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The Righteous Gemstones Season 1, Episode 3 recap: They Are Weak, But He Is Strong

The Righteous Gemstones season 1, episode 3 recap
Walton Goggins and John Goodman on The Righteous Gemstones. Pic credit: HBO/screencap

After two episodes of The Righteous Gemstones, there has been a murder, a blackmailing scheme, and a twist with a prodigal son returning home.

This week, Baby Billy comes to town.

Baby Billy Freeman

Walton Goggins showed up in episode three of The Righteous Gemstones as Baby Billy Freeman. He is the brother of Eli’s late wife and is the man hired to run the new church in town.

This church happens to be in the old Sears in the mall, and while that bothers Billy at first, he accepts it. See, he wants the money and opportunity, and he also wants to help his girlfriend get her teeth fixed.

However, there is a problem with Billy and Eli. The two have not been on good terms since Eli’s wife’s death. It has been evident since the first episode that Eli is missing something and that something is his wife, who seems to have led his rise to the top of the televangelism hierarchy.

He also has a problem with Baby Billy, who he accuses of not being there when his sister needed a brother the most — before her death.

The relationship between these two men is paramount to this episode, as it is clear that Billy wants two things in life. He wants acceptance from everyone from his congregation to his family, and he wants to, on another level, help Eli.

However, when he talks to the Gemstone siblings about their dad and they express their concerns as well, things take a bad turn. Billy tells Eli what his kids said, and the two have a falling out, which leads Billy to decide to leave town.

It is another case of Eli Gemstone pushing those who care about him away.

The rival church in town

Before their falling out, they attend John Wesley Seasons’ (Dermot Mulroney) church. However, when they approach him about a truce, he lashes out at them because of the attack at his home.

While he never saw who attacked him, Seasons believes Eli sent thugs to shake him down. Of course, Eli has no idea what is going on as it was all Jesse (Danny McBride), but that does not mean things are going to work themselves out.

Thanks to Eli busting a window in Seasons’ church in anger, things go south at the end.

A group of guys from Seasons’ church shows up at the mall church and destroy and vandalize everything. When they find out that Billy and his wife Tiffany are there, they corner them in the back.

Luckily, Eli showed up to apologize to Billy and comes in with a gunshot. He has all the men strip naked and sends them off through the mall with a message for Seasons — don’t mess with the Gemstones.

For the first time since we met him, Eli laughs, and that is a triumph in and of itself.

The Righteous Gemstones review

There was a lot in this episode also surrounding the return of Gideon Gemstone (Skyler Gisondo).

Jesse is not happy to see his son back after leaving his family. His distrust is for a good reason. Gideon spent much of the episode going through the house to find all the valuables.

There is a breakdown at a dinner celebrating Gideon’s return that resulted in Jesse’s other son speaking out in disobedience, and it looks like Gideon might be seeing how his actions affect others — especially those who care about him and look up to him.

However, all this ties into Eli Gemstone, and it is his loss and sadness that is driving the entire story because it is his depression that has a ripple effect on his children.

The third episode of The Righteous Gemstones has the same humor and irreverence of the first two, but there is a deeper level of storytelling that started this episode, and it makes following this one through to the end very exciting.

The Righteous Gemstones has become must-see television.

The Righteous Gemstones airs on Sundays at 10/9c on HBO.


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