Well, well, well. We’ve come to the end of the road for Greenleaf. *cue Boys II Men* That’s my FAVORITE song, by the way.
As I mentioned in my previous Greenleaf recap, there were so many loose ends that needed to be tied up. And we got some of our questions answered, but a number of new questions were created, at least in my opinion.
At the end of episode seven, Bishop is very obviously having a serious medical emergency and it appears that he is no longer with us by the time the cameras stop rolling. At the very beginning of episode eight, our fears were confirmed. Bishop has gone on to glory, y’all! Lady Mae slips on the first engagement ring Bishop ever gave her and goes downstairs to inform the family that their patriarch has passed on.
In another part of the mansion, Grace and Sophia are talking about those racy pics that Dante (or Nikki) leaked to the internet. In the previous episode, Zora fooled Sophia into thinking that she’d told Grace about Sophia’s pics, but when Sophia confronts Grace about the photos, Grace is none the wiser and basically Sophia has told on herself. In this scene, Sophia is trying to convince Grace that the pics aren’t a big deal, but as Grace points out, they obviously are a big deal if they’ve made Sophia want to change schools. Grace and Sophia’s conversation is interrupted by a telephone call from Anne, a producer in NYC who works for 20/20 and previously tried to hire Grace for another job that she chose not to pursue. Anne tells Grace that she is building a team and wants Grace on it. Grace lets Anne know that she isn’t prepared to make a decision right then, so Anne promises to call back later so they can discuss the opportunity. Just then, Lady Mae comes to the door of the suite fresh from Bishop’s deathbed and Grace can tell simply from Lady Mae’s facial expression that she is bearing horrible news.
The next scene shows the entire Greenleaf family surrounding Bishop’s body, holding onto him and crying. And then later, the family gathers for a homegoing service on their property and they bury Bishop right on the grounds, near Faith’s grave site. I thought it was interesting that while Bishop was loved by many, the funeral scene only involved members of the immediate family and Bishop’s best friend. Then again, it certainly was more poignant that way, with only the core family members present for the event.
Following the funeral, the family gathers to have dinner together at their dining room table with a gaping hole where Bishop’s seat at the table sits empty. Surprisingly, AJ who normally is a man of few words is the most talkative person at the table, marveling over how much he misses Bishop even though he barely knew him. And he vows to finish putting together the Pontiac GTO even if it takes him years to do it. While the family sits in relative silence, Lady Mae excuses herself to another room to take the call. Misty from Calvary, calling to let Lady Mae know that the Deacon Board has met (minus shady ass Connie Sykes) and decided that they want her to lead the upcoming Sunday worship service that will honor Bishop’s life. Of course, Lady Mae accepts… this is her time to shine, but she also can’t pass up the opportunity to honor her beloved husband — who, come to think of it, isn’t really her husband because they didn’t marry again after their divorce. But we’ll let that detail slide.
Grace later gets the chance to see the new house that Noah has purchased for himself and AJ. He’s sticking around for the long haul and will be able to afford the home now that he’s secured a job as the director of security for nearby Rhodes College. While Noah and Grace talk, AJ is on a telephone call with his doctor. He hangs up with good news – his health is improving after only a week of being on a new drug. Grace looks very content with what she’s seeing from both Noah and AJ. Upon hearing AJ’s good news, she asks if she can hug him. AJ says, “Can I give YOU a hug? You’re the one who set me up with this fancy doctor.” And they embrace and Grace looks so relieved and happy. AJ has done a total 180 in the second half of this season… he’s like a new person. I guess love can restore folks even after years of neglect. AJ and Grace seem to have bonded now and they’re beginning to fall into their roles of mother and son. As they are leaving Noah’s house, Darius calls Grace and AJ mentions that he’d like to meet Darius to ensure he has honorable intentions with his mother. I thought that was cute.
Wonders never cease… we find Kerissa and Jacob in their suite being civil toward each other! After Kerissa puts Winky down for bed, she tells Jacob that she needs Winky to stay with him while she looks for a place. This is a big change for her. At first she didn’t want Jacob to have joint custody and now she’s asking him to keep their child. I think she’s finally ready to let go of him and my assumption is confirmed when she tells Jacob that even though it doesn’t seem like it now, this right here is their “happy ending”. Well, alrighty then.
