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'Greenleaf': Significance of the Table Scenes in Season 1 and Season 3

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes about various topics including celebrities and entertainment.


Greenleaf premiered on June 21, 2016 on OWN. The drama series was created by Craig Wright with executive producers Oprah Winfrey and Clement Virgo. Winfrey also has a role in the series, and Virgo is also the director.

Those who have watched the series from the very beginning know that it is about the Greenleaf family who is head of the megachurch Calvary Fellowship World Ministries set in Memphis, Tennessee even though the series was filmed in Atlanta, Georgia.

The series premiere had 3.04 million viewers. That number made it the No. 1 series debut in OWN history. On April 21, 2016, before the series began it had already been renewed for a second season. The third season ended on November 21, 2018 with 9.7 million viewers. Fans need not worry because the fourth season was renewed on September 19, 2018, and will return in the Spring of 2019. The programming on OWN is not synchronized with the same schedule of local networks.

First Table Scene

There was a vast difference between the table scene in the finale of Season 3 of Greenleaf compared to the very first table scene at the beginning of the series in Season 1.

In Season 1, Grace had just come back to the Greenleaf mansion after a 20-year absence. She returned to get to the bottom of why her sister Faith committed suicide. Her family feared that their lives would be affected now that the prodigal daughter was back home.


Needless to say, there was a lot of tension around the table when they all sat down for their first meal together. It seemed like everyone pounced on Grace "Gigi" Greenleaf, played by Merle Dandridge, except her father, Bishop James Greenleaf, played by Keith David.

Her sister-in-law Kerissa, played by Kim Hawthorne, wanted to know about Grace's faith and her religious affiliation during the time she was away. She was concerned that Grace would preach at Calvary and have more opportunities than her husband Jacob, played by Lamman Rucker. She is more concerned about him having a more prominent role in Calvary than Jacob is concerned himself.

The youngest daughter Charity, played by Deborah Joy Winans of the famous gospel family, felt threatened by Grace and the attention she was getting from their father. Even though Charity was excellent at her position as a worship leader, she tried to get her father’s attention by saying she wanted to conduct a 12-part series about marriage. The family, especially her mother, frowned at the suggestion.


Lady Mae, played by Lynn Whitfield, let Charity know exactly what she thought about her teaching a series on marriage and raising a family since she had been married only three years and didn't have children of her own. Grace spoke up for Charity, but Charity lashed out at her older sister and stormed away from the table.

The matriarch of the family doesn't bite her tongue when it comes to criticizing Grace. It is not until Season 3 that viewers find out the reason she is bitter toward her own daughter.

Viewers got to know the characters from the tense conversations around the table. There wasn't much eating going on because the family began to get up and leave one by one. Before they left the table, they directly or indirectly let Grace know they wished she hadn't returned.

Based on the conversations with yelling and screaming, it was evident that some family members would have liked it better if Grace hasn't returned. Her homecoming did adversely affect most of her family members, especially Uncle Mac who was also at the table and chimed with his criticisms as well.

Story Behind the First Table Scene

The table scene in Season 1, Episode 1 is very significant. It was the first scene that was shot before any others. It was the first time the actors had all been together. It was too early in the series for them to have established a relationship with one another. In other words, they were getting to know their co-stars just as viewers were getting to know them and the roles they would play in Greenleaf.

The 10-minute table scene was 13-pages long and actually set the stage for the rest of the series. Editors did a fantastic job of taking eight hours of footage and cutting and pasting the major parts to set the stage for what was to follow in the many different parts of the series.

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The Table Scene in Season 3 Finale

The finale of the third season of Greenleaf had another table scene. Viewers noticed that this table scene that was very different from the first table scene back in Season 1.

People on social media made up their own reasons for the occasion. Some say it was a memorial for Lionel, Aaron and Grace's biological father. However, that was not the case at all. Some said it was to celebrate the Bishop's return to the household. That also was not the case. If so, he would not have been standing with his back to the audience.

The last table scene was an indication of forgiveness and reconciliation within the family. It brought closure to many of the family's issues. There were no tense conversations and no one walked away. It was noticeable that Kerissa kept her mouth shut after she and Jacob had been homeless and had to move back into the house.

Kevin, Charity's ex-husband, sat on the opposite side of the table with Aaron, his partner. Of course, Uncle Mac was missing because he died earlier.

Lady Mae asked Grace to pray the prayer at the end of the finale. That was a contrast to the first scene when Grace's faith and motives were challenged.

When Season 4 begins, it will be a fresh start for the family and for the church that is joining with Harmony and Hope. According to the writer, the focus will be on getting Calvary back.


Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on November 26, 2018:

Thankyou Margaret. I've just started watching Season 1 Episode 1. So far I'm enjoying it. =)

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on November 25, 2018:

Louise, the finale for Season 3 just ended last week, and Season 4 doesn't start until the Spring of 2019. Therefore, you have enough time to catch up.

If you have any questions about anything, e-mail me directly through my profile.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on November 25, 2018:

Oh, I've just looked and it's on Netflix. That's good to know. I shall definitely be watching this!

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on November 25, 2018:

Louise, it is a very popular show here in the US. People love it. I didn't watch it at first. After there was so much buzz about it, I began to watch it and found it very interesting.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on November 25, 2018:

I've not heard of this show, but it sounds something I would be interested in watching.

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