The title of the Greenleaf season five, episode 3 is “The Third Day.” It’s crazy how much has already happened to our beloved Greenleafs over the course of two days. The one aspect of the plot I noticed while watching this episode is that Bob Whitmore is ever present, but never present. We haven’t seen Bob in the flesh all season, actually, but he always seems to be working behind the scenes. It’s as if he’s — God. We also learn a little more about the timeline for this season: It’s the third day of the week, Wednesday. Sunday is the first day of Phil as pastor of Calvary/Harmony and Hope and Charity as associate pastor, but Sunday is also the last day the church building will exist, as it’s supposed to be torn down on Monday. Also, Lady Mae delivers some zingers this episode. Let’s get into it …
Mae, Bishop & Charity: The heads of the Greenleaf family are trying to decide on a name for their new church. Bishop suggests Cornerstone, but Mae reminds him that they’ve visited a nearby church with the same name. He can’t remember the occasion, but eventually does with some reminders of what happened. Mae tells him that he needs to stop drinking brown liquor before bed, but also insists he gets a physical. Instead of mentioning his memory lapses, Mae reminds him that he had a heart attack on the pulpit of Calvary. I think Mae doesn’t want to derail their plans for a new church or to be at odds with James again.
As they’re talking, Charity walks into the breakfast area and Bishop invites her to sit, but before he can ask what he wants, she says she’s not singing at their church. Mae tells Charity to go to work then. “Now go on and debase yourself at that husk of a church, dancing attendance on that greasy Negro and that wrinkled up white asparagus of a woman,” says Mae in reference to Phil and Judee Whitmore. Bishop then offers to make Charity associate pastor, but his youngest daughter says she already has that position at Calvary. Mae responds, “Mhmm, at a church that is for all intents and purposes a tailor-made torture device. Charity do you not see that it’s a matter of time before these two people have you rocking their little cinnamon milk babies asleep like a mammy?” That’s a good line, but I doubt that will happen because Charity barely takes care of her young son Nathan, oop. Anyway, Charity asks whether it ever occurred to Mae that she has a plan. Lady Mae responds, “Does it occur to me? No.”
Later, it seems Mae’s heart is softening against Charity because she brings Charity her old choir hymnal. They share a moment over a young Charity writing her name as “Rev. Charity Greenleaf,” and Charity explains how she never wanted to sing in church, but always wanted to preach. Then, Charity suggests “Eternally Faith Fellowship” as the name for the church. It’s a nod to the late Faith Greenleaf. Mae says it’s a good idea, and proposes again that Charity be associate pastor and calls her reverend. Charity says she’ll think about it.
Phil, Charity & Judee: It’s become obvious to Charity that Judee is trying to get her to quit working at Calvary/Harmony and Hope by taking her office, flaunting the engagement to Phil, and making Charity do the work of the first lady, even though she and Phil aren’t in a relationship anymore.
Phil comes into Charity’s office, even though it’s obvious she’s praying. He says that he and Judee decided that Charity should do the welcome for Sunday service, and Charity points out that it’s a first lady, not associate pastor job. Charity asks if she can preach Sunday too, and Phil says he’ll have to ask Bob. He also asks Charity to help Judee with the choir until they find Carlton’s replacement. Charity agrees because she knows that if the music sucks, then there won’t be a congregation to listen to her when she eventually gets to preach. Later in the day, Phil thanks Charity for helping Judee with the music, and he tries to grab her arm as she walks away. Charity turns around and says he’s not allowed to touch her like that anymore. Phil responds that he hopes one day they can talk like they used to. She hits him with a Lady Mae-esque zinger, “God performs wonders that cannot be fathomed and miracles that cannot be counted,” but she doesn’t see that happening — not like they used to. Bob’s presence looms over this exchange in the form of Harmony and Hop posters in the background behind each character. Bob’s photo is large, while Phil’s is medium-sized, in comparison, on the poster.
In the evening, Judee serves Phil the most visually-depressing meal of nearly all-white soup and vegetables. Phil grimaces at the food, and it seems he’s growing tired of Judee always talking about Charity. He asks her if they can just pray over their food. She asks who should say grace, and he responds that she should. Phil rolls his eyes as she prays.
This is when I realized something: We’ve never actually heard Phil preach nor seen him pray. He also doesn’t seem to hold prayer sacred enough to wait for Charity to finish praying before he enters her office. In addition, he doesn’t quote the Bible like the others — Charity, Judee, Bishop, Lady Mae, and Grace — do. It’s almost as if he’s not a believer. He clearly wants his own church, but why?
Jacob, Kerissa, Tasha, Tara & Bishop: Kerissa is still salty that Jacob doesn’t have a job, and might resent the fact that his family has money, so he doesn’t need to work like she does. He tells her to leave if things are going to be contentious between them, and she says she will when she knows she and her children will be properly cared for.
Later in the day, Jacob picks up Tasha so they can go speak with Baisie’s half-sister Tara at the mission she runs. As they’re walking to the door, Tasha reveals that she learned Baisie was dead when police called to say they found his body in Laredo. So we know Tasha never saw his body herself. She also says that she doesn’t know where Rochelle Cross is, but assumes she made it to Mexico like Rochelle said she would.
