Monday, January 17, 2022

What I’m Watching: The Righteous Gemstones (Season Premiere)

The Righteous Gemstones: Season 2, Episode 1 “I Speak in the Tongues of Men and Angels” (B)

I knew that it felt like a long time since this show wrapped its first season, which finished at the end of 2019, more than two years ago. It’s good to have it back, though it does take a bit of adjusting to return to its style, especially when it starts decades earlier in Memphis. As if Eli wasn’t already a formidable enough character, we got to see how he has Jesse-like characteristics, known for channeling his anger into calculated violence, breaking and bending back people’s fingers in a truly horrific way. Junior reentering his life, as played by Eric Roberts, may catapult him back into a different mindset, one that enables him to offload his frustration at the way his offspring want to do things that he doesn’t think represents the brand well. The introduction of the Lissons, played by Eric Andre and Jessica Lowe, is going to give Jesse something to do as the family branches into a wholly new enterprise with potentially incredible rewards and surely lots of trouble along the way. What I do find most fascinating about this offbeat, often crude show is how real religion is incorporated, like with Junior being unexpectedly moved by Eli praying with him and Jesse using a particular scare tactic to convince his son Abraham that he needs to stop masturbating all over the house since his dead ancestors watch every time the alarm goes off in heaven. I do hope we’ll see more of Jason Schwartzman’s anti-religion commentator.

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