TV

The ‘Righteous Gemstones’ Halo Report: A Ballad Of Motorcycle Ninjas And Mutiny

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.

ZERO HALOS

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UPROXX

Getting gunned down by neon cycle ninjas

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HBO

Three questions are important here, so let’s discuss them before we get into any other business:

  • Is Eli dead?
  • Who is behind the cycle ninjas?
  • Shouldn’t the cycle ninjas maybe wear less neon so they’re not so immediately identifiable?

In regards to the first one, I… I don’t know. It sure didn’t look great. The man’s torso was riddled with bullets and his SUV had glided to a stop against various construction signage. That’s not ideal. It’s not how I hope to end any night. But my general rule with situations like this is to assume a character is alive all the way up until we see their body lowered into a grave, and sometimes longer, depending on what kind of show I’m watching. Am I implying there’s a scenario in which the ghost of Eli Gemstone sticks around and haunts his children like the spirits in A Christmas Carol? No. Maybe. I kind of hope so, now that I see it all typed out. I love ghost shenanigans.

Looking at the second question, we have two possibilities. The obvious one is Junior, the sleazy Memphis wrestling promoter who Jesse already suspects. The motive is there. And he looks shady enough that you can see it. Like, if I just described the character to you without you watching the show, you’d be like, “Yeah, I could see that guy ordering a motorcycle assassination.” The complicating factor here is that this all seems kind of… high-tech for him. He seems more like a “send a wrestler to issue a threat in a parking garage” guy, as we’ve seen. Which brings us to…

Is it maybe the Lissons, the Texas power couple whose plan to loop in Jesse and Amber and their money was spoiled by Eli’s iron fist? You can see it, right? Like, they called out the hit on Eli to grease the wheels on the deal. It seems wild at first, that this televangelist power couple would have teams of glow-in-the-dark shooters out of a Gerard Butler movie on staff, but… actually, no. It doesn’t seem that wild. I can picture Eric Andre making that call right now. I hope a full-on turf war develops. Give BJ a bazooka. I’m serious about this.

And finally, regarding the last question… let’s just go with “they do it because it looks cool.” That’s a good enough reason for me.

Kelvin

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HBO

Tough go of it for Kelvin here. Broken thumbs, can’t dress or pee by himself, mopping the floor with little washie-mittens, had a bad conversation with his dad that might end up being their last. Keef is in a cage. He was deposed as leader by Torsten. It’s not entirely clear where or if he lives in his own house anymore, which is rarely a good sign for anyone, ever.

Kelvin had a bad week.

ONE HALO

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UPROXX

Keef

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HBO

Keef is such a tender soul. You saw him dressing Kelvin. At first, I thought it might have been a romantic thing for him, like he has a forbidden lust for Kelvin he can only satisfy through service. And it might still be that. But I think it’s more innocent than that. I think there is not a sexual aspect to it at all. It’s got some real “one of Jesus’ disciples” energy to it.

I felt so bad for him when he crumpled under the weight of that cross. If he had as much strength as he did desire to succeed he could rip the top off of a mountain with his bare hands. He’s a sweet man.

Jesse

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HBO

Let’s check in with Jesse:

  • Jealous and insecure about his wife picking off a cycle ninja while he sprayed bullets willy-nilly in the night sky
  • Organizing secret men-only meetings where they discuss old-timey violence
  • Rolling up on Memphis wrestling promoters and having his minions whip stones at or near their target with slingshots

Dude is just spiraling. Lots of bad vibes. Capable of going almost anywhere from here. It’s very exciting to me.

Judy

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HBO

Everything you need to know about Judy can be discovered in the scene where she was both dismissive of Jesse’s story about the cycle ninjas (because he’s not “important enough to be assassinated”) and also deeply, pathetically envious of it (LOOK AT ME DADDY LOOK AT ME DADDY LOOK AT ME DADDY). She is a bottomless pit of need who might lash out at anyone at any moment. Give her a motorcycle and a machine gun. Let’s see what happens.

TWO HALOS

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UPROXX

Aunt Tiffany

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HBO

A sweet and simple hill person whose naivety and optimism is kind of admirable. She really thinks it’s more likely that Baby Billy — BABY BILLY — is coming home with a convertible filled with Funyuns than it is that he bailed on her and the baby. Bless her heart.

Slingshots, generally

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HBO

There are hundreds of better weapons you can use, especially today, in 2022, and ESPECIALLY when you’re going after a man you suspect of having a fleet of slick assassins on speed dial. Have you ever tried to use a slingshot like that? It’s impossible. You’re better off just whipping the rock really hard with your arm. I get the symbolism of it all, I suppose (it’s cute that Jesse thinks of his multimillionaire family as David and the minor league wrestling promoter as Goliath), but like, no. You’re an adult. None of this Dennis the Menace business.

THREE HALOS

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UPROXX

Chad

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HBO

Chad is going through a lot. He’s getting a little too intense. I knew that was true before I saw him just shove this motorcycle onto the ground, but now I definitely, super know it. He has so much Divorced Guy Energy radiating off of him that he might open the next episode glowing like one of those hideous deep-sea fish that needs to illuminate its own body to navigate in the dark. I know we just did an interlude episode last week and need to get back to the actual business of the show, but I would at the very least watch a series of little webisodes about Chad’s day.

Smoothies

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HBO

I love a smoothie but I have to be in the mood for one. Like, if someone showed up with a tray of smoothies as a peace offering, I don’t know how it would work out. They don’t store well. Put them in the fridge and they melt. Put them in the freezer and they go rock hard. A smoothie is a now-or-never proposition. Don’t foist that kind of pressure on me.

FOUR HALOS

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UPROXX

Amber

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HBO

One thing I love about this show is that it always sets things up before it pays them off. Just a couple of weeks ago, we saw Amber lighting up a target range on their property. This week, she goes half John Wick on assassins. She fascinates me. There’s a rage inside that woman. She’s like a scorpion in a church dress. I would rather swallow a thumbtack than cross her, mostly because I could see her getting angry enough to make me swallow multiple thumbtacks. Tread lightly.

A convertible filled with Funyuns

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HBO
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HBO

Been thinking about it ever since I typed it in the blurb about Aunt Tiffany. I kind of just want to see it, more than anything. It should be a prize you win on a game show, like Holey Moley. Not even in the packages, either. Just millions of loose Funyuns stacked up to the headrests of a Chevy Sebring. Something to consider.

Any show that lets a character played by Eric Roberts do cocaine off his hand in an alley

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HBO

What a blessing, honestly. A perfect little touch, acted perfectly, by a man who was born to do it. I’m so proud of everyone here.

FIVE HALOS

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UPROXX

BJ

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HBO

BJ gets five stars for three equally important reasons:

  • I love him
  • Did you see his face when Eli shook his hand, and again when he told Judy about it?
  • He is going to be inconsolable when he hears about Eli now, just when they’ve bonded

I worry. But five stars.

Torsten

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HBO

I started doing this thing a couple of days ago — right after I watched this screener — where I just kind of mutter “Torsten… TORSTEN” whenever I attempt a feat of strength, which is funny both because it’s a stupid thing to do and because I’m disabled and my “feats of strength” are, like, lifting a jug of orange juice. Also, he looks kind of like if Phillies’ right fielder Bryce Harper had become a professional wrestler instead of a baseball player, which I appreciate.

Torsten.

Torsten.

TORSTEN.

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