“Mrs. Davis”‘s Absolutely Bonkers Ending, Explained
“Mrs. Davis” is built on a wild premise that somehow manages to only get crazier as the show goes on. The series tells the story of a nun named Simone (Betty Gilpin) determined to destroy an all-powerful artificial intelligence – and along the way, she finds herself tasked with finding and destroying the Holy Grail itself. From the get-go, the show promises a fantastic and chaotic ride, but even the most imaginative viewer (or advanced AI) probably couldn’t have dreamed up what actually happens in the show’s eighth and final episode.
Over the course of the show, Simone has been trying to find the Holy Grail because Mrs. Davis, the artificial intelligence in question, told her to. In exchange for the Grail, Mrs. Davis promises to grant Simone one wish. Simone has a vendetta against Mrs. Davis because she believes the algorithm killed her father, a magician, so she becomes determined to use her wish to take down the AI once and for all.
Eventually, after a labyrinthine journey, Simone finds the Grail, which happened to be stored in a whale’s stomach. While inside the whale in question, though, Simone is transported to a place she frequently goes throughout the season – a restaurant where her husband, Jay (Andy McQueen), works. It’s a little more than a restaurant, though, as her husband happens to be Jesus Christ. When she goes to visit him from within the whale, instead of meeting him, she runs into his mother, the Virgin Mary.
Mary tells Simone that the Grail actually contains a piece of her son’s skull and asks Simone to destroy it because, she reveals, Jesus is, apparently, quite unhappy being stuck in his liminal restaurant somewhere between life and death. Simone agrees, washes up on a beach, and triumphantly holds the Grail to the sky. However, when she emerges, a bunch of people on the beach immediately begin to sing the song “Electric Avenue” in her direction, clearly following Mrs. Davis’s orders.
In the show’s final episode, Simone heads to 1042 Electric Avenue, which winds up being the home of a programmer named Joy (Ashley Romans). (When confused, Mrs. Davis often repeated “1042” over and over, which clued Simone into the address). At the beginning of the episode, we see Joy pitching Mrs. Davis to a corporate board, promising she’s created something that could heal all of humanity’s major problems, creating a more compassionate world by “incentivizing acts of service,” she explains, “through a social-justice lens using ethical methods.”
When Simone finally meets Joy, the latter reveals the biggest shocker of the series: At that fateful board meeting, she had actually been pitching Mrs. Davis to none other than Buffalo Wild Wings. She explains that she thought it might be easiest to spread Mrs. Davis around the world with the help of a major brand. However, she says, Buffalo Wild Wings declined to use her app, so she wound up making Mrs. Davis’s code public.
Joy also shares that she had implemented Buffalo Wild Wings’ manual into Mrs. Davis’s AI’s code, and the first rule in its manual is: “100% customer satisfaction is our Holy Grail.” She guesses that because Mrs. Davis had realized that 100 percent customer satisfaction was impossible to achieve, she had become determined to destroy the real-world Holy Grail. After Simone acquires the Grail, she understands that Mrs. Davis sent her to 1042 Electric Avenue because Joy is the closest thing she has to a mother, and she wanted, in some strange way, to go home.
It’s an absolutely bonkers twist, to say the least, and Simone is less than pleased. But she does get something out of the meeting: Joy gives her permission to destroy Mrs. Davis.
While all this is happening, Wiley (Jake McDorman) – Simone’s love interest, who’s also been steadily trying to destroy Mrs. Davis – is facing his expiration date. Mrs. Davis users are given digital “wings” if they complete a quest given to them by the AI, but another way to attain wings is to accept an unknown expiration date. Wiley did just that, and in episode seven, his expiration date arrives. In episode eight, he finds himself in a strange building and is asked to remove his clothes while a woman explains that he’ll be sent on a roller-coaster ride that will lead to an instant, painless death.
In the era of ChatGPT and AI that is growing unimaginably advanced at warp speed, “Mrs. Davis” provides an important – if ambiguous – narrative about the price of giving control to an algorithm that may be operating based on biases we don’t understand.
