"Greed is the name of the game; a desire for wealth and fortune, it became. In pursuit of riches, they lost their way, forgetting compassion, causing dismay." That is but a short poem that captures the essence of what the unrighteous Gemstones have become.
Welcome to another review of The Righteous Gemstones Season 3, where I'll try my best to make sense of what went down in Episode 6: "For Out of the Heart Comes Evil Thoughts".
Season 3 of The Righteous Gemstones has been an incredible exploration of Judy Gemstone's character. From the onset, I felt that BJ was too good for her, and now it seems he's coming to the same realization. With the 'no-sex affair' (seriously, Danny McBride is a kickass writer!) now a matter of public knowledge, Judy has to eat humble pie and make amends to the people she has hurt, including the church, which now has to fork out $500K as hush money to Stephen's wife.
Chuck and Karl, having cleaned up their act, part ways with the Gemstones to pursue their own paths. The departure hits the Gemstones hard, especially Jesse, who takes pride in their transformation. As a gesture of goodwill ("a far too giant a gesture"), Jesse gifts them his monster truck, which he instantly regrets as soon as he hands them the keys.
Little do they know that Chuck and Karl deceived everyone by using their newfound trust to smuggle ammonium nitrate (if you want to make a bomb, this is the stuff you need) to Peter's militia camp.
After a lifetime of hard work, Eli, a widowed man in his seventies, finds himself semi-retired and at a loss for how to spend his time. He gives fishing a shot, and though it does nothing for him as a hobby, it does offer him moments of peace away from his troublesome children.
In Episode 4, Uncle Baby Billy devised a brilliant plan to create a hologram of his late sister, which Jesse now views as a way to revive his dwindling congregation. Excitedly, he presents the hologram to his family and friends, only to be met with shock and anger from his father and siblings, especially his father, who destroys the machine that was, unfortunate for Uncle Baby Billy, a loaner.
We saw BJ and Stephen's confrontation building up from the episode's beginning, but that ending took me by complete surprise. When BJ pays a visit to Stephen's house and finds him pleasuring himself, he takes a page from Jesse's book, punching Stephen out cold and spitting on him. However, the tables quickly turn as BJ finds himself on the receiving end of a brutal beating. Just when it seems like he's lost the fight, an opportunity presents itself, and BJ takes advantage, turning the tables once again.
Jesse's character is such a rollercoaster. Every time I want to root for him, he goes and does something utterly repulsive that makes me question why I ever liked him in the first place. Hearing him say, "I'm trying to figure out how to exploit my dead mama so people will like us again," left a bad taste in my mouth.
I can understand Baby Billy wanting to make a quick buck out of his late sister, as he's always looked out for number one, but to see Jesse sink to the same level of moral bankruptcy was beyond disappointing.
All the same, from a filmmaking perspective, Danny McBride really outdid himself here, alongside Stephen Schneider, who took the phrase 'swinging dick' to a whole new level. Reminiscent of the iconic bathroom fight in David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises that sees a naked Viggo Mortensen fight for his life against two Chechen mobsters, Stephen leaps into action to thwart the threat that is BJ without so much as a sock on.
Full-frontal nudity on television has long been taboo, but witnessing the show's writers push that boundary in a seamless manner that aligns with the story being told is a testament to their remarkable talent.
As the end draws near, the stakes keep getting bigger and bigger. Unless the Gemstones can find a way to set aside their penchant for drama and work together, there won't be a Gemstone family or even a church to speak of at the end of this season.