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The 12 Wildest Moments In Peacock's Mrs. Davis

Contains spoilers for Season 1 of "Mrs. Davis"

Based on its title alone, Peacock's "Mrs. Davis" sounds like the type of show that might be about a little old lady — perhaps a nun even — living on, say, a strawberry farm in the southwest and bottling jam. It is that, but it's also so many other things — to try to describe all the genres, tones, and themes it plays around with would make one sound like ChatGPT on hallucinatory drugs. In just eight episodes, "Mrs. Davis" trots the globe, takes on 2000 years of history, and examines the role that faith and technology play in our modern lives. But thankfully, creators Damon Lindelof ("Lost," "The Leftovers") and Tara Hernandez ("The Big Bang Theory," "Young Sheldon") and their team of writers don't take themselves too seriously.

Their story about a nun (Betty Gilpin) who takes on an all-powerful artificial intelligence is as madcap and fast-paced as anything that's ever been on television. So much happens in each hour, and so much of it is noteworthy and important to the plot and character development, that anything short of actually watching the show doesn't do it justice. It all ties together beautifully, meaningfully, and ridiculously in the end. But along the way, "Mrs. Davis" offers up some nonsensical plot twists and visual spectacles that'll keep audiences' heads spinning. Among the shots and gags that didn't make this list: an exploding horse, a firework made of cat excrement, and a gang of fake Nazis with blow darts ... and those are just from the first episode. Truth be told, part of the joy of watching "Mrs. Davis" is trying to keep up and still being thrown for a loop. These are the 12 wildest examples.

The impaled nun

Lindelof and Hernandez wrote the pilot episode of "Mrs. Davis" together, called "Mother of Mercy: The Call of the Horse." Clearly, they didn't want to risk the audience getting bored. The series starts (we think) on Friday, the 13th of October, 1307, in Paris, where suspected Knights Templar are being burned to death via an enormous pyre in the middle of a medieval town square. A young nun recovers a pair of boots from the ashes and returns to the abbey. French troops arrive on the sisters' doorstep, demanding to know if they're aiding and abetting the Knights Templar and asking where the Holy Grail is hidden. The young nuns reveal that the sisters are the real Knights Templar as one cleanly beheads her inquisitor. An absolutely epic sword fight ensues.

By the end of the battle, all but one person — that young nun — is dead or dying. She stashes the Grail, which was but a bowl left on their dinner table, in her pouch and promises her Mother Superior that she'll get it safely across the sea. The entire scene is over-the-top yet self-serious in the way of a gritty period piece. Heads and limbs go flying. Blood spurts everywhere. Half a dozen nuns and knights are run through. But the moment that takes the cake is when one sister, having been impaled through the chest with sword, takes a superhero-like running leap toward her enemy. She fatally stabs him in the face with the blade that's protruding from her own torso.


Mere minutes later, "Mrs. Davis" transports its audience to alternate present-day Reno, Nevada, where a married father is cavorting around the desert with a woman who definitely isn't his wife. They veer off the road to avoid a cow, and the woman is — that's right — beheaded. Two cops arrive at the scene, and after puking from shock, he attempts to bribe them with $11,000 he has stashed back at his hotel room. That's when a mysterious woman arrives on horseback. She appears to under-react to the situation, giving the headless corpse CPR and lamenting that it didn't make it before exposing the scam. 

Worse than con artists, she says — these are rogue magicians. The married father was their mark, and the woman who definitely wasn't his wife was in on it. The cow was nothing more than a sheet of plywood timed to pop up when they drove near. The corpse and the severed head were props, and the cops obviously aren't real cops. Though this scene doesn't outdo the French nunnery in terms of extreme violence, it one-ups it in terms of disorienting weirdness. At this point in "Mrs. Davis," viewers don't really know what the show's about, and the staged accident doesn't really do anything to inform them. It does, however, make for one heck of an entrance for our protagonist, Sister Simone (Betty Gilpin).

