Recap of episode 2 of season 2 of “The Righteous Gemstones”

Jesse, Judy, and Kelvin Gemstone are constantly at odds with each other. They bicker at each Sunday brunch. They relentlessly ravage their romantic partners. When one of them fails, the others radiate schadenfreude like baby Jesus bathed in heavenly light. They all imagine themselves leading the herd of gems after their father leaves, and so they are naturally inclined to forge their own path and hope that their siblings’ path will lead to deep and lasting humiliation. And yet, when Eli Gemstone asks all family members not to disturb the reporter investigating the Gemstone Empire and to refer any investigation to the church’s legal team, the Gemstone children form an absolutely united front. . Dad’s strategy is crazy. And now it’s up to them to save their families from their unfathomable caution.

The only question is how. Do they gather a crew and attack him in his Airbnb, like Junior and the Maniac Kid might have done in the late 60s in Memphis? Or do they let Judy exercise her seductive charms and “jerk him off a little”? (“Daddy, I can just make him hungry.”) That they don’t have a real plan cuts to the heart of The right gems like a satire of American power. It’s not just that Eli’s strategy seems weak to them – a passive acceptance of fate rather than an active attempt to eliminate a threat. It is that the very idea of a strategy is anathema to the Gemstone children. They’ve spent their lives rushing through every situation – or valet – and the universe hasn’t punished them for it. Why stop now?

However, it would appear that those mealy, worm-filled apples did not fall so far from the tree. After the last episode made Eli reconnect with Junior, his malevolent pal from his wrestling / thumb-breaking past, something changed in him as well. We’ve never seen this Eli Gemstone before, and at first it struck me as a clerical error to make it behave so poorly, especially in daylight, after it hangs in the parking lot. He was, relatively speaking, the seemingly most serene of the Gemstone clan, a constant steward of corruption who raises his voice primarily to put his children in their place. When he first meets the reporter, a blatant and arrogant Manhattanite named Thaniel (not “Nathaniel,” you rub!), He is the image of soft power, confidently dismissing the threat that had wiped out the Butterfields, so Even Thaniel talks about going after Eli. late wife. “Good luck with your little article,” he said to Thaniel, projecting the confidence that nothing would hurt him.

But Eli is not himself on this day. Or maybe he just fell off the Godly wagon. Earlier in the morning, Judy and BJ arrived to find him sleeping hungover on his couch as Junior comes out of his room with an open robe and “morning mass”. Judy got a bad idea of ​​Eli and Junior’s relationship – or maybe just a bad idea of ​​how a gay date of any sort could work. (“You all hang out here being brutal with each other like grizzly bears hitting donkeys, fighting, hurting each other.”) His crass jokes and slipping into his role as Maniac Kid before finding a way to combine professional wrestling and religion.

We can’t yet know all the details of what happened at Thaniel’s Airbnb other than what the Gemstones siblings witnessed (and slipped like the Three Stooges). There’s an unidentifiable body that’s been set on fire beyond recognition, another that’s scattered around a large tree, and Thaniel lying in a pool of blood with a bullet hole in his head. Another character walks up to Judy’s Tesla with the flashlight on as the three attempt to escape, a hilarious madness involving an on-board computer and a set of doors swinging all over the place. We also know that Eli and Martin were involved in what happened because Eli shows up at his house with bloody pants on after the children, two of whom are trying to erase the evidence in a fountain.

It seems to be the incident that drives this season forward, much like last season’s blackmail attempt, and suggests a lot of twists and turns beyond the introduction of a famous actor in the first episode and his murder. in the second. (Cue the special guest stars to Police squad!) There is a big difference between an attempted blackmail and a possible triple homicide, but maybe there is not a big difference for the Gemstones, who have not yet committed a sin that they do not could not absolve themselves of having committed. What’s new is that Eli is at the center of these horrific shenanigans alongside his children, and Junior can probably claim credit for it. If the Maniac Kid had remained a distant memory, perhaps he would have followed his own advice on the journalist’s treatment.

Elsewhere, Jesse and Amber try to push forward Lissons’s Christian timeshare program, which receives additional legitimacy from Joe Jonas – though the other brother is conspicuously absent. (“You know what? All the love for the Jo brothers, but sometimes you have to go solo.”) Gemstones and Lissons both have a knack for mixing the sacred with the secular: Jesse and Amber convert their therapy giant couple groups in a hype session for the project (a 15% off romantic retreat will save those broken marriages!), and the Lisson’s are throwing a splashy barbecue on their ranch as a fundraiser. Jesse and Amber, however, don’t have the $ 10 million “upfront investment” to put into timeshare, which opens up an interesting angle on how Gemstone children are treated with an allowance like real children.

Credit the younger siblings for seeing what’s to come, however. When Joe Jonas talks about breaking up with his brothers, Jesse shares all the terrible things his siblings tell him about this investment opportunity. Like, “You’re a fucking jerk.” And “It’s the dumbest thing to spend money on.” And “It sounds like a scam or a pyramid scheme.” The Lissons have clearly summoned the good dupes.

• I love the way the show presents Thaniel as the ultimate Big City snap in the opening, especially the fact that he casually sniffs a line of cocaine on his armrest.

• Junior’s interest in prayer seems genuine, if only because he wants “a piece of the pie,” as his boss said in the flashback sequence in the last episode, when they were driving. through a civil rights protest in Memphis. Junior may not like virtue, but he understands power.

• “The point of this group is not to treat each other like assholes. The goal is to rebuild what has been shattered, to reestablish relationships with family, friends, co-workers, the Lord, and ultimately yourself. I would complain about Jesse using this language behind the scenes among the loyal audiences gathered for this couples therapy group, but it’s funny, it’s funny.

• Jesse, after rummaging through the valet: “I’m coming fat, or I’m not coming at all.” I almost cut it off. I almost committed manslaughter! “

• Jesse, bitterly lamenting his mate at home: “Fuck Levi, that’s goddamn Joe Jonas with no money, no talent or charisma. Fucking handsome with great hair and that’s it. Fucking makes me sick.

• Great episode for Edi Patterson as Judy, especially when she realizes why Amber is wearing a revealing dress to sit next to Eli at the end of the table. “Nice work, Dr. Tits,” she sneers. “Your little bag party is a shitty show.”

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