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Righteous Gemstones uses its production design to highlight Jesse's lavish lifestyle. From immaculate designer clothing we might expect to find at PreachersNSneakers to golden carpets and massive mansions, nearly every moment Jesse is on the screen illustrates how prodigal he's been with the tithes the Gemstones collect. The first season of Righteous Gemstones is an inversion, then, of Jesus' parable. (Spoilers ahead.) Jesse, the father, squanders the wealth and power his position grants him. His son leaves, taking nothing with him, and returns not to rejoin his father, but to rob him of his undeserved gains.
By the end of the show’s first season, both Jesse and Gideon have been exposed as frauds. Gideon flees to Haiti to dig wells in an attempt to "find peace" and "become a better man." Jesse, having confessed everything to his wife Amber (Cassidy Freeman), goes to Haiti to try to bring Gideon home. "Your momma's gonna leave me. I need you to come home now," he tells his son. But Gideon refuses, insisting, "You just came here to fix your own life." Then he asks, "Do you really want to make things better, or do you just want to make the bad stuff go away?" Jesse can't understand in that moment that his son is inviting him to authentic religious transformation—not just making the 'bad stuff' go away, but truly being changed. He returns home empty-handed and unchanged. True to his prediction, his wife meets him on the runway to end their marriage.
Jesse - Redemption - Home - Finale - Act
Jesse cannot find redemption at home, not even in the finale's riotous (and ridiculous) third act, which includes both a recovery of family wealth and possibly even a sign of divine intervention as Uncle Baby Billy (Walton Goggins) is struck by lightning. As season one draws to a close, Eli Gemstone offers...
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