Greenleaf: Season 3/ Episode 4 “The Underdog” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Gloria letting Mae know Maxine is ready for her.
Gloria (Cyrah Hill): Ms. Patterson is ready for you.
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There are many last-ditch efforts to salvage, sometimes, selfish plans, and when they don’t come through? Well, people get nasty.


Network
OWN
Director(s) Clement Virgo
Writer(s) Art Alamo
Air Date 9/12/2018
Characters Introduced
Maxine Patti LaBelle
Percy Lee Thompson Richard Gant

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Petty or Bratty?: Charity, Kevin, Aaron, Grace

While not on Jabari’s tour, it seems Charity may have made one for herself. One in which she is a lounge singing, serenading people as they eat breakfast. All the while avoiding Kevin’s calls and, try as Grace might to talk sense into Charity, or calm down Kevin, Grace isn’t a miracle worker. You have a man who just wants to see his son and not deal with a petty brat to do so, and Charity is a deeply hurt woman. One who probably blames Kevin for nearly everything going wrong in her life right now. Be it the wound of a failed marriage, not having Jabari, alongside the end of one dream. That is, being a big name gospel singing on tour.

Yet, with him calling the cops on her for kidnapping, it seems she has now turned a personal problem into a legal one. Adding another bit of drama onto the Greenleaf plate.

Commentary

Charity giving attitude to Grace.
Charity: Kevin did what he wanted, so I can do the same.

With this family, there are a lot of patterns. Grace is as stubborn as her mom and aunt Mavis, Jacob followed the path of his father by becoming a pastor and having adultery issues, so who does Charity take after? While Lady Mae can be petty, she is at least smart about it. As much as James makes dumb decisions, they aren’t blazingly dumb – though the divorce to put Mae on notice could be argued as something which would qualify. So, who is Charity modeling her behavior after? Or is she simply the Black sheep who didn’t have a proper model so she is lost in the fields and struggling?

Which I don’t say to make light of her situation, since I do assume Kevin flourishing while she struggles is probably a test of faith. However, surely she knows she is in the wrong here right? Like Tasha has issues with the Rochelle thing, surely Charity, somewhere in her cloudy mind, must have some ilk of guilt or feeling that she is doing the wrong thing.

But, with her not listening to that voice, so comes the question of what’s next? The government is involved now so it isn’t like Kevin can stop the wheels once they start rolling. Will Charity, thanks to a good lawyer, just be embarrassed and have her wrist slapped,

Two Children, Two Converging Paths: Sophia, Zora, Kerissa, Mae, Jacob, Roberto

It isn’t clear what has to happen for Zora to act right. Be it ending up in the hospital, seeing Isiah cheat on her, or maybe leave her pregnant and refusing to claim the child. Either way, Jacob and Kerissa are trying to avoid any of those tragedies but can’t agree on how to do it. Kerissa is for some boot camp environment in Oregon. However, even Jacob, who flips out every week, thinks that is too extreme. He’d rather take up his mother’s offer of Zora being under her eye. Which is the final decision but not before one more red flag is raised.

Thus bringing in Sophia who, since a girl can’t have too many friends, confides in Zora about Roberto trying to have sex. Well, when they were making out in her car he wasn’t trying to have a home run but Sophia is smart enough to know the boy was trying to run as many bases as he could. So, she tries to confide in Zora but she isn’t having it. After all, their approaches to sex are wildly different and while Sophia is about waiting for marriage and all that? Zora has had sex and seemingly can’t wait to have it again.

Leaving the two at an impasse because Zora doesn’t just find Sophia’s abstinence something she can’t relate to but also ridicules it. Leading to a big blow up where Zora starts blaming Sophia for many of the things that have gone wrong recently, even calls her God’s little bitch. On top of questioning Sophia’s faith since she has to bring it up so much. Naturally, this offends Sophia and the girls almost get into a fight. Especially since Sophia brings up Isiah hitting Zora and talking about Zora showing if she learned anything from those moments.

