Category Archives: Christian Related Entertainment

This section contains reviews on different genres that are faith-based inspired.

Greenleaf: Season 2 Episode 2 – Strange Bedfellows

This episode is not as salacious as the previous episode. Nevertheless, there are some powerful topics addressed, strong zingers, and it helps support the framework for the season. Most of what is learned is this episode comes from conversations. It is not something that we necessarily witness at every turn.

Lady Mae has been providing Charity with support in caring for Baby Nathan who is suffering from a diaper rash that keeps him irritable and up most of the night. When Baby Nathan’s crying interferes with an intimate moment with his wife, Bishop asks the question, “Where is that baby’s father?” We learn that Kevin is now staying in a hotel and attending Fortify Family Meetings alone. At the church, Darlene give Kevin a belated Baby Shower gift and causally mentions Baby Nathan’s rash. Kevin is forced to pretend that he know about the baby’s condition and suppress his anger behind not being informed. He confronts Charity at the mansion regarding being informed about his son. What started as an intense conversation leads to a trip down memory lane and Charity asking Kevin to spend the night.

As Bishop and Lady Mae are reviewing church finances, they discuss the opposition from the Deacon Board and Bishop’s Round Table member, Betty Wilcox. They share the mindset that Carlton Pierce needs to go. Lady Mae delegates the task to Grace. Grace solicits Charity in hopes of saving Carlton’s job. When Charity’s pleas with her mother are dashed, Grace decides to contact Darius Nash, the news reporter who invited her out for a post scandal date. During the outing, Grace has a change of heart and offers the information off the record. When she learns that Lady Mae fired Carlton, she pays Carlton a visit to extend the olive branch encouraging Carlton to continue attending Calvary.

Henry McCready (a.k.a. Seedy McCready) is dying and Robert has texted Lady Mae several times to tell her. Bishop Greenleaf visits Henry and prays for him. Bishop attempted to find out about Daryl James’ offspring from the expiring Henry when Robert enters the room. Robert attempts to have a conversation with Bishop. Bishop informs Robert that he knows that he will need to forgive him one day until then he will leave him with his father until you have to deal with our Father. Robert has a tender moment with his father who has expressed that he is not ready to die.

Sophia tells Zora about her crush on Isaiah Hambrick. Zora suggest that Sophia attends one of his rehearsals. While Sophia contemplate whether she should let Isaiah know that she is interested, Isaiah invites her to his rehearsal at Triumph. Both Zora and Sophia attend. After he completes his rehearsal he greet them both but show that he is definitely attracted to Zora. Zora enjoys the attention until she sees Sophia’s face the attempts to keep Sophia in Isaiah’s line of vision.

Jacob confides in his wife as he is dressing. He has decided that he will speak with Pastor Skanks about Skanks blindsided everyone with the news that Jacob will pastor Triumph II. Jacob asks Pastor Skanks for some warning before making such a big announcement. Pastor Skanks indicates that he would have had he known and suggested that Jacob does not bite the hand the feeds him. He gives Jacob an assignment to go door-to-door in the South Winds (composed of mostly Calvary congregants) and promote Triumph II. Jacob meet a faithful Calvary congregant who he attempt to promote Triumph II and offer a tote bag and mug. The woman responded, “I don’t care if it came from the winding clothe that they wrapped my Lord in when He died. I am dedicated to Calvary.” Meanwhile, Kerrisa meets with Tasha Skanks to survey the parsonage. Kerrisa face expressed displeasure as Tasha tries to promote the finer points of the property.

Lady Mae has pleaded with her husband to speak to Jacob and tell him about Basie Skanks’ true identity. Bishop agreed to do so but when Lady Mae ask again he decides to have a frank discussion with his wife about the matter. Two of the best quotes from this scene come from Bishop Greenleaf. “May I be frank with you Mae? Ever since Gigi started preaching, you force that boy into my field of vision out of nothing, but I believe but jealousy for your own daughter. Ascribing him a call and a variety of talents that he never showed any evidence of having.” “He seems to have drunk the Kool-Aid you brewed and between the two of you I am about to lose my mind.”

After the discussion, Bishop does make the attempt to tell Jacob. Jacob expresses his contempt for his father’s conspiracy theories, refuses to listen, and rebuffs his father. Jacob told his father, “Basie, may not be perfect. He may be Boo Boo the Fool, but at least he is not a false prophet.” Jacob retires to his bedroom where Kerissa is waiting in the bed. He unburdened himself to her about wanting to be accepted by his father. This episode ends with Jacob, Kerrisa, and the children leaving the mansion.

