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Mrs. Davis Showrunner Explains End of the Resistance, That Wild Mary Reveal For Jay

Ms. Davis co-creator Tara Hernandez reveals the origin of The Resistance, Mother Mary and that "Electric Avenue" needle drop.

By Tara Bennett
(l-r) Chris Diamantopoulos as JQ, Jake McDorman as Wiley in Mrs. Davis Season 1 Episode 7

It's penultimate episode time for Mrs. Davis and Episode 7, “Great Gatsby 2001: A Space Odyssey,” finds Simone and Wylie at a crossroads in their journey to retrieve the Holy Grail. Simone dons The Lazarus Shroud to go into the belly of the whale and ends up having a very deep conversation with her mother-in-law, while Wiley determines he has to sacrifice the mission of The Resistance to ultimately save his commune of himbo lunkheads. 

RELATED: Peacock Submits Genre-Bending Mrs. Davis as Limited/Anthology Series for 2023 Emmy Awards

For our exclusive weekly Mrs. Davis post mortem, co-creator Tara Hernandez returns to unpack the show's use of The Resistance, the fearless comedic performance of actor Chris Diamantopoulos as JQ, Shohreh Aghdashloo going full Mother Mary and the show forever reframing the song "Electric Avenue" by Eddy Grant. 

(l-r) Betty Gilpin as Simone, Jake McDorman as Wiley in Mrs. Davis Season 1 Episode 7

** SPOILER WARNING! Spoilers below for Mrs. Davis Episode 7**

The Tyler Durdins

(l-r) Jake McDorman as Wiley, Chris Diamantopoulos as JQ in Mrs. Davis Season 1 Episode 7

The Resistance runs out of runway this episode as Wiley makes the very grown-up call to end its mission as his kill date comes calling. Talk about what you were exploring through these endearing dopes trying to save the world?

Tara Hernandez, Co-creator: It was an incredibly raw, flashpoint in the room, and something we were very interested in exploring. We were presenting Mrs. Davis as this benevolent algorithm that cares about equality, equity and activating people in philanthropic efforts that are going to bring a more even playing field. She's going to be able to give wings and she's going to be able to give people status. We were looking at that [concept] certainly not going over well for those known to already have status in society. We just knew that was a natural place for a Resistance to blossom. And of course, we were big fans of Fight Club and looking at toxic masculinity in its manifestations. Behind the scenes — we don't [say] it on camera — but we always referred to our Resistance as naming themselves after Tyler Durden. [Laughs.] It's not on screen, but it was our working understanding of like, "Who are these men going to hold up as their ideal of masculinity?" 

So, The Resistance is essentially a mutual mourning group lamenting what they had?

Yeah, Wylie was heartbroken and in his heartbreak, he submitted for wings and he was given an unfair date. We learn from JQ's story that he was put out of his life's work/passion by the algorithm teaching everyone poker. They have these grievances that feel very personal, but I think it's all fear based. It's the new recalibration of society with the algorithms in it. But of course, they're all just gonna say they're saving humanity as all Resistance movements believe they're doing. [Laughs.]

"Mite Me"

Chris Diamantopoulos as JQ talks on the phone shirtless in Mrs. Davis

Was the JQ character always written that way or did Chris Diamantopoulos' take really flesh him out?

TH: I'm a huge Chris Diamantopoulos fan. We were writing the character of JQ, who we knew in addition to Wylie was going to be the co-runner of The Resistance movement. He was this amalgamation of people and he just became this larger than life character. My husband, who is a producer on the show, from the jump said, "Chris Diamantopoulos. He's that guy. I know it." He had pinned him early on, even in the initial generation of the character. Chris was always front of mind. 

What was Chris' audition like?

He's incredibly versatile, so he came in and gave us a really great audition. His approach to JQ was really authentically masculine and intense. But there was some extra layer to it where we were just like, "There needs to be some additional element." On this particular Zoom audition we were doing, it was myself, [director] Alethea (Davis), and Damon (Lindelof). I happened to text Damon and say, "I wish he was doing an Australian accent." It was just an aside thing, like, "Wouldn't that be interesting?" And Damon took that and brought it into the audition, and says to Chris, "Hey, can you do it with an accent?" Little did we know that Chris is this incredible voice actor. He goes into asking, "Do you want Russell Crowe doing his Oscar's acceptance speech? Or, do you want Chris Hemsworth doing his faux British Thor?" He had us rolling. [Laughs]. For an actor to just hit it in an audition like that, it was like the character was born in that moment. We're incredibly lucky to have him and that he was so malleable to us. He's a legend.

He should win all the awards for screaming 'Mite me!' as he jumps out of that plane.

That's an Alethea and Chris ad-lib. [Laughs.]

Mother Mary Comes to Me...

Betty Gilpin as Simone in Mrs. Davis Season 1 Episode 7

The show goes incredibly literal with Mary appearing to Simone and explaining how to destroy the Grail. Talk about creating that moment and casting Shohreh Aghdashloo to play her.

TH: Like most things in the room, it all comes from the conversation. Damon and I had written the Pilot together and established the falafel restaurant having the "Employees Only" door; the forbidden space. And with the references to the boss, of course we believed people were going to assume that once we make the Jay reveal of being Jesus Christ that the boss clearly is going to be his dad. We're conditioned to believe in patriarchy. But Damon was very clear that the boss was Jay's mom. He's much more interested that this is a show about mother and child dynamics, so let's explore that one. It felt so right to the story we were telling. 

And yes, we play Mary almost iconically down the middle, and took as literal as a representation of the Biblical figure as you could. Of course, you bring in this amazing actor, like Shoreh and she plays it with the gravitas that you hope for. Knowing that this role was going to be responsible for delivering an enormous amount exposition — and give us our backstory on the Grail and what Simone must do to destroy it — it had to be couched in real emotion and heart. We had another yet another mother on the show who felt responsible for her child's pain, so we were kind of completing our holy trinity in Celeste, Matilda, and the Virgin Mary.

Going Down Electric Avenue

The episode ends with Simone washing up on shore with Mrs. Davis prompting the beachgoers to sing "Electric Avenue" at her. It's haunting and creepy, but was that always your song selection?

TH: Shockingly, we did our research on this.There weren't a lot of songs which just have a very clear street name in it. We knew it was going to be a significant piece of information for Simone that she was gonna have to be able to make the deduction based on all the glitches that she's received, and make it to an address. We explored around but "Electric Avenue" is just so clear and so weird that it is pretty fully baked. But we did our due diligence as the writers' room often does to make sure that we were not missing something. It was the clear winner. 

Episodes 1-7 of Mrs. Davis are now streaming on Peacock