| Cult of Mac

Servant shakes things up with a séance [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★

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Leanne (played by Nell Tiger Free) in a seance scene from Apple TV+ chiller ★★★★
Just light the candles and let 'er rip!
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewWe’re having a séance this week on Apple TV+ chiller Servant, the wonderfully cracked show about a magical nanny who uses murder and mayhem to maintain her grip on the Philadelphia family who summoned her.

Leanne hates the two new nurses Dorothy hired to look after her during her recovery, but she’s losing her favor with Sean and Julian by acting so suspicious. Sean desperately wants Dorothy to go back to her old self, and is realizing Leanne might be the problem.

It’s a tense and sharply directed episode of the best show on Apple TV+.

Servant unleashes a bed bug blitz [Apple TV+ recap]

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Servant cast members in hazmat suits and gas masks.
Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse ... bed bugs!
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewDorothy is back in the bizarre Turner household this week on Apple TV+ thriller Servant — and she’s not happy to be home. Leanne insists on normalcy, but considering the things that have happened, that’s asking a lot.

To make matters worse, Tobe and Julian are stuck in the house together. Plus, the Turners have a big bug problem, Sean can’t stand up for either Leanne or Dorothy, and Dorothy keeps throwing a monkey wrench in Leanne’s plans.

Echo 3 comes to a miserable, maddening end [Apple TV+ recap] ☆☆☆☆

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Jessica Ann Collins as Amber in a still from Apple TV+ series Echo 3.☆☆☆☆
At least Amber (played by Jessica Ann Collins) made it out alive.

TV+ ReviewEnervating Apple TV+ series Echo 3 comes to a close this week. The show finally springs kidnapped CIA plant Amber from her prison, but there’s a lot more to freedom than no longer seeing the same four walls.

This bizarro, jingoistic wife-guy fantasy comes to a screeching halt with a conclusion preordained from its first incredibly strange seconds. Come for the last gunfight, stay for the most risible attitude toward human life I’ve yet encountered on scripted television.

Servant returns with one hell of a season 4 opener [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★

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The Turners' witchy nanny Leanne (played by Nell Tiger Free) in a still from Apple TV+ psychological thriller ★★★★
It's time for a homecoming as Servant begins its final season.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewServant, the most joyous and unhinged show on Apple TV+, returns for its fourth and final season this week. The saga of the Turner family and their live-in nanny can’t help but disappoint, just because it’s going away. Never mind whether it wraps up its plot threads or not.

A show unbound from ordinary televisual constraints, both dramatically and visually, Servant serves as a vivid representation of its creators’ raging id. As such, its first three seasons became one of the most wonderful pleasures on television. Let’s see how M. Night Shyamalan and Co. are set to send off this family of arch-weirdos.

Apple TV+ Sharper trailer spins a web of secrets and lies

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Veteran actors John Lithgow and Julianne Moore star in the new film.
Veteran actors John Lithgow and Julianne Moore star in the new film.
Photo: Apple

“Sharper” is old slang for a con artist or swindler. And in the trailer Apple TV+ dropped Thursday for its first film of 2023, a “neo-noir thriller” that shares the slang term as a title, it’s not easy to tell the con artist from the conned.

But it looks like it’ll be fun guessing which rich Manhattan people will lose their shirts in the film, starring Julianne Moore and John Lithgow.

It comes out in theaters February 10 and streams February 17, Apple TV+ said.

Black Bird’s prime directive: Giving serial killers the finger

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Paul Walter Hauser playing serial killer Larry Hall in Black Bird on Apple TV+.
Paul Walter Hauser lit up Black Bird with his depiction of suspected serial killer Larry Hall.
Photo: Apple TV+

BOSTON — Before he put pen to paper and gave us violent sagas of lowlife P.I.s and desperate criminals, Dennis Lehane used to deliver flowers to a hospital next door to the Liberty Hotel. Now the novelist, who acted as writer and showrunner for the brilliant Apple TV+ miniseries Black Bird, is sitting here in the Liberty, so named because of its former vocation: a prison.

It’s an appropriate setting. Black Bird tells the true story of Jimmy Keene, a prison informant who risked his life to nail a serial killer. (The series is based on Keene’s autobiographical novel, In With the Devil: A Fallen Hero, a Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption.)

Lehane and his chilling Black Bird star Paul Walter Hauser sat down with Cult of Mac and other journalists recently to discuss their critically acclaimed Apple TV+ show, which is racking up nominations as awards season gets underway. If Black Bird’s outstanding cast and crew receive the recognition they deserve, the show stands a good chance of picking up a handful of awards — and adding to the growing glow of prestige programming on Apple TV+. (Update: Hauser won the Golden Globe on Tuesday night for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Limited Series, Anthology Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.)

In the group interview, Lehane and Hauser talked motivation, working conditions and seeing into the mind of a psychopath, among other things.

For Echo 3, ‘mission accomplished’ means sickening scorched earth [Apple TV+ recap] ☆☆☆☆

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Actor Luke Evans holds a rifle in ☆☆☆☆
Echo 3 was always about military mayhem, but this week's raid is off the charts.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewIt’s finally go time on Echo 3, the Apple TV+ show about rescuing a CIA operative with a brother and a husband in the military. Prince and Bambi have cleared the runway for their secret invasion of the prison where sister/wife Amber is being held captive.

But big questions remain: Can they get in without getting killed? Is Amber actually there? Can they avoid a large-scale incursion with massive casualties? Can they flee the country to safety once they’re done? Is this at all a proportionate response?

Find out on this week’s installment of the most ideologically confused show on Apple TV+.

The Mosquito Coast leaves a trail of bodies in explosive season two finale [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★☆

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Melissa George and Justin Theroux in ★★★★☆
Will we get another season of The Mosquito Coast?
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewApple TV+ thriller The Mosquito Coast kisses its second season — and a number of its characters — goodbye in this week’s show. The season two finale skids into a violent confrontation that leaves many dead, but answers a lot of important questions in the process.

The Fox family — Dina, Charlie, Margot and Allie — is still on the run. And they all know they want different things out of life. Can they work it out in time to escape the repercussions of the sundry terrorist events that have been escalating all season? This frankly shocking episode of The Mosquito Coast looks at all that and more.

Who can you trust on The Mosquito Coast? Basically nobody. [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★☆

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The Mosquito Coast recap. Who's using who?★★★★☆
Who's using who? It's another week of blackmail and backstabbing on The Mosquito Coast.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewDina’s gone on this week’s episode of The Mosquito Coast, the Apple TV+ show about environmental terrorists on the run from Big Brother abroad. She decides to take a walk on the wild side in the company of rich and fatuous tourists and doesn’t exactly love what she sees.

Allie and Margot have to think on their feet if their schemes to buy the other freedom are going to work out. Charlie finally gets the kick out the door he needs — but at what cost? It’s a thought-provoking chapter of the saga of the Fox family.

Echo 3 preps for a bloody jailbreak [Apple TV+ recap] ☆☆☆

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Apple TV+ recap: It's almost ☆☆☆
It's almost "go time" on Echo 3.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewEcho 3, writer Mark Boal’s fundamentalist patriotism slash fic about two men who will stop at nothing to rescue the woman they share, gears up for a very illegal raid on the prison holding her this week.

The two mercenaries tie up loose ends before their mission to save their wife/sister/CIA agent Amber Chesborough Haas. Plus, Amber and Prince’s parents kibbutz about the next best step to take for their kids. And an old foe is finally taken out of commission.