Speaking of letting go and moving on, Grace and Darius are together on Darius’s couch, discussing Grace’s job offer. Darius encourages her to answer Anne’s phone calls but Grace doesn’t think she can take the job because how can she leave Sophia and AJ? Darius tells her that her “children” are in fact adults. They have their own lives to live and now it’s time for Grace to live hers. He tells her that if her path leads her to NYC, then he would be willing to accompany her there. After all, he IS without a job now thanks to Bob from H&H getting him canned, so he’s free to move about the country. Grace bursts into tears when she hears that Darius is willing to go to NYC with her. He hugs her and says “I didn’t know ‘accompany’ was the magic word.” I’m sure for Grace it feels good to hear that someone is willing to support her and her dreams for a while. Honestly, I’d forgotten that Grace was a journalist since she’s been a pastor for so long, so when Anne called to ask her to join the show it came out of left field for me. But it’s nice that she’ll get a chance to get back to her own journey. She helped her family get on their feet and now it is time for her to stand up on hers and lean on Darius along the way.
Lady Mae visits Calvary ahead of her Sunday sermon to find that Karine has restored Bishop’s office to its old glory. When H&H moved in, they changed everything at Calvary, and now that Bob and Judee and Phil are no longer around, things seem like they are going back to normal at the church. When Karine brings up Bishop’s name, Lady Mae asks her not to mention him again, and then requests that Karine give her some space so she can spend some time alone in Bishop’s workspace. Over on the other side of town, Jacob also visits a church – Tara James’s mission. Tara gives her condolences about Bishop and Jacob confirms what I already suspected, Bishop had a CVA, which is another word for a stroke. Some other fans of the show suspected it might’ve been a heart attack that killed him, but in my (unqualified) opinion he showed all the classic signs of stroke in the final scenes of last episode. At any rate, Tara says what I’d certainly been suspecting, which is that she hopes that the stress of their issues surrounding the house didn’t lead to his demise. I suspect that it did, and though Jacob doesn’t answer that I suspect he knows it did, too.
Jacob then cuts to the chase about why he’s really there. He says that his mother has asked him to ask Tara if she can give them three months before she takes the house from them. But Tara just says: “Can we call it even?” Meaning that she is giving up on the house.
So, you mean after allll that drama and bickering and fighting and stress over Greenleaf Manor, that’s it? She’s just willing to walk away?? If the issue was that inconsequential she could’ve done this episodes ago and maybe Bishop would still be with us. Then again, perhaps it is because Bishop is gone that she’s willing to let things go. She and Rochelle and Basie were upset that Bishop played a role in their father’s untimely death and now that Bishop is also gone, I guess there’s really nothing left to fight over. When Jacob tells Lady Mae that Tara is letting them keep the house, she is floored. She says “She really is who she seems to be. I don’t know what to say.”
Sunday finally arrives. Everyone seems to be excited to see a traditional Calvary service again, although without Bishop who was the leader of their flock. Jacob and Winky run into Tara in the lobby of the church and she and Jacob have “a moment”. There have been a few times this season where she and Jacob have had some awkwardness between them and maybe even a little… dare I say, flirtation? Jacob is obviously an attractive man who’s been able to pull his share of women, so it’s only natural that she would be attracted to him. I was a little surprised that it seemed he was attracted to HER… but then it turns out they didn’t go anywhere with this storyline. Oh well. Anyway, the most surprising thing about this scene was that we actually heard Winky speak! I think it may have been his first time uttering a word since the show started. Honestly, I think they could’ve just let Jacob and Kerissa be parents to Zora — she was enough of a handful, so I’m not sure why Winky was even part of the storyline. But anyway, good for little Winky that he got to say a few words before the show ended for good.
The church service opens with Charity singing a hymn and then Lady Mae, dressed in a lovely purple belted dress takes the stage. Listen, y’all. Give Lynn Whitfield her flowers. She has earned an Emmy, an Oscar, a Grammy, a Tony, a Golden Globe… lmao… I mean, I know half those awards don’t even apply to tv acting, but she deserves ALL THE THINGS. She preached that sermon, y’all. Do you hear me?! She totally SLAYED!! I was encouraged just listening to her. And Lady Mae’s stirring words led AJ, whose faith was shaky at best, to come to the altar and get saved. As much as AJ annoys, that scene really did resonate with me. It seemed very genuine and real and I was touched by the scene where the family gathered around him while he kneeled at the altar. While Lady Mae delivered her rousing words, the whole congregation got on its feet giving God the praise and Sophia turned to Grace and gave her permission to take the job in New York when she told her: “I think your work here is done.”
