Man, oh man, oh man, the sixth episode of Greenleaf’s season 5, which is titled “The Sixth Day,” was so damn good. A lot happened and a lot was exposed. We learned a little more background on Loretta Davis giving Bishop James and Lady Mae Greenleaf the estate. Yusef Shabazz reveals what Phil’s mom did for Edenvale Lending and how Bob Whitmore was involved. Zora has a plan for her future and it doesn’t involve Memphis. And Mae tells her secret. Let’s get into it …
Zora, Sophia, Jacob, and Kerissa: In an effort to get away from her parents, Zora cooks up the idea to move to New York. She enlists Sophia in helping her record a video application for the upcoming semester at the New School, even though it’s too late. While Sophia is putting Zora’s phone on the tripod, she sees a reminder for a flight to New York for tomorrow night. Sophia asks Zora if she’s freaking out about the divorce, and Zora responds the divorce has given her clarity because that’s her parents’ life and this plan is hers. Sophia is nervous about Zora’s plan to leave, and tells Jacob and Kerissa.
As Jacob and Kerissa are about to talk to Zora about her scheme to move to New York, Kerissa tells Jacob not to lose his temper, but during the conversation, it’s Kerissa who shows anger while Jacob tries to rationally reason with Zora. When she sees her parents, Zora assumes correctly that Sophia told them, and she tries to convince her parents to let her go because she’s not a kid. Jacob calmly tells her that she has a lot of growing still to do, they know they can’t control her, they’re not trying to stop her from pursuing her dreams whatever they may be, and they just want her to be safe. Zora suggests that they help her get her own place in New York if they care so much. Kerissa asks Zora if she’s going to hold herself hostage, and if she’ll be sleeping on the streets if they don’t help her. Jacob asks if her plane ticket is refundable. Zora clears her throat, as if she’s lying, and says of course it is. He says they’ll get her a new ticket, but give him and Kerissa a day to talk because a lot is going on. Jacob suggests they ask Kerissa’s cousin Camilla if Zora can stay with her until school starts. Zora reminds Jacob that Camilla lives in Hoboken, not New York, and Kerissa reminds Zora that Jacob is only trying to help.
Later, Zora confronts Sophia about telling her parents her “escape plan,” and how her future might now include Hoboken. Sophia asks Zora why she isn’t more mad at her. Zora says she was, but she got Sophia back by telling Grace about Sophia’s topless pics. Sophia laughs thinking Zora is joking. Zora says she told Grace that she feared Sophia’s embarrassment over mildly-revealing pics was causing her to make a decision that would ruin her future, and tells Sophia that she’s not the only one with fears that need to be expressed to adults. Sophia says that she guesses that’s fair.
Charity, Yusef, Phil, and Judee: As Charity is leaving the Greenleaf estate, Yusef Shabazz is standing at the gate. Charity brings Yusef into the house, and while he’s looking around, Yusef asks if all their wealth came from religion (not faith, mind you). Charity says the churchgoers like to see their leaders doing well. Yusef says that sounds like something people tell themselves to make themselves feel better. Grace enters the room to meet Yusef, and he agrees to talk to Darius off the record on deep background. Grace compliments Charity for getting Yusef to help them, and there’s hope that the two remaining Greenleaf sisters can make amends.
Later in the day after Charity and Grace take Yusef to speak with Darius (more on that later), Charity is compelled to tell Phil what Yusef knows about his mom’s work for Bob Whitmore. As Phil and Judee are in a nearly-empty Calvary discussing the great records Karine kept while working for the church, Charity suddenly turns on the lights, and says to be careful because everything said in the dark will be heard in the light of the day. She greets Phil, and Judee says that they know Charity snuck in last night. Phil asks what she’s doing there. Charity ignores Judee and says she brought someone for Phil to see. While Judee is saying that Charity needs to hand over her keys, Yusef walks in. Judee doesn’t know who Yusef is and asks if it’s Charity’s new boyfriend. Phil is visibly upset at his father’s presence. Yusef says he’s Phil’s father, and Judee says she’s his fiancé and raises her left hand to show off that ring, again. Yusef doesn’t look pleased that Phil and Judee are engaged. Phil asks what the hell Yusef wants.
