I’m a gigantic Damon Lindelof fan. THE LEFTOVERS is easily one of the most overlooked masterpieces of the last ten years. And WATCHMEN is the best TV series comic adaptation of all time. So, it pains me to say that MRS. DAVIS doesn’t earn its “wings” of greatness.
I was fortunate enough to gain access to watch all eight episodes of the new Peacock series. And what I witnessed was absolutely bonkers. This show flirts with a zillion different genres, but the best comparison I have is it’s a bit of PREACHER, MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL, and ORDINARY PEOPLE. It’s a buffet of different genres that only partially work, but I applaud Lindelof and Tara Hernandez for trying.
Because the tonal shifts swing so hard, the story’s emotional core is shaky throughout. Despite the series being all over the emotional and physical map, it has a simple story. If you scrap away the nuns, priests, whales, holy grail, absurd chase sequences, Jay, a whale, and the algorithm, audiences are left with a daughter seeking approval from her parents. And those moments between Celeste (Elizabeth Marvel) and Simone (Betty Gilpin) are the biggest highlight in the series. That relationship works so well, thanks to Betty Gilpin delivering an award-worthy performance that will surely get her more leading roles. The degree of difficulty that she has to pull off in MRS. DAVIS is utterly ridiculous, and she’s able to hit every beat.
Outside of the simplistic plot, technology, and religion are the two main themes. It makes sense that an algorithm that allows people to be happy would take followers away from their faith. And this is where the majority of MRS. DAVIS lives while delving into the two Rs (redemption and resurrection).
Damon Lindelof is “worthy” of dipping his toes into the comedic world. His shows usually have an air of mystery to them, including MRS. DAVIS. Yet, out of all his hits, MRS. DAVIS has the least amount of mystery to unravel. And despite MRS. DAVIS not living up to the SXSW hype, it’s still good enough to recommend with reservations.
At one point, a character in the show states, “Comfort is no reason to ignore reality.” I’m glad Lindelof continues to tell uncomfortable stories through his reality, and I’ll continue to follow him wherever that may lead… even if it’s on a giant fetch quest for the holy grail.
The first four episodes of MRS. DAVIS air on 04/20, with the additional four airing weekly on Peacock.