Mrs. Davis S1E4 Recap and Analysis: A Side Quest

“Beautiful Things That Come with Madness”

Mrs. Davis S1E4 - Sister Simone stands straight in an elevator with a pigeon on her head

The following contains spoilers for Mrs. Davis S1E4, “Beautiful Things That Come with Madness” (story by  Noelle Viñas, teleplay by Jonny Sun, and directed by Alethea Jones)

Welcome, dear reader, as we continue to review the Peacock series Mrs. Davis with Episode 4, “Beautiful Things That Come with Madness.” I complained a bit in Episode 2 that the initial drop for the series should have stopped at the end of that episode. In any other series, it would have made a natural stopping point with that satisfying but foreseeable twist at the end.

Now though, we can see maybe why they wanted to get to this fourth episode right away. There is a certain full-circle quality to starting Episode 1 with the Knights Templar and returning to that scene at the end of this episode. However, there was nothing foreseeable about this twist. This show is really turning out to be a fun ride.

Mrs. Davis S1E4 - Jay and Simone lie in bed, fully clothed, looking into each other's eyes
The other proposal

Then Let’s Get Married

We start out the episode with our customary flashback sequence, this time covering how Lizzie became Sister Simone. There are a few weird things that happen during all of this. For one, Jesus says, “it’s been a long time since anybody thought about me.” This seems highly improbable. After all, Lizzie is checking into a convent full of nuns who, if they are anything like her, love Jesus with all their heart. During Lizzie’s awkward plea to be married to Jesus, there’s a definite sense that Mother Superior sees something of herself in this young woman.

The bigger issue though is that all of this directly contradicts the narrative about how Lizzie and Jay were married, as established by Jesus himself in Episode 2. In that version, he proposed to her. Here, she proposes to him. This is not a life event that one typically gets mixed up, it’s pretty straight forwardly one way or the other. Given previous shenanigans (that I pointed out in Episode 3), these versions probably also happened at different times. Timeline #1: He proposed to her 10 years ago. Timeline #2: She proposed to him 7 years ago. Hmm.

Mrs. Davis S1E4 - Zoom in on the Maria's Bakery box held in Simone's hands
Mission (almost) accomplished

Feeling Many Things

Back in present day, Simone in closing in on Mathilde LaFleur at the hospital when Jay distracts her with a messenger dove. Blocked by the women in business suits anyway, she ducks out and takes the call. Jay makes like he just wanted to see her, but then gets around to the real reason for his interruption. He wants her to drop everything and bring a cake to the Pope, in Rome, at sundown the next day. If she says no, no big deal, she’s just breaking her vows. Simone, feeling many things, agrees because it is important to her husband.

In Rome, Simone finds “Maria’s Famous Original Bakery,” which luckily is different from the neighboring “Original Maria Famous Bakery” that burned down yesterday. (Coincidence? Yeah, right—but what are we to make of it?) Simone trusts herself—dare I say she uses the Force?—and selects the King Cake. Maria insists on knowing who it is for, and when she finds out it is for the Pope, she pulverizes her creation. After calming down, she agrees to make a new one…for one million euro.

Mrs. Davis S1E4 - A crowd of people swarm Simone, everyone putting money in a bag she is holding
One million Euros

Errand Girl

This lines up an opportunity for Mrs. Davis to once again demonstrate her enormous potential to bring humanity together for a good cause. Hundreds of people swarm Simone, donating a few euros each, until she has 40+ garbage bags full of money. Just to make Simone happy and content.

That feeling doesn’t last very long, however. While Maria is making the replacement cake, she happens to mention that almost every day this week the Pope has sent his errand girls looking for the cake. Nuns, like Simone. When she gets to the west gate of the Vatican and the guard starts scrolling through pages and pages of names, Simone finally cracks. The Pope does not get Maria’s cake!

Mrs. Davis S1E4 - Wiley, lit from above, in his cell, making Italian hand gestures to someone off screen
That’s Italian!