Yusef tells Phil that Bob used his mom and she used herself, and Phil should not let himself make the same mistake. Judee hears everything, but says it isn’t true and it’s all the work of Satan. Then, Phil threatens to call the police on Yusef for the crimes he committed in the past. Charity stops Phil by grabbing his phone, which she throws to the ground while telling Phil that Yusef is trying to help him. Phil says he doesn’t know what Yusef is talking about when he says Bob’s Edenvale Lending preyed on Black people (still more on that later). Judee responds, “As if, Daddy loves Black people!” Then we get more clarity about Phil’s daddy issues: Phil says all he remembers is his mother working long hours, while Yusef did the crossword and bad-mouthed western civilization with a mouthful of food his mother paid for. He also says Yusef isn’t there to help him, but is there, instead, to piss on the one thing Phil was able to count on when Yusef walked out the door. Then, Phil says he doesn’t ever want to see Yusef again. Yusef looks hurt, and Charity gives him a sympathetic look, but he just walks away from them. Charity tells Phil, “I’m going to pray for you. Most people say that as an insult or warning, but right now, it’s just a fact. I’m going to pray for you ‘cause only God can help you now.” And she turns and leaves.
Judee says she can’t wait for the church building to come down, and the Greenleafs are like pigeons because they just keep coming back and making noise. Phil isn’t listening to her, and her expression shows worry. Judee tries to kiss Phil and he moves away from her. She walks away, and he balls up his fist in annoyance and contemplation of what just happened, looking up to the ceiling, not like he’s praying but as if he’s exasperated.
James, Mae, Tara, Rochelle, and the other Greenleafs: The episode opens with James on the phone with the FBI agent who handled Jacob’s embezzlement case. The agent reveals that Rochelle Cross is no longer a person of interest. Mae is trying to convince James to leave for his physical exam, but it’s not his priority. He’s going to meet with the city inspector at the club. Mae says that Tara is coming over to convince Mae that she wasn’t involved in Rochelle’s scheming.
Tara tells Mae that she thought Rochelle was still in Mexico and didn’t know anything about her sister’s deal with the FBI, and that Rochelle just showed up. Mae is skeptical and asks Tara why she called Rochelle after Jacob initially spoke with her. Tara says her sister is volatile especially when it comes to Bishop and the Greenleaf family, and she feared what her sister would do to her if she hadn’t told Rochelle that Jacob was making overtures. Mae says she’s trying to do the right thing, if she can somehow manage to see what that is. Tara says having seen the house, she’s convinced now more than ever that God wants to do something good with it, but if they can’t reach that answer peaceably, then maybe it’s not the answer. Mae asks if she thinks Rochelle will give up that easily, because Mae doesn’t see Rochelle letting it go. Tara says Mae might be right about that.
Meanwhile, James is meeting with the city inspector at Mavis’s old bar that he and Mae plan to turn into a church. In walks Rochelle and James asks her what she wants. Rochelle says Tara told her James and Mae were starting a church at the bar, and “It’s going to take a lot of work. Might be easier to burn the place down with me in it. It is the old Greenleaf way, isn’t it?” She then asks James when he is going to tell the truth because God knows it. You see, Rochelle thinks James is the one who told Jacob to tell Tara about the will, and told Mae to give them the house, so he could keep his secrets. James is adamant that he had nothing to do with the fire that killed Darryl James. Rochelle says that success is the proof of being highly-favored and details the ways in which James’s life has changed for the worse, including losing Calvary, “eviction” from his house, and building a church in a “stinky bar.” She tells him to ask himself if this is what a saint’s life looks like. Unlike Yusef, Rochelle equates wealth and success with being worthy of God’s favor. It seems the Greenleafs are about to realize this way of thinking is faulty.
James kicks Rochelle out of the club, and she says she doesn’t feel safe being alone with him anyway. She also issues him a warning reminiscent of how Celie cursed Mister in The Color Purple. Rochelle tells James to beware, and says until he admits the wrong he played in the death of her father, nothing he does will stand, and she means nothing. James asks when is it going to end with her and the delusion she’s “laboring under.” He also tells Rochelle that she’s sick and needs help. It seems James has hit a nerve, and she briefly shakes her head while he’s talking and tears well up in her eyes. Then, Rochelle responds that Baisie should’ve killed James when he had the chance. She turns to leave the club.
