WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for the first six episodes of The Righteous Gemstones, now available on HBO.
In HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones, Baby Billy (Walton Goggins) has been quite an eclectic figure. Season 1 had him returning to Eli’s (John Goodman) church, looking to cash in by working with the family in the wake of his sister, Aimee-Leigh, dying from an illness. Bit by bit, though, seeds were sown confirming Billy didn’t even respect her — all he wanted was to use her name to make money. However, while it seemed like Billy found the light, running his own small church across the Midwest, Season 2 confirmed he still had nasty traits, and in the process, it revealed his biggest sin, which he’s struggling to atone for.
Now, lying is in Billy’s nature, per the deceit he pulled on a pregnant Aimee-Leigh years while the Gemstone church was transforming into a million-dollar brand. He coaxed her into going on tour to give their fans one last Christian musical experience — the very thing they got famous for as the Freeman kids. He knew their loyalists were getting older, so this was the last chance to earn dough.
However, he sold it as him and his sister enjoying a nostalgic trip, playing on her emotions. Aimee-Leigh soon realized his scheme and turned it down, staying home to make Kelvin instead. This left Billy bitter, but Season 2 confirmed he had one other skeleton in the closet he was hiding regarding his own family.
Fans knew he had a wife, Gloria, and a son, Harmon, per the flashbacks for Judy’s birthday, but no one knew what happened to them. All the show revealed in the time-jump was that he got a new, younger beau in Tiffany. He eventually got her pregnant, which is why he’s back trying to get into Eli’s good graces to get money. Despite lightning striking him last season when he sold his and Aimee-Leigh’s land, dabbled in murder a bit and tried to swindle Eli, he isn’t born again. He just laid low until the money dried up, scrambling to pay for Tiff’s lifestyle and a new baby on the way.
That’s opened up a floodgate of guilt, thanks to a flashback to Christmas in the ’90s when Aimee-Leigh was alive in “Interlude II.” It showed Billy abandoning Harmon, who had a hunchback, and his mom in a mall. He came to the Gemstones, once more working a con for money by lying about how the family left him. Aimee-Leigh grew suspicious and called Gloria, finding out the heartbreaking truth. Billy threw a tantrum, admitting he failed because he went broke, but it still wasn’t enough to convince the Gemstones he changed.
After Judy’s wedding in the present and seeing Eli’s kids engaging in a game of thrones for the empire, this memory of neglect pushed the selfish Billy to then drive to South Carolina, intent on finding the family he left behind to seek forgiveness. However, given the pain he caused, it’s unlikely they’ll offer a path to redemption and the blessing to move on, instead leaving him to reap bad karma.
New episodes of The Righteous Gemstones air Sundays at 10pm ET/PT on HBO and HBO Max.
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