Under the Banner of Heaven, a Hulu series about corruption in the LDS Church, was written and produced by Dustin Lance Black, who is gay, so there's bound to be some gay characters or subtexts. Besides, who isn't interested in cute Mormon missionaries?
Scene 1: Establishing shot of Salt Lake City. Jeb, a super clean-cut nuclear family Dad, is listening to "Let's Hear It for the Boy." A gay anthem! So the protagonist is gay? His preteen daughters, who wear long pioneer dresses, ask him to do loving-father activities, like lasso them. Wife, who wears a modern t-shirt and cut-off jeans, calls him to the phone. He has to go to work, so everyone has to do the evening prayers early.
We hear all the prayers: for the Mormon missionaries (how about a visual?), for Church President Kimball, for Grandpa in heaven, and for an Easy-Bake Oven. Spencer Kimball died in 1985, and "Let's Hear it for the Boy" came out in 1982, so we're in the early 1980s.
Scene 2: Continuing to pray, Jeb puts the siren on his car and heads to a house surrounded by yellow tape and police cars. Inside: the tv on, bloody footprints, scattered toys, a dead lady, and something in a basinet that makes him say "Evil." The dead lady was ok? He goes out to the yard and arrests the bloody young man who happens to be walking around.
Scene 3: At the police station, Jeb and his smoking, drinking, non-Mormon partner do the good cop-bad cop routine on the blood-splattered suspect, Allen Lafferty (Billy Howle), who happens to belong to one of the most important familiies of the Church. He claims that he didn't kill his wife and daughter: for the last year, "peculiar men" dressed like Mormon prophets have been stalking his family, so no doubt they did it. They are probably after his brothers and their wives and kids, too.
Scene 4: While they book and strip Allen (nice body), Jeb watches, flashing back to someone he saw at church (was this a flash of same-sex attraction?). They send a squad car out to check on the only brother whose address Allen knows: the others all moved to hide from the humiliation of having a brother who left the Church.
Scene 5: Jeb's Partner, Non-Mormon Bill, continues the investigation alone. Stunt casting: he's played by Gil Birmingham, a bodybuilder who appeared in Diana Ross's music video "Muscles" in 1982.
He tells Allen that his ex-wife cheated on him, and he was so angry that he wanted to kill her. So is that what happened? Allen insists that he didn't do it; if you want to know who did, check out the Mormon saints.
Flashback to Brenda winning runner-up in the Miss Twin Falls, Idaho contest in 1980, then going to Brigham Young University (to stay away from the "Democrats and crazies") and studying broadcast journalism. While in college, she goes to church and meets Allen, who "reeled her in."
Back at the interrogation, Allen blames the Church on his wife's death: "My only regret is that I didn't drive her out of Zion (Salt Lake City) to protect her from our people."
Scene 6: Jeb continues to ruminate about how evil Allen is, to do that to a baby (and an adult?). They're still having trouble tracking down the addresses of his brothers and their wives/kids, so Jeb calls his wife -- they went to church with the Lafferty family, so maybe she has some of the brothers' addresses.
The interrogation continues. Jeb: "So, you despicable monster whom I would like to kill slowly and painfully, there was no sign of forced entry. Was there anyone besides you who hated Brenda enough to do it?" Allen: Everyone hated her because she was so perfect.
Scene 7: Flashback to Allen introducing Brenda to the family at a picnic. "Just don't say much," he warns. "Less is more." Patriarch Ammon wants to know why she abandoned Twin Falls, Idaho for the evil Big City (Provo, Utah?). There are an endless number of boisterous brothers, Stepford wives, and staring kids to meet. I don't have time to look for beefcake images of all of the Lafferty men, so let's do Sam Worthington (left) as Ron and Seth Numrich (below) as Robin.
Back at the interrogation, Allen tells them that Brenda was attracted to his brother Ron, because "everybody was attracted to Ron." Even men? Dan was also into her, and flirted by condemning the use of coca-cola and promoting lawn-clipping juice. (Huh?).
Something bad happens at the picnic: an old man yells "They're coming for me." The Laffertys argue. Finally Ammon announces that the government is planning to take his land unless he clears it of rocks by Monday, so the Laffertys must help. That's all? I was expecting the Angel of Death.
Back at the interrogation, Allen says that Brenda wasn't timid, mousy, and subservient enough to suit the LDS Church, so they killed her.
Scene 8: Flashback to the Laffertys starting the rock-clearing job. "No one is allowed to pee until we're finished!" Just the men work, of course; the women watch, pray, and serve lemonade. Suddenly Brenda rushes out to help; everyone is aghast. When the job is over, the old guy prays while the men pee (no cock shots, but use your imagination).
Patriarch Ammon announces that he's been called away to the mission field, and the Holy Spirit told him to leave his oldest son Dan in charge of the family business, with Robin as his assistant. Seems a rather obvious choice; why does it require divine intervention? And Allen, keep trying to get your harlot to be properly mousy, timid, and subdservient!
Sceene 9: Back at the interrogation, Allen says that after they were married, he cut off his family and left the church, but he still misses some things about it, like the belief that "God is love."
Flashback to Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, digging up the golden plates that he would translate into the Book of Mormon. But here the revelation becomes heterosexual: God chose him because he loved his girlfriend Emma so much. I know the Mormons are all about being heterosexual, but that interpretation still seems way over-the-top heterosexist.
Meanwhile, the police get the address of Allen's brother Robin and break into his apartment: some burning books and papers, a gun chest emptied out. "This is bigger than just a domestic."
Scene 10: Heathen Partner Bill called Brenda's parents to notify them of her death. This outrages Jeb, but Bill insists that they follow protocol. They argue about who has the biggest cock. Turns out to be Bill, who has new intel: Brenda's father said that she was afraid of Allen because he was abusive. Now who's the prime suspect? Allen still denies everything: "My father-in-law hated me, just like Emma's father hated Joseph Smith. It was the peculiar bearded men, I tell you!"
I'm out of space, so I'll stop there.
Beefcake: Allen takes off his clothes twice.
Heterosexism: Constant, of course. What did you expect in a tv series about Mormons?
Gay Characters: There are some flashes where it looks like Jeb is dancing with a guy and hugging a guy, but they come and go so fast that it's impossible to tell what's actually going on. I doubt there will be a coming-out arc in addition to Jeb's crisis of faith as he investigates corruption in the Church.
Will I Keep Watching: Jeb is an extremely unpleasant character, rigid, imperious, demanding, and intolerant. He's less worried about the murders than about the horror of Allen leaving the Church. Besides, "clearing a field of rocks" is not exactly compelling. So I probably won't watch any more.
Update: In Episode 5, one of the brothers investigates a Mormon-like cult where they drink wine and practice plural marriage. They try to get him involved in a bisexual orgy in the hot tube. But after kissing the guy in charge, he decides that he's not into it and leaves.