James returns home from the club, and tells Mae that they’re not giving the house to those “con-artists.” Mae asks what happened, and James says that Rochelle threatened him “with all the subtlety of a gang enforcer.” Mae says she had a fairly reasonable conversation with Tara who holds no delusions about her sister. James asks if that’s reason to give Tara their home. Mae responds that she doesn’t really want to give away their home, so James reminds her that Loretta Davis wanted them to have the house. Mae reminds James that they got the house after Darryl was unable to receive it, which troubles her. James says she’s talking about the first will, the “all knowing first will,” and says they don’t even know if the will is real. Mae says Aaron said it was, and James argues that Rochelle made up a whole website to swindle him. Then Mae asks, “Do I have to deny the reality in everything to be on your side?” James counters with asking why Mrs. Loretta Davis, a white woman and proud Daughter of the American Revolution, would’ve left her house and hundreds of acres to Darryl. Mae asks why she would’ve left it to them and says Loretta had never been to their church until Mac sent James over there to see her. She also asks if James had ever heard Loretta’s name before then. Mae says it’s all so unclear and she’s trying to find a holy way through this, and questions if James is too. He looks at her incredulously and asks if she wants to talk to him about “holy.” But a knock at the door interrupts their argument.
It’s Jacob informing them that Kerissa and Winkie are going to stay at her parents’ and asking if they would like to say goodbye to make things seem more normal. Mae says to Jacob, “Marry someone you love next time and be faithful. You won’t have to worry about so much about all this normalcy.” And this where she goes wrong with James. After Jacob leaves, James tells Mae to try confessing her own sins if she wants to talk to him about being holy. He says every mistake he made “has been broadcast from a blimp all over this town. You’ve lived a lie for forty years, and you’re still living it, telling that boy how to live?! Keep your holy admonitions to yourself.” James then leaves the room, and Mae looks like she’s been put in her place.
After Jacob, Zora, Sophia, Grace, James, and Mae say goodbye to Kerissa and Winkie, Mae reveals that she has something to say and actually looks happy about it. She begins talking about not dragging the past behind her as she enters a new beginning, and how James helped her realize that. James seems to know what Mae is going to say and is trying to tell her that’s not what he meant. Grace seems to figure out also what Mae is going to say and she looks over at Sophia, worried what the revelation could mean for her daughter. Mae tells James she knows what he meant and she “won’t be beaten with that stick of mine, not by you or myself ever again.” Grace asks what this is about and Mae says Grace actually knows already. Just then Charity’s car pulls up and the youngest Greenleaf sibling asks what she missed because Charity is always missing something. Mae says, “Well, Charity, just be quiet and a whole lifetime of missed moments is about to be erased after one sentence.” Then Mae says matter-of-factly, “Grace is the product of an affair between Lionel Jeffries and myself.” Everyone’s confused, and Mae says that Grace and James have known for awhile and it changes nothing because they are a family. Then, she says dinner will be served at 7:30 and briefly holds James’s hand while turning to walk up the stairs back into the house. James turns back and motions for Sophia and Zora to hug him. Jacob and Charity look at each other in disbelief. And Grace just stands on the steps looking at everyone else.
Later in the evening, Charity, Grace, and Jacob are having a glass of wine and discussing Mae’s revelation. Grace says she didn’t know Mae was going to reveal her secret until right before. Jacob says his sisters don’t know what Mae put him through because he cheated on Kerissa. Grace reminds him of what Mae put her through since she was born, like it was Grace’s fault she existed. Charity, who is tipsy, has an epiphany and says, “It’s just a plane crash,” and explains that they were born into the world of pretty perfection and had to live up to that, but it’s all really just a plane crash. Charity says they’re all survivors and they don’t have to measure up to the illusion anymore. The three siblings joke about now knowing why Grace turned out so light, “Jeffries light,” as they call it. Then Charity asks if Aaron knows he and Grace are siblings. Grace sips her wine. Charity asks if Kevin knows too, and both she and Jacob are annoyed they’re the last to know. Grace says that it was Mae’s secret to tell.
