“Greenleaf” Season 3 Episode 3 Recap: A First Lady By Any Other Name…
The episode begins with an awkward breakfast with the family members who still live at the main house. Sofia tries to make conversation, Grace throws polite shade about cleansing, and Lady Mae is as cold as Antarctica to Grace but as sweet as Patty Pies to Sofia. The housekeeper brings an important looking envelope to Lady Mae. She has just been served. During the last episode Lady Mae emphasized she would divorce James’s “black ass,” but like an employee who quits before getting fired, James beat her to it. Grace cannot silence her inner journalist and wants to know the scoop, yet Lady Mae will not tell her and leaves the house.
Mae leaves to meet with an attorney, who tells her James’s actions can be used to show hypocrisy and an abuse of power. The lawyer warns Mae that she won’t be recognized for her work as first lady after the divorce. She claims a first lady without a bishop is like Cinderella at midnight. Mae needs to think about what her life is going to be like, and she chooses to do that thinking at a bar over cocktails.
At the church, Bishop Greenleaf asks whether anyone has heard from Mae. He is clearly anxious and wants to talk to his wife, but the person who comes to see him is Charity, not Mae. Charity wants to discuss her future, which Bishop interprets as her role as choir director. To his surprise, Charity does not want to sing. She wants to preach. Bishop firmly says no, telling her that preaching is a calling, not a plan B. Later she calls Jabari to talk about it, but he’s too busy with the tour she backed out on and the cute young artist he got to replace her.
While Charity struggles with her next move, Grace’s plans are going well. Donations for the defense fund are rolling in. Rochelle may be vindictive and manipulative, but she is good at finances. When Grace sees her father, he breaks the news about the divorce papers. Unlike Charity, Grace has a boo she can confide in. She calls Darius, and after he apologizes for calling her a hypocrite, they agree to have dinner. Lady Mae was supposed to have an interview about the rise of women as leaders in the church however, she is absent, and the reporter has a tight deadline, so Grace does the interview instead.
Over at Triumph, Tasha notices that offering envelopes have been opened and emptied. She brings this discovery to Jacob, who wants to call a meeting with the ushers. Bishop Greenleaf has come to ask if Jacob has seen Lady Mae and to tell Jacob the news. (James told all his kids except Charity, whom he saw first. That is why she craves attention—her family sometimes treats her like a forgotten stepchild.)
Bishop spills some additional tea. When he proposed to Mae, she said no and planned to leave town. He had moved out to show her how serious he was. With that same boldness and plan to keep her, he filed for divorce. Jacob of course looks at his daddy like the man is crazy, because who files for divorce for reconciliation?!
Charity shows up at Kevin’s (and Aaron’s) place to pick up Nathan. She’s early interrupting Aaron and Nathan’s bonding time. Kevin is on a store run. Aaron tells Charity that Kevin needs to discuss something with her. It turns out the something is that Aaron got a job in Memphis, so he’s officially moving in with Kevin. Charity feels her world crashing in and drives off with Nathan.
Mae’s world is also up in flames. She seems to be having the most fun she has had in three seasons. She’s making friends, getting drunk, and enjoying the music. She’s doing all of this is to drown out the grief from her marriage of 44 years coming to an end. Mae tells her new drinking buddies that she was accepted into Howard School of Divinity but turned it down for love. After her “Waiting to Exhale” moment, she calls the house to say she won’t be coming home. Sofia answers, takes the message, then hands the phone to James. Instead of saying what he needs to say, he keeps calling her name to check that she’s still on the line, but of course she hangs up.
At the other Greenleaf home, Zora is still salty about the lack of electronics. She’s got a nasty attitude during this Isaiah withdrawal period. Jacob begins to suspect that she is the one stealing money. There weren’t any funds missing before she started ushering.
Grace thinks the root of her parents’ problems is Rochelle, so Darius offers to have his police buddy check her out.
The tour is continuing without Charity, as she is there to witness because she took her child across state lines despite Kevin’s threat. Charity sees how close Jabari is getting with the talent. She thinks he’d be happy to see her, but he again tells her how busy he is. Charity thinks she can get her spot back. Wrong. The poor woman thinks Jabari loves her. He tells her to go home. She says no one wants her at home. He says he doesn’t want her there. (To hell with the let her down gently approach.) She hits the road again, feeling unwanted and unloved with nowhere to go, though she lied to Kevin and told him she was on tour.
Rochelle and Tasha talk about the Calvary’s tax situation. Rochelle got the IRS to reopen the case. She is focused on her revenge mission, while Tasha’s not as committed. Tasha says it wasn’t a trick when she went jewelry shopping with Jacob. She is now having second thoughts about the plan because revenge isn’t good for the soul. Rochelle is still mad about Granddaddy Greenleaf burning her daddy in his church. She’s no longer proper, calculated Rochelle. Her real accent is coming out, laced with hatred.
The next day, Darius stops by Calvary to tell Grace that Rochelle checks out. He also tells her that Calvary is on the IRS watch list for pastors not paying taxes on their personal income. Yet another problem for Grace to take it upon herself to try and fix.
Jacob meets with the young ushers. The meeting has him convinced Zora is the thief. He confronts Zora about the money from the church. He searches her room like a police officer executing a search warrant. When he finds the crumpled cash, he is so angry he can barely even speak. Zora looks ashamed yet mad. Kerissa is in disbelief.
Mae has Bishop Greenleaf’s secretary book her a flight to Atlanta. She sees the article the reporter wrote about Grace. It angers her, because she doesn’t like to see Grace shine. Mae and James finally meet, and he says serving her with papers was a stupid mistake. He apologized and wants to stay together, mainly to preserve all they have built. It’s too late. Mae’s regret is making James her calling when she was called by God. She hands him the divorce papers with her lawyer’s notes.
Do you think Mae and James will go through with the divorce? Do you think Mae will go from being first lady to pastor? Comment below with your thoughts.