The crossbow

In Episode 2 of "Mrs. Davis," we learn that Simone (whose birth name was Elizabeth or Lizzie) grew up with magician parents who used her as an audience plant to pull off their tricks. Monty (David Arquette) is the star of the show, but Celeste (Elizabeth Marvel) is the brains behind the operation. It's clear to everyone, including young Lizzie (Stella Grace Fitzgerald), that their marriage is in serious trouble. They're probably headed for divorce, and if that happens, Monty's act will be all show and no substance.

Celeste's workshop is off-limits, as indicated by a sign on the door that reads "DO NOT ENTER! There will be consequences." Lizzie's father indirectly convinces her to sneak a peek. Still dressed as a wizard from a decidedly disappointing Halloween, she approaches cautiously, twists the handle, and gets a split-second glimpse at her mother's crafting materials before a crossbow dart flies straight into her midsection. Celeste had rigged it to kill intruders; she just assumed that intruder would be her husband, Monty.

Shockingly, while visiting her daughter in the hospital awaiting a liver transplant, this one of many bad mothers in "Mrs. Davis" doesn't demonstrate the slightest bit of remorse. Rather, she's angry at young Lizzie for betraying her confidence and for failing to recognize her father's manipulation. Harsh!

JQ's presentation

Exposition dumps are usually among the least exciting segments of any given film or TV show. Leave it to JQ (Chris Diamantopoulos) to make the closest thing "Mrs. Davis" has to one utterly captivating. Wiley's (Jake McDorman) right-hand man is a riot every time he's on screen. Like Wiley, he distrusts cell phones and breaks one in half after every call, which Simone finds wasteful. Unlike Wiley, he has a passion for BDSM-inspired fashion and is wearing fewer and fewer articles of clothing as the series progresses.

When Simone's ex-boyfriend, Wiley, takes her to his secret resistance headquarters, his associate JQ can't wait to deliver his raw-throated, multiscreen presentation. He hates that people personify the AI even more than Simone does. "No one calls Facebook Doug. No one calls Twitter Mary Lou," he says. Then he compares Mrs. Davis and her claims to have fixed the world to dog poop. As he rages, a stock photo of a dog taking a dump is projected on the wall. "You use it long enough, it gives you wings, right?" Simone asks. "Wrong! It uses you long enough, it gives you strings," he shouts back like a well-practiced edgelord. The grand finale of his debriefing session is a staged rooftop interrogation of some fake Germans they've hired. JQ takes things a little too far and accidentally drops a guy to his death. "He was slippery, man. Slippery," he says in his defense.

All the pianos

Time for the first non-violent entry on our list. "Mrs. Davis" is chock full of moments that are too weird, too wild, and most of all, too insanely specific to ever be predicted. One such moment occurs when Mrs. Davis tries to convince Simone to trust her (or it) over her ex-boyfriend and his dudes with the resistance. Earlier, Simone had crossed paths with a widower who was tirelessly looking for his late wife's piano. He was trying out the one at Simone's old elementary school where a teacher had volunteered to be Mrs. Davis' proxy. After she sits through JQ and Wiley's intense PowerPoint presentation and witnesses a fake German fall to his real death (there's the violence), Simone decides to visit an old haunt from her childhood and grab a quick comfort donut. 

As she's ordering, her old fake parents, Tina (Suzanne Cryer) and Larry (Todd Aaron Brotze), arrive. It's the very spot where they used to drop her off to reunite with her real mom and dad after their shows, so this is no coincidence (nor is anything in "Mrs. Davis"). A gregarious Tina and Larry tell Simone that Mrs. Davis wants to show her something just down the road. That something is a field full of pianos. As Tina proxying for Mrs. Davis says, "Sometimes the best way to find the right piano is to find all the pianos." Sure enough, the widower has found his wife's piano. 

Yes, Jesus

For almost two episodes, the audience doesn't have any reason to think warm, handsome Jay (Andy McQueen) is anything other than a falafel chef with whom Simone carries on some light flirtation. But in one clarifying moment, the pieces of the puzzle come together and the truth is revealed. Jay is Jesus Christ. Like, actual Jesus Christ. And Simone became a nun because she fell in love with him and wanted to marry him. We realize this for certain when Jay asks Simone to repeat what she said when he proposed to her. First she jokes, "I said my dad will pay for the wedding if yours covers the rehearsal dinner." Then, she tears up and mutters, "I said yes. Yes, Jesus." 