Grace, Darius, Yusef, Noah, and AJ: In the morning of “The Sixth Day,” Darius calls Grace from his new number and reveals that someone broke into his Las Vegas hotel room and stole his phone and laptop. Bob really doesn’t want the scandal and Darius’s story about it to get out. Darius asks Grace to give him the research he emailed her, but as she’s looking at the files, a hacker is deleting them from her computer.
After meeting Yusef in person, Grace and Charity take him to speak with Darius. Darius has discovered that Bob owned Edenvale in the 1980s, and sold second mortgages to people who needed cash. But when the borrowers couldn’t make the balloon payment, Bob would basically steal their house. After hearing this, Yusef says, “Not just folks, though.” Darius says all the records he found were for individuals, but Yusef asks, “Yes, but what kind of individuals?” Darius says that he had just gotten his hands on the escrow files when his room was robbed, and then they deleted Grace’s copies. Yusef says that Darius never saw the pattern in the types of clients Edenvale had, then. And Grace asks who Bob was targeting. Yusef says who does she think and questions why is Bob going out of his way to look like a friend to the Blacks. Grace realizes that Edenvale Lending and Bob went after poor Black families with the mortgage scheme. Yusef reveals that Phil’s mom was the “friendly Black lady” who greeted clients at the door and made it seem as if “Edenvale was Black folks helping Black folks pay their bills. When it was really just one greedy white man bleeding everybody dry.” Yusef says it’s no wonder Bob wants all of this cleaned up if he’s running for senator like Grace and Darius have said. Darius asks Yusef if he’s sure he doesn’t want to go on the record. Yusef responds that his legal situation is such that he’s just deep background, but if Darius can come up with one person to back up what he says, then he’ll confirm on the record.
As Charity and Yusef are leaving the house, Darius ominously reminds Grace what he said about their future before he left for Vegas, and that he wants to discuss their future once they’ve gotten to the bottom of the Edenvale scandal.
Later in the day, Grace and Noah are chatting while waiting for AJ to see a doctor. She tells Noah that she found the ledger he mentioned, and the caretaker was very obsessed with the comings and goings of “that Negro.” Grace realizes that without speaking to the caretaker, if he’s even alive, they’ll never know if the Negro was Darryl James, and why Darryl was even there. Noah says he’ll ask the neighbors who may know the caretaker’s name. They also discuss how James made an impression on AJ when he proposed that the two of them build the 1964 Pontiac GTO together, and AJ can keep the car when they’re finished. Then AJ comes into the waiting room and tells his parents that the doctor prescribed Devoto, which is one simple pill, but he doesn’t have insurance. While Grace is saying she can pay for the prescription, Noah talks over her and tells AJ to meet him at the elevator because he wants to finish the conversation with Grace, and they’ll get the prescription when he and Grace are done. Not being needed again seems to annoy Grace. Noah says he found a place for him and AJ that’s near his mother’s house, and offers Grace a place to stay if her parents give Tara the house. He says it’ll be platonic and no strings attached.
At night, Darius calls Grace to say that one of the names Yusef gave them checks out and the person is willing to go on the record about how Edenvale stole their house. Darius says he’s on his way home from meeting with them and asks Grace to come over. When Grace knocks on Darius’s door, there’s no answer, so she calls his phone and gets the voicemail. As she’s getting ready to leave, a car pulls up and a man walks towards Grace. She asks where Darius is and the man, who turns out to be Fernando Amable (Dave Baez), tries to grab her but she pulls away. Then, Fernando warns Grace to be careful because no one cares about journalists anymore, and tells her to stay out of it.
It seems Grace and Darius might not have that conversation about their future after all.
As I was watching this episode, I was thinking how the Greenleaf facade completely cracked open after Kerissa tried blackmailing Jacob with the will Fernando gave her. Then, it occurred to me that Fernando could've purposely given Kerissa chlamydia, in order to force her hand to use the will against the Greenleafs. I always thought it was weird that a grown man wouldn't notice he was spreading an STI, especially while sleeping with a married woman. Also, after Fernando accosted and threatened Grace, we know that he is much more sinister than we thought. I also don't think it's a coincidence that the Greenleafs might lose their home right after losing their church.