For the past two seasons, Oprah Winfrey Network’s highly acclaimed series, Greenleaf has been consistently failing to rack in the positive reviews it had begun its journey with back in 2016. Thus when Greenleaf Season 5 debuted, it was hard to predict whether it would be able to reclaim its past excellence and end on a glorious note. And miraculously it did, it didn’t only meticulously tie every loose end the OWN drama ever had but left behind some tantalizing arcs which makes it currently-in-the-works spin-off even more highly anticipated!
The introduction of H&H and the Skanks saga coming to an end at the beginning of the final season did seem to spell doom for the series. But whether it was because Greenleaf Season 5 was bidding farewell with this final chapter or everything just coincidently fell into place, but the series embraced its roots once again and cut off any and every non-essential storyline to focus on the story at its heart.
After being offkey for years, the final season effectively balances its melodrama, never allowing it to spill and appear exaggerated with its vast ensemble working with an efficiency that is almost mesmerizing. A rich black family with believable lives and flaws- Greenleaf came full circle, ending where it began its journey.
What remains the most powerful and will, undoubtedly, leave a lasting impact was Lady Mae’s (Lynn Whitfield) moving yet powerful sermon as she implored her listeners to focus on “not what this church has ever been but what it’s never been.” To call it an exceptional performance with palpable passion would be an understatement, but we are still speechless (and crying *sob*).
From the very beginning, it was Grace Greenleaf (Mae’s daughter) and Merle Dandridge‘s portrayal of the character that was binding the series. And in the final season, she is once again busy solving issues, dealing with complicated knots, and as her mother emotionally says, “sowing discord in the fields of my peace. I needed it.” The story started with her and with Greenleaf Season 5 finale, Grace’s work is finally done and she has found a direction in her life, where many opportunities await her.
Greenleaf Season 5, particularly the episodes towards the end, were the best the series had ever presented. Given its past plot arcs, many were dreading the Greenleaf finale to jump to some idyllic future or pull out an out-of-place twist. But as mentioned above, the series has retraced its very steps- this season was more about remembering Bishop (Keith David), providing closure and peace, and being the hope that everyone can find their place in the world.
It was a worthy, beautiful ending to the series, effectively trumping any shortcomings it ever had, and triggering the forever love we always reserved for its characters. Not missing Greenleaf and its relatable characters is a hard pill to swallow, at least when it still feels like it had more stories to tell. But all we can do is bid it farewell and silently chuckle at the memory of the first time we sat down to watch it- how a church drama would never be enticing enough and how its characters would be too boring to root for. Guess somebody was very wrong.