“The Seventh Day” is the title for the seventh episode of Greenleaf’s fifth and final season, but you probably already guessed that if you’ve been following along. I’m still pretty salty after realizing that this season would only have eight episodes. Yes, the series finale of Greenleaf is next week. I’m sad and annoyed because the first six episodes built up the suspense for how the Greenleafs would get themselves out of the messes with Harmony and Hope and Rochelle and Tara, only to have everything solved in one episode, the one last night. As a result of being in my feelings, this recap will not go as in-depth as previous ones, until we get to the most pivotal scene — James’s confession and forgiveness. Another departure from the usual, will be the format for the recap of episode 7. I am going to try to summarize the events chronologically instead of detailing how the characters interact and impact each other. Let’s get into it …
So you know how last week Greenleaf kind of left us with a cliffhanger for whether Darius was alive, well, there was no need to worry. Fernando just lied to the police and reported that Darius was driving under the influence of PCP (where do Black folks even get PCP), and he was also charged with resisting arrest for supposedly “going all Kung Fu” on the cops. As a result, Darius spent a night in jail, but Big Money Grace bailed him out. After picking up his car from the Memphis Police Impound Lot, he is going to interview the family who is willing to talk about Edenvale Lending. Grace is going to meet with Aaron in order to get an injunction to stop the church from being torn down, because Jacob wasn’t aware that City on the Hill Mergers and Acquisitions was a part of Harmony and Hope when he sold the land to City on the Hill. Darius and Grace have until 2 p.m. to expose Bob Whitmore and/or stop the church from being torn down. Bob is treating the demolition like a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Back at the Greenleaf home, James brings Mae breakfast in bed, but it’s really the original ring he proposed to her with. He doesn’t want them to wait until Flag Day to wed, and wants them to be married tomorrow instead. Mae isn’t in the mood to celebrate because the church is about to be demolished. However, James would rather they celebrate “new church, new life” than grieve for Calvary. He gives her options for saying yes again, and says they can just skip the ceremony altogether if she just says “I do.” But before they’re remarried, Mae wants them to have one accord, meaning they agree on how to handle Tara and Rochelle. She proposes they sell 10 acres of land and give Tara the money because she doesn’t want to start a new church in the shadow of another scandal. James thinks paying them off is admitting wrongdoing or that he was complicit in Darryl James’s death. Mae says then this, referring to the ring, will have to wait until Flag Day.
Despite Jacob and Kerissa telling Zora to wait on going to New York so they can arrange things with cousin Camilla, Zora is still trying to leave on the evening flight. Jacob reminds her that her mother just left the day before and says he’ll cancel the flight if Zora doesn’t. Zora has already come up with a plan if she can’t stay with Camilla in Hoboken and has found a studio apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn, but the deposit is due before the end of the day. Jacob tells Zora again to cancel the ticket, they’ll buy her another one, and that he’s trying to be nice and patient, but that’s a two-way street.
Later, Zora tries to convince Sophia to move with her to NYC and to ask Grace for the money for an apartment. They’re going back and forth about how much or little sense the move makes. Sophia says she’ll think about it, and Zora tells her to hurry because she isn’t canceling her plane ticket. Then while leaving the room, Zora tells Sophia to picture it, “Me. You. Brooklyn. It could be a TV show.” And that’s another clue that the Greenleafspin-off will focus on Zora and Sophia and possibly AJ.
Speaking of AJ, he meets James at the house so they can open the car kit. While they’re chatting, AJ shows concern for James’s well-being since the church is supposed to be torn down. James says he’s going to rejoice and be glad about the day because the Lord made it, regardless of what Bob, Connie Sykes, or Mae does. James has a slight memory lapse when trying to remember why AJ is there, but quickly remembers and says he’s glad AJ is there.
In the garage, James and AJ have a heart-to-heart about faith and AJ’s lack of it. James asks AJ if he’d like to be saved right then and there, saying Jesus can save his soul. He’s not trying to give AJ the impression that God destroys souls, so he says people do that. AJ asks what he’d have to do and James says he’d have to say one simple prayer, but AJ says he’s not ready. James says there’s no pressure, but encourages AJ to realize that there is a God because a world like this doesn’t just happen and the God who made the world sees him and loves him. AJ is impressed by all that James tells him about the day when he’s saved, and says he guesses some day he’ll give it a shot. James responds no pressure and says it’ll be easier than building a car, and AJ says let’s assume that is true.
