Sunday, September 8, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Righteous Gemstones' - Kelvin and Keefe Try to Help the Teen Daughter of a Wealthy Donor in 'Wicked Lips'

HBO's The Righteous Gemstones - Episode 1.04 "Wicked Lips"

Judy and Martin take Gideon behind-the-scenes of the Gemstone enterprise. Eli tasks Kelvin with doing a "satanic sweep" for Dot, the rebellious teen daughter of the church's biggest donors. Jesse and his friends are thrown for a loop when Chad's wife finds some disturbing emails.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO's The Righteous Gemstones.

"Wicked Lips" was written by John Carcieri, Jeff Fradley & Danny McBride and directed by Jody Hill

Even when confronted by her husband's scandalous nature, Amber refuses to believe it. She doesn't want to accept that as something that could actually happen. She will concoct even the most insane theories just to insist that her marriage is perfect and Jesse is trustworthy. The entire season so far has focused on just how immoral and reckless Jesse, his family and his friends have always been. Amber certainly embraces some of those qualities as well. Not only is she choosing to live in that delusion, she is asking others to buy into it as well. When another wife discovers the scandalous emails and rightfully freaks out, Amber continues to insist that it can't possibly be true. And then, she helps Jesse tell the story of how it was all just a playful joke. That is the easiest explanation that can be given in the face of something blatantly wrong. Everyone should take these emails at face value. It proves how this organization could come toppling down without the direct threat of the video Scotty once had. These co-conspirators haven't exactly done a stellar job in covering up their misdeeds. They didn't even know that Gideon left his phone in their party room and recorded their entire night of debauchery. Sure, Gideon didn't know that either until he retrieved his phone later on. That was the moment he realized just how hypocritical his father has always been. That spurned his exodus from this family. He went off in the search of something better in Hollywood. And yet, he is right back with his family concocting a grand scheme that may or may not pay off in the end. Everyone is simply flailing around trying to keep as many balls in the air as possible. At times, the show embraces willful ignorance. These characters don't want to believe what they are seeing and hearing. They just want to instinctively trust that everything is fine because that's the way God has always told them how to act. But it's also scary to see Amber run the shooting course and do so well at it. That proves that she may be more adept at lethal violence than anyone else in this world. The show has already embraced the threat of physical harm on some of these characters. Sure, it has been reluctant to actually kill anyone. In fact, it seems as if Gideon and Scotty continually survive death-defying moments. Scotty was literally run over. He's up and walking once more. He is still scheming. He encourages Gideon even though he is very threatening as well. It's clear that Scotty may have never been a good stuntman or stunt coordinator. The jury is still out on whether or not Gideon could have succeeded in that profession. It seems he failed because he latched onto Scotty as a mentor figure. He was a person who could replace his father essentially. Gideon came to trust the wrong person. That is a cohesive idea in this world as well. Any person has the potential for redemption so long as they cut out the negative influences in their lives. Of course, it's completely outrageous to see Kelvin and Keefe ransack a teenage girl's room just to prove to her parents/important church donors that they are doing something about her behavior. It's a journey that still works out in the end. It just proves to be more complicated for Kelvin than he expected. But the show is certainly going for the sincerity of it all in this instance too. That's a little strange and not completely earned. As such, the pacing of it all seems to slow some of the larger developments down. This is an episode that concludes with a car crash that ends with a vehicle flipping over several times. Again, Scotty and Gideon are able to make their escapes without getting noticed. That may create more complications. Or it may not. It's still a little difficult to judge just how massive any particular action will ultimately be. Amber should definitely see her husband in a new light because this isn't some innocent pranking amongst friends that she has just witnessed. But that could also unravel so much in her life and she may not want to do that. That may make her more interesting. But the show has to commit to that particular path. Right now, it's unclear if it will.