Commentary

Zora and Sophia arguing.
Zora: Is – is your head so far up your ass you can’t hear?

Could the tides be changing? May Sophia get some attention? For it has really seemed, over the course of three seasons, Sophia has been in either her mom’s or Zora’s shadow. And while, yeah, she got a little boyfriend, raise your hand if you remembered his name before Sophia said it? How about the fact they actually talked about his family and life a season ago? If you raised your hand, you are a super fan – go you. As for me, this dude was barely above Marciel’s role on this show. Pops up to remind you they still exist, add on you know there was a time they had some kind of storyline, but that doesn’t get talked about anymore.

Yet, with Zora questioning Sophia’s faith and Roberto seemingly trying to get his hands in places no one but a gynecologist may have been, it might be a good time to switch focus. Especially since this whole Zora and Isiah saga reached its fever pitch last season. Now it just feels like something they are holding onto because they aren’t sure where to take this character next. For Sophia has had the good girl routine on lock so they can’t have Zora go down that road too. So until they can come up with something new, they’re holding steady.

With Sophia though, with how deeply religious she is, a test of faith could be interesting. After all, with so many young people dropping the title of being religious and becoming spiritual, this becomes an apt opportunity to answer the why. Could it be lack of inclusion, which Grace keeps fighting for, maybe Sophia being curious about sins of the flesh? With Zora being a bad girl from the get-go, we couldn’t get that out of her. However, Sophia can take up that question and run with it.

Contingency Plan: Mae, James, Rochelle, Maxine, Clara, Grace

Mae is done with James. He can pull out all the stops, make a grand gesture, all of that, but all it takes is one look at Rochelle, them two talking, and she feels firm in her decision. One she made with Maxine to not only leave, not only get a masters in Divinity, but maybe take Cavalry. A plan James isn’t privy to yet, but you better believe Maxine will back, if she has to.

But, with plans of splitting, and James apologizing to Rochelle if she feels led on, this exacerbates the tax money issue. For with Rochelle seeing taking down James through an affair won’t work, she works her magic on Clara, who has yet to cut that check, to makes things complicated. Add on, the following day, there is an article about the IRS probe, and the deacon board, despite some reservations, readying to ask Grace to step up and well, it seems there might be some new drama. For imagine Grace standing in the way of Mae’s calling.

Commentary

Maxine pushing Mae to just take over Cavalry than start over.
Maxine (Patti LaBelle): Take over Mae. It’s yours.

I feel like Mae is the Mary J. Blige of this show. It’s fine when she is happy, but you love her most when she is miserable and fighting. Which is a damn shame for that’s kind of how it is for most lead Black actresses on TV. It’s nice when they are happy but you love them all the more when they going through some BS.

And speaking of BS, I wonder how Maxine will play into that. I’m personally hoping we get something out of LaBelle like her Star performance. Particularly since LaBelle’s role as Carlotta’s mother, Christine, was too short. Plus, she showed a side to herself which wasn’t some sassy mom but a gangster. Which I doubt she’ll pull up with her role as Maxine but with Maxine being the head of a megachurch of her own, down in Atlanta, seeing her bump heads with Bishop? Can you imagine?

Also, imagine if Maxine had a thing for Mae? Perhaps explaining Mae being uncomfortable with gay people. Wouldn’t that be something? Even though I can’t imagine either Whitfield or LaBelle even touching that type of storyline.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. With James rejecting Rochelle as he did, does this mean her aim will mostly be at his pocket and church and less so him? It seems the seduction route has ultimately failed.
  2. Considering Mae is talking about going back to school, assumingly in person and not online, what time will she have for Zora? Especially considering Mae would have to lock down every electronic device in the house and make sure everyone who works on the property wouldn’t lend their device to Zora.
  3. Taking note Sophia and Grace live in the same house as Zora, are they expected to assist with monitoring her? Especially when Mae is away?
  4. What is the likelihood of Charity actually going to jail and perhaps not just losing custody?
    1. Also, if there is a custody fight, what are the chances Aaron will get dragged into it?