Once the service has drawn to a close, Grace finds her mother in Bishop’s office. Though it is difficult for her to tell her mother that she’s leaving, Grace lets her know that it’s time for her to move on. Lady Mae protests saying that she can’t leave, not now. My, how things have changed. Remember that at the beginning of the series Lady Mae was not Grace’s biggest fan? In fact, I’d even argue that Lady Mae was Grace’s nemesis and she wanted Grace gone as she was a reminder of her mistakes and indiscretions. And now, Lady Mae is begging Grace to stay. Despite Lady Mae’s reluctance to let Grace walk away, Grace insists that “It’s your time, and it’s my time,” and they share a tender kiss on the cheek. It’s a rare loving moment for this mother-daughter duo.
Later, Grace, dressed in a gorgeous white dress, stands on the steps of the palatial Greenleaf estate, as her family sees her off. They are all expressing love and emotions as she prepares to leave, but she reminds them that she is not going to be moving to NYC, she’s just going for an interview. “For a job you’re going to get,” Jacob says mockingly. Like, girl, you know these folks are going to hire you and you will be moving to NYC, so might as well gone on and say your goodbyes! Jacob asks Grace to look out for Zora in NYC, so I guess he and Kerissa have decided to let Zora go to the New School after all. In another rare show of tenderness, Charity tells her sister how much she loves her and Graces asks Charity to look after Sophia while she’s gone because Sophia is “wilder than she seems.” No shit. Sophia’s foray with Dante certainly proved that! And finally, Grace and Lady Mae say their goodbyes. Lady Mae looks at Grace and says: “Thank you for sowing discord in the fields of my peace. They needed it.” If you’ve been following this show from the beginning, you may recall that Lady Mae spoke these exact words to Grace in the very first episode, only that time she was not grateful for the discord, she was cursing the day that Grace arrived at Greenleaf Manor. To see them today… well, these two have certainly come a mighty long way.
Grace gets into the car that is waiting for her and as they drive off, the driver says “You’re Pastor Greenleaf.” And Grace answers: “It’s just Grace Greenleaf now.” She has shed her pastor identity, which worked for a short while, but she has now gone back to being who she was meant to be. And they drive through the gates of Greenleaf manor on their way to the airport, so Grace can face her destiny. *End series.*
I’m not sure what I expected from the series finale of such a powerful and groundbreaking show, but this wasn’t exactly it. Aside from Lady Mae’s sermon, it sort of fizzled. I don’t think it lived up to the epicness of the show. I mean, was the series corny at times? Absolutely! But Greenleaf was our first glimpse of the inner-workings of a Black family mega-church dynasty. It depicted a lifestyle that many of us never get to see from the inside. This family was like Black royalty, who stands firmly on faith, and I cannot really think of another show that depicts a Black family in a similar position. Church is such a big part of many African American families and all the dynamics and drama and inspiration it provides isn’t something we get to see play out on television very often. The show certainly filled a void and a hole will be left in its absence. I hope some other programming will be created to stand in its place. *fingers crossed* Anyhoo, kudos, Oprah and Team OWN for bringing this show to fruition and producing five wildly successful seasons.
As I said at the beginning of this recap and I also predicted during my episode seven recap, the final episode of the series tied up some loose ends, but it also left me with some questions:
- Who was Darryl James’s daddy?
- Who was actually responsible for his death? Was it Mac? And how did Mac come to know Loretta Davis?
- What ever happened with Dante and Nikki?
- We got to see Aaron, Grace’s half-brother in the finale episode, but whatever happened to Kevin, Charity’s ex-husband who left her for Aaron?
- Where is Tasha Skanks? I thought she and Jacob were going to be working toward something romantic, but then it seems that Jacob got side-tracked by Tara James and everyone just forgot all about Tasha.
- I’m guessing Oprah decided not to resume her role as Auntie Mavis because we didn’t get to see her this season, not even for a flashback scene or one depicting her living it up in Germany. But it was weird to me that the storyline faded into the background, although I guess sometimes that’s the way life goes. People disappear and you never hear from them again.
- Also, what was the significance of AJ’s lookalike? How or why did he just happen to show up on the Greenleaf property that day when Grace was visiting Faith’s gravesite? It seems weird to introduce that character and then decide not to do anything with them.
Those are just some of the questions I still have. But I guess the writers only have so much time to address these things, and they have to choose which storylines are worth pursuing and which to leave alone. We’ll never get answers to some of these questions, but I suppose I’m okay with that. That said, we do also know there’s a spinoff coming and from what I hear it’s focused on the women of the Greenleaf family, which makes sense since Jacob is the only Greenleaf man left to work with. In all, it was a solid series finale. I’m sad to see this show go and hope that some new and refreshing programming will pop up in its place.
Alright y’all, those are my thoughts about the final episode of Greenleaf… ever! What did I miss? What did YOU think?