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Mrs. Davis Star Betty Gilpin and Creator Tara Hernandez Reveal the Truth About Jay

The second episode of the Peacock series changes the game with Andy McQueen's character

Kelly Connolly
Andy McQueen and Betty Gilpin, Mrs. Davis

Andy McQueen and Betty Gilpin, Mrs. Davis

Elizabeth Morris/Peacock

[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Episode 2 of Mrs. Davis, "Zwei Sie Piel mit Seitung Sie Wirtschaftung." Read at your own risk!]

Order up for a big twist from Mrs. DavisTara Hernandez and Damon Lindelof's new show dropped its first four episodes Thursday on Peacock, giving audiences the chance to jump into the absurdity with both feet (the rest of the season rolls out one episode at a time each Thursday). The surreal series pits wry nun Sister Simone (Betty Gilpin) against an all-knowing artificial intelligence app, but Simone turns out to have a powerful ally of her own. 

Her sweet relationship with falafel cook Jay (Andy McQueen), who works in a dimly lit restaurant with a mysterious boss who gives Simone orders, isn't what it seems. The second episode of Mrs. Davis reveals that Simone is Jay's wife — and Jay is Jesus. Yes, that Jesus. And they have serious chemistry.

For Hernandez and Lindelof, taking the literal approach to an abstract concept — a nun's marriage to Christ — wasn't just about playing with audiences' expectations. It also gave the show's creators a way to ground Simone and her beliefs in something earnest.

"When we landed on this idea that a nun was going to be our hero in the story, it was really important to both of us that that was something she embodied truly and deeply, and it wasn't just a cool costume to see riding on a motorcycle," Hernandez told TV Guide. "[In] our own relationships with, whether it's faith or religion or the church, it felt like: What is the one thing we can grasp onto that we relate to as people? And that's love, and love stories."

Still, for Gilpin, the idea of playing a woman who's literally married to Jesus took some getting used to. "When Damon and Tara first told me that that's who my husband was, I got really meta and metaphory and thought, 'OK, it's like dating the air,'" she said. "'Or what if when they kiss, she turns into a rose petal?' I just got super E. E. Cummings on crack about it. And they said, 'No, no, no, you're just in love with a guy named Jay.'" 

Holding back Jay's true identity until the second episode gave the team behind Mrs. Davis the chance to introduce him on their terms: as a guy Simone is in love with. By the time viewers know he's Jesus, they've already seen him serve her some life-changing falafel, laugh at her jokes, and warn her away from hunting down the world's favorite AI. But that disagreement also hints at trouble ahead as their goals might diverge. "Once we knew we wanted to do it literally, we also knew that like a marriage, we wanted it to be kind of messy and in a point of conflict and flux," Hernandez said. "That was something that was really terrifying, but in the right way."

"It still is [terrifying], in many ways," Hernandez continued. "But with Andy McQueen's depiction of Jay and of Jesus, he did so with such humanity and love and heart that I think that title almost falls away, because you are so in Simone's point of view that you're falling in love with him." 

Gilpin agreed. "Doing the scenes with Andy McQueen, a brilliant actor, it completely clicked," she said. "This is just a man who happens to be Jesus. I myself, not being a person of faith, I wanted to make it real. And I wanted to make it as specific and intimate as I could. And Andy did all that work for me."

The first four episodes of Mrs. Davis are now streaming on Peacock. New episodes are available Thursdays. Read our review here.