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The Righteous Gemstones S1E9 “Better Is the End of a Thing Than Its Beginning” Review

The season finale ends with a lot of closure and happy endings.

The season finale is here and there is a lot to talk about, from the ending, to how we got there, to Keefe (Anthony Cavalero) and his friend’s very weird form of sex-metal therapy! This episode ends in a satisfying way that is so filled with closure it’s going to be hard to fathom where the show goes in season 2. There will be plenty to talk about as we await the next season especially since some characters have seen some good growth and may steer directly into their weird side rather than hide from it. The biggest takeaway from this episode is all about the characters accepting who they are and being happier for it. That makes it a happy ending for most and gives the first season a lot of closure.


I say “most” because Amber Gemstone (Cassidy Freeman) doesn’t get much reconciliation beyond keeping her wealth and her kids. Amber may be getting some solace down the road though, as her husband Jesse (Danny McBride) in the final moments of the episode does the right thing. However, aside from Amber, nearly every character grows a little and changes by the end of the episode.

photo: Ryan Green/HBO

The episode largely belongs to the family as a whole since they come together and act as one. The season has felt very much like it was moving in a direction where the family worked together and they finally do as they figure out Baby Billy (Walton Goggins) took the $3 million stolen from the family vault. It’s nice to see the family working as one, especially after the opening scene. In this opening we witness the death of Aimee-Leigh (Jennifer Nettles) which has the entire family crowded around her bed as she passes. There’s a lot of crying, and eventually, much smashing as the family attempts to kill a bee that is bothering them in the scene. David Gordon Green directs this episode quite well and this opening comes back in a meaningful way to help connect a spiritual moment for the family.

That won’t be what folks talk about at the water cooler on Monday though. That honor will likely go to an intensely weird, shocking, and sad scene with Judy Gemstone (Edi Patterson). It’s a scene where Judy lets BJ (Tim Baltz) know the full truth about her past relationships. What she tells BJ is not only weird and criminal, but it also shows how messed up this family has allowed a girl like Judy to get. Patterson does an expert job in this scene and throughout the episode, continuing to reveal this sad and broken woman for who she is and how as long as she owns up to her weirdness she can be proud. Another weird revelation is made by Kelvin (Adam DeVine) who thought he was literally Jesus, but he’s just not sure anymore. It’s a hilarious scene between Kelvin, Jesse, and Judy that reveals this family will be all right as long as they stop hiding their secrets.

There is certainly more growing to be had from these characters in season 2 and there’s still the somewhat inhibiting issue of them all being super-rich and never needing to worry because of that wealth. That said, in the final scene it’s quite beautiful what Jesse does to bring his son Gideon (Skyler Gisondo) back in the fold. There are many bad Christian movies that are hokey and way too much, but I’d argue The Righteous Gemstones has been a show that is always found truth in its characters and never shied from its depiction of faith. I’ve marveled at how the show has never made Christianity the butt of any joke and this finale seems to hammer home loving one another and knowing your personal truth is about as close to God as you can get.

photo: Ryan Green/HBO

There isn’t much in this episode to really complain about save for maybe a lack of a cliffhanger. The episode seems to end in a positive way for everyone on some level leaving you at a loss for where it might go next season. While it’s nice to not be dying to know what happens next it seems like a bit of a miss to not at least have something dangling for us to chew on between seasons. There is still a lot of growing up to be had for these characters and the very thought of where it could go is interesting, but there’s no lead in on that.

The ending is an inspiration of sorts as the characters in the show begin to find their true selves and come to a sort of peace. Now, how the showrunners can figure out how to mess up the characters’ lives after learning a bit of humility and self-love will be a tough nut to crack, but based on the high bar set by this season, I’m sure they’ll succeed again next year.

The Righteous Gemstones S1E9 “Better Is the End of a Thing Than Its Beginning”
Is it good?
The ending is an inspiration of sorts as the characters in the show begin to find their true selves and come to a sort of peace. Now, how the showrunners can figure out how to mess up the characters' lives after learning a bit of humility and self-love will be a tough nut to crack, but based on the high bar set by this season, I'm sure they'll succeed again next year.
An ending with a lot of closure
Edi Patterson continues to steal the show with intensely weird scenes that make you empathize with the character
The religious moment is held up by a surprising opening scene with a bee
The ending is so clean and absolute there really is no cliffhanger at all to prepare us for season 2
8.5
Great
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