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Recap: 'Mrs. Davis' Episode 2 doubles down on deception and explains why you can't trust magicians
The second episode of the Peacock series is full of magic and deception.
The second episode of Mrs. Davis opens not in Paris in the early 1300s, but in Reno, Nevada, in 2001, where we’re introduced to Simone when she was a little girl and assisted her magician parents with their act. Simone — or, rather, Lizzie, which explains why Willie was calling her that in the last episode — is a plant in the audience, and she uses sleight of hand to “catch” a Queen of Hearts card, astounding the rubes in the audience. Her fake parents Tina and Larry then drop her off at Mama Donuts before Monty (her dad, played by David Arquette) and Celeste (her mom, played by Elizabeth Marvel) pick her up.
Young Lizzie is quite good at what she does, but her parents have issues. Celeste is the engineer behind the duo’s tricks while Monty is the showman, and Celeste will not let her husband look inside her workshop. One Halloween, Monty breaks down in front of his daughter, saying that he’s worried her mom hates him and that he only wishes he could help improve on her designs if only he could see them. This prompts Lizzie to try to enter her mom’s workshop and she’s promptly shot through the gut with a boobytrapped crossbow. At the hospital, Celeste seems angrier at Monty than she is concerned for her daughter, who is currently awaiting a liver transplant because of the crossbow that she rigged. Turns out Monty didn’t mean it when he was crying, he was simply trying to trick Lizzie into taking a peek for him. To use the magician parlance we learned in the last episode, it’s a classic Force.
When Lizzie met Wiley
Lying in the bed over from Lizzie is a young Wiley, dressed as a cowboy — though he claims he’s a real cowboy. This is how the pair met, but there’s clearly a lot more history between the two that is yet to be revealed, because, oh yeah, we gotta jump back to the present day and deal with the aftermath of Simone accepting Mrs. Davis’ quest to find and destroy the Holy Grail.
There’s a number written on the back of the card Simone got in the last episode (a Queen of Hearts, fittingly), but before she can call it, an old man walks into the kindergarten class. He’s looking for his dead wife’s piano, which got lost when they moved to assisted living. The piano in the class is not the one he’s looking for, and he leaves, seeming kind of annoyed when Simone offers to pray for him. Simone leaves shortly after, but not before swapping outfits with the teacher so that she can give Wiley’s Resistance guys (named JDC and JDF) who are trailing her the slip.
Simone heads back to Jay’s falafel place, but there’s another guy behind the counter, who informs her that Jay is with the boss back behind the mystery door. Simone seems a little flustered by this, but gives the guy a message to pass on to Jay, saying that it’s from “his wife.” Gasp! Sister Simone’s married!?
The next stop for Simone is the Resistance hideout, which she easily finds because Wiley had the water bill in his bike — which Simone still has possession of. The headquarters is in some sort of… hippo meat manufacturer? This might quietly be the most bizarre, most Lindelof-core detail in a show that’s already bonkers. In any case, Wiley takes her inside the headquarters and it’s clear how much their relationship has changed since that first hospital meeting. (“I don’t need you, understand?” says Simone, prompting Wiley to fire back with “I’ve understood that for a long time.” Ouch.)
Meet the Resistance
Inside the headquarters, a bunch of dudes are doing secret headquarters stuff, including monitoring the Germans who abducted Simone last episode. But, Wiley says they’re not actually Germans, but users who are just pretending to be German working on behalf of Mrs. Davis so that Simone would be “pre-motivated” to accept the quest for the Grail since supposedly there was already a rival faction going after it. It’s an info dump, but it’s nothing compared to the PowerPoint presentation that the Resistance’s leader, JQR (Chris Diamantopoulos), gives Simone.
The suspenders-clad Australian explains that nobody knows who created the algorithm’s code or what it really does, because all the claims that it’s ended wars and famine are just lies. JQ says the A.I. is just distracting users by sending them on quests. Do enough of them and they’ll get augmented reality wings, though these wings are basically impossible to get so it offers users a shortcut: Instant wings in exchange for getting a barcode tattooed on them that marks when they’ll have to die. (This must be what the nun was talking about last week.)
