Sunday, September 29, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Righteous Gemstones' - Huge Betrayals Occur During Easter Sunday in 'And Yet One of You Is a Devil'

HBO's The Righteous Gemstones - Episode 1.07 "And Yet One of You Is a Devil"

Eli informs Jesse, Kelvin and Judy that they'll each need to be front and center for Easter Sunday service, their biggest telecast of the year. Judy's deference to Baby Billy threatens her relationship with BJ and with her family.

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.

"And Yet One of You Is a Devil" was written by Danny McBride, Kevin Barnett & Chris Pappas and directed by Jody Hill

Jesse centers his Easter Sunday sermon around Judas' betrayal which led to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It's a thematic message that ties into the overall episode because betrayals are constantly happening amongst this ensemble. Judy betrays her father by declining his offer to perform during the service with Baby Billy. BJ betrays Judy by walking away from her after she emotionally shuts down in their relationship. Gideon betrays Scotty by not following through with the money heist during the service. And Jesse believes his eldest son has betrayed him by blackmailing him this entire time. It's a very climatic episode. One in which Jesse and Gideon are tied up together in the church vault as Scotty makes his getaway with all of the money - in the beat up van that Jesse stole from him a couple episodes ago. All of this is exciting. It also still feels a little forced. Jesse and Amber want to believe that he delivered a powerful sermon. One that will allow him to have even more responsibilities within the church. He actually believes that he was better than his father. And yet, talking about the suffering of Judas may have been more appropriate for a Holy Thursday service when the betrayal actually happens in the Bible. Easter is suppose to be about the celebration of the resurrection with Jesus returning to life after dying on the cross for the sins of all humanity. Those are the fundamentals of this holiday. For the Gemstone ministry though, it's all about Easter Sunday. That is their biggest service of the year. The crowd is packed and there are several opportunities for people to view the service all around the world. This megachurch has gone global in a powerful and extreme way. They have the ability to spread their influence everywhere. That can be terrifying. It makes smaller churches fear that they can't compete even though they disagree with the way the Gemstone family lives their lives. It also makes Baby Billy's concerns seem petty. He wants to take Judy away from Eli. That's the way he plans on getting back at him for poisoning Aimee-Leigh against him. He may be making the same mistakes as the past though. Judy was excited when her father gave her the appreciation she has always wanted. And now, she continues to present as a petulant teenager who should really know better by now. Again, she is closing in on 40 and is still eager for her father's approval. She doesn't need his blessing though. She should feel the freedom to visit her mother's memorial and share the exciting news. She isn't though. She is mocked by her siblings. They just see this event as a chance for them to shine over one another. Eli believes his children are ready for more responsibilities. He sees that now. It's less clear to the audience though because the viewer may see each of them as massive screw-ups. Gideon invited this chaos into their lives. But Jesse didn't catch on soon enough. He suspects Gideon of coming out as gay before thinking he was capable of robbing from the family. Gideon doesn't go through with the plan. He believes that Scotty won't shoot them with the gun he uses to intimidate the members of this family. All of this comes across as a way for the family to bond together because of their heinous secrets. They will have to close ranks to deal with this threat. It will all depend on just how far Scotty gets and how long Jesse and Gideon are stuck in the vault. Plus, there is the uncertainty about Eli's fate in his house after Scotty gets the key card. These are enticing questions. But it's easier to engage with the intensity of it all than the characters actually at the center of it. In fact, all of this could provide Amber a chance to shine because she is seen in the montage properly storing her guns while Jesse and Gideon are being taken hostage by Scotty. That has to mean something otherwise it would seem wasteful.