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TV ReviewsThe Righteous Gemstones (1×02) Is This the Man Who Made the Earth Tremble Review

Critics w/o CredentialsAugust 26, 201990/100
Director
David Gordon Green
Writer
Danny McBride
Rating
TV-MA
Running Time
33 minutes
Airs
Sundays 10pm
Channel
HBO, HBO Canada
Overall Score
Rating Summary
This episode was a major improvement from its premiere and offered just enough intrigue and comedy to keep coming back for another week.

For our review of the last episode of The Righteous Gemstones, click here.

Synopsis: After discovering Amber, Pontius and Abraham reminiscing about an estranged family member, Jesse tasks his friends with acquiring surveillance footage that could explain the strange events of the night before. (HBO)

In its second episode, The Righteous Gemstones makes a solid narrative decision to show all the unhinged chaos resulting from the parking lot deal-gone-wrong only this time from the blackmailer’s perspective.

In its premiere, The Righteous Gemstones set the stage for what looks to be an interesting season as it never shied away from the dark places the story wanted to explore. This is a surprising departure from how the show’s trailers depicted the product which leads viewers to believe it would be a satire about a successful family grounded in religious culture. However, the show quickly dove into a much darker narrative surrounding the blackmailing of Jessie, the eldest Gemstone son. As the second episode continues down this path, Jessie further commits his siblings into helping clean up his mess as they begin to track down the culprits as well as deal with any evidence pointing to the events of the parking lot.

The blackmailers; Scotty (Scott MacArthur), Lucy (Virginia Gardner), and a third nameless participant, try to regroup and strategize how best to make their next move in the face of their recent defeat. With Scotty and Lucy badly injured after their ordeal, Lucy decides to leave the group entirely stating that it wasn’t worth the risk to continue. This abrupt departure forces Scotty and his partner to devise a new method of taking the Gemstones’ money – infiltrating the family.

As Jesse is attempting to handle this dilemma, he begins to lose his grip on his home life leading him to discover that his wife has been in communication with their prodigal son, Gideon, who has recently reached out after leaving the family. As we discover later, this is no coincidence because Gideon is, in fact, the third member with Scotty and Lucy and has been the architect of the entire blackmailing scheme. His ability to return to his family, thus giving him complete access to family’s operations, should enable him to take everything he and his partners were after in the beginning.

Though the premiere of The Righteous Gemstones wasn’t quite as expected, it still managed to be entertaining enough to continue watching in the hopes that the story and/or characters would be able to develop into something more interesting than what the first episode depicted. This wish was confirmed in the show’s second episode. The tone felt much more uniform throughout the whole episode which offered comedic moments as well as continuing to develop the dramatic turns involving the characters.

Jesse, while still unlikable and borderline unoriginal as he appears to be a copy of a copy of the typical characters played by McBride, is able to give way to the supporting leads to shine in this episode which offers more to keep coming back week-to-week. McBride’s take on Jesse is enjoyable, however, his sibling’s development as well as Jesse’s gang of ne’er-do-wells featuring verbal punching bag, Levi, who will hopefully get more screen time (and opportunity to give his dumb ideas) has been more interesting.

GEM OF THE EPISODEAfter Kelvin realizes there are security cameras in the parking lot, Judy uses a lorgnette (look it up) to view where he’s pointing. Why did she have these? Where did she store them? Best use of a comedic prop in 2019. Don’t @ me.


If you liked this, please read our other reviews here and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, follow us on Instagram, and also like us on Facebook.

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