The Righteous Gemstones Season 3 Episode 5 Recap: Interlude III

Image Credit: Jake Giles Netter/HBO

The HBO series ‘The Righteous Gemstones’ airs an interlude episode every season. Exclusively set in the past, they provide context to seasonal conflicts. In season 1, the interlude episode is set in 1989 and depicts how the feud between Eli (John Goodman) and Baby Billy (Walton Goggins) started. In season 2, the interlude episode depicts Glendon Marsh Sr. trying to force Eli to let him launder money through the church in 1993 and Eli’s father killing him. In ‘Interlude III,’ we learn why Peter (Steve Zahn) ended up in jail and why May-May (Kristen Johnston) hated her brother and his wife. Here is everything you might want to know about the ending of ‘The Righteous Gemstones’ season 3 episode 5. SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Righteous Gemstones Season 3 Episode 5 Recap

The episode is entirely set in 2000. It starts with Judy, who hasn’t yet become the neurotic psychopath she is in the present day, but the signs are there. She has developed a crush on a boy at her school, Trent, and isn’t afraid to show it. Unfortunately, her actions come off as aggressive and nearly bullying. Trent retaliates by cutting her hair, which embarrasses her in front of the entire school.

During the Y2K crisis, Eli and Aimee-Leigh exploited the people’s fear by selling them Survival Buckets. By the time it became apparent that it was nothing to worry about, the church made millions. After Time magazine does a piece on this, people, including members of the Gemstone congregation, become aware that they have been conned and start protesting. Eli might not be as overly greedy as his children are, but he still puts profits over most things in life. However, Aimee-Leigh deals with a deep sense of guilt, knowing what they did was wrong. We learn that Jesse and Amber have been together since this point in their lives. Amber comes from an impoverished family, which prompts Judy to mock the other girl. She even steals the ring that Amber’s grandmother gave her.

We also learned what happened with the dilapidated church in this episode. It turns out that Peter used to lead a humble congregation there in 2000. Unlike the glitz and glamor of the Gemstone Ministries, where tens of thousands of dollars exchange hands every Sunday, Peter and May-May struggle to keep their church open. May-May is a forceful and assertive woman. She easily overrides everything her husband says, and her sons fear her. She also doesn’t like what her brother does in the name of preaching and isn’t afraid to call him out on it.

Image Credit: Jake Giles Netter/HBO

When Peter is alone with Eli, it is revealed that Peter spent his life savings and mortgaged their house to acquire several units of Survival Buckets. He was unable to sell them all before the Y2K. Afterward, especially with the Gemstone Ministries facing scam allegations, Peter faces financial ruin. All he wanted to do was be a better provider for his family. Moreover, a part of him genuinely believed that the world they knew was coming to an end. Eli had managed to convince him so, even though neither he nor his wife completely believed it.

During this period, Jesse, Kelvin, and Judy have a normal relationship with their cousins. They play together in the Gemstone compound whenever the Montgomerys come to visit, and Amber often accompanies them. This explains why she seems surprisingly close to the Montgomery brothers in the present day. After Amber tells Jesse that her grandmother’s ring has gone missing, Kevin, who is nearby, reveals Judy’s shoplifting habits. Apparently, Kelvin dreads going to the mall with his sister, as she steals all kinds of things while they are there. At the Gemstone Salvation Center, Judy plays as her parents discuss the crisis they are facing with the growing protests about the Survival Buckets and overhears them speaking about how concerned they are about her mental health.

That night, when Jesse comes to her room to confront her about Amber’s ring, he finds her crying. The following day, he demonstrates that he can be an exceptional big brother when he puts on a mask, partly shaves Trent’s head, and pulls down his trousers before fleeing. At the Gemstone house, Amber and Judy reach an understanding as the former returns the ring.

On Martin’s suggestion, Eli goes out to speak to the protesters, knowing there is always a remote possibility that he will be attacked. He succeeds in convincing these people that he genuinely believed the Y2K disaster would take place. He claims that it’s a miracle that it didn’t happen. Aimee-Leigh joins him, and they convince the crowd that they will listen to all their complaints against the church, as it is their duty to serve their congregation. Predictably, the offer of reimbursement that he made to Peter isn’t extended to these people. Peter is ultimately a part of his family, whereas these people, beyond all the flowery words, are essentially customers.

The Righteous Gemstones Season 3 Episode 5 Ending: Why Did Peter Go to Jail?

Although Eli promises Peter that he will buy back the Survival buckets, this ultimately doesn’t end up happening. May-May finds out about the entire thing, shouts at her brother and his wife, and refuses to take any money from them. Fearing that his family will lose everything because of his mistakes, Peter puts on a mask and tries to rob a bank. He gets shot and is chased out of the establishment by a security guard. In desperation, he returns fire, killing the other man.

Image Credit: Jake Giles Netter/HBO

As the episode ends, we see him lying in the pool of his own blood. We know that he survives and goes to jail. Prison does one of two things to men like Peter. They either die in prison or turn into something dangerous and unrecognizable. And that’s what Peter, the militia leader, is.

Read More: The Righteous Gemstones Season 3 Episode 4 Recap and Ending, Explained