It’s hard to believe that yet another week has passed by and once again it’s time for another OWN “Greenleaf” recap and in this case: Greenleaf Recap Season 3 Episode 9: Runaway Train…Some episodes are action packed with nary a moment for me to put down my pen and other episodes are more contemplative and I have time to consider the implications of what I’m witnessing on the screen. This episode was the latter. At long last, I think Bishop is finally starting to entertain the idea that Rochelle may not be what she claims to be, but more on that later….
Water Runs Dry…
The time has finally come for Bishop’s Silver Jubilee celebrating his 25th anniversary. It looks like it’s going to be a grand affair and shades of purple, the color of royalty, will be splashed over everything from the programs to the sanctuary. Grace realizes that some of the details that make such an occasion truly a celebration like the decorations will be lacking a certain cohesiveness without Lady Mae’s direction. “Who is helping you with this?” Grace asks her father. Bishop has to admit that he has no help even from his assistant Karine, whom he shares with Lady Mae, as she has been busy with the upcoming “A Day with Lady Mae” with Maxine. But Karine does find the time to hand Bishop the divorce papers that have finally been drawn up and delivered to Calvary via a courier. Karine specifies that both the Bishop and Lady Mae have to sign the papers. Bishop muses that he will be a “free man” upon signing the papers, but when he sits his office by himself, the expression on his face shows he is not at peace with the fact that the well that was his marriage is now dry.
Back at Percy’s house, it may not be too much longer before Bishop has worn out his welcome. Bishop tells his old friend about the divorce papers and Percy asks his living arrangements. “Now that you and Mae are done and Mae has the house, what arrangements have been made?” In other words Bishop, you don’t have to go home (because you don’t have one) but you need to raise up outta here! Bishop admits the divorce papers “threw me a bit.” Percy says, “Don’t let them sit too long. You have some living to do.”
Bishop and Gigi come together again for another discussion at the Greenleaf estate and he asks about his granddaughter Sofia. Grace tells him that she is still the same – isolating in her room. Bishop decides that he will visit her. However, but before he can do that, Grace asks him about Rochelle. “Is it true that you invested a large amount of money with Rochelle?” Apparently, Lady Mae told Grace that Bishop intends to make the money needed to pay the IRS through his investments with Rochelle. “I don’t trust her,” Grace says. Bishop asks his daughter why she is working with her on the legal defense fund if she doesn’t trust Rochelle. “I’ve accepted her help because I don’t trust her. The way she swooped in and drove a wedge between you and mama. Daddy, get that money back.” That’s right, Grace. “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Who said that originally? Very wise statement. Another way to say that is, “Every shut eye ain’t closed and every good-bye ain’t gone.”
On the way to see Sofia, Bishop sees Charity, Kevin and Aaron playing with Nathan. “Look at the happy family,” he says. As he continues, Aaron comes up to Bishop and says, “My father has called you a few times. He has pancreatic cancer.” Y’all know Bishop ain’t been cool with Bishop Lionel Jeffries, Aaron’s father, ever since he discovered that Lady Mae and Lionel had an affair back in the day. “Are you two on speaking terms?” Bishop asks Aaron. “Barely, but he’s sick,” Aaron says. Will Bishop reach down into his well of forgiveness and offer the water of reconciliation to a dying man?
Run To You…
Bishop finally makes it to Sofia’s room. “You got a second for an old man?” He assures her that though he and Lady Mae have their differences, he will be around. She invites him in. “I notice that Bible I gave you is out of rotation.” Sofia says, “I should give it back to you.” “Hold on to it for a while,” he tells her. She tells him that she hates her life.
— Greenleaf OWN (@GreenleafOWN) October 25, 2018
He lets her know that he knows how she feels since he has to grapple with Parkinson’s Disease. Y’all, we haven’t heard anything about his condition in over a season it seems. In fact, this is the first episode since his condition was revealed that we actually see evidence of it. Throughout this episode, he is constantly stretching his hands I guess to alleviate the pain. I think it was a mistake to not address this condition in a consistent way as the story of Bishop and Lady Mae’s unraveling unfolds. We all know when someone is chronically sick, that very much determines how you interact with the person. Anyway, he tells Sofia that he understands why she stays holed up in her room as you get to avoid everyone’s “clumsily stated ‘concerns.'” He also tells her that it’s a fact of life that the body eventually “falls apart and everything is taken away in the end.” He invites her to come to church on Sunday for his Silver Jubilee. “God has given me a special message just for you.” I must admit, as I watched this, I was jealous remembering my own grandfather, who was also a pastor. He’s been with God in Heaven for several years now, but I can still hear his voice – booming and clear and brimming with wisdom. Sofia is lucky to have a grandfather that she can run too and I hope she realizes that before it is too late.
Bishop returns back to Percy’s place where he sees Percy’s “friend” Theresa, standing alone, wearing a black dress that shows all of her shape. I loved her curly Afro! I’m trying to grow one myself ever since I cut my locs off. “Is Percy around,” he asks. “He’s conked out,” she replies. She tells him she can stick around, presumably to “service” him as well but Bishop is not interested in what she’s serving…
The next morning when Percy wakes up, he encourages Bishop to mend fences with his old friend Lionel despite his affair with Lady Mae. “You only get a few people in life you can work things out with. He may be one of yours.” Percy has so much wisdom to be hanging out with whores.
