Ranking the New Wigs of ‘The Righteous Gemstones’ Season Three Premiere

This is definitive; accept no substitutes
Ranking the New Wigs of ‘The Righteous Gemstones’ Season Three Premiere

A lot goes down in the two-part Season Three premiere of The Righteous Gemstones. Judy’s having a hard time connecting with BJ after her glamorous praise song tour. Now that Eli’s retired, the ministers are revolting against his children’s disastrous leadership. And Eli’s long-estranged sister is back in his life, desperately seeking his help in extracting her children from their father’s fundamentalist doomsday prepper militia. 

Most importantly, however, the introduction of several new characters means the débuts of several new wigs, and we’re going to rank them from least to most outrageous. But first, a respectful tip of the toup’ to all the returning wigs that also guest star in this episode.

We thank them for their tireless service. And now, the newcomers...


Between seasons, Gideon (Skyler Gisondo) got hurt working on a production in Hollywood. Though he’s only wearing a cervical collar, he says he may never be able to return to his job as a stunt performer. He’s depressed enough to smoke and to go a little longer between haircuts than he might otherwise.

This is probably not a full wig, but just a few extensions to make the ends look convincingly scraggly. Now that he’s working as a driver for Eli (John Goodman), his new purpose may also inspire him to clean up his look a bit in the episodes yet to come.


The Gemstones aren’t the only sibling ministry in South Carolina. They have rivals in the Simkins family, who’ve recovered from the deaths of their parents in a plane crash to continue their liturgical work. The oldest Simkins brother (Stephen Dorff) shrugs that he could have returned his brother Craig (Gogo Lomo-David) to the orphanage where the late Simkins parents adopted him, and seems to expect accolades for having not done so?

Craig’s short Afro has kind of an 1980s vibe, but it suits him. (And in this family, for Craig to try twists or longer locs would probably be frowned upon.)


The Gemstones cross paths with the Simkins siblings because they’re battling over Dusty Daniels (Shea Whigham). A successful NASCAR driver and a longtime parishioner during Eli’s day, Dusty no longer feels connected to the church under its new leadership, which is a problem, because he had planned to bequeath the church his trademarked name and catchphrase, “WhooWeee SUCKER!,” brands that bring in over $50 million a year. 

This wig is funny for anyone who knows what Whigham looks like out of old age makeup, but in the context of the scene, it’s pretty much what one might expect to see when an aging race car driver takes his helmet off.


Gideon isn’t the only Gemstone kid whose hair is making a statement: There’s also his younger brother Pontius (Kelton DuMont).

Admittedly, one’s eye might be drawn to his bleach-blond hair after it lands on the face tattoos, but it’s still an integral part of Pontius’ controversial aesthetic experimentation.


Remember that old Got Milk? ad where the world’s #1 Alexander Hamilton scholar misses out on his chance to answer a trivia question about him because his mouth is full of peanut butter? That poor bastard was played by Sean Whalen, and things aren’t going much better for him as Gregory in The Righteous Gemstones. Jesse (Danny McBride) has figured out he’s been leaking about the family to the press, and kicks Gregory out of the church gang with a paddle beating.

And even before that happens, Gregory’s being let down by his hair. I’m actually not sure if we’re supposed to think it’s Gregory’s real coif, or if he’s a character who wears a wig; I did expect the scene to end with Jesse or one of his goons snatching it off to complete Gregory’s humiliation.


The Simkins family is, like the Gemstones, made up of two boys and a girl; Shay Simkins (Iliza Shlesinger) is the counterpart to Judy Gemstone (Edi Patterson) in every way, including tonsorially.

I might have ranked this one higher five years ago, but after two full seasons’ worth of exposure to Judy’s, a crispy perm just doesn’t have the kind of shock value it used to.

May-May (2023)

This is what Eli’s long-estranged sister May-May Montgomery (Kristen Johnston) looks like when she comes to see him at a signing for his latest autobiography. 

I know what you’re thinking: “This looks pretty bedraggled to be in the middle of the pack.” I hear you, but just wait.

Stephen’s Wife

I’m sure this character, played by the great Casey Wilson, has a name. I don’t know it yet. I guess there was no time in her introductory scene for her husband Stephen (Stephen Schneider) to say it because they were too busy rehashing his earlier judgment of it.

“I’m sorry I don’t like your haircut, okay?” Stephen says. “It looks fucking stupid.” He’s rude, but he’s not wrong.


Though we don’t know all the details yet, it seems as though a factor in Eli and May-May’s estrangement was her husband Peter (Steve Zahn), who’s just been released from incarceration. The precise charges are unclear, but given that he now lives on a separatist compound training a militia, we can probably make some educated guesses.

Whatever Peter was up to in prison, visiting the barber evidently wasn’t a priority.

Peter and May-May’s Son

The Montgomerys have two sons. One is named Karl, and since Robert Oberst, who plays him, appears to be doing so with his own hair, he is no concern of ours today. The other is Not Karl, and is played by Lukas Haas in a chin wig bushy enough to conceal at least one and maybe two baby raccoons. Really makes you miss when he was that sweet little boy in Witness.

May-May (2000)

The episode opens with a flashback to 2000, when May-May comes after Eli’s wife Aimee-Leigh (Jennifer Nettles) with a large wrench, but gets hit by a car first.

This is how her hair looks before the collision. Granted, she’s going through some kind of serious emotional and psychological break, but how hard is it to run a comb through that shit?


One of the premiere’s many scandalous reveals is that while she was on tour, Judy committed adultery with Stephen, the lead guitarist in her band — they dry-humped twice and kissed three times! 

How could anyone expect Judy to resist the frosted tips of a “tattoo man”? Good luck to BJ trying to compete with all that.

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