Meanwhile, Judee and Phil are standing outside Calvary waiting for the demolition to begin, but Fernando says that Bob wants them to wait until he gets there and makes his announcement. Phil has no idea about the announcement, but Judee says, “Oh yeah, that,” which prompts Phil to ask if she knows about the announcement, but she doesn't answer. As you can see, Phil is being pushed further out of the inner-circle of Bob, Judee, and Fernando.
As the three Harmony and Hope cronies are chatting, Grace and Aaron walk up. Grace cockily tells them they’re going to have to cease and desist with tearing down the church until further notice. She and Aaron were able to secure a temporary injunction while a judge reviews their case for real estate fraud. Then Grace sarcastically thanks Fernando for setting up Darius and threatening her. Slick and slimy Fernando then drops the bomb that Kerissa and Jacob knew City on the Hill was part of Harmony and Hope when they sold the land. Grace counters that Jacob is willing to testify under oath that he didn’t know, and Fernando asks about Kerissa because he recalls her knowing and being comfortable with the fact. Judee pulls Fernando aside to talk and once again Phil is left out of the scheming. Grace looks as if she never considered Kerissa knew, and suggests she and Aaron call Jacob. But we, the audience, know Kerissa knew and hid that from Jacob.
While Grace is finishing speaking with Jacob on the phone, Noah arrives at Calvary to tell her that he found the former caretaker of Loretta Davis’s estate, and they go to speak with him at his home. The caretaker reveals that the reason Loretta initially bequeathed the estate to Darryl James was because he was her son. Grace and Noah are completely shocked by the revelation.
When Jacob calls Kerissa and asks if she knew about City on the Hill's connection to Harmony and Hope, she is truthful. Jacob seemingly realizes how conniving Kerissa actually is, and is even more resolute that divorcing her is the right decision.
While Grace is trying to stop the demolition of Calvary and understand more about Loretta and Darryl’s relationship, Mae is meeting with Tara so they can work out a deal between the Jameses and the Greeneleafs. Mae says she’s hoping Rochelle will take the money, but Tara says she won’t because Tara has suggested asking for money already. Tara admits she doesn’t want Mae kicked out of her home, but Rochelle wants the Bishop to admit his wrongs and to be brought low. Tara says, “We want peace. Rochelle, she wants victory.” Mae says she’s trying to make this work, and Tara says she is trying too and reminds Mae that it was their father who was killed and whose name was on the original will. She adds that she’s trying to meet Mae halfway, but they aren’t in this together. Mae tries to end the conversation by saying she doesn’t see where this ends, but Tara has the last word and says neither does she.
Later, Charity and James are watching the news report about Bob intending to announce his candidacy for senate at the church later in the day, as Mae is walking into the room. In a Classic Grace move, Grace never told her family or at least her parents that she and Darius discovered Bob was running for senator of Tennessee. While James and Mae are arguing about whether Bob is “pure unmitigated evil,” Grace walks in and acts like she just learned Bob’s intention from hearing it on the radio. She reveals also that Darryl was Loretta’s son. James says he should’ve known and Mae asks how he should’ve known. Charity announces that she’s going down to the church because if they’re about to lose the house, she’s not giving up the church without a fight. James tells Mae to call Tara and Rochelle and have them come to the house immediately. Mae protests, but James tells her to just do it and to trust him.