Advertisements

Greenleaf: S1 E13 – What Are You Doing Here? Review

Sophia, Grace, and Kevin find themselves contemplating the future in their separate scenes. Sophia takes in the picturesque scene looking at the mansion from afar.  Grace sits on her bed in deep thought.  Kevin considers Charity’s conversation with Carlton and Wanda as she explains her trauma away as he ease drops. Charity and Kevin try to navigate through their marriage in lieu of what Kevin revealed.  Charity has concluded that Kevin cannot explain it away and has to face his true identity.   Disregarding doctor’s orders, Charity performs her solo in church.  Later, she asks Kevin to give her space and time for the sake of the twins.

Bishop Greenleaf visits Robert in jail. Robert is requesting that Bishop Greenleaf acts as a character witness in his upcoming sentencing hearing. Robert warns Bishop Greenleaf that with his incarceration and assets frozen Henry McCready will not keep quiet for long.  Bishop Greenleaf refuses to mock the memory of Faith by making Robert shine and damns him to hell.  When Robert is unable to get Bishop Greenleaf to comply and Danielle Turner still expecting to testify, Robert’s lawyer makes a suggestion to make a deal with the District Attorney.

Grace discusses her options with Michael Carpenter.  She tries to determine if she returns to Phoenix with Sophia would that help or hurt her chances to bring Sophia back to Memphis. She is interrupted by Noah who informs her that Henry McCready is in the church conference room.  Henry McCready tells Grace that she must assume the responsibilities of taking care of him now that Robert is incarcerated. Grace learns that Henry is terminally ill and needs hospice care.  Grace works with Kevin to ensure Henry is placed in a convalescent home and is comfortable.

Grace returns to Mavis’ Beale Street Blues Bar notifying Mavis that the McCready patriarch is dying.  Mavis realizes that is why she has been receiving calls from him. Mavis inquired about how Grace learned Henry’s illness. Grace explained that Henry came by the church.  Mavis asked Grace if this meant that she was remaining in Memphis and Grace responded, “Yes.” Grace endeavors to reassure Mavis that she will be fine.  Sadden by Grace’s decision to stay, Mavis recounts a time when Bishop Greenleaf was simply James Greenleaf.  Mavis expresses her sorrow for leading Grace down this path that leads her back to the pulpit.  Grace tries to get Mavis to visit with Henry McCready, but Mavis declines.

Henry expresses his dying wish to see both of his girls. Grace responds honestly that it probably was not going to happen.  Henry reveals that no one truly cared for him.  What appeared to be Robert’s benevolence towards his father was actually Robert’s buying Henry’s silence. Grace presses her grandfather to divulge what he knows.  Henry gives an account about the fire at the First Baptist Church with the caretaker in the basement was not an accident.  This implies that Bishop Greenleaf was potentially involved in an arson and possibly a murder.  Robert used this information to blackmail Bishop Greenleaf.

Pastor Basie Skanks has plans to build a $40 million Christian Community Center directly across from Calvary Fellowship World Ministries. This is the same property that Bishop Greenleaf had a prior interest in purchasing for a pool and community center. Pastor Skanks uses “God’s will” argument with Jacob to persuade him to run the facility. As Kerissa weighs in on the opportunity, she tries to identify a place for herself in this Christian Community Center.  Kerissa asks Jacob to make and inquiry to see if Pastor Skanks would be interested in having a school a part of the Christian Community Center. Jacob leery of Kerissa’s intentions asks if she was concerned about Alexa. Kerissa response that she thinks it would be fun for them to work together.  Apprehensive about how this may impact his father and Calvary, Jacob has a conversation with his father about it.  A unconcerned Bishop Greenleaf, tells Jacob to following Pastor Skanks plans and be his eyes and ears.

Lady Mae presents her sermon on the “Virtuous Women” at the Annual Women’s Day Conference.  Her sermon was designed to buy the acceptance and support of the women in Calvary to be the interim pastor.  Instead, as she is preaching about the strength of the “Virtuous Women” the crowd begins to cheer Grace and not her. She attempts to look supportive by joining the others in clapping for Grace.  Isabel does attend the conference. After the conference, Isabel is greeted by Noah with flowers in his hands.  She informs him that she has a hotel room and they go to get re-acquainted.

