Mrs. Davis Pits a Nun vs. a God-like AI: “How Close Are We to AI Saying It’s Jesus?”

Suffice it to say Mrs. Davis is an ambitious and, at times, confusing television endeavor. Thankfully one of its creators, Damon Lindelof (Lost, Watchmen), has a simple enough elevator pitch: “Nun vs. A.I.: Who ya got?”

As Peacock’s promotional material for its show is careful to note, the nun in question is not Mrs. Davis but rather Sister Simone (Gilpin). Plagued by a (literally) painful childhood, Simone donned the nun’s habit to live a life of quiet contemplation—honoring God and making jam preserves with her convent in the western American desert. While Simone secluded herself from society, humanity found itself a new Siri or Alexa-like artificial intelligence to fall in love with. 

The algorithmic entity, known by the matronly moniker “Mrs. Davis,” claims to have solved all of humanity’s problems. War is over, everyone is fed, and all that’s left is to settle into a lifetime of rest and relaxation… provided you keep your eye on your phone to learn of Mrs. Davis’s next “quest” that could earn you your “wings.”

For as high-concept as that Deus v. Machina premise already sounds, that’s only scratching the surface of the madness Mrs. Davis has in store for viewers. The series’ first two episodes incorporate enormous twists seemingly every minute, Las Vegas showman-style magic (Teller of Penn & Teller served as a consultant on the show), and even an unexpected Western-meets-slapstick tone.

“It’s ‘No Country for Old Looney Tunes’ in the best way,” Gilpin says. 

Through it all, however, is the central theme of science vs. faith. Faith has been a consistent presence through Lindelof’s previous acclaimed television work like Lost, The Leftovers, and Watchmen. But never has it loomed so large as it does here. Part of that is undoubtedly due to the changing techno-sociological landscape.

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