Madonna Sent Me

Earlier, while leaving the hospital in Scotland, Simone got a call on Wiley’s boot phone, a.k.a. Concealed Footwear Communicator. She calmly relayed to JQ that Wiley was kidnapped by a phony ambulance, shrugging it off as the Algorithm algorithming. JQ takes it very seriously however, and the bro hive kicks into high gear to find their boy.

Wiley also is treating his dungeon incarceration as a big show put on by the Algorithm to try to break him. The evil rogue priest, enigmatic fellow prisoner and fake-ass cardinals are all just a little too on point for him.

Even though he doesn’t believe for a second that his fellow prisoner is the actual Pope, Wiley can’t help himself asking what Jesus is like. To his surprise, the Pope tells him the story of how Jesus gave him the finger—not that one—and made him wait while he talked to none other than Clara. Small world.

Mrs. Davis S1E4 - JQ stands in an airplane jump door yelling back "'Mite me!"
JQ to the rescue

Liberation Imminent

When an opportunity to escape opens up, Wiley initially frees the Pope but insists on staying where he is. We find out his expiration date is in just eight days. This is why he’s so certain Madonna wants to hurt him.

Meanwhile, JQ’s ninjas arrive at the black ops site to save Wiley’s “sweet cheeks.” They take out the guards and fan out to find their boy. The crew finds a trap door buried in the floor at the same moment Wiley and the Pope run into a dead end with a trap door in the ceiling. To no one’s surprise, these are two completely different locations. JQ stomps his way into an underground warehouse full of sneakers. British Knight sneakers, of course.

Wiley and the Pope pop up out of a fountain in the Vatican. The actual Vatican—where else would they be? Chaos erupts around them with the fake Pope exposed and hauled away. As Father Ziegler sneaks away, Wiley stumbles through the crowd trying to come to terms with the fact that all of this was real after all.

Mrs. Davis S1E4 - The Pope looks over at Wiley, slightly offscreen, smiling at him
Where else would we be?


Meanwhile, Simone is coming to terms with her relationship with Jay. As she chokes on baby Jesus in the real world, she’s transported to confront adult Jesus at the diner. Here, she coughs up everything that he’s ever fed her, including the picture of Clara. A picture that she now realizes was hand-drawn by Jay, even though he had made out like he didn’t really know Clara.

She wakes up in the Vatican hospital with Wiley watching over her. Considering the venue, Wiley confesses that the fake Germans were actually working for him, something Simone had already worked out for herself earlier. As the Pope had been pointing out to him throughout their imprisonment, Wiley had been in pain and just wanted to be around her again.

For his part, The Pope is very excited to talk to Simone. He explains that since he was a niñito, he used to put King Cake on the altar for Jesus, but never knew if He got them. Simone now understands. Jay was making a peace offering through her. Not necessarily to draw the Pope away from Mrs. Davis, but at least to heal this wound left between them. His own form of confession, hoping for Felipe’s forgiveness.

Mrs. Davis S1E4 - Zoom in on a TV, zoomed in on Clara holding the Grail cradled in her hands
The Holy Grail appears

Wait For It

And then we get to the tape. The tape Madonna sent the Pope to find in Father Ziegler’s office. The act that got him imprisoned. This is the same footage we saw at the beginning of Episode 1, except now we get to see the whole thing. This was not a historical event; it was a freaking shoe commercial! Clara is not hundreds of years old from drinking from the Grail. She’s a real person in the present day, possibly just an actor.

After the commercial, Clara has a mystery man in the BK sneakers point the camera at her and she addresses Father Ziegler directly. She tells him she is in possession of what he has spent his lifetime trying to get his hands on. She implies he made the commercial we just saw and links it to the underground warehouse full of shoes that JQ found. She warns him that this tape goes everywhere, exposing him, if she even catches a whiff of him trying to find her.

As if that were not mind-blowing enough, then Schrodinger’s cat hops up on the desk behind her and she pulls out the Holy Grail, cradling it like a baby. I think Simone sums it up nicely for all of us.

