It’s time for The Righteous Gemstones‘ seasonal flashback episode. In “Interlude III,” Season 3 Episode 5, we travel back to the year 2000, wherein Judy struggles to accept Jesse’s new girlfriend Amber, and Eli and Aimee-Leigh’s Y2K scheme falls flat on its face. It captures the essence of quintessential 2000s culture (oh, the nostalgia) and boasts terrific performances from the main cast. We get context regarding what pushes Peter over the edge, how he winds up in prison and how the rift forms between the Gemstones and the Montgomerys. 

“Interlude III” keeps in line with Gemstones‘ other period piece episodes while maintaining the biting humor and frenetic pace of the present-day installments. The gory action sequence when Peter robs the bank is brilliantly shot through the lens of a diner window and includes some of my favorite camerawork on this show. The Righteous Gemstones deftly balances multiple genres without feeling like the action is a different show entirely. 

In honor of our fave obscenely wealthy family (sorry, Succession), here are my favorite quotes from “Interlude III.” 

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JUDY: “Suck my dick, Jesse.”

JESSE: “You suck mine, Judy.” 

JUDY: “I want a meal, boy. Not no snack.”

KELVIN: “That was good. She’s saying that you have a tiny little titi.”

The Righteous Gemstones knocks the casting for the younger versions of its core cast out of the park, especially Judy (Emma Shannon) and Jesse (J. Gaven Wilde). The dinner scene when Jesse brings young Amber (Keely Marshall) into the Gemstone fold is proof positive of that. There’s nothing funnier than a good old-fashioned sibling verbal takedown. Shannon and Wilde really capture the mannerisms and physicality established by Edi Patterson and Danny McBride. Plus, baby Kelvin’s (Tristan Borders) interjection in the Jesse versus Judy battle feels, well, very Kelvin-esque. 

Teenage Judy drags young Kelvin on the floor of a shopping mall in The Righteous Gemstones Season 3 Episode 5, "Interlude III."

THE RIGHTEOUS GEMSTONES Season 3, Episode 5, “Interlude III.” Photo credit: Jake Giles Netter/HBO.

JUDY: “Well, well, well. If it isn’t the girl from the Wendy’s sign.”

Listen, as a fellow redhead, I’ve been called “Wendy’s girl” before. It elicited a hearty chuckle from me. Even as a youngster, Judy Gemstone was quick with the witty remarks. I would hate to be on the receiving end of Judy’s ire, but I am in awe of her rapid-fire, creative insults. 

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JUDY: “Yeah, your parents suck. They’re strict as hell. I couldn’t survive under your roof. I need my TRL.”

Those poor Montgomery boys. They were never introduced to the entertainment staple that is Total Request Live. I like to imagine that Judy had a crush on Carson Daly (her room is such an homage to late ’90s/2000s teen culture). Judy needs her TRL as part of a balanced daily media diet. 

Teenage Jesse wears a white helmet while driving a monster truck with the word "Redeemer" emblazoned in yellow, white, and purple on the door in The Righteous Gemstones Season 3 Episode 5, "Interlude III."

THE RIGHTEOUS GEMSTONES Season 3, Episode 5, “Interlude III.” Photo credit: Jake Giles Netter/HBO.

AIMEE-LEIGH: “I don’t like being seen as dishonest, and I feel like what we did was dishonest. Not just you. Me too. … I never believed it was really gonna happen. Did you?”

ELI: “No.” 

AIMEE-LEIGH: “I mean, I guess I romanticized the idea at first. You know, not civilization ending, but going back to a simpler way of life.”

Jennifer Nettles is a national treasure, and I’m glad Gemstones continues to bring her back each season. The above exchange Aimee-Leigh has with Eli (John Goodman) is evidence of how much she was the moral center and beating heart of the Gemstone family. She admits here that the Y2K stuff was a large-scale grift and acknowledges her culpability. Accountability isn’t something we see a lot on this show. Aimee-Leigh also talks about wanting to return to a more straightforward way of life, and it’s so damn relatable. 

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JESSE: “Weaks and wieners don’t like you, Judy. But who needs them?”

“Interlude III” pulls back the curtain on Judy’s insecurities and how she lashes out at others because she has low self-esteem. Of course, her family doesn’t help matters, either. Judy’s conversation with Jesse in her room showcases her vulnerability — her innate desire to be liked. Hell, every teen wants everyone to like them. Even though Jesse doesn’t tell Judy he loves her outright, this quote gives you a sense of that unspoken love. He accepts Judy for who she is. 

Why should we care about what others think? It’s more important that we love ourselves. (Well, as long as you do no harm to others. Judy and Jesse kinda skip over that part.)

May-May and Peter stand on the threshold of their small church in The Righteous Gemstones Season 3 Episode 5, "Interlude III."

THE RIGHTEOUS GEMSTONES Season 3, Episode 5, “Interlude III.” Photo credit: Jake Giles Netter/HBO.

What are your favorite quotes from “Interlude III”? Sound off in the comments below!

The Righteous Gemstones airs new episodes every Sunday at 10 pm on HBO and Max

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Melody McCune
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