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.
Well well well, there you have it. The Lissons were behind the cycle ninjas and the attempted hit on Eli and the charred remains of any number of bodies at Thaniel Block’s journalism cabin. It is not important who among us called this weeks ago. (ME. I DID IT.) What’s important is that the reveal played out in dramatic fashion at the opening of Zion’s Landing, right there in front of God and Joe Jonas and everyone, and that the two of them were eventually taken out in the Alaska wilderness by their own cycle ninjas and/or a pack of hungry wolves. That was really just a lot of fun.
It’s also a good opportunity to note something: For all the silliness of this show, for all the toilet babies and Keef slapping muscle men and BJ just being a sweet man among jackals, there is a real storytelling structure here, with foreshadowing and payoffs and twists and all of it. Please do not overlook that. The silliness does not work nearly as well without that foundation. It’s a funny show, sure, of course, and please see Lindy Lisson and various Gemstones shouting about who needs to eat shit and why as BJ bleeds out into the sand if you need yet another example, but it’s also just, like, a good show.
The Righteous Gemstones: A good show. You heard this here first.
Getting burned alive
The whole cold open was a thing of beauty, with its reveals about Thaniel and Lyle Lisson hiding in the closet as the Gemstone siblings flopped around in the blood, all of it circling back to the first time we saw that scene from the other perspective. But the main thing I took away from it all is that I do not think I would like to be burned alive. It does not seem fun. Pass.
What a scumbag, just out for scalps and willing to burn sources and perpetuate the stereotype of an unethical journalist. I hate him. But I also kind of love that he went out shooting after the bozo Lisson crew set off multiple grenades — concussion and otherwise, they saw it on YouTube — in the front yard by accident. And I kind of want to read his previous work, just to see who else he’s taken down and how.
But mostly I appreciate that the man’s name was Thaniel. That’s just a lovely piece of business.
I feel kind of bad for Joe Jonas. The show had been setting up this payoff for most of the season and it should have been a bigger deal to me, but then they went and just slipped in freaking Macaulay Culkin out of nowhere last week. That’s a tough act to follow. Almost impossible, really. And John Amos showed up this week, too, as Lyle Lisson’s hard-pushing father. Lindy Lisson slapped him square in the face. Joe Jonas could not have lived up to any of that, even in a perfect scenario, even if he was on site as Tiffany squeezed out Baby Lionel into a mess of portable toilet goop.
It just wasn’t meant to be.
Chad and Mandy
Please imagine sitting in that massive megachurch, right there in one of the seats, getting ready to pray and sing and worship, and then you get what I choose to believe was 45 minutes of marriage counseling for a couple who could not stop talking about the size of the husband’s pecker. Get a real good visual on that. Close your eyes if it helps.
Let’s go ahead and add Chad and Mandy to the growing collection of characters I would watch a standalone episode about. Just one, with the two of them at home all day, maybe bickering about groceries or leaves or some other domestic issue. I may be alone on this one. But I do really want it.
This poor guy was squirted out into the sloppy mess of a portable toilet, and fished out in part with his own umbilical cord, at the grand opening of a religious-themed beach resort where other members of his extended family were marched into the ocean at gunpoint. And his parents, the people responsible for his DNA and upbringing, are Tiffany and Baby Billy Freeman. Yes, I know Baby Billy appears to have been shown the light via closed fist, but still. Old habits die hard. It’s tough to pay for college with mysterious health elixirs.
Point being: I am very worried about Lionel and I would appreciate it if the show checked in on him periodically to see how this all works out. He’s either going to end up being a criminal or the President of the United States. Maybe both.
I am happy for Gideon that his Hollywood career is taking off and that he has mended the relationship with his parents but I was really hoping he would transition into becoming the family’s enforcer, like a baby-faced John Wick, and it bums me out a little that this scenario did not play out on the beach, like with him showing up on a dirtbike with a lasso or something to corral Lindy Lisson. I have no one but myself to blame for this one. I got too excited. That’s on me, really.
The cycle/snowmobile ninjas
On one hand: They are assassins who have allegiance only to money, which is bad in general and especially bad if they have been paid that money to kill you.
On the other hand: I hooted and hollered a little when they showed up in Alaska on their neon snowmobiles to follow Martin’s order and take out the Lissons.
It’s a tricky situation, really, made even trickier by the thing where I can’t concentrate on any of this too long because I start wondering what other neon-lined forms of transportation they have at their disposal. Jet skis? Lawnmowers? Rollerblades?
It’s a problem
Kelvin has traded in his muscle men for a Youth Squad. Which he appears to be turning into a new muscle squad. And who he appears to be planning to take to the desert with or without permission slips from their parents. He’s still working on it. He’s still figuring it out. None of it is ever going to end all that well for Kelvin. He’s too needy and misguided, too much the dictionary definition of a youngest child. But at least now he has a flock he could take in a fistfight if it came down to it.