Mrs. Davis S1E4 - The living Madonna stares at her cell phone with a bit of a shocked look
Madonna does a double-take

Quick Takes

A couple of quick takes on the rest of the episode and other tangentially related things:

  • Once again, this episode starts out with a “previously on” segment, same as Episode 3.
  • This may be a silly aside, but Mrs. Davis is the name of Andy and Molly’s mom in Toy Story. Something to ponder?
  • The initial flashback is set “7 years ago,” once again placing Lizzie’s taking up the habit at 7 years before present day (Wiley’s 25th birthday), not 10 years before present day (per dialogue with Mrs. Davis and Celeste).
  • The Faro Shuffle (which young Lizzie mastered in under a week) is a real thing, in which the dealer divides the deck into two equal portions and perfectly interlaces them in the shuffle. It can be used by magicians to move a top card into a specific position in the deck.
  • Her full name is Elizabeth Danger Abbott. That definitely came from Monty, not Celeste. Like Austin Powers, “Danger” is her middle name. Yeah, baby.
  • Notable that Simone pauses on “obedience” during her vows.
  • Simone is also assuming the Boss is God, and that he and Jay are “in this thing together, the whole ‘trinity’ deal.” Jay neither confirms nor denies this, though he makes the point that the Boss sent her on the mission, not him. Personally, I’m still hedging my bets.
  • “Now” doesn’t really work the same way for Jesus as it does for Simone. Interesting.
  • Simone left her bag right by Mathilde’s room the whole time she was talking with Jay. It could have easily been tampered with by the women in pantsuits. Something to keep in mind.
  • The Pope has been replaced by a doppleganger. Another Twin Peaks reference?
  • Wiley’s boot phone ring tone is “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner.
  • Of course JQ thinks Jason Borne is a legend, his name starts with “J.”
  • Kind of humorous that JQ considered the way they onboarded Simone as being “with minimal exposition,” when they key aspect was his presentation full of nothing but exposition.
  • JQ didn’t say the Algorithm doesn’t do kidnappings, he said algorithms (plural) don’t do kidnappings. Is there more than one AI?
  • I thought it weird that Episode 1 ended with Simone asking the Algorithm “What should I call you?” Though now we are finding out that It does in fact have many names. “Mrs. Davis” in the U.S. “Mum” in the U.K, and now “Madonna” in Italy. Still, it was a weird question to ask.
  • Even though Mrs. Davis feels that people think of her like a kindergarten teacher, two of those three names invoke images of mothers. Because everybody loves their kindergarten teacher, but what they really need is a mom who won’t fail them.
  • JQ calls the Algorithm “the Big D” (as in Mrs. Davis). Which is maybe a tad strange given his rant about not giving It a name.
  • A King Cake is a real thing with a lot of symbolic meanings associated, and it sounds delicious.
  • It appears that Mrs. Davis accepts responsibility for Monty’s death. Looking forward to seeing just how that played out.
Mrs. Davis S1E4 - Sister Simone stands in a field smiling and holding her cross necklace in her hand
The hills are alive…
  • With the Pope and Clara having visited Jay in the diner, we’ve apparently established that it’s a real place. At least, not just a mind palace that exists only in Simone’s head.
  • Along the same lines, Jay wrote down the name of the bakery for Simone in the diner, and later she has that same piece of paper in her hand when she finds the bakery. In the real world.
  • The Pope assumes Wiley was sent to rescue him, but was he? It would seem Father Ziegler was following the Apron Man, same as Wiley and Simone. Then Mrs. Davis gifted Wiley with the shoes that got Ziegler’s attention, prompting him to kidnap Wiley and bring him back to the Vatican for interrogation. Could Mrs. Davis have anticipated all of that? Or would it take a supernatural level of foresight? Is there a difference?
  • Wiley’s verbal captcha is “Streetlight. Crosswalk. Zebra. Harbinger. Keanu. Train track.” Yeah, I can’t make anything of that.
  • Simone and Wiley have some interesting parallels in their separate side quest adventures. Both meet someone who wanted to become the Pope all their life. They both find out about Jay’s “ladies man” status.
  • Maria’s logo, as seen both over the shop and on the box Simone carries to the Vatican, says “Il Famoso Forno di Maria L’autentico.” That translates to “The Famous Oven of Mary the Authentic.” The name over the burnt-out bakery next door says “Il Forno di Maria L’autentico,” almost exactly the same but missing the “famous” part. Weirdly, the helpful window cleaner looks directly at those words over both shops and translates something entirely different, for both names.
  • Wiley finally caves in and joins the escape plan after the Pope feeds him probably the most cliché line of the episode, “The truth shall set you free.” Small wonder he thought this whole thing was just the Algorithm algorithming.
  • When Simone confronts Jay, she makes the same pause on “servant” that she did on “obedience” while reciting her vows earlier in the episode.
  • Nice echoing of dialogue when Simone wakes up in the Vatican hospital and says “I’m dead,” and Wiley replies “no such luck.” Though he was nicer and left out the “idiot” part.
  • There seem to be two different stories regarding the discovery of the tape. In the first version, the Pope says that Madonna sent him “to find a tape in one of the offices of the Vatican and upload it to Padre Ziegler’s office.” In the other, Ziegler says the Pope “saw fit to descend from your golden throne and step into my office, only to steal from it!” So did the Pope plant the tape in Ziegler’s office or steal the tape from Ziegler’s office?
  • Since Mrs. Davis keeps glitching any time Simone mentions the word “mother,” should we at least consider the idea that It is somehow the creation of Celeste? She runs “the most successful security firm in the Western United States.” Maybe that’s because she has the services of Mrs. Davis at her disposal?
  • I may be slow on the uptake here, but I only just now noticed the “A” and “I” in the “Mrs. Davis” promo logo are glowing, so that AI can be read into the name. Nice.
  • The Hollywood Reporter has a great interview piece with Betty Gilpin (Sister Simone), Damon Lindelof and Tara Hernandez, discussing these first four episodes and giving a lot of fun behind the scenes tidbits.
  • One final rewatch post from u/tdciago on r/MrsDavisTVSeries. Always recommended reading.
Mrs. Davis S1E4 - JQ lays on a pile of shoe boxes, shining a flashlight around at stacked shoe boxes everywhere
F***ing sneakers!