Lady Mae urges Bishop Greenleaf to speak with Grace after how the conference attendees responded to Grace receiving her as the “Virtuous Woman” that will deliver Calvary.  As Grace quibbles about remaining in Memphis or moving back to Phoenix to be close to Sophia, Bishop Greenleaf informs Grace that he is suffering from Parkinson’s disease.  He attempts to reassure Grace telling her not to worry as his treatment plan is effective. He acknowledges the inevitability of having to retire from the pulpit making his plea for Grace to carry the torch.  Grace appeals to her father about having Jacob return.  Bishop Greenleaf refuses stating that Jacob has to find his own way and it is about her. Bishop Greenleaf believes that if Grace returns to her post that the war between her and her mother will end.  Grace decides to stay to honor her father’s request.

Grace ascends the pulpit once again.  The church is relatively full compared to previous services.  Before she begins to preach, Grace is very openly and honestly addresses the sexual molestation scandal to the dismay of her parents.  She initiates a moment of silence for Robert’s victims including Faith and for those who know about abuse but refuse to speak out.  Lady Mae reached across to Bishop Greenleaf for comfort as the congregation reacts to hearing that Faith was a victim. Grace continues by encouraging people to break their silence when others are suffering. Grace emotionally admits that there is nothing that anyone can say to explain, honor, or grieve it adequately but God. After the moment of silence, Grace asked the congregation are they ready for a new thing. They respond by cheering and clapping.

Lady Mae enters the Beale Street Blues Bar to confront Mavis about her role in her ruin. A heated exchange between the sisters ensues.  Lady Mae blames Mavis and Grace for executing their righteous indignation upon the Greenleaf household.  Mavis refusing to be Lady Mae’s scapegoat fires backs at Lady Mae regarding her refusal to accept accountability, her failure to protect Faith, and her unwillingness to see Robert as a sexual predator.  Mavis orders Lady Mae out of the bar instructing her only to come back when she is willing to face the truth.  Lady Mae leaves.

Ray returns for Sophia and the family says their goodbyes.  The other family members had filed back into the mansion except for Grace.  Grace spots an unmarked car and a police car approaching the mansion.  Robert exits out of the unmarked car and begins his ascension to the mansion doors.  Grace looks directly at Robert and asks, “What are you doing here?” Robert glares at her with a smirk on his face and continues to climb the stairs.  Lady Mae meets Robert at the top of the stairs attempting to block entry.  Robert kisses her on the cheek and nudged her to the side as he enters the mansion with the police.

Greenleaf: S1, E4 – “Behind Closed Doors” Synopsis

What is really happening behind closed doors?  This episode allows the viewing audience to peek through the peephole acting as a silent observer.

There are underhanded deals are being negotiated.

  • A representative from the mayor office solicits Bishop Greenleaf (Keith David) to aid in the controversial “Black Lives Matter” movement that is dividing the public and police department. As an incentive, the land that the Bishop has tried to secure in the past is being offered to him as payment.
  • Someone attempts to blackmail the Greenleaf family demanding a payment of $5000 for photographs of Faith (Terri Abney) in compromising positions. Without involving the police or other Greenleaf family members, Grace (Merle Dandridge) handles the matter herself.

Couples are arguing.

  • Bishop and Lady Greenleaf (Lynn Whitfield) find themselves on the opposite ends of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Lady Greenleaf believes that the church should be standing in support of the Collins family. Bishop Greenleaf has decided to host the “Back to Blue” service in support of the police department.
  • Kerissa and Jacob debate about continuing marriage counseling is a viable option.

There are investigations underway.

  • Grace asks Noah (Benjamin Patterson) to review the video footage for the date of Danielle’s (Carlacia Grant) original complaint. Noah reports that the footage does not contain any useful information. Grace attempts to identify a way to prove that Danielle’s second statement to police is false.
  • Due to his failure to voluntarily supply financial records, Bishop is now facing an audit.

Rebellion is afoot.

  • Sophia devises a plan to participate in the protest rally against her mother’s will.
  • There is mutiny amongst the ranks. The Deacon Board threatens to walk out of services over Bishop Greenleaf’s decision to host the “Back to Blue” service.

Infidelity!

  • Jacob (Lamman Rucker) continues his affair with Alexa.

 Vulnerabilities are exposed.

  • Grace expresses her gratefulness to Noah for being an ally.
  • Jacob bears his soul to his mistress.

Information is shared.

  • Charity tells her mother about her pregnancy.

There is a lot of activity taking place behind closed doors. The activities behind closed doors are usually confidential and not shared with the public.  Yet, the consequences of these activities reach beyond the closed doors.  What will the fallout be?

