The Righteous Gemstones S3E6 Recap: “For Out of the Heart Comes Evil Thoughts” — How Do You Like Me Now?

BJ, seated at a table, glares angrily upward.
Photograph by Jake Giles Netter/HBO

The following recap contains spoilers for The Righteous Gemstones S3E6, “For Out of the Heart Comes Evil Thoughts” (written by John Carcieri and Danny McBride and directed by Jonathan Watson).

Editor’s Note: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn’t exist.

In the opening shot of The Righteous Gemstones S3E6, “For Out of the Heart Comes Evil Thoughts,” Judy take a deep breath and puts on a happy face before greeting her husband. BJ is at his best when he stands up for himself, and this is a good example. In response to Judy’s pleading at what else she can do to repair his shattered trust, BJ responds, without even looking at her, “I think at this point it’s up to me to decide what to do next.” Hell yeah, BJ. He declares that in order to clear his head, he needs “to blade.” Cue a cut to BJ tearing down the tarmac on rollerblades, propelling himself with ski poles, set to choral singing. It’s ridiculous, but the anguish on BJ’s face is prominent. 

Stephen’s wife Kristy is blackmailing Judy into a $500k payment in order to keep the affair confidential. Martin adds that she will need to also apologize personally. Obviously Judy would rather fall off a cliff than make an apology, but she eventually “takes the L” and does so. When Judy is surprised that her siblings weren’t there to taunt her, Martin reveals that he deceived them as to the date of the apology. It’s a nice moment between Martin and Judy as they embrace. 

Chuck and Karl, upon leaving the Gemstone compound, are gifted Jesse’s Redeemer monster truck (although Jesse is immediately remorseful upon parting with it), and when the Montgomery boys arrive at Peter’s new compound, claim that they stole it. Peter is delighted, and now that they’re all together, things on Peter’s side are probably going to start ramping up. 

A distraught Judy stands in her kitchen.
Photograph by Jake Giles Netter/HBO

Kelvin visits Keefe at a carpentry shop, in one of a couple of scenes in the episode that just hurt. We’ve come to really connect with these characters, and the episode paints these situations in more dramatic terms than usual. Kelvin is visibly unhappy with Taryn’s popularity with the youth group earlier in the episode. In this interaction with Keefe, he coldly tells him how much better things are without Keefe. It comes from a place of pain on Kelvin’s part, who valued his role in guiding Keefe in the faith, and seeing that Keefe is doing just fine without him causes him to lash out. 

The pain doesn’t get much better in the following scene, with Eli once again attempting to relax and fish until Judy interrupts him to discuss her affair. This leads to one of the rawest lines of the show so far, from Eli: “Can you f*cking kids just please, please figure out your lives?” Eli proceeds to lament that it was Aimee-Leigh, not him, that was good at working out his children’s issues. When Judy takes issue with having to pay Stephen’s wife out of her own pocket, Eli decides to completely ignore her, causing Judy to say that she hates him. The acting from both Patterson and Goodman is fantastic here. 

Still, things aren’t all drama and heaviness: when Jesse and his posse encounter BJ weeping over Judy’s infidelity at the church, they decide to support him and coach him into beating up Stephen. In a dingy boiler room, Jesse and the boys help BJ graduate from benevolent to badass. While Jesse is certainly only doing this because he’s taking a side against his sister, Jesse and BJ make a great pair. 

Jesse stands confidently in the church lobby, flanked by his posse.
Photograph by Jake Giles Netter/HBO

All of BJ’s training and protein drinks aren’t enough to save him from getting his ass kicked by a fully nude Stephen (HBO, baby!), but when his antagonist proudly stands astride him to declare victory, BJ grabs him by his scrotum, achieves the upper hand, and beats the holy hell out of Stephen and his stupid frosted tips with his bare fists, no brass knuckles needed. Bloodied but vindicated, BJ returns home. Judy is shocked to see the state he’s in, and BJ simply says, “I hope you like me now”—a slight permutation on the “How do you like me now?” line he attempted to use on Stephen. 

We get another emotionally-charged moment between Keefe and Kelvin when Keefe delivers a hand-carved chair for his friend. They act like a divorced couple, awkward and jealous of each other, and the hurtful things Kelvin says to Keefe seem to hurt Kelvin himself just as much. The scene is punctuated by the vaguely surreal energy that the show often has, as Keefe does a cartwheel and exits without another word. 

The reveal of the Aimee-Leigh hologram to Eli is disastrous. Eli is appalled, disgusted and overwhelmed with grief at seeing his late wife like this, and it just gets worse from there. As their father weeps, the Gemstone kids loudly argue, and Kelvin and Judy quit. That all said, there is still a very funny element to this scene as the kids attempt to shut off the machine by kicking and smashing it, which just splices DMX performing “Party Up (Up In Here)” in between Aimee-Leigh’s peaceful singing. 

There has to be something that will bring the family back together in the back half of this season, right? The infighting has been getting significantly uglier, but the family has always united in the eleventh hour against the threat of the season. As hilarious as the bickering is, the reconciliation tends to feature some incredibly strong writing, and I’m genuinely invested not only in the looming threat of Peter Montgomery, but the hope that the Gemstones will come back together again by the end of the season. 

Written by Hawk Ripjaw

Hawk Ripjaw has been sharing his opinion on film and TV since his early teens, when the local public library gave away prizes for submissions to their newsletter. Since then, he's been writing for local newspapers, international video game sites, booze-themed movie websites, and anywhere else he can throw around some media passion. He watched the Mike Myers Cat in the Hat movie over 50 times in two years, for science.

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