Best lines of the episodes:

  • “They’re a little old-fashioned, no?” “Well, I am two thousand years old, so…”
  • “Oh, my.”
  • “Alas, no. But if’n I did see such lassies, I’d surmise that they were very powerful and would be very unlikely to f*** with ’em.” “You have been very unhelpful.”
  • “I was tranq darted, knocked out, moved to another location, and handcuffed to a chair. I mean, that’s the literal definition of kidnapping.”
  • “The Pope does not get my cake!”
  • “I would advise you to ground your performance. You’re way too big!”
  • “You’re supposed to be earning its trust. Nothing builds trust like being in debt.”
  • “All right, mates, let’s make like college girls sharing a dorm and sync up.”
  • “What a highly specific lasso-skills-required situation when I just happen to be a four-time youth rodeo champion.”
  • “Boo-hoo, get over it!”
Mrs. Davis S1E4 - Wiley, Simone, and the Pope stand together in Father Ziegler's office looking at something in the foreground


And here I thought there were shenanigans in the last episode. Ah yes, it was an innocent time.

So, we end the four-episode premiere on a phrase that Damon Lindelof must just love to hear, both from his characters and his audience. “What the f—?” We have possible timeline shenanigans, probable simulation versus reality shenanigans, potential 4th wall breaking shenanigans, and almost certainly meta-commentary shenanigans for everything prestige television has evolved into at this current moment. And we’re only half-way through.

That’s all for this week. Please let us know your thoughts and feelings about this week’s episode, and any theories you have on what’s to come, in the comments below.

All images courtesy of Peacock

Written by Brien Allen

Brien Allen is the last of the original crazy people who responded to this nutjob on Facebook wanting to start an online blog prior to Twin Peaks S3. Some of his other favorite shows have been Vr.5, Buffy, Lost, Stargate: Universe, The OA, and Counterpart. He's an OG BBSer, Trekkie, Blue Blaze Irregular, and former semi-professional improviser. He is also a staunch defender of putting two spaces after a period, but has been told to shut up and color.

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