There's nothing metaphorical about their relationship. Jesus and Simone embrace, kiss, and have sex once she joins a convent and recites her vows. One of the most daring swings in "Mrs. Davis" is its literal interpretation of the commitment that nuns make to their savior. As we'll soon see, a marriage to Jesus Christ isn't easy or monogamous. Simone's vows to Jesus include a pledge to obey him, which definitely rubs this otherwise progressive former agnostic the wrong way. She also struggles with the fact that the immortal (but trapped in a liminal space falafel shop) son of God has had infinite wives throughout time, including Clara (Mathilde Ollivier). But at least he's not the jealous type. He and the boss give her the okay to be physical with Wiley. 

Fake womb, real Grail

Episode 3, delightfully titled "A Baby with Wings, a Sad Boy with Wings and a Great Helmet," is among the silliest chapters of this aggressively silly series. Just a few of the absurdities that didn't make this list? Wiley's a fake rodeo cowboy with a bad liver who stands to inherit millions of dollars, and his wounded pride compels him to keep his hand on a comically oversized sword longer than everyone, including a Viking cosplayer, at the Excalibattle ... that is, after he's gifted very special athletic shoes by Mrs. Davis and before he gets struck by lightning sent by God. That's because, even though Episode 3 is Wiley-centric, as usual, the craziest thing happens to Simone.

Simone and Wiley are at Excalibattle in the first place because they're looking for Clara, the last woman to have seen the Grail. Wiley concerns himself with Apron Man (Tim McInnerny), who's a participant in the contest, while Simone trails a redheaded woman named Mathilde (Katja Herbers) whom she mistakenly believes is Clara. As Simone watches from what she thinks is a safe distance, she witnesses a disturbing ritual during which a bunch of women in business attire slash open what appears to be a pregnant woman's belly and yank out what appears to be the Holy Grail. We'll learn the even stranger truth soon enough, but at present, a flabbergasted Simone is found out by Mathilde and accidentally knocks her unconscious.

The coolest athletic shoe in the world

There are two big moments involving capitalism in "Mrs. Davis" that throw the reality the show had established into question. The first is when Simone and Wiley receive a VHS tape from the restored Pope (Roberto Mateos) upon which is a recording of the medieval-set opening scene of the series. Simone is as confused as the audience is. As we see the nuns and knights slice and dice each other, her and our first thought is that it must be a movie and that Clara must be an actress. But the truth is even more random. The tape is nothing more than an unaired commercial for British Knights sneakers.

In possession of said tape, the nun and the cowboy track down Arthur Schrodinger (Ben Chaplin), who has marooned himself on his island after having been rescued 10 years prior. He recounts the story of the making of the commercial, which the audience sees play out, this time with full context. Mathilde is a leader among the Sisters of the Coin, the secret organization of women sworn to protect the Grail. Part of their charge is to make the Grail visible to 1% of the world's population every year. It's Mathilde's idea to accomplish this via a commercial, but she's insulted when the Sisters decide to cast Clara — her daughter, with whom she has a frosty, jealousy-prone relationship — in the lead role. During the fraught production of the ad, Clara swaps the real Grail for a fake. But the public never saw the commercial because Mathilde made it without first pitching it to the athletic shoe company.

Clara does whatever it takes

Back to shocking violence. In the second half of Arthur Schrodinger's story, he confesses that Clara was his daughter, too. He'd had an affair with Mathilde, who prioritized her mission to protect the Grail over their relationship. Clara, fed up once and for all with her mother's drama and cruelty, makes off with the Grail and searches for Arthur, not only because he's her long-lost dad but also because he's a scientist with a laser beam that might be able to destroy what Clara believes is a cursed relic.

For 10 years, father and daughter work together to put so much as a crack in the sacred bowl. Science having failed her, Clara decides to drink from the bowl, which is a big no-no according to the Sisters of the Coin's teachings. Arthur worries there might be dire consequences, so he challenges her to a game of rock, paper, scissors. She outwits him and wins the job of drinking from the Grail. Clara takes a sip. At first, nothing happens. Then a drop of blood trickles from her nose. A second later, Clara's pretty head explodes all over the cafe window and her father's glasses. It's so unexpected and grotesque, viewers likely didn't know whether to laugh or scream first. It's also worth noting that, while the show's first two beheadings were hoaxes (one was the BK sneakers commercial, the other was the magicians' dummy), Clara's decapitation is very real.

