Following up on last week’s explosive episode of The Righteous Gemstones, this week’s episode puts the brakes on for something a bit lighter. First and foremost, before we get into the details, let’s look at the title. “For He Is a Liar and the Father of Lies,” the third episode, is a rough translation of John 8:44.
The Devil, Satan himself, is mentioned in this verse. Is the title implying a comparison between the Devil and Eli, or is it just alluding to the Gemstone family’s penchant for lying? Let’s get started.
The last episode’s turbulent conclusion continues into this one’s opening scenes. Eli, the Gemstone father, is driving the Gemstone siblings in the automobile. They don’t appear to have brought up the possibility of his participation in Thaniel’s murder. However, they arrive at Thaniel’s house together and witness it engulfed in flames before they can do so. Eli emphasizes the necessity of the siblings remaining silent about their planned travel to Thaniel, adding to their skepticism of Eli.
This skepticism carries over into a hilarious family supper with Jesse, Amber, and their kids. Jesse tries to alleviate their suspicions of Eli’s participation in Thaniel’s murder while they dine at a chicken establishment with a soda fountain-like gravy pouring machine (great touch).
Instead, they all wind up discussing various scenarios in which Eli might have slain Thaniel. Each one is more macabre than the previous. It’s the kind of thing The Righteous Gemstones can perform on autopilot, and it’s a lot of fun.
Kelvin’s plot is also going well. Kelvin’s latent homosexuality is played for easy laughs during one of their displays while training his musclebound stable of guys, “The God Squad.” In a gymnasium, the adonis-like company puts on a (nearly) unbelievable additional show for the kids.
A human pyramid is the piece de resistance.
Of course, Kelvin is at the top. You’re probably guessing where this is headed. God Squad Titus is gravely hurt after receiving repeated complaints from a pyramid member below him that he is placing too much weight on his neck. Kelvin is left in the hospital with a God Squad member. More importantly, he’s facing a legal battle.
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Kelvin is left sulking in Eli’s office, maybe justifiably chastised up by his father. He gets a clever idea there. A meeting is called by the three siblings. Kelvin delivers his evidence there. Eli and Junior’s relationship is portrayed in a poor light via a series of shady text messages.
Meanwhile, BJ presents his own proof. He claimed to have spotted Eli on a roller coaster, something he normally avoids. With all of the proof they believe they need, the trio decides it’s time for a showdown. They summon Eli to a church meeting, where he, predictably, has an alibi.
Eli states that he and Junior went bowling the night before. A slew of sultry ladies arrived to join them. Eli, who has been out of the game for a while, returns home with one of the ladies.
He takes it upon himself to perform some “manscaping” before heading into the hot tub with her- wink wink, nudge nudge. As a result, he tears his scrotum apart, resulting in his bloodied look at the close of the previous episode.
The youngsters are not at all relieved after hearing this narrative. In fact, the idea of their father “cheating” on their mother is terrifying to them! They rush off in a rage as if the truth hasn’t set Eli free.
It’s difficult to know whether to believe his narrative on its face.
If it is a lie, it is a complex one. On the other hand, it’s a lowbrow (albeit somewhat amusing) method to get Eli off the board. Junior is still on the lookout for Eli, as shown by his appearance in the rear seat of his car at the gas station.
This is the point at which Eli says that they are no longer friends. Junior then proclaims their foes in a dramatic manner.
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This is something we all expected to happen, yet it’s still stunning to watch their rekindled connection be snuffed out so quickly.
Titus’ return to God Squad is the last important event in this episode. Kelvin issues him a challenge after he refuses to undertake Kelvin’s exercises: if he can carry a cross like Jesus Christ, he can head the God Squad.
Titus, ever confident, tries the Herculean, or should I say Christian, task and once again injures himself. Kelvin locks him up in a cage and declares him to be in “solitary confinement” for the next seven days and nights. I’m okay with Kelvin, Keefe, and the rest of their crew embarking on a cult storyline.
“For He Is A Liar and the Father of Lies” seems like The Righteous Gemstones on autopilot, just like some of the jokes. Despite this, it remains sharper than any other television comedy presently on the air. Danny McBride and Jody Hill are a television dream combo that can make any show exciting to watch.
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The issue with this episode is that there are far too many red herrings and arc starts for it to stand alone. At this point, I’m not sure whether Eli or Junior had anything to do with the murder. The entire thing smells like Baby Billy Freeman, who is noticeably missing (Walton Goggins).
That isn’t to say that there aren’t some excellent things here. Kelvin’s God Squad ambitions are destined to blossom into something darkly gut-busting as the laughter keeps coming. It’ll undoubtedly be a crucial episode as part of the larger picture. It’s only good as a stand-alone. James Preston Poole (James Preston Poole)