The first half of the second season of “Greenleaf” has been a rollercoaster ride, to say that least. Though the series centers around a Black mega church and the family at the heart of it, it also tackles subjects like sexual abuse, infidelity, corruption and sexuality. Unfortunately, these are topics that the Black church has traditionally shied away from discussing, choosing instead to ignore things or sweep them under the rug entirely. As a firm believer of opening up about pain in order to heal it, I believe that OWN and “Greenleaf” have created a platform through art and entertainment for these ideas, thoughts, and values to be expressed and discussed. “Greenleaf” not only gives a holistic representation of the Black church and the people within those communities, but it often portrays people with issues that might prevent them from actually attending church.
Grace Greenleaf (Merle Dandridge) anchors the series. Returning home after her sister Faith commits suicide, she tried the to find the proper path to take down her Uncle Mac (Gregory Alan Williams) who sexually abused Faith. Unfortunately, Grace learns that Faith wasn’t the only young girl that Mac abused. Despite the evidence mounted against him, she’s been unable to get any charges to stick. Blinded by rage and revenge, Grace who’d been finding her way back to the pulpit as a head preacher at the family’s Calvary Baptist Church seems to be losing her faith once more. Her anger and lack of belief continues to drive a wedge between herself and her parents, particularly her mother, Lady Mae (Lynn Whitfield).
Despite her outwardly poised disposition, Lady Mae has her own secrets and burdens to carry. Still deeply hurt by her own painful and abusive relationship with her father, Lady Mae can’t seem to see eye to eye with her eldest daughter. We also learned this season, that Lady Mae had an extramarital affair that isn’t as dead and buried as she had hoped. Though she thinks her husband, Bishop James Greenleaf (Keith David) is oblivious, the Greenleaf patriarch sees a lot more than he’s letting on. Things have been particularly precarious for Lady Mae since her ex- flame’s son Aaron (William H. Bryant) moved into the Greenleaf mansion and snagged a postion at the church as their new attorney.
Though Bishop James always doted upon and indulged Grace, she has pushed him to his limit this season. As he struggles with a recent Parkinson’s diagnosis, he has yet to repair his deeply fractured relationship with his son Jacob (Lamman Rucker). After Grace’s arrival home, the tension between father and son was too much to bear. As a result, Jacob packed his family up, left the Greenleaf mansion and Calvary for a position at a rival church, Triumph. Since his move, Jacob has found himself in the clutches of fast-talking and conniving head pastor, Basie Skanks (Jason Dirden).
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