The ‘Righteous Gemstones’ Halo Report: The Maniac Kid Rides Again

The Righteous Gemstones Halo Report is a weekly recap feature that assigns between zero and five halos to people, things, events, and general topics from each episode. There is very little to this beyond an excuse to highlight cool stuff from a good show and make jokes. And do crappy drawings of halos in MS Paint. We’re having fun.



Having your thumbs ripped all sideways


I like that we’re learning more about Eli Gemstone’s past and how he got to be a massively wealthy televangelist. Did I foresee that involving minor-league professional wrestling and a stint as a heavy named The Maniac Kid whose real-life finishing move involves grabbing someone’s thumbs and ripping them asunder so they point in a direction that is not otherwise biologically feasible? No. No, I did not. But that’s just a failure of imagination on my part. I can and will do better going forward.

Please do not do this to my thumbs. Or any other body part of mine. I do not think I will like it.

Any of this


Three important notes here:

  • This little scene set the table for so much this season, and especially for this two-part premiere, between the introduction of the Gemstones streaming service and the first mention of the journalist who is coming for them all
  • It did so while also included the words “throuple” and “snack”
  • I’m sorry but I howled a little when they cut to this poor guy with his legs twisted about like the thumbs of anyone who crossed the Maniac Kid

Just an A+ sight gag. I hope he makes a full recovery by, like, episode four and vows revenge from inside a hollowed-out volcano. The best part about this show is that we can’t entirely rule it out.



Kelvin Gemstone


On one hand, Kelvin is slipping through the cracks a little and appears to be neglecting my sweet Satanic prince Keef in favor of his buff Jesus squad, which is not acceptable to me in any way.

On the other hand, he is rocking this sweet jacket with a tiger on the back for reasons that were never made super clear, as is only fair and appropriate. And he was the only one smart enough to bail on the creepy murder cabin back when it was just a creepy cabin.

What I’m saying is that he has good instincts but makes bad decisions. One halo. For now.

Sea turtles, generally


Tough break, I guess, but you gotta crack a few eggs to put a Jesus flotilla in the ocean. Literally. You have to crack a few sea turtle eggs. I didn’t screw up that metaphor. It wasn’t even a metaphor at all, really. Just bad vibes all around for the sea turtles.

That said, the introduction of a sea turtle habitat means there is now a non-zero chance we see Eric Andre riding a sea turtle like a jet ski before this season is out. Checkov’s Sea Turtle. It probably won’t happen but if it does I am going to look freaking brilliant. That’s what’s important here.



Mickey Mouse


The relationship between Judy and BJ fascinates me on so many levels and “got hitched in a mermaid wedding at Disney World officiated by Prince Eric” only adds to it. I would watch an entire show about just them. I would watch a two-hour special episode just about this wedding. Imagine how happy BJ would be in Disney World. Imagine Judy cussing out Goofy for some trivial reason.

I am not joking. Please make this.



I love Keef very much and I want him to be happy. Kelvin should treat him better. My working theory is that Kelvin drives him away again but this time, instead of returning to his Satan pals, he starts his own mega-church and becomes a millionaire. Good for Keef.

Eli Gemstone


Complicated times for Eli Gemstone. He’s trying to build out his brand with a huge new on-demand network, he’s trying to be a good father to his idiot children, and he’s trying to toe the line between remaining relevant and establishing a legacy. It’s a tricky little dance, one made more difficult by people openly discussing his death at church lunch and slick characters from his past showing up and fueling his uncertainty with high-octane bad ideas.

Could go a lot of ways here. Especially considering the second episode ended with him covered in blood after we saw a dead journalist who, moments earlier, was threatening to trash the legacy of his beloved Aimee-Leigh.

The Maniac Kid lives.



Joe Jonas


Three notes on this one, too:

  • Legitimately laughed out loud when he showed up singing for the Lissons
  • Laughed out loud a second time when Jesse said he was married to “Game of Thrones” instead of saying Sophie Turner’s name
  • If we’re just doing real celebrity cameos now, then I’m gonna need Baby Billy to show up on a flotilla performing “Misbehavin’” with… let’s say Carly Rae Jepsen

Thank you.