Actually, no, I would not like to supervise a crew of muscle-bound teens. I repeat what I said about this ending badly.
Jesse should not be ranked this high. His dalliance with the Lissons caused almost everything that happened here. Eli got shot. BJ got shot. Things went real sideways in any number of ways all because he was a little insecure about his place in the church and the family and all of it. The man has rarely if ever had a good idea in his life.
But he did whip that rock pretty good with that slingshot. That’s not nothing. Even for all his faults, we do have to give him that.
Blowing something up by flicking a cigarette into a trail of gasoline
This is… cool. Again, the Lissons were murderers and being burned alive seems bad and no one should ever slap John Amos, but come on. This is cool. Tell me you’ve never wanted to do this, just once. Do not lie to me.
DO NOT LIE.
Screw it. Meet me in that old abandoned factory yard later tonight. Bring like two gallons of gas and a pack of Marlboro Reds. We are crossing things off the bucket list out here.
It was both very funny and not surprising at all to discover that Junior has a network of arms dealers he keeps in contact with and can call out of the blue to identify various weapons. This is a very Eric Roberts character trait. The casting throughout the whole season has been incredible, the cameos and the recurring roles and all of it, but please do not overlook this one when you are making the list I assume you are making.
Bring him back next season. Please.
I do not think I can explain to any of you how excited I was when Keef tiptoed into the dance line at Zion’s Landing. I had no clue what to expect. We know he has a history of goth raves with satanists (fun phrase to type), but he’s also so shy and awkward. The possibilities were limitless. There was a chance he could have gotten scared and started crying.
I did not in one million years expect to see Keef do The Worm. Anywhere. Under any circumstances. Especially not on the sand. I’m still not over it. I might display this GIF on an LCD screen that I mount to the hood of my car and just drive around town tonight. It’ll be fun until I drive under an overpass and leave a trail of glass and crystal shards all over the street behind me.
Which would be fitting, in a way. Nothing this beautiful can last forever.
Baby Billy and Aunt Tiffany
I do not know if or how any of this ends well. I do not know if Baby Billy’s change of heart will last. It appears to be going well, at least from what we saw in the month-later flash-forward, with this happy family together and Macaulay Culkin’s happy family there, too. It’s nice. It’s very nice.
But. Baby Billy gets ideas. He doesn’t stay still. He has a lifetime of following various schemes toward disaster and then speeding off through the flames as everything burns down. I am curious to see how it works. I want to see how it works. I want to see Baby Billy on my screens as soon as possible, as much as possible. That’s what I’m getting at here.
Most of the things I have to say about the supernova that is Judy Gemstone can be found here. For now, just three notes:
- The conversation between her and BJ about having children and their post-birth sex life was maybe the hardest I laughed all episode
- The bathing tips she gave Tiffany — who she is now like weirdly motherly toward — might have been number two
- Sparkly boots
- I loved her little smug dance at the beach, which I have GIFed above and expect to use a lot going forward
Judy Gemstone is the greatest. I want only the best for her. And the worst. Both are equally funny. I keep picturing her and BJ as parents and it is relentlessly funny to me. Let’s pencil this in for next season. The people — you, me, mostly me — have earned this.
Delicious. Not always socially acceptable to drink, though. Like, you can’t show up at a football game in November and hand out mai tais. I mean, you should be able to, but people would look at you funny. Which is a shame. We need to normalize umbrella drinks. They don’t need to just be for vacations and Jimmy Buffett concerts. I am suddenly very passionate about this.
Order a mai tai this weekend. Ignore the bartender’s face when you do. There are always doubters in the early stages of a revolution.
I was so worried. I’m not kidding here. When BJ got shot and started squirting blood out of what appeared to be an important artery (I guess all arteries are important, shut up), I was so, so worried. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if the show had killed him off. I would have been inconsolable. I might have stayed in bed for the whole week. I love him very much and want him to be happy.
Since surviving his assassination attempt, Eli has:
- Made things right with Junior and used him for valuable intel
- Strengthened the bonds of his family
- Taken over Zion’s Landing and made it a Gemstones property
- Sent Martin and a team of assassins to kill the Lissons
The lesson here is one we learned on another HBO program many years ago: If you come at the king, you best not miss.
I must know everything about Martin. He fascinates me. I felt this way before he chased the Lissons to Alaska and supervised the cycle/snowmobile ninjas in their revenge assassination, but now I suuuuuper feel that way. He might be the most interesting character on the show. I am not kidding.
What a beautiful television program, truly. I can’t wait for it to come back.