a nun in a blue outfit walking quickly in the tv show mrs. davis

Sophie Kohler/Peacock (CC-BY)

‘Mrs. Davis’ embraces the episodic format—making for a ridiculously fun take on AI

Damon Lindelof’s trademark ponderance of God remains present—despite stepping back as showrunner.

 

Adrienne Hunter

Internet Culture

Posted on Apr 20, 2023   Updated on Apr 19, 2023, 1:58 pm CDT

Sword-wielding nuns, an exploded horse, and exuberant magician swindlers are some of the more grounded elements of Peacock’s new series Mrs. Davis.

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In the first two episodes that premiered at SXSW, Mrs. Davis presents itself as questioning the forces and powers behind the seemingly nonsensical—and exploring these questions in the most ridiculous ways possible.

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Mrs.Davis


Release Date: April 20, 2023
Creators: Tara Hernandez and Damon Lindelof
Streaming: Peacock
A nun faces off with AI in this wacky series.

Central to the series is the chess-game-like rivalry between the relatively-grounded nun Simone (Betty Gilpin) and the series’ titular AI algorithm, Mrs. Davis. What appears to be a rivalry between the two turns into a complicated relationship that will keep audiences consistently puzzled. 

As Simone’s mysterious history leads her to become one of the seemingly-few people who does not trust the AI entity, Mrs. Davis attempts to get her attention at all costs, leading to the start of an absurd and unpredictable quest.

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However, Simone’s motivations and goals become muddled as she finds herself being influenced by a myriad of conflicting parties including the mysterious Jay (Andy McQueen), the matronly nun Mother Superior (Margo Martindale), the ridiculously hyper-masculine resistance group led by Wiley (Jake McDorman) and JQ (Chris Diamantopoulos, a standout comedic performance), and Mrs. Davis herself. 

One of the key strengths of the show comes from the constant subverting of the good/evil binary, consistently pushing viewers to question who they should root for, and what their motivations might truly be. In the first two episodes, it’s a complete mystery who should be cheered on, if anyone at all. 

Jake McDorman (L) as Wiley and Chris Diamantopoulos as JQ in ‘Mrs. Davis.’
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One of the central ways the show does this is by introducing the idea of a malevolent AI—subverting the typical depiction of AI as evil and instead depicting an algorithm that is revered and claims to make every decision with the best outcome for humanity in mind. 

In the center of this wacky ensemble, Gilpin stands out with her sharply dry approach to a nun placed in some of the most ridiculous scenarios imaginable. Gilpin’s dry yet sharp take on Sister Simone makes for a hilarious anchor for this zany series. 

This absurd series is the brainchild of a collaboration between Tara Hernandez and Damon Lindelof. First-time showrunner Hernandez (Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon) helms the immeasurably diverting series. 

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Meanwhile, Lindelof’s trademark ponderance of God remains present—despite stepping back as showrunner—while taking a break from the typical bleakness of his past work (Lost, The Leftovers, Watchmen). The product is a show that fully embraces the zany sense of humor that normally has a prominent yet far more muted presence in his work.

In the first two episodes, Mrs. Davis takes full advantage of the episodic format of television, leading to an initial two episodes of intensely fun and ridiculously absurd television.

The first four episodes of Mrs. Davis are available on Peacock April 20.

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*First Published: Apr 20, 2023, 6:00 am CDT
 

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