Episode 1 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 5/5
Damien Lindelof seems to have a creative ‘license to kill’ as he is arguably one of the boldest storytellers in the world of television today.
His unique ability to hide the compelling notion of the human condition beneath surreal world-building exercises is elevated to another level in Peacock’s Mrs Davis. Along with Tara Hernandez, Lindelof has mustered another tear-jerker that takes you to the weirdest place you can imagine, both figuratively and literally.
Betty Gilpin and Jake McDorman star as the nun-cowboy pair on a quest to save the world from an omnipotent AI software (called Mrs Davis), while confronting their insecurities along the way.
That is simplifying the plot too much, as you will see for yourself as you watch it unfold in the magnificence of its length and breadth. This wild, heartfelt, absurdist dramedy is for those viewers who scream for originality in this increasingly saturated space. Mrs Davis is bonkers in every way imaginable, so much so, that getting to know it right from the first episode can be a challenge. But if you look closely enough and accept the craziness on the surface, there is a rewarding thematic core that will make you teary.
Mrs Davis creates a dichotomy in everything about itself with an uncompromising sense of irony and grandeur. Its cinematic universe is a scary place to be alive, while also the safe haven we have always dreamt of. The latter, of course, comes with the caveat of submission to a powerful AI software that you cannot see or feel.
The feeling of fear will emerge, even when you have your wits about you, as it’s hard to resist Mrs D’s inviting power. The decisions our characters make define the rest of their journeys within that universe. And every choice they make has a resultant, inescapable consequence.
There is so much to read between the lines in the show’s narrative language. If one separates the outlandish vessel Lindelof and Hernandez choose to tell their story, the residue is very familiar. It is a combination of story elements like family dysfunction, insecurities about self-adequacy, the onset of a technological revolution, and the human urge for making connections. Although the AI aspect of the storytelling is exaggerated, it is meshed intricately with religious beliefs, using spirituality as a springboard to launch an existential dilemma for the viewers.
Today the world faces a very real threat from AI. Hopefully, not the kind where it can mobilize masses to turn to violence and kill each other. But in a more general sense, where it will disrupt our way of life. We have already morphed our state of being with the hallmarks of social media and increasing our digital footprints. This new technology pushes us for further transformation, for better or worse. The idealistic twist on AI by the show is reflected in the words of Joy, its creator, in the final episode. Perhaps that is why Mrs D’s ultimate fate remained undecided in the minds of the viewers and Simone as well.
Other elements are empowered through motifs. It is not just about Simone-Celeste or Mathilde/Arthur-Clara; this dynamic is ubiquitous in Mrs Davis. Wiley’s challenge with a version of himself is never-ending and resonates with characters like JQ and Ziegler, who take similar strides. The universality of the themes is easily realized as you watch upcoming episodes. The messaging is experimental but highly effective. These are serious themes, mind you. But we are not allowed to feel the depth of emotions behind them due to the hilarious and bizarre exterior of Mrs Davis.
This is just about the most original plotting one could find on television. There is hardly any correlation between one part of the plot to the other, marking the multivariate jumps in tone and setting. Right from the Excalibur festival to the Sisters of the Coin, Mrs Davis goes as far as the human imagination can take them. One must go into the show expecting the unexpected as far as the story goes. Without judgment or feeling the need to settle down on its flow, enjoy them as independent set pieces that all say the same thing in a different way.
Mrs Davis houses a carousel of easy-to-understand emotions in a not-so-easy-to-understand fashion. It is a happening mix of plausibility and implausibility that is bold, crisp, confusing, and deceitfully intimate. But that mustn’t deter viewers from enjoying the creative life force of unique voices who constantly push the boundaries of what could be possible. Mrs Davis has etched itself in the annals of our memories as a timeless cultural phenomenon that must be protected at all costs.
Verdict - 8.5/10