A few hours have passed and Tara and Rochelle are at the house, but have no idea what their visit is about. Mae says that in the past few hours they’ve learned that Loretta may have been their grandmother, which has to proven with a DNA test. Both Rochelle and Tara seem surprised, but Rochelle tries to keep a poker face while Tara looks happy that she’ll get the house or money or whatever to continue doing good. Mae says they’re forced to admit that’s the only way to explain the reason behind the first will. Rochelle asks if that admission includes the Bishop. James looks at her with disgust and says it does as long as it’s proven truth. Mae says that if it’s proven, they’re ready to concede that their blood ties preceded their legal claim to the property, and James still doesn’t like that this is happening. Rochelle brings up that their father was murdered and James says enough. Tara reminds Rochelle that they’re giving them the house. Rochelle says the house isn’t what she wants and all she’s ever wanted is what she’d get in a court of law — the truth. Jacob interrupts them to say that Charity wrote an email to the entire congregation saying that if they want to know the truth about Bob and Edenvale Lending, then they should go to the church right now, and at least 100 people are already in Calvary’s sanctuary, according to Grace who now is at the church. James tells Rochelle that if she wants the truth, then she’ll go to the church with them right now because she’ll get the truth, the “whole God blessed thing.”
Darius rushes into the church to speak to Grace after meeting with one of Edenvale’s victim families, and tells her the family said the minute they missed one payment, Edenvale called in the fine print on the loan and took their house. Yusef Shabazz also confirmed their story, Darius adds. He also reveals that CBS has agreed to run a story on Bob’s Edenvale Lending mortgage scandal.
In the sanctuary, Bob is defending himself against Charity’s allegation that he and Edenvale Lending preyed on poor Black families in their mortgage scheme, and says the Greenleafs are digging up old news and there was no scam. He adds that Edenvale was doing good by offering low-interest cash loans so poor people could get on top of their bills, and says Charity was misguided in saying Edenvale preyed on Black people. Judee is rolling her eyes at the thought of Daddy doing anything wrong, and Phil is looking unsure once again. Charity asks Bob why almost 100 percent of the clients were Black, and Grace and Darius are there to back her up with facts. Darius says 244 Edenvale loans went to Black people, and Grace says all the loans defaulted, which resulted in all the homes being forfeited to Edenvale for pennies on the dollar. Grace asks Bob who was Gladys Demars and why was he using a Black woman to make all the sales calls to the Black potential borrowers. Then, Darius asks why Gladys was the signatory on all the loans, which prompts Grace to ask Bob what he was doing if he wasn’t targeting Black customers. Bob responds that if “this Ms. Demars” was targeting Black families, he never approved of it, which causes Phil to start seething with anger as he sits in the pew. Grace asks Bob if he’s blaming Phil’s mother. Bob continues defending himself and says that many of the congregants don’t know him, which prompts Phil to stand and say that he does know Bob. Bob thinks Phil has come to his defense, but Phil has actually come to his senses. He says that Gladys Demars was his mother and he never knew exactly what she did for a living, but when she was dying she was very concerned that God couldn’t forgive her. Phil says he asked her what can’t God forgive, but she wouldn’t say. Phil says now he thinks he knows what she meant.
Then, Phil walks over to Judee and tells her to give him back his mother’s engagement ring. Judee attempts to protest, but then stands at Phil’s insistence and drops the “stupid ring” on the floor. His eyes meet Charity’s as he’s picking up the ring — the ring Charity appreciated and Judee discarded on the floor like it was of little significance.
Bob tries to bring the focus back to his spin because he has a press conference to get to, and says they should stop focusing on the past and focus on the future of not being under the “tyrannical” Greenleaf family. He continues going on about how James Greenleaf took advantage of his congregation. But then, James and the rest of the family walk in and, James admits he took advantage of the congregants’ faith in him and their hopes for themselves, and he got fat and happy in the process. Mae is holding James’s hand as they walk down the aisle, Sophia and Zora are behind them, Jacob and AJ are next, and Tara and Rochelle are bringing up the rare. James says he was wrong for taking advantage and it was a sin that was his fault alone. He reveals that the only reason the church building exists is because he was bequeathed the house and used it for collateral for a loan to build a church. He admits that the house was originally supposed to go to Darryl, but he didn’t know it at the time, and says Mac told him to go see Ms. Davis because she’s childless and is looking for something good to do with her house. He says he saw that house and the church springing forward into his lap from a “horn of plenty.” James adds that it wasn’t until Ms. Davis mentioned the awful fire that killed Darryl and the gift of the house that it occurred to him to wonder if the two things were connected. Bob looks around at the congregants smugly after James reveals this, which leads me to believe Bob knew a lot more about how James and Mae acquired their wealthy estate and church. James says he saw the connection between Darryl’s death and inheriting the estate in a mist, but he looked away because he was too enchanted with what he had to gain to worry about the cost Darryl paid in the flames with his life. James says he knows it’s not what Rochelle wants to hear but it’s true. And Bob tells the congregation, well, there you have it.