Judy Gemstone


Two things are true here. The first is that things are not going great for Judy, generally, as illustrated by the slew of problems she finds herself in (including but not limited to her driving a Tesla she has no clue how to operate) and her own father sighing and lamenting how she just keeps getting worse. I repeat: Not great.

The second true thing, though, is that Edi Patterson is a damn genius. Every line she delivers cracks me up. Her rant about not being Felicia, her crack about Amber’s “played out pastrami,” all of it. The other names on the show are bigger, for now, between your McBrides and Goodmans and former Workaholics creators, but Edi Patterson is a freaking star.

Jesse and Amber Gemstone


No amount of butt-kissing or push-up bras was ever going to get them the go-ahead for this new waterfront Christian resort or the $10 million to invest in it, but I do credit them for trying. I also credit Jesse for the outfit he wore to the beach for the first full-family meeting with the Lissons. That was just an incredible look. Let’s all dress like that this summer. There’s nothing stopping us.

Things are about to get much dicier and darker for everyone here, for reasons we’ll get to shortly. We went from bad to worse, real quick. It’s gonna be a whole thing.



Motorcycle intros


Eli was introduced in the flashback screaming around Memphis on a motorcycle. Gideon was introduced this season ripping around the Gemstone estate on a dirtbike, doing tricks and jumps for what appeared to be no apparent reason. I point this out here not so much because I think it’s important to the ongoing action or anything that will happen going forward as much as because I just really liked it.

More characters should make their entrance via dirtbike trucks. Let’s start with Larry David in the next season of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Abraham Gemstone


Kid just wants to kick holes in walls, play video games, and hide his jizz-stained underpants all over the house. Leave him alone.

That said, worth noting: Danny McBride’s line teasing of “talkin’ bout cum” was incredible. Go back and listen to it again when he’s talking to Gideon. He puts like three shakes of hot sauce on it. What a wonderful show.

The Lissons


They seem like the absolute worst kind of money-hoovering flim-flam artists in the world, the kind that give religion a bad name as they line their pockets with gold, and yet…

I don’t know. I just really love that this show, already one of the strangest and most chaotic endeavors on television, sat down and looked itself in the mirror and said, “Yeah, screw it, let’s add Eric Andre, too.” Inspired work. Sometimes you can have it all.

Thaniel Block, Journalist



– Name is Thaniel
– Cussed on live television
– Did cocaine off the arm of a wooden chair
– Stinky little weasel
– Hell-bent on taking down wealthy televangelists
– Perfectly cast with Jason Schwartzman


– Appears to be dead already

Real whirlwind of an opening night for Thaniel. Rest in peace, you little demon.



Eric Roberts


Does anyone play a sleazebag better than Eric Roberts? That’s not a rhetorical question. I’m honestly asking. He’s just so good at it, with his face and voice and mannerisms. He’s a perfect slimy villain. One time I watched a straight-to-VOD movie about rascal parkour teens (I don’t have to explain myself to any of you) and he popped up as the villain. Just hellbent on ruining parkour teens, drinking wine, the whole bit. It was breathtaking.

I can’t even begin to describe how excited I was when I saw his name in the cast for this season. I knew he’d be playing some awful dirtbag. I didn’t necessarily predict “former professional wrestling kingpin from Memphis who shows up and eggs on a world-famous televangelist to snap a biker’s thumbs halfway off his hands,” but I wouldn’t have blinked even once if you had told me that before the episode aired.



Love this guy. Need to know either everything about him or nothing else at all ever. Still on the fence.



I do not know if anything that happened in either of the first two episodes — a full 90 minutes of comedy, basically an entire movie — made me laugh as hard as BJ swirling and sniffing his glass of milk like it was an expensive merlot. He fascinates me. Do yourself a favor and watch his face whenever Judy is talking. Focus on Judy first (see above, re: star), but then rewind and watch him.

I’m convinced there’s a darkness inside BJ. I want him and Keef to get stranded together in Las Vegas for a weekend and see what happens.

The whole thing up and becoming a murder mystery out of nowhere


Three notes, one last time

  • We have now established that Eli Gemstone is capable of violence when he feels threatened on wronged
  • When Thaniel handed Eli and Martin the card with his address, the camera kind of lingered on it for a second, almost like the show was telling us something
  • Eric Roberts sure appears to be pretty dead at the crime scene

This is all very interesting now. What a beautiful television program.