Highlights

  1. The possibility that Sophia may get featured as much as Zora has long been.
  2. With Mae’s divorce and the idea of taking over Cavalry planted, it means her going to war on multiple fronts.
  3. It feeling like this Rochelle thing may wrap up by the end of the season.

Low Points

  1. Charity’s storyline which you understand the root of but it doesn’t excuse how eye-roll inducing and out of step it feels with the rest of the show.

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Greenleaf - Episode List

Season/ EpisodeSynopsis

Season 3/ Episode 11 “The End Is Near”

The s*** officially hits the fan and it is so much it may clog up the gears and stop everything people have long been working towards.

Director(s) Rose Troche
Writer(s) David Ehrman, Casey Vandeventer
Air Date 11/7/2018

Featuring: Rochelle, James, Charity, Mae, Grace, Connie, Tasha, Basie, Jacob, Kerissa, Maxine, Lionel, and Aaron

Season 3/ Episode 10 “The Promised Land”

So many surprises jump out at us you’d think this episode of Greenleaf was a haunted house attraction.

Director(s) Allan Kroeker
Writer(s) Karen Corneille
Air Date 10/31/2018
Introduced This Episode
Michael Stephen Bishop

Featuring: Rochelle, Coralie, Grace, Isiah, Zora, Kerissa, Jacob, Tasha, Michael, Charity, Lionel, Mae, Basie, Maxine, and James

Season 3/ Episode 9 “Runaway Train”

With Greenleaf being an ensemble show, rarely does any character get an episode which hones in on just them. Making Keith David (James) taking on this one solo such a treat.

Season 3/ Episode 8 “Dea Abscondita”

Zora deciding to leave leads to all hell breaking loose but with her dramatic exit, that might be the catalyst to the healing many need.

Season 3/ Episode 7 “That Was Then”

It seems like history is repeating itself on Greenleaf for some characters as others press on forward despite many an obstacle in their way.

Season 3/ Episode 5 “Closing Doors”

Charity hits rock bottom, something huge happens with Sophia, and Tasha and Rochelle take additional steps in their plan.

Season 3/ Episode 6 “She Changes Everything”

As Sophia loses her faith, and Charity finds Iyanla Vanzant visiting her, James and Mae’s plans may have resulted in mutually assured destruction.

Season 3/ Episode 4 “The Underdog”

There are many last-ditch efforts to salvage, sometimes, selfish plans, and when they don’t come through? Well, people get nasty. 

Season 3/ Episode 3 “Chain of Command

It’s an episode of facing the inevitable on Greenleaf. Especially if your name is Mae or Charity who both get serious wake-up calls.

Season 2/ Episode 13 “Silence and Loneliness”

Guilt and insecurities are the focus of this episode. Especially as people expose their soft under belly to those who can, or have, hurt them the most.

Season 2/ Episode 14 “The Father’s Will”

What Basie Skanks started, bringing up homosexuals during that church meeting, comes to a head as Lionel and Aaron come to Cavalry and dig up old and new skeletons.

Season 2/ Episode 15 “Two by Two”

Faith, money, morals, and understanding. Four words which are the themes as temptation lurks about and few can say they are truly holier than thou on Greenleaf.

Season 2/ Episode 16 “The Pearl”

From the beginning, I’d like to believe Greenleaf has always been about how those in the pulpit aren’t necessarily holier than thou and in the season 2 finale, with a few exceptions, everyone gets a glimpse of their own personal hell.

Season 1/ Episode 1 "A Time to Heal"

Despite all the programs currently on OWN, for the most part, if it didn’t have Oprah’s name on it, if she wasn’t interviewing someone, I honestly felt it wasn’t worth watching. Yes, there are a million and one Tyler Perry shows on the network, but there is something about his brand that I just don’t feel compliments, Oprah. However, Greenleaf, as messy as it is, as religious as it is, and as much as this seems to be something Shonda Rhimes would advise the writing of, it seems to fit what you’d expect from OWN. Which may not make much sense in hindsight, but considering Oprah’s acting choices and what her brand is, it comes to make sense with time.

