Mrs. Davis: Who is Jay?

Yes, Simone's friend Jay on Mrs. Davis is who you think he is.

MRS. DAVIS -- Episode 104 -- Pictured: Andy McQueen as Jay
Photo: Elizabeth Morris | Peacock

This article contains spoilers for Mrs. Davis episodes 1-4.

We tried to warn you. We really did. Several times in the lead up to the premiere of Mrs. Davis, we tried to communicate that the Peacock sci-fi series was truly bonkers. But no one can fully be prepared for the experience of watching a nun combating an all-powerful artificial intelligence with a storytelling tone that star Betty Gilpin describes as “No Country for Old Looney Tunes.”

So now here we are. You’ve clicked on this headline wondering if you really understood that massive twist in Mrs. Davis‘s second episode. Let us assure you that yes, you absolutely did. The character known as Jay (Andy McQueen) is none other than The King of Kings, The Holy One of Israel, The Lion and The Lamb, The Only Begotten Son, The Messiah. Literally Jesus Christ of Nazareth is a character on this television program.

The third and fourth episodes of Mrs. Davis further flesh out how such a thing is possible and how Simone (Gilpin) came to marry her holy husband. So if you’ve only got through two episodes and immediately rushed to the internet for context, maybe go back to Peacock and sit the rest of this article out. But if you want to know the full story of Jesus’ involvement on this show, feel free to read on.

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When Peacock elected to premiere the first four episodes of Mrs. Davis on one day (the remaining four will follow with one a week through May 18) it likely wanted to make sure viewers had enough information to fully understand its lead character’s very literal relationship with her God. Thanks to several flashbacks and illuminating conversations in Jesus’s falafel restaurant, we now have a pretty good idea of the chronology of events.

Many years prior to the creation of Mrs. Davis and the events of the show bearing her name, Simone, then known by her birth name of Elizabeth “Lizzie” Abbott, was in a relationship with her childhood sweetheart Wiley (Jake McDorman). Lizzie and Wiley were prepared to run off to Alaska together and start a new life with a small portion of the enormous inheritance left to them. Unfortunately, Wiley discovers that his history of dominating rodeo events was all a lie engineered by his parents to boost his confidence.

Utterly emasculated, Wiley attempts to ride a particularly dangerous bull known as “Jezebull.” Lizzie, certainly that her love is going to die, does something she’s never done before. She prays for him. Then something weird happens.

“I wasn’t at the rodeo anymore,” she later tells Wiley. “I was somewhere else. A restaurant. I knew I wasn’t dreaming. I knew it was really happening. Then I saw him. It didn’t matter that until that very second I didn’t believe in him. I knew who he was. And he fed me. It was love at first sight. Undeniable. Absolute. Forever.”

Lizzie was transported to a dimly-lit restaurant somewhere outside of time and met Jesus Christ. She immediately fell in love with him and knew that she would dedicate the rest of her life to him. And that’s exactly what she does, ultimately seeking out the convent run by Mother Superior (Margo Martindale), joining their ranks, and becoming wed to the Christian savior.

Interestingly, in some interpretations of real life Catholicism, nuns can actually be married to God and/or his son metaphorically or even literally. Nuns in the Catholic Church traditionally take a vow of lifetime chastity and devote themselves only to God and his works. The term “bride of Christ” recurs frequently throughout the New Testament and it usually refers to the church itself but in some instances can refer to a nun or “consecrated virgin.” In 2014, Sister Helena Burns of the Daughters of St. Paul wrote an essay for Georgetown University’s Berkley Forum that feels like it could have come from Sister Simone itself. Relevant passages include:

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“So, what’s it like being married to Jesus? Real. Very real. It is not poetry. It is not metaphor. It is not make-believe. Do you think I would give up my life to play pretend princess? Not on your life … Nuns often get referred to as ‘brides of Christ,’ which is what we are, but after all these years, I also feel like his wife, his old lady, not just his blushing bride.”

Funnily enough, Simone being literally married to Jesus Christ ends up feeling like one of the less radical twists inside Mrs. Davis‘s sprawling narrative. That’s not only due to its real life origins but also how well the show hides Simone and Jay’s relationship initially, allowing viewers to come to it gradually. At first, Jay seems to be a sort of “handler” for Simone with an unseen, yet imposing boss, as though they’re both involved in some sort of organized crime racket or spy agency. He makes the falafel and brings her “jobs” on pieces of paper and she does them.

For those paying close attention, however, there are some clues as to Jay’s real identity as early as episode one. After Jay tells Simone to be afraid of Mrs. Davis, she responds with “Jesus, you’re so intense, man.” In hindsight we can now see that she was actually referring to her husband directly rather than taking the Lord’s name in vain.

Knowing Jay’s true self doesn’t solve every mystery regarding Mrs. Davis. It’s not exactly clear what the restaurant, where in the universe it exists, or who the boss is (though it’s probably God). Nor is it apparent why Jesus’s kitchen is flooded at one point in episode 1 (though after you watch episode 7 on May 11, feel free to hit me up on Twitter because I have a theory). But that’s just how faith (and Damon Lindelof-produced shows) works, isn’t it? One answer leads to dozens more questions. Here’s to hoping we get them.

The first four episodes of Mrs. Davis are available to stream on Peacock now. New episodes premiere each Thursday culminating in the finale on May 18.