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Recap: 'Mrs. Davis' Episode 3 features a giant sword and a huge revelation for Wiley
Jesus Chris, what a twist!
At first, it looks like Episode 3 is flashing back to Medieval Times again, like the series premiere’s 1300s opening. However, the black-and-white footage of two Vikings, one of whom appears to be Wiley, is more of a red herring. It will be explained by the end of the episode, but first, we need to go back to 7 years ago when Simone (who was still going by the name Lizzie) and Wiley were happily in love ... until everything changes.
It’s Preston John Willie III’s 25th birthday, and he is set to inherit his wealthy grandfather’s estate. However, he and Lizzie want to turn down the $712 million and instead take only $85,000 to buy a cabin in Alaska. Lizzie gives Wiley advice for how to convince the businessmen that he’s rejecting his inheritance, but they needn’t have worried about it. The suits don’t really care what Wiley’s about to do. Just then, an old cowboy named Bo shows up to reveal some information that’s going to rock Wiley’s world.
What have we learned about Wiley?
Bo explains that Wiley was born with a busted liver, and there was a good chance he wouldn’t make it to 25, the age at which he’d inherit millions. So, his parents hired Bo, who got Wiley into the Jr. rodeo circuit, all with the intention of getting him injured in a bull-riding contest so that he could jump the line and get a liver transplant. This is why he was in the hospital that day with Simone/Lizzie (the two actually share a liver). Bo wants Wiley to know the truth, that he never actually earned those ribbons and medals he “won” as a Jr. rodeo championship — this foundational aspect of who he is was a lie.
“Ain’t nothing worse than a cowboy who ain’t worthy of his boots,” Bo says, shortly before learning that Wiley was turning down the inheritance and therefore there wasn’t really much reason to dump all this on him. “My bad.”
Shaken, Wiley decides to enter what is literally his first (non-rigged) rodeo and ride Jezebull, an especially dangerous bull. Lizzie is freaked out, not understanding why Wiley has to do this. The outcome of this important ride will have to wait, though, because we’re back in present day, and Simone and Wiley are trailing Apron Man on a train headed to Scotland. They’re headed to Exalibattle, an event that happens four times a century around a giant sword that’s sticking out of the ground. Everybody cosplays like King Arthur — it’s a perfect setting for Holy Grail stuff, in other words.
Mrs. Davis — who goes by “Mum” in the U.K. — speaks with Simone via an old lady, giving Simone a gift for Wiley. The A.I. also lets slip that Celeste, Simone’s mom, is on board this very train. Simone heads to confront her mom along with Wiley, and she bumps into a priest while heading to the dining car. It’s a brief but weird encounter.
Mother and daughter are not on especially good terms, it would seem. Celeste, who now runs the most successful security firm in the United States, was following Simone because she is convinced that Monty actually faked his death and that Simone is helping her dad stay under the radar. Simone says Monty died right in front of her and that Celeste needs to move on. Celeste doesn’t believe her daughter but says she’ll leave because there’s no way that Simone would lead her to Monty now that she knows she’s here.
What is the Excalibattle?
Eventually, Simone and Wiley arrive at Excalibattle, which seems kinda fun. The pair spy Apron Man talking to a redheaded woman they assume is Clara, and Wiley says he’ll join the contest to track Apron Man while Simone goes after Clara. It’s pretty clear that Wiley’s bigger motivation here is that he wants to win Excalibattle, which turns out to be an endurance contest in the style of Hands on a Hardbody: Every contestant must put on a helmet, place their hand on the giant sword, and be the last person standing. The announcer proclaims the contest is “for any man who has failed, fallen short, or disappointed, now is your chance of redemption. You can, at last, learn the truth: Are you worthy?!” Based on Bo’s revelation about his phony rodeo career, it’s not too hard to see why Wiley’s interested.
While Wiley is trying to prove his worth, Simone is having her own adventure tracking Clara — an adventure that we mostly don’t see, just hear about when she talks to Wiley via two tin cans connected by a string. She tracked Clara, a banker, back to her hotel, where she discovered that she had checked in under the name Matilda. (Simone first says she checked in under “Celeste,” which was not a Freudian slip, by the way. Clearly, she’s working through some stuff about her mom.) All of Wiley and Simone’s little conversations in this episode are extremely funny, and Betty Gilpin in particular is doing some great face comedy.
Some 16 hours pass, and Wiley’s still on the sword while Simone comes back with an update. She picked the lock to get into Clara’s room where she discovered a wetsuit. Clara is planning on going somewhere wet. She also has that gift that Mrs. Davis gave her for Wiley, a pair of shoes that would probably be really helpful after standing up for almost a full day, Wiley rejects them, at first, but after 24 hours he decides to pop the sneakers on, then he fields another tin can call from that creepy German priest, who asks where he got the shoes. Wiley doesn’t answer.
Now loopy after 24 hours on the sword, the Apron Man is a lot more loose-lipped than he was earlier. Wiley gets him talking, and Apron Man reveals that he’s been removed from his position, and he views Excalibattle as a chance to get back in Clara’s good graces. He reveals the name of the loch where his associates will be, accidentally disqualifying himself in the process. Simone, who has figured out that they’re transferring the Grail, heads to the loch to intercept but Wiley says he’s staying to the end.
Finally, we get to see what Simone’s actually been up to instead of just hearing about it. She tracked Clara to the loch, and a bunch of other apron-clad men are doing some sort of ritual. They cut into a woman’s fake pregnant belly, removing what appears to be the Holy Grail, as seen in the first episode. But, Clara spots Simone, and pulls a knife on her. It turns out Clara isn’t actually Clara, as she thinks that Simone is Clara. Before we can get more answers, though, Simone escapes, accidentally knocking her out cold and making a hasty retreat back to Excalibattle.
It’s been 40 hours, and only Wiley and the bull-looking man are left. This is the sequence we saw at the start of the episode. Neither will yield, but Simone charges up to the sword when she discovers that Wiley has wings — the status symbol that you get from doing a lot of quests for Mrs. Davis. Why does Wiley, who is supposedly out to destroy the algorithm, have wings? He didn’t earn them, he reveals. He got a barcode tattooed on him, trading an expiration date for automatic wings because he wanted people to look at him and see that he mattered. He wanted to be worthy of his boots. It all goes back to Jezebull. Wiley bailed the second the gate opened, and the entire crowd mocked and booed him for being a coward. It was at this moment, Wiley said, that he saw in Simone’s eyes that she no longer loved him. Turns out, the truth is much more complicated — and confirms a theory from the last episode.
Simone knew that Wiley was almost certainly going to get hurt or even die if he rode that bull, so with no other options, she prayed for the first time. Suddenly, she found herself in the falafel restaurant and she fell in love at first sight upon seeing Jay — who is, of course, Jesus Christ himself.
“You didn’t get off that bull because you were a coward, you got off because I asked Him to save you and He did,” Simone says. It’s a pretty major reveal that dramatically ups the stakes of Mrs. Davis’ battle between religion and science — not to mention how it changes Wiley and Simone’s relationship.
Wiley is, understandably, incredulous. He keeps saying “goddamn,” something we know from the previous episode is a bit of a no-no, and his blasphemy summons down a lightning strike that ends the Excalibattle. Wiley survives the smiting, but he’s not out of the woods yet — that creepy German priest kidnaps him, loads him in a fake ambulance, and gasses him, once more asking about the shoes he got from Mrs. Davis. The Germans in the previous two episodes were working for the Resistance — is there an actual German faction? How many sides are there in this show? Here’s praying that we’ll learn more.