Season 1/ Episode 13 "What Are You Doing Here?"

“What Are You Doing Here” is not solely the episode’s title, but a phrase repeated throughout. One which will join the thought of “What are they referencing?”

Season 2/ Episode 1 “A House Divided”

Let me be straight up – Thanks to Tyler Perry, when OWN started having scripted shows without his name on it, I did not for a second think they would be good. Granted, they were under the Oprah umbrella, and she was giving us the rare opportunity to see her act, but I was skeptical. However, Greenleaf opened the doors to the type of brilliance I still, to this day, wish BET would reach for. Now, I covered the first and last episode of season one and with me buying a season pass. 

Season 2/ Episode 2 “Strange Bedfellows”

As Jacob leaves the house and transitions to becoming a member of the Triumph community, he leaves a church and home still reeling from scandal and seemingly not bouncing back anytime soon. 

Season 2/ Episode 3 “A Mother’s Love”

Poor Lady Mae. All her children, in some form or another, make it seem that she only thinks of herself. Of her reputation. But really, with one son working for the competition, a daughter who nearly brought the whole family to their knees, and the youngest’s marriage seeming suspect, can you blame her for being worried? It isn’t like what they do doesn’t reflect on her.

Season 2/ Episode 4 “Revival”

While “Revival” reminds you of the importance and beauty of the church, at the same time it makes you want to shout Mac’s line “And you call yourself a Christian!”

Season 2/ Episode 5 “Point of No Return”

Jacob and Kerissa, after spending most of the season, and Kerissa’s case the show, in the background, have the type of performances that will leave you shook and will explain why this episode is called “Point of No Return.”

Season 2/ Episode 6 “The Royal Family”

How Triumph stays afloat gets revealed, Zora returns to the show in time for Sophia’s birthday, and Kevin and Charity’s divorce starts to get ugly.

Season 2/ Episode 7 “Born to Trouble”

It has been nearly a year since Faith’s death and everyone, including Mac, is still reeling from it. But with everyone sure on the idea it was his fault and feeling powerless to do more than leaving it up to god, he remains ostracized.

Season 2/ Episode 8 “And the Sparks Fly Upward”

Let me tell you – If you thought this season was a bit too ho-hum and lacked some quality drama? Oh, this episode will compensate for all of that.

Season 2/ Episode 9 “The Bear”

Greenleaf returns and there is the question of whether Grace is going to Jail and how will everyone will handle their own personal struggles.

Season 2/ Episode 10 “Call Not Complete”

Since season 1, everyone has had some issues with Grace leaving and how that held them back. But it seems the frustration Kerissa has long been willing to share is coming out of other people’s mouths now. Leading you to wonder, as cracks in the family start to show, can they survive each other?

Season 2/ Episode 11 “Changing Seasons”

A truly shocking moment happens: Lady Mae admits she is wrong, apologizes to Grace, and all in one episode. But while there is that major shock, so builds to a few other ones. Be it Grace taking an interest in Basie Skanks or Carlton coming back to the show – which are two situations which may come into contact.

Season 2/ Episode 12 “House Rules”

Patience and trust are major themes in “House Rules” as everyone is tasked with having faith in their significant other while in a precarious situation.

Season 3/ Episode 1 “Strange Currents”

Greenleaf returns and with Mae and James’ relationship on the rocks, the foundation of the family is splintered and puts all on unsteady ground.

Director(s) Clement Virgo
Writer(s) Craig Wright
Air Date 8/28/2018

Season 3/ Episode 2 “The Space Between”

Lady Mae is put on the defensive and while she is getting hit every which way, she refuses to go down without a fight.

Director(s) Charles Randolph-Wright
Writer(s) Kriss Turner Towner
Air Date 8/29/2018
Characters Introduced
Clara Donna Biscoe


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About Amari Sali 3330 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all.

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