This is the Bishop World Tour episode because Bishop goes to see his son Jacob and his grandson at his home next. Bishop lets his son know that he sensed something when he interrupted Jacob’s meeting with Tasha. “When I came to your church the other day, it seems to me that you two were in the middle of something.” Jacob assures his father that he’s no longer the philanderer that he once was and nothing was going on. But tonight is not about Jacob’s pending downfall (and you know it’s coming), it’s about Bishop’s divorce. Bishop admits that he is conflicted about signing the papers. “It’s not about having doubts. It’s complicated. I don’t see anyway forward that looks right. The papers are sitting in my briefcase like a bomb.” Jacob encourages his father to not sign them – at least immediately- until he’s truly ready. In the end, do you think he will run back to Lady Mae?
Runnin’ (Dying to Live)…
The time has finally come for Bishop’s Silver Jubilee, but before it goes down, he has a behind-the-scenes discussion with his baby girl. Although Charity has been feeling better lately, right now, she is feelin’ some type of way about the fact that her ex and Aaron seem to be moving right along with their lives. She tells Bishop the couple is buying a home together, and they are considering marriage. “Why does everyone get their fairy-tale ending except me?” Bishop admits he has similar feelings when he sees Lady Mae not skipping a beat as their divorce is coming at a steady pace. In fact, she’s coming into her own, he says. But he cheers himself up by opening up the newspaper and seeing what “holy ruckus” Grace is causing on any given day, listening to Charity’s CD or watching Jacob’s online sermons. In those moments, he’s grateful to Mae for giving him these three children. All I could think about was Faith. He should have mentioned her in some way in this moment too. She’s dead, but she still existed. Was he not grateful for her too?
Shortly after that conversation, though, I forgive Bishop when he sings a beautiful duet with Charity. They sing, “If I Can Help Somebody,” which kicks off the service. Grace is up next. “That was some good sangin’ Daddy. Now what I can say by way of introduction, celebration and revelation about my Daddy, My Bishop…He’s a man of faith. He doesn’t walk by sight. We all owe so much to the faith the Bishop has had in us.” She encourages the congregation to welcome him with “holy enthusiasm.” When he walks up, he whispers to Grace, “Rochelle is not what you think.”
— Greenleaf OWN (@GreenleafOWN) October 25, 2018
She says, “I hope you’re right.” Because you know Rochelle is there too. Bishop delivers a rousing word so much so that Deaconess Connie says that the Silver Jubilee turned out better than anything Lady Mae and Maxine have up their sleeves. Bishop points out that this is not a competition.
Bishop is really only concerned about one person, the one whom God gave him a word for, his granddaughter Sofia. When it becomes clear that Sofia was not moved by the Spirit in the service, (‘I don’t think I have a spirit,’ she says), he invites her to his office to tell her the “meaning of life.” He compares life to a runaway train and how our parents didn’t intentionally bring us into a world in which they had no control over, a runaway train of sorts, but that is the situation. He says God, the grand conductor of this runaway train, needs our help in letting people on the train know that He loves them and he’s trying to bring this runaway train to “safe and satisfactory end.” “Happiness isn’t the absence of sadness. It’s being in the adventure of life in God’s world with others.” I feel like this, as the Bible states, Remember your Creator in the days of your youth before the evil days come. In this world, we will have troubles and experience things we may never understand, but God is there to help us as we go through. Nothing separates us from His love although it feels like it sometimes. Sofia keeps runnin’ from God, but where else can she run? We are all “living to die and dying to live.”
Nowhere to Run…
Following the Silver Jubilee, Bishop is again at his BFF’s house. Isn’t funny that you never see Percy at Calvary? True friends don’t have to be in agreement about everything as long as they share some commonalities. Bishop asks him where is his “company” for the night. Percy tells him that sometimes he has to curb that appetite out of self-respect. “You never forget your paying for it.” He tells Bishop that he’s lucky to have that young woman Rochelle who is willing to “rub his feet” and more. Again, Bishop is stretches his hands, obviously feeling the effects of his Parkinson’s Disease again.
The next time he sees Rochelle at Calvary, he confronts her. “What are you doing in my life?” He continues. “I’m an old man. My hands shake. My body is not what it used to be. What do you want from me?” Rochelle pretends to be incensed and tells Bishop to look at the app where he can see that his investment is yielding a return. He hugs her and apologizes for doubting her interest in him.
In the next scene, Bishop finally gets around to see his former friend Lionel at the assisted living facility where he’s staying now that he is sick. When he finally enters Lionel’s room, Lionel says, ” I just want to say I’m sorry. I don’t expect that you will forgive me.” Bishop tells him it was the betrayal by a friend that broke the heart of Jesus. “I forgive you but this is the last time we will see each other in this life.”
When he returns to Calvary, he finally decides to sign the divorce papers. The revelation of Lady Mae’s affair with Bishop was part of the reason that we got on this runaway train leading to the divorce of Bishop and Lady Mae. Now that he has made peace with what happened maybe there is nowhere else to go but down the road of inevitability. He takes the papers to Lady Mae’s office and tells her that he signed them. “Why did you sign them, James?” Lady Mae says.
— Greenleaf OWN (@GreenleafOWN) October 25, 2018
If I’m not mistaken, this is the first time that we’ve seen her speak in this episode. Her question puzzled me. I think there was a part of her that never expected him to sign them. He says in response, “Because I know that I have no right to this marriage. Perhaps I never did. Whether you sign them is up to you.” Dressed in purple, Lady Mae does sign those papers. But both of them have tears in their eyes…
But be encouraged Saints, y’all know that Bishop and Lady Mae go together like peas and carrots. LOL. There is no separating them…
When Bishop returns to his office, he discovers the Bible that he gave to Sofia is on his desk. She still hasn’t figured out that she has nowhere to run except to God, but she will understand it better by and by…
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