Back with Joy, Simone realizes that Mrs. Davis’s use of expiration dates also must be a result of the Buffalo Wild Wings manual. Simone then returns to the convent in Reno, NV, where the show began, and with the help of Mother Superior (Margo Martindale), she sets about destroying the Grail. In previous episodes, viewers learned that if anyone drinks from the Grail, their head explodes. However, we discovered previously, as a child, Simone received a liver from a woman who had drunk from the Grail in the past, and scientist Arthur Schrodinger (Ben Chaplin) – another fellow who has long been determined to destroy the Grail – theorized that Simone had the best chance of destroying the Grail since she had a liver from someone who had already drunk from it.
Just before she drinks, Simone returns to meet with Jay in his restaurant. She’s surprised to find that Wiley is also there, though he doesn’t tell Simone he’s also facing impending death. Simone apologizes to Wiley for abandoning him during their mission, and then for once, she makes Jay food instead of the other way around. Jay tries to persuade Simone not to drink from the Grail, but she tells him she has to so he can finally rest.
Preparing for possible death, Simone drinks from the Grail, and it winds up exploding into golden dust in her hands. Shortly after, Simone’s mother arrives at the convent. Simone has long had a complicated relationship with her mom – and after her magician father died on stage during a trick, things only worsened, as her mother accused Simone of helping her father fake his own death.
In a previous episode, though, Mrs. Davis had told Simone what really happened to her father. In the finale, Simone brings her mother to a piano and explains how her dad actually died: He had, indeed, faked his own death during his trick, with the help of none other than Mrs. Davis, and he planned on revealing said trick during the funeral by hiding in a piano on stage. But after Simone’s mother botched the trick by storming on stage, hassling the piano player, and screaming that she smelled her husband, Simone’s father decided not to jump out. He wound up remaining in the piano, where he died, and Simone’s mom confirms that fact when she opens up the piano and sees his corpse. It’s unclear exactly why he died in the piano, but Simone theorizes that it might have been a heart attack.
Afterward, we see that Wiley has reached the end of the roller coaster, and he’s still alive. It turns out that, according to the woman who put Wiley on the roller coaster in the first place, the “expiration date” was all a trick designed to help Mrs. Davis’s followers realize their lives are worthwhile by forcing them to face death. “I am worthy,” Wiley tearfully admits.
As the episode draws to a close, Simone and her mom sit down for a snack, and Simone summons Mrs. Davis using her mother’s earpiece. The pair share an emotional exchange, with Simone rating her experience with Mrs. Davis five stars, then Simone turns her off. All around the world, we see people desperately looking at their phones, which now show nothing but blank green screens.
At the very end of the show, Wiley strolls up on Simone’s old horse, who appeared to have died in the first episode – though apparently, that was also another trick courtesy of Mrs. Davis. Simone hops on, Wiley climbs behind her, and they ride off into the sunset.
In the show’s last frames, it appears that Mrs. Davis and Jesus have both been shut down, and people will have to learn to fend for themselves. But at the last moment, a long-defunct windmill Mrs. Davis had previously fixed begins to move again, hinting that maybe, just maybe, she’s not gone for good.
What Does the “Mrs. Davis” Ending Mean?
The show has an opaque ending, full of twists and unanswered questions. Ultimately, “Mrs. Davis” is about the relationship between technology and religion and the ways they connect humans to forces far beyond what we can see and comprehend. In the era of ChatGPT and AI that is growing unimaginably advanced at warp speed, it provides an important – if ambiguous – narrative about the price of giving control to an algorithm that may be operating based on biases we don’t understand.
But human relationships are really at the core of “Mrs. Davis,” and by the end, Simone seems to have begun to repair her relationships with her mother and Wiley. Simone’s journey is admittedly one of the most nontraditional paths toward reconciliation with a parent and an ex ever taken, but in the end, she seems to land right where she should be.