James says he’s not quite done because everyday after that it was more of the same, letting little sins go “unremarked and un-repented,” so he could keep on succeeding. But he adds that it wasn’t success, instead it was more like a succubus or demon of wealth and power seducing him. Then the camera cuts to Phil who went down the same path, but just turned back. James says he fell for it and lost his way, and the congregants and his family paid the price, and he’s sorry. He adds, “I’m so, so sorry I let you be dragged into captivity by this monster,” referring to Bob and Harmony and Hope. A tearful James continues, “All I wanted to do was to show you what is possible with God, but I’m afraid that all I ever showed you is what is inevitable without him.”
Karine stands up and says Bishop James showed them a lot more than that. And Mae stands and says amen and the congregants begin standing and saying amen too. Even Bob says amen, of course it’s probably with sarcasm. Phil stands to tell Bob that he needs to leave, and Bob goes to Judee so she can leave too. Then James jabs Bob one last time by saying, “Bob, I told you your days were numbered.” Charity begins singing “Amazing Grace” as the rest of the Church stands, and the other Greenleafs begin walking to meet James on the stage. Bob seems to know he’s defeated, and he, Judee, and Fernando leave. Poor Phil is all alone now. The Greenleafs continue the song as they are hugging each other.
As Rochelle is leaving the church, Grace confronts her to ask if she’s done and happy now. Rochelle responds that she’s not happy and she never wanted the house, and all she ever wanted was the truth, which she got today, and now she can go. Grace thanks her for AJ because Rochelle is the one who gave Noah’s number to AJ in an attempt to mess with Grace. Rochelle admits she did and she wanted Grace to know that someone out there knows she isn’t any better than anyone else. Grace says the message was received, but it was also a blessing, and Rochelle reminds Grace that God can use anybody, even a “mean ol’ sinner” like her.
Phil catches up to Charity as she is walking through the church hallway, and asks if they can meet up tomorrow to talk because she didn’t deserve the way he treated her and let Judee treat her, and he still loves her. Charity says, “Phil, no one, not even the father of my son, has broken my heart the way that you have. I would never trust it with you again. Thank you for what you did in there. That was good. I knew there was good in you, but no, never,” and she turns to walk away. She seems proud of the strength exhibited.
Darius is ending a phone call with CBS as he drops Grace back at home. He tells her that Bob’s Edenvale scam is now public because the news reported it, and Bob is stepping down from Harmony and Hope as a result. Darius asks Grace how she’s feeling, and she says pretty good and grabs his hand while thanking him for helping expose Bob. Then he reaches over to kiss her and they enjoy a very passionate smooch that prompts him to invite her to his place. They make plans for tomorrow, instead, because Sophia wants to talk to her about something, presumably moving to New York City with Zora.
That night, Mae is primping with perfume and lingerie in her dressing room and it’s obvious she has plans for James in the bedroom. She begins talking to him from her side of the bed and puts her arms around his shoulders from the back. She says they can get married tomorrow, and thinks he’s being coy when he doesn’t respond. Mae turns around to face James and realizes there’s something wrong with him because his face is screwed up. She asks if he can talk and he motions for a pen. Mae calls 911 while James looks like he’s trying to hold on until he gets the pen. She puts the pen in his hand, and he writes “I do.” She’s not sure what he means, but his eyes explain everything to her. Mae realizes he’s saying “I do” to her and recommitting to his wedding vows. Remember he said earlier that they don’t need a wedding ceremony and could simply say “I do” to each other. Mae responds, “I do too, my love. I do too.” She’s trying to keep him with her, but he falls backwards onto the bed, and she tells him she loves him, while begging him in vain not to die.