JQ also claims that Simone’s quest for the Holy Grail isn’t all that special. These Grail Quests are how the algorithm finds people that it can trust to maintain its servers, wherever those are. It only chose the grail because it’s a cliche, and algorithms love cliches. JQ wants Simone to go along with Mrs. Davis’ quest for the grail, and then when the A.I. tells her where its servers are located, the resistance will blow it to kingdom come. (Wiley is briefly annoyed on Simone’s behalf when JQ’s slideshow features a picture of Simone from three years ago on the night her dad died, but the specifics of his death — and the algorithm’s role in it — remains to be revealed.
They then head to the roof of a laundromat where the Resistance has apprehended some of the Germans, and though Wiley and JQ berate them, they refuse to break character and drop the German accents… until JQ accidentally drops one to his death. That gets the other guy — a community theater owner from Modesto, California — to start talking. He says he was just doing this because Mrs. Davis promised him wings if he did.
Simone, kind of shaken by this whole thing, heads to Mama Donuts, the spot where her fake parents Tina and Larry would drop her off after her parents’ magic act. Speak of the Devil — Tina and Larry show up, having been sent there to pick up Simone on Mrs. Davis’ behalf. (Larry reveals another detail about Monty’s death, that he “went out doing what he loved. In horrible pain, but doing what he loved.”) The three drive to a field full of pianos, presumably all put there on Mrs. Davis’ instructions. The old man from earlier is there, happily playing his wife’s piano. He thanks Simone for praying for him to find the piano, but Simone admits that she forgot to pray. And yet, the man was reunited with his piano. Has technology supplanted faith?
Simone then goes back to the falafel place. This time, Jay is there, and he has flowers for his wife. Jay, slightly reluctantly, agrees to help Simone on her quest to find the Grail and destroy Mrs. Davis. He offers a picture of Clara, the redheaded woman last known to be in possession of the Grail. (Might Clara be a descendant of the redheaded nun from the premiere’s first scene?)
What's up with the falafel place?
After this, Simone gets dropped back off at the donut place and… wait… wait a second… When and where did this conversation take place? Something is not necessarily adding up about Simone’s visits to the falafel joint. In movies and TV, it’s usually safe to assume that a cut from one location to another just means we’re skipping past watching the character travel to point A to point B in real-time. But, what if, in this case, it’s just that: an assumption? Is Simone actually… going anywhere? Consider two other intriguing things that happened at the falafel place. There was a clap of thunder when Simone said “the Holy goddamn Grail.” And, there’s this exchange with Jay:
“You’ve only been out of the convent one day and it’s already got you doubting me. Doubting us,” Jay says before asking Simone why she became a nun.
“Because I fell in love with you,” she says.
“And what did you say when I proposed to you?”
“I said, 'yes,'” Simone says. “Yes, Jesus.”
Perhaps there’s more to this falafel cook than meets the eye, but we’ll have to wait until the next episode to learn more, because Simone and Wiley are headed to the U.K. Simone, feeling reinvigorated, calls Wiley and says she’s in, and that she has a clue to find the Grail. When she dials the number Mrs. Davis had written on that Queen of Hearts, she briefly talks with a British chap wearing an apron, though he quickly sees through her weak attempt to be “Clara” and hands up. It’s enough time for the Resistance to trace the call to London, though, and she’s ready to go on an adventure with Wiley.
But, in yet another twist, it turns out Wiley and the Resistance are lying to Simone, too. Those fake Germans working for the algorithm? A flashback shows that they were actually Resistance members, and the whole thing was staged. Was this the Resistance putting a “force” on Simone to get her to side with them? Are they in cahoots with Mrs. Davis? One thing is for sure: they definitely did not use Play-Doh when they accidentally blew up her horse.