“You can’t buy God’s blessing. It don’t work like that.”
Hey, everyone! RobBarracuda here, and it’s time to talk about the newest episode of Black Jesus, “Jesus Gonna Get His”. A quick thought before beginning: between this episode, last week’s Michiko & Hatchin, and the short-lived saga of Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption, it’s a bad time to be a money-hungry evangelical zealot. Anyway, on to the episode!
The episode starts off with Jesus dropping by Fish’s apartment, where he and Boonie are both hanging, and he reminds them of his plan to go legit in spreading the word of God. His first idea: seeing what the competition is like, so his plan is to visit the 1st Jesus of Christ Church of Compton. Boonie warns him against this, claiming that some weird stuff goes on around that church and that the reverend is Vic’s Uncle, but Jesus decides that they should still see the church. They go there with Trayvon and Jason, walking in on the churchgoers singing Amazing Grace, being led by Reverend Cleveland, played by Keith David. The gang sits down and listens to his sermon, which seems unusually focused on God and Jesus’ demand for money. While this happens, the collectors go around and take the money from the believers somewhat forcefully, much to the displeasure of Jesus. Vic catches the gang and demands that they leave, which gets the reverend’s attention. Jesus then stands up and criticizes him for his money-grubbing ways, which the reverend ignores and then proceeds to mock Jesus’ physical appearance. Back at the apartment, Jesus starts making plans to rob the church of its money, which Boonie objects to because he doesn’t believe it’s very Jesus-y. Jesus believes he is justified in his desires since the reverend is engaging in shady practices, and he asks Trayvon to outline what the reverend does with the donations. What he outlines goes like this:
- The collections are taken to the money room in the back of the church.
- A pair of guards from a local bank enter the room and observe Vic counting the money and jewelry before they take it off to the bank.
- However, during the transfer process, the reverend enters the room alone to “pray over the money”. Before this happens, he secretly jams the Wi-Fi signal in the church which makes the cameras go dead for precisely 11 minutes. During this time, he takes enough money to gain profit for himself without drawing suspicion from the bank guards.
Later that night, Vic and Lloyd are sitting around in Vic’s apartment, and he claims to hear something that sounds like Ms. Tudi. He peers out his windows to see what’s going on, and he catches Ms. Tudi arguing with Jesus. He’s asking her for a favor which she perceives as going too far, which Jesus doesn’t understand since she seems more than willing to ignore God’s will on quite a few occasions. The morning after, Vic’s greeting people at church, when Ms. Tudi shows up and talks to him about her argument with Jesus the night before. He escorts her to the VIP area of the church, where she requests a private meeting with Reverend Cleveland, for both spiritual guidance and to make a large financial contribution. Meanwhile, Boonie and Trayvon sneak into the church with disguises on so they don’t get remembered or recognized. Ms. Tudi is summoned to the reverend’s office, where she tells him everything she told Vic about making a contribution and requesting spiritual guidance. She’s a little stressed out, which the reverend offers to alleviate by pulling out a drawer full of various drugs. Vic then busts in to let him know that the service starts in five minutes, and then he leaves. Vic offers to take Ms. Tudi home since she’s feeling a little out of it, and on her way out she sends a message to Boonie and Trayvon. Boonie then fakes a heart attack and calls out for help… which everyone ignores in favor of filming this on their phones. Maggie, Jason, Fish, and Jesus show up as “paramedics” and drag Boonie off to the money room in the back. They manage to get in by scaring the guard at the door with the threat of legal action, and they lock the door behind them.
Vic is in his car with Ms. Tudi when he gets a call about the paramedics at the church, and then Tudi confesses to him that Jesus is robbing the church. Reverend Cleveland is told of the situation with the money room and abandons the church service to go see what’s happening. The gang then leaves the room and attempt to bail the church unseen, but then Vic and Tudi bust them. Jesus manages to weasel his way out of the scenario by claiming that he had a change of heart and decided not to take any money. The reverend sends one of his guards to count the money while his other collectors pat down Jesus to see if he’s telling the truth. The guard tells the reverend that the money count was $5,432.43, the most they’ve had in a while and completely in line with the average amount of donations. The reverend was expecting more money, but he doesn’t want to get the police involved, so he decides to let Jesus and the gang go. He’s then told that unfortunately, the security camera went out at the normally scheduled time. He then wonders about what happened to Trayvon, and the show reveals that as the gang left the money room, they slipped Trayvon a bag full of money. In addition, he was the one responsible for jamming the Wi-Fi signal and disabling the cameras. Everyone celebrates a successful heist and gives the money to Jesus to do with as he pleases. The episode ends with him buying a rusty old food truck, which he tells his friends that the truck is going to be his church, so to speak.
This was a really great episode of the series. Jesus and his friends robbing a church alone is something that makes it worth seeing, and in addition to that, this seems to be the first episode of the series that actually takes a major satirical stab at something having to do with organized religion. The whole concept of money-hungry disingenuous evangelicals is already really easy to hate, but it’s made easier to hate by Keith David as Reverend Cleveland. He just has that perfect performance that really captures the subtle-yet-obvious insincerity of people like that. It also had Jesus actually make a pretty sensible point about how believers should live their lives, claiming that religious salvation isn’t something that you can just throw a bunch of money at and expect to achieve faster. A pretty great week for Black Jesus, and I cannot wait for next week. I give this episode 9 food trucks/10.
Follow me on Twitter.