The Lazarus Shroud

What, exactly, happened to Simone's dad? That's one of the mysteries that "Mrs. Davis" leaves dangling until near the end of the show's run. Throughout the first six episodes, we gather that he died (allegedly) on stage in front of Simone doing a magic trick approximately three years ago. In "Allison Treasures: A Southern California Story," we find out what the magic trick was (though we don't yet know if that's what really killed him). The Lazarus Shroud was a stunt that Celeste feared Monty couldn't execute on his own. But since Mrs. Davis effectively made magicians obsolete by being able to explain their illusions to her users, he's eager to prove his estranged wife and the AI wrong.

The Lazarus Shroud involves Monty putting on what looks like a steampunk deep-sea diving suit and submerging himself in a vat of acid, from which (if he's successful) he'll miraculously escape. As far as Simone knows, the performance goes disastrously wrong. Monty's tether disconnects, leaving open a vent and filling the suit with acid. By the time help finally arrives, Monty's liquified innards spill out in front of a live studio audience. It's so gross, even people who watched at home lost their lunch. As graphic a show as "Mrs. Davis" is, Monty's (alleged) death was apparently too graphic to depict in live-action. The worst of it has been animated as part of a conspiracy theorist-type video that Celeste shows Simone and Wiley in her secret back office.

Mother Mary

Just when you thought "Mrs. Davis" couldn't get any more audacious with its interpretation of Catholic scripture, Simone gets herself eaten by a whale and ends up meeting her mother-in-law, the Virgin Mary (Shohreh Aghdashloo), all while wearing a green goo-covered diving suit. But that's not all, and that's not remotely the most borderline heretical part. By this point in the show, the audience has been taught to expect outrageousness that walks the line between the blasphemous and the actually pretty biblically informed. Though it's never made explicit, Mary is "the boss" in Simone's world ... the one behind the door at the falafel shop.

What's more, the Holy Grail isn't just a cup from which Jesus drank or a bowl that collected his blood, as it's commonly imagined to be. It's the top of his skull, preserved with pitch and amber, and made magical. Mary explains to Simone that because of her selfish actions, Jesus is caught between life and death. He's a living baby in her arms and a corpse covered up by a sheet on a table. There's Schrodinger's cat (which is another thing "Mrs. Davis" makes literal), and then there's Schrodinger's Jesus, alive and not and in two places at once. Alas, Simone only gets a few minutes to visit with Mary, Mother of (and also) God before the whale regurgitates her onto a beach.

Buffalo Wild Wings

The finale cold-opens with a pitch meeting. A slightly nervous young woman (Ashley Romans) is making the case for the software she's invented for a company. With her pitch, she acknowledges that the company isn't a world-changing business, but that doesn't mean it can't change the world. Even if "Mrs. Davis" wasn't as bonkers as it is, audiences could probably guess that this corporate meeting is the origin story for "Mrs. Davis." The young coder is enthusiastic and altruistic about her code, which she says uses ethical practices to incentivize humans to do the type of good for one another they wouldn't do on their own. For a second, the audience might be lured into thinking that Mrs. Davis is actually benevolent ... until we're told it's a beta app for Buffalo Wild Wings.

That's right. The AI that took over the world was a rejected pitch for a fast-casual chain's smartphone application. The clues were there for anyone who wanted to see them. The golden wings are, Simone realizes, literal. The expiration date tattoos are bar codes. The word "Wings" is visible in the background of the pitch meeting. And as Joy, the coder, explains, Mrs. Davis sent Simone on her quest — a quest that resulted in the death of Jesus Christ — because page one of the Buffalo Wild Wings employee handbook stated that 100% customer satisfaction was their Holy Grail. This final reveal is, as Simone puts it, so dumb, but it's a stroke of absurd genius by the show's brilliant creators and writers.