Stay Tuned!  #Greenleaf #OWNTV #BehindClosedDoors

Greenleaf: S1 E2 – “The Baptism” Synopsis

Her initial plans for a two-day visit to pay her respects to her sister, Faith (Terri Abney) have evolved into remaining in Memphis permanently.  Grace is giving up her life in Phoenix, Arizona and an extraordinary opportunity with 20/20 to return to Memphis.  What is motivating Grace (Merle Dandridge) to remain in Memphis, Tennessee?  Is she driven to investigate the mysterious death of her sister, Faith?  Is she acknowledging a second chance in taking down a sexual predator?  Is it about reconnecting with her roots, faith, and family?  Grace’s decision to stay is under scrutiny by some of her family members, namely Kerissa Greenleaf (Kimberly Hawthorne, Sophia Greenleaf (Desiree Ross), and Robert “Mac” McCready (GregAlan Williams).

Grace’s sister-in-law, Kerissa, believes that Grace is a threat to her husband, Jacob Greenleaf (Lamman Rucker), ascendancy as the next overseer of Calvary Fellowship World Ministries.  Kerissa endeavors to discredit the “Prodigal Daughter” to ensure Jacob is the next bishop.  On the other hand, Jacob is preoccupied by his extramarital affair with Alexa Campbell (Kristen Erickson). Grace’s daughter, Sophia, is experiencing problems adjusting to her new surroundings and new school is surrendering to peer pressures greatly encouraged by her Ritalin sniffing cousin Zora Greenleaf (Lovie Simone).  Grace’s uncle, Robert, probably has the most concern about Grace’s return.  Over 20 years ago, Faith confided in Grace that she was sexually abused at the hand of Robert repetitively over several years. Grace supported her sister and informed her parents.  When confronted by her parents, Faith recanted the story. Is Grace prepared to prove Robert is a sexual predator?

Grace secretly begins her investigation into her Uncle Mac’s (GregAlan Williams) activities. Grace’s aunt, Mavis McCready (Oprah Winfrey) provides Grace with her starting point – a police report from a teenage girl named Danielle Turner (Carlacia Grant) accusing Robert McCready of sexually molesting her.  However, Danielle recanted her story three days later.  Grace’s attempt to speak with Danielle are stopped by Janice Turner, Danielle’s mother, who insists that nothing happened to her daughter sending Grace away.  Janice immediately notifies Robert McCready of Grace’s visit.  Meanwhile, Grace solicits advice from Noah Kendall (Benjamin Patterson), the Greenleaf Estate Manager and Grace’s former love interest.

Grace (Merle Dandridge) is also trying to get acclimated to her new role as Response Pastor. (The Response Pastor is responsible for responding to the needs of parishioners and directing them to appropriate services.)  Grace’s first official duty as Response Pastor is to meet with Betty Wilcox, a member of the Bishop’s Round Table.  (To be a member of the Bishop’s Round Table a person gives $10,000 or more over their tithe.  Bishop Greenleaf encourages Grace to be “nice” to Ms. Wilcox) Ms. Wilcox is requesting the immediate baptism of her grandchild without her grandchild’s parents being present.  Grace responds to voicemail from David Nelson (Deji LaRay), a church member who is a police officer accused of killing an unarmed African-American teenage boy.

Bishop Greenleaf has both internal and external pressures building.  Bob Banks, Tennessee Senator, has requested that Bishop Greenleaf voluntarily releases the financial records of the church.  The Senate is launching an inquiry on Calvary Fellowship World Ministries and other large religious institutions to determine whether these entities are taking an unfair advantage of their tax-exempt status bilking the government out of billions of dollars.  Bishop Greenleaf continues to stonewall this request.  Bishop Greenleaf shifts pastoral roles giving Grace Jacob’s old position and placing Jacob over the Deacon Board.  However, Deacon Connie Sykes (Jan Harper) and the rest of the Deacon Board wants Bishop Greenleaf to address and answer their concerns directly.

Grace’s youngest sister, Charity Greenleaf – Satterlee (Deborah Joy Winans), is excited about starting a family with her husband, Kevin Satterlee (Tye White).  Kevin invites a homeless outreach group to use the church facilities and supplies a few days a week.  It would appear that Kevin has other motives when interacting with the handsome homeless outreach coordinator.

This episode leaves us to ponder the following:

How will Robert take care of it?

Does Kevin want to start a family for the right reasons or to hide his same-sex attraction?

How far will Sophia go to fit in with her peers?

Is Grace using her investigation to rekindle her relationship with Noah?

Stay Tuned. #OWN #Greenleaf #SatanYourNotGoingtoWin

Greenleaf: S1 E1 – “A Time to Heal” Synopsis

Warning:      This review contains spoilers. 

