In hindsight, Mrs. Davis is exactly the type of series you would get when combining the talent of television creators Tara Hernandez and Damon Lindelof. Hernandez has long been associated with the Big Bang Theory–verse, writing comedic characters that have entertained audiences over the years. Meanwhile, with series like Lost and Watchmen, Lindelof has created shows that have captivated viewers with their head-turning mysteries. The 2014 series he co-created, The Leftovers, celebrated a refusal to answer its central question, with its Season 2 credit sequence set to Iris DeMent’s “Let the Mystery Be.”
Together, they co-created the new Peacock sci-fi series Mrs. Davis, which synthesizes these elements in a show that truly careens off the road of predictability. Mrs. Davis’ plot ricochets towards its finale with so many off-kilter developments and plot twists that it’s hard to distill it to a simple logline. At its core, the eight-episode first season is about Simone (Betty Gilpin), a faithful nun who is set on a journey to destroy Mrs. Davis, an algorithm that’s ever-present in people’s lives. On her journey, Simone is joined by her ex-lover Wiley (Jake McDorman) and a cast of other quirky characters.
And to say Mrs. Davis is quirky is an understatement. The show is packed with so much stylistic and often funny imagery joyfully stuffed in. In the first episode alone, you see a motorcycle jumping through the hole of a donut sign. This is all while in the middle of a ATV chase with black-clad Germans set to “Joker and the Thief” by Wolfmother, and that’s just the beginning.
The purposeful goofiness of Mrs. Davis is fun, but it would mean nothing if the audience didn’t have characters and performances worth investing in. Gilpin is absolutely fantastic as Simone; she’s funny and witty, human and vulnerable. She’s exactly the type of protagonist you would want to see go up against an algorithm. As Simone searches for answers both profound and silly, Gilpin’s emotions come through her soulful eyes.
When it comes to answers, these come slowly but help flesh out important character dynamics. Over time, we start to learn about Simone’s complicated relationship with Wiley. McDorman plays off of Gilpin charmingly and the two have a playful and flirty dynamic that helps bring a lot of humor to the series. The character work you expect with Hernandez and Lindelof from their other projects is well on display here. You’ll always be grounded by the performances and the character’s feelings no matter how strange things get.
Conjured by two veteran television creators, Mrs. Davis is one of the most unique viewing experiences you’ll have all year. Tara Hernandez and Damon Lindelof joyfully take you off the beaten path, but just know you’re in good hands with this wonderfully weird show.
Mrs. Davis is currently streaming on Crave and CTV Sci-Fi with new episodes airing every Thursday.