In Mrs. Davis, a new series exclusive of the streaming platform Peacock, The Leftovers and Watchmen creator Damon Lindelof continues to reason about faith and technology, arriving at surprising results both stylistically and in terms of content.
Finding the actress in the leading role. Betty Gilpin, already at the center of the beautiful and super-political thriller The Hunt (a movies similar to Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale written by Lindelof and directed by The Leftovers director Craig Zobel released at the beginning of the pandemic and unfortunately largely ignored in Italy), Lindelof returns to the pivotal themes of his work, such as the clash between religion and science and The different conceptions of existence, from determinism to divine predetermination, for the first time, however, veered into distinctly (self-)ironic themes, somewhere between parody, satire and A post-modernist approach to storytelling.
All starting with what the series itself calls ‘the most abused premise of all,’ the search for the Holy Grail.
Mrs Davies and the last Crusade
As a new Indiana Jones operating in a utopian society in which humanity-or rather, most of it-responds to an app slash artificial intelligence known as ‘Mrs. Davies’ and which is basically the technological equivalent of God’s, the series tells the story of Sister Simone, one of the few people openly opposed to the use of this miracle app who one day ends up agreeing to carry out a ‘quest’ entrusted to her by her own insistent digital archenemy: Finding the Holy Grail, the cup of Christ. In return, should Simone succeed in the imprint, Mrs. Davies agrees to deactivate herself forever.
Clearly this is only the premise, and over the course of the episodes. the world created by Damon Lindelof and co-creator Tara Hernandez will only expand: among the absurdism of post-modern literary masterpieces such as ‘Infinite Jest’ or ‘The Rainbow of Gravity, Mrs Davies spazia tra ampie digressioni e trovate tra il genio e la follia that are already cult (whattafffuck, Nanni Moretti would call them), such as the contest for the giant Excalibur the Pope replaced by a double, not to mention the storyline related to the protagonist’s parents (with the legendary David Arquette as her father, a famous magician and conjurer) and the underground storyline of the ‘Resistance, A group of anti-Mrs. Davies rebels who seem to have stepped out of the mind of Thomas Pynchon.
And after having theorized the new afterlife in The Leftovers and bringing God to Earth with HBO’s Watchmen sequel, the clash between faith and reason, the mainstay of Damon Lindelof’s poetics since Lost, in Mrs. Davies is played out on a different level: once again, after the Emmy award-winning superhero series, the author reasons about the concept of free will comparing it to the role of actors within a story, and thus playing on all those paradoxes that are created in a narrative in which the protagonists are convinced that they are inside a great story written for them by someone else.
Amid masterful twists, philosophical queries, and hair-raising absurdities, the newest installment of the Lindelof Cinematic Universe shrugs off expectations, creates new insights time and time again, and carves out an assured place among the best TV series of 2023 (here instead are the best TV Series of 2022).