.


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M. Night Shyamalan explores guilt through terror with the final season of Servant