WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for the first five episodes of The Righteous Gemstones, now available on HBO.
In HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones, Jesse (Danny McBride) had quite a tough time trying to take over Eli’s (John Goodman) empire. His father just isn’t ready to relinquish the church to any of the kids, frustrating Jesse to the point he verbally lashed out over this game of thrones. He thinks it’s his birthright, not just because he’s the oldest, but because he doesn’t see Kelvin or Judy capable enough to carry the mission on and protect their million-dollar brand. Unfortunately, while an assassination attempt on Jesse was initially thought to be linked to Eli’s enemies, it may be due to a brutal business betrayal.
After Judy’s wedding, Jesse and his wife, Amber, got on a bus and decided to celebrate. It didn’t have a sanctioned driver, but they ignored it, as they just wanted to have a night out. Unfortunately, the driver, while filling gas, left them for a bunch of bikers to shoot.
Thankfully, no one died, implying it was just to send a message, leaving theorists thinking it might have been Junior due to the beef he had with Eli. He and Eli fell out, but not before a reporter, Thaniel, was killed, apparently by Junior. It seemed he was protecting Eli due to their criminal past, only for Eli’s eventual betrayal to cause Junior to use sinister connections for revenge. Make no mistake, Junior would have no problem going after the family to hurt Eli, making him suffer by knowing the vendetta cost his kids.
However, the big twist could be this shooting was because of the Lissons, another mega-empire in America, who wanted to partner with Jesse and Judy. Lyle and Lindy have a mammoth church, and earlier this season, they approached to couple for a super relationship in the form of a beachside resort.
To them, listening to the word of God near the ocean is the Promised Land, and one that’ll make all parties a ton of cash. Unfortunately, Jesse had to bail from their Christian paradise after Eli denied him the millions to invest. He tucked his tail and ran, citing how he just couldn’t muster the cash. However, apart from a bruised ego, what hurt an emotional Jesse most was he felt this resort was divine purpose.
Thus, framing someone for the shooting and creating this brush with death could goad Jesse into getting the money, even if it means stealing, to make his life count. It’s up the Lissons’ alley because they often speak of the end of days and doing everything to avoid judgement. Given the main theme of this show being hypocrisy, it’s easy to see them sinning if it meant scaring Jesse into helping build this kingdom of sand, sun and sea.
New episodes of The Righteous Gemstones air Sundays at 10pm ET/PT on HBO and HBO Max.
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