Season 2, Episode 3, “For He’s a Liar and the Father of Lies”

Edi Patterson, Adam Devine and Danny McBride star in The Righteous Gemstones

Edi Patterson, Adam Devine and Danny McBride star in The Righteous Gemstones
Photo: Ryan Green/HBO

After the grand return of the Gemstones clan in the two-part premiere, “For He Is A Liar and The Father Of Lies” finds the show ringing bells in an intrigue-laden outing that sacrifices the laughs but seems to set the story in motion for the rest of the season .

As episode three opens, the Gemstone children, alongside Eli (John Goodman) and trusted confidant Martin (Alan Williams), return to the crime scene where Thaniel Block (Jason Schwartzman) was murdered. , his Airbnb now on fire. Jesse (Danny McBride) and Judy (Edi Patterson) reunite with Kelvin (Adam Devine) the next morning at his God Squad headquarters where Eli’s youngest child expresses that he doesn’t want to be youth minister for the rest of his life. Kelvin, surrounded by his sweaty beef cadre, plowing fields, chopping wood, offers his mission statement: “We lift, we pray, and we are mindful of our diets. Live clean, be torn, get high on Christ. Jesse is convinced that Eli and Junior are behind Block’s murder, but Judi and Kelvin aren’t so easily persuaded. Meanwhile, Junior (Eric Roberts) attempts to visit Eli at the compound but is turned away.

At a Kelvin’s God Squad performance where the men smash boards, tear up phone books and perform other feats of strength – displaying “their virgin power” – before joining a Christian pyramid of muscle men with Kelvin at the top. It ends badly with several men getting injured when the pyramid collapses. Eli tells Kelvin that the “hurt muscle boy” is now suing the church as he berates Kelvin for growing up. This leads to a scene full of steamy and very weird erotic tension. Kelvin reveals to Keefe that he and his siblings discovered Thaniel Block’s corpse and that he believes he may have murdered him. As I thought in last week’s recapI’m curious how far the showrunners will take Kelvin and Keefe’s relationship this season or let it bubble beneath the surface for much of the show.

Gideon, now moved into the former mansion of the late Grandpa Roy, reveals to Jesse that he discovered an old steamer trunk full of photos and items from Eli’s wrestling days in Memphis explaining that ‘Eli was an enforcer for his former promoter – Junior’s father – Glendon Marsh. Meanwhile, while rollerblading, BJ (Tim Baltz) finds Eli riding The Exodus, a roller coaster in Gemstone Amusement Park, over and over again, a ride that Judy explains Eli has always hated it and that he would never ride with her because it gave him “bubble guts. Judy thinks that’s part of the deal, Jesse disagrees.

Kelvin gets his hands on Eli and delivers him to his idiot siblings and in one of the funniest bits of the episode the kids try to figure out what their dad’s date of birth is – that’s the word phone password – and not only do they have to Google, but it turns out they all missed it a week ago. A crisp encapsulation of the personal involvement and selfishness of the Gemstone children. They discover two text threads, one from Eli and Martin and the other from Eli and Junior, which appear to incriminate the Gemstone patriarch: Eli asking Martin to clean up a mess and Eli texting Junior: “The last night reminded me of the good old days; you put them up, I knock them down. Jesse is happiest with the suggestion that his father is involved in criminal activity as he seeks to take control of the Gemstones empire as soon as possible – and get into bed with Lisson’s Christian timeshare. – and sees this as a perfect opportunity to do that.

When the kids finally confront Eli, he reveals that he and Junior went bowling with hairdresser friends. Junior left with one of them and Eli brings the other home, she invites him for a last drink. Eli tries to go to the bathroom again and explains that he just read an article about manscaping and decides to try it…and screw it all up, cut his trash and bleed. The manscape track feels like it was pulled from a forgettable 2007 comedy (is anyone still using the term “manscape”?) and doesn’t quite live up to the original comedy, raunchy and edgy normally associated with the series. That said, Eli’s manscaping story sounds like total bullshit, so maybe it’s an elaborate lie (hence the episode title) concocted to cover his tracks and in fact, he and Junior have something to do with Block’s murder.

Back at the compound, Kelvin takes on his muscle men. The Pyramid Incident found the God Squad losing faith in themselves as leaders and in a very cult prize set, Kelvin challenges Tampa Bay’s Titus to wear a giant cross. When he fails, he is put in a tiger cage to spend 7 days in solitary confinement as Kelvin reiterates that he is the leader. This week, we delve deeper into Kelvin’s God Squad intent, as it’s revealed that the hue is trying to become a gemstone, not content to be seen simply as the baby of the family or a minister of youth. , looking for something bigger to hang his hat. The theme for this season seems to be pride and power – Kelvin has to make a name for himself and Jesse has to take over the family business – the struggle to get it, keep it and pass it on.

The episode ends with Junior confronting Eli and Eli severing all ties. “I’ll tell you what: if we’re not friends, we’re enemies. What about that? as a cover of Nina Simone’s “Sinnerman” plays in the credits.

Barely a misstep, but the episode (credited to McBride, Chris Pappas and consulting producer Kevin Barnett) gets bogged down in plot – although it’s necessary for a comedy that leans heavily on family drama. soapy Gemstone – and doesn’t deliver the big laughs expected from the show. The roller-skating and manscaping bits are dated and are arguably the comedic centerpieces of the episode and fall flat. It is rare for the plot of a comedy to be so dense, but it is one of the elements that elevates Virtuous Gemstones above typical fare and one of the strengths of McBride – and episode director David Gordon Green – is the ability to deftly balance drama and laughs, but this week it doesn’t go as it does. must.

Spurious observations

  • The Fancy Nancy Gravy Freestyle Machine: Can’t tell if it looks gross or delicious.
  • Jesse doing a fake echo saying “kill, kill, kill” in the temple.
  • Judi’s magnifying glass.
  • Still no Uncle Baby Billy.
  • The sequence at Fancy Nancy’s Chicken featuring Jesse and the kids debating how Eli would go about murdering a reporter is a gem.
  • “The righteous hate what is wrong, but the wicked do themselves a stench and shame themselves.

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