When Tara lets them in, she says God always promised this day would come, but she didn’t believe Him. Jacob asks what day, but Tara just lets them in without explaining herself. Jacob compliments the work Tara is doing at the mission, and we’re reminded that he always wanted to take his ministry to the streets, not stand on a million-dollar pulpit like his family. Tara tells Jacob that Baisie and Rochelle, who is her full sister, always thought Bishop killed their father Darryl James because Darryl received a call the night he died telling him to go to the church. Tara reveals that she also believes Bishop killed Darryl, but says unlike her half-brother and sister, “I don’t try to beat God at his game. ‘Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.’ Not mine.” She also explains that God promised the day would come when a Greenleaf would be moved by God to make things right. Jacob says it could’ve been Mac who called Darryl that fateful night, and asks if Baisie answered the phone. Tara says she doesn’t know, and Tasha reminds us that they can't ask Baisie because he's dead. Jacob then asks Tara what Darryl’s relationship to Loretta Davis was, which triggers Tara to say she’s not comfortable answering more questions until she knows what’s happening. It seems Tara knows enough to be suspicious of Jacob’s questioning. Jacob says he’s putting everything together, but promises to tell her when he knows everything. After Jacob and Tasha leave, Tara leaves a voicemail for an unknown person saying she just got a visit from Jacob.
Jacob takes Tasha back to her apartment complex and she asks him in. He can’t because he has to pick up Winkie (I hate that nickname). She then asks if he really liked her when they kissed before, and he says he did. He reveals that he and Kerissa are divorcing and says they can talk about whether they have a future together after it is final. Tasha leans over to kiss Jacob, but he stops her, saying let’s do it right this time. She says, “You’re a good man, Jacob Greenleaf.” And he says he’s trying to be.
Back at home, Jacob finds Kerissa on the phone with her divorce attorney. He tells Kerissa that their deal if off because he definitely wants shared custody. Once again, Kerissa threatens to expose Bishop as a supposed murderer. Jacob tells her Bishop either belongs in jail or he doesn't, either way he's about to find out.
Jacob confronts Bishop and asks him if he called Darryl to the church the night it burned down and Darryl died in it. Bishop asks why he’s asking that, but doesn’t deny it at first. Bishop says he didn’t make the call. Jacob asks his father if he knew Loretta Davis originally bequeathed the house to Darryl. Bishop insists that she left the house to him and Mae, and offers to get the will out of the safe. Jacob says there was a previous will that left the house to Darryl, and Bishop says it’s the first he’s heard about it and asks what Jacob’s questioning is all about. Jacob responds that it’s complicated and leaves the room.
Remember last season when Mae caught Kerissa nosing around Bishop and the safe he and Mae keep in their room, and Mae removed the papers before Kerissa could see them? Well, I’m starting to think Mae and Mac were in cahoots and plotted to kill Darryl and Loretta, so Mae and Bishop could inherit the estate. That would also explain why Mae never did anything to stop Mac from sexually abusing Faith and all the other girls, and instead insisted that she didn't know, even though their own father abused her.
Sophia, Zora & Nikki: Zora helps Sophia remove her topless photo from Snapchat. Yes, Zora finally shows some family loyalty. Nikki walks into Zora’s cabin to see Sophia throwing her clothes on the floor, and the two begin to argue. Nikki throws a low blow by telling Sophia at least she can still have children, and Sophia attacks Nikki. While Sophia and Nikki are fighting, Zora tries to break them up, but she's only trying to stop Sophia. Eventually, Zora kicks out Nikki and tells her not to come back. She also tells Sophia that she didn’t say anything to Nikki about Sophia’s ovaries being removed (I’m still upset about that plot development because it makes no sense). One can only assume it was Dante. Later while Zora is putting salve on Sophia’s wound, Zora tells Sophia that she’s been really angry lately and should maybe get a hobby to channel her energy into something productive.
Grace, Darius, Noah, Mae, Bishop & AJ: The episode opens with Darius bringing Grace a black coffee before his flight to Las Vegas to investigate Bob’s connection to Eden Veil Lending, as Pastor Cal suggested the day before. Darius reveals that he’s been fired from the newspaper for insisting he continue his article about Bob. He and Grace surmise that Bob had Darius’s editor kill the story. Grace is torn between handling AJ’s situation and going with Darius to dig more into Bob. There’s still chemistry between the two, and Darius kisses her. It’s just a small, closed mouth kiss on the lips, but Grace kisses him back. It’s not obvious how she feels about the kiss, but she definitely wasn’t upset by it. This is why Grace needs a girlfriend to share her thoughts with, so we don’t have to play the guessing game all the damn time.
Later in the day, Grace and Noah return from the hospital, and he visits with Mae and Bishop. Mae is trying to bring Noah back into the Greenleaf fold, but Grace takes this as Mae thinking Noah is more important to AJ and is discrediting the work she’s already put into their long-lost child. Mae says she doesn’t know who means what to whom, but it’s foolish to ignore the fact that one of them gave AJ away and the other didn’t even know he existed. She adds that she’s sure AJ is aware of that and whatever it takes for both Grace and Noah to reach him, they have to take advantage. Grace says Mae is right, but excuses herself from the group. Bishop follows her and says Mae is out of line, but wasn’t wrong about pulling Noah more into the situation than Grace seems to want, and that she, Noah, and AJ are a family regardless. Bishop also reminds Grace that he and Mae didn’t agree on Faith and it cost all three of them. Bishop says that fact is half of what’s driving Mae to be “her nasty self.”
The episode ends with AJ finally allowing Grace to visit with him, after Sophia convinced him that he has to open up. AJ reveals to Grace that a group of men raped him when he was in prison, and one of them transmitted HIV to him.
So now it all makes sense. Remember when the doctor questioned Grace yesterday (in episode two) about whether she had any cuts from the razor blade AJ used to slit his wrists? I was annoyed watching that scene because I couldn’t figure out why the line of questioning without definitive answers, and why time was being wasted on that scene. Welp, now we know, and we also know why AJ has had a huge chip on his shoulder this entire time and why he was stealing meds from the pharmacy.