Grace “Gigi” Greenleaf  (Merle Dandridge) was once a prominent preacher who vacated her calling to pursue a career in journalism.  The untimely and mysterious death of her sister, Faith Greenleaf  (Terry Abney), ushers her return to the Greenleaf mansion after 20 years for a two-day visit. Accompanied by her teenage daughter, Sophia Greenleaf (Desiree Ross), Grace travels to the Greenleaf mansion for the private funeral service for Faith.

Warmly received by her father, Bishop James Greenleaf (Keith David), as the “Prodigal Daughter,” it is evident that she is still considered the “Black Sheep” of the family by her other family members.  Bishop Greenleaf makes several blatant attempts to convince Grace to stay in Memphis as a member of his ministerial staff.  Each attempt that he makes fuels long-standing tensions and sibling rivalries.

Grace reconnects with the “Other Black Sheep” of the Greenleaf family, her aunt, Mavis McCready (Oprah Winfrey).  Mavis and Grace are natural allies because they are both outsiders. Their trip down memory lane leads to a conversation to Robert “Mac” McCready (GregAlan Williams), Mavis’s brother. Over 20 years ago, Faith confided in Grace that their Uncle Mac had been sexually abusing her for several years, but later recanted her story.  Mavis informs Grace of the most recent reports indicating that Uncle Mac may still be molesting underage girls.  Mavis gives Grace a mission to right wrongs and stops Robert before someone else is harmed.

The next day, Grace attends Sunday Worship Service with the family.  During the altar call, Grace has a “Come to Jesus” moment and meets her father at the altar much to his delight.  Later, Grace calls Mavis and promises her that she will not leave like she did before.

This episode gives us insight into the Greenleaf dysfunctional family dynamic.  It explores the vulnerabilities and ambitions of each member of the family.  Questions to ponder as the series moves further:

  1. Did Grace decide to stay to investigate the murder of her sister, identify a way to stop her uncle, and/or she truly felt the touch of God return to her post?
  1. Does Mavis have a hidden agenda and is manipulating Grace to accomplish her mission?
  1. Did Faith actually commit suicide or was it a murder made to look like a suicide?
  1. Is Robert connected to Faith’s death?
  1. What caused the long-standing tensions between siblings?
  1. How will Bishop Greenleaf resolve both his internal and external pressures?

I am definitely intrigued.  Stay tuned!

#OWN #Greenleaf #SatanWeGonnaTearYourKingdomDown

Greenleaf: OWN’s Megachurch Drama Series Initial Review

Greenleaf is a new American drama appearing on the OWN network.  During its premiere with over 3.04 million viewers watching, Greenleaf made history ranking No. 1 for the most viewership during a series debut on the network. The notable acting performances of Merle Dandridge, Lynn Whitfield, and Keith David have received high praises.   Craig Wright created the series.  Oprah Winfrey, Clement Virgo, and Lionsgate Television are the executive producers.  Clement Virgo also serves as one of the directors and Oprah Winfrey portrays a reoccurring cast member, Mavis McGready.

What is it about Greenleaf that attracts so many viewers?  It is a perfect combination of marketing, the cast of renowned actors, an awesome soundtrack, and a plot that is both suspenseful and dramatic.  Greenleaf opens the door allowing viewers to peer into the lives of the affluential and powerful African-American dynasty of the Greenleaf family and its extensive megachurch predominantly serving African-American members in Memphis, Tennessee.

As we step through the doors to get a better view, we can see the cracks in the façade of the highly favored servants of God, namely the Greenleaf family.  The corruption, debauchery, and the entanglements into webs of deception are oozing through the cracks.  Blood and DNA are not the ties that bind this family. Nor is it their religious beliefs or doctrines.  It is their individual and collective secrets that they try to conceal.

The Greenleaf family built their dynasty upon a foundation of selfishness using the form of godliness as walls with their pride as a rooftop.  The Greenleaf dynasty is nothing more than a den of iniquity. The Greenleaf theme song entitled, “Satan, We’re Gonna Tear Your Kingdom Down,” performed by Pastor Shirley Caesar acts as a precursor to the imminent destruction of the Greenleaf dynasty.

In Genesis 18:16-33, Abraham makes his petition known to God by interceding on behave of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Abraham kept pressing God while questioning God’s justice and mercy for the righteous amongst the wicked. The writers have provocatively put the viewing audience in Abraham’s shoes making us ponder whether there is one righteous amongst the Greenleaf family. Will any of the members of the Greenleaf family turn from their wicked ways, repent, and ask for God’s forgiveness? Stay tuned as the story unfolds on OWN.