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Greenleaf - S01 E05

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The drama series Greenleaf takes viewers into the unscrupulous world of the Greenleaf family and their sprawling Memphis megachurch, where scandalous secrets and lies are as numerous as the faithful. Born of the church, the Greenleaf family love and care for each other, but beneath the surface lies a den of iniquity - greed, adultery, sibling rivalry and conflicting values - that threatens to tear apart the very core of their faith that holds them together.

 
Episode Title: Meaningful Survival
Airs: 2016-07-06 at 22:00
  • Hank Stuever

    Greenleaf never once forgets that it is first and foremost a television show--and a soapy-sudsy one at that. But it is also an impeccably written and often beautifully envisioned family drama, reflecting a level of care and authenticity rarely seen in fictional stories about church life.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Joshua Alston

    As with many soapy dramas, Greenleaf’s strength lies more in its performances than its writing, though Wright and his team are surprisingly restrained, even as they build to histrionic cliffhangers.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Verne Gay

    As a viewing experience, Greenleaf is absorbing, hardly pulse-quickening.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Mark A. Perigard

    Dandridge is a standout as the sister rediscovering her love of faith even as her doubts about her family grow.

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Jeff Jensen

    As soap, Greenleaf bubbles with an abundance of intrigue and too many clichés. ... Still, the characters are compelling enough, and the performances are uniformly strong, if a touch too serious.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Gail Pennington

    The big family doesn’t quite sort itself out in the first two episodes, with a second airing Wednesday.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    Greenleaf packs a lot of plot into its first few episodes, building gracefully to revelations and confrontations, and playing to its actors' strengths.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Mary McNamara

    With a talented ensemble and exquisite location work, it’s a solid night-time soap with top notes of consciousness-raising and the added bonus of returning Winfrey to the flat screen (albeit in a co-starring role).

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    The family has its sordid secrets--what TV family doesn't?--but Greenleaf stands out in those moments when we see how much Grace misses the life she once thought she had, one of absolute, or at least less complicated, belief.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    The series is uneven, but in an intriguing way--it keeps you wanting to see more.

    Yahoo TV Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    Ms. Dandridge makes a positive impression as the show’s lead character and it helps that she has such strong support from Mr. David and especially Ms. Whitfield, whose character proves an effortlessly serene scene-stealer.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Maureen Ryan

    All in all, though Greenleaf strays a bit, it manages to balance its many priorities with something that approaches grace, which is only appropriate for a story set in the house of the Lord.

    Variety Full Review
  • Dan Fienberg

    It remains to be seen how well Greenleaf will hold attention after the novelty wears off and the storylines have to stand on their own, but after three episodes it's a promising start.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    The tension between true worship and religious lip service gives Greenleaf an extra spark.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Mekeisha Madden Toby

    For all of its ambition, the drama feels lopsided at times because Winfrey, Whitfield, David and Dandridge’s performances are so dominate and riveting, they dwarf everything else. In order to compel viewers to keep coming back, Wright and company will have to either focus solely on the big four--more Oprah, please--or flesh out the ancillary portrayals so that they’re more distinctive.

    The Wrap Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    A glossy guilty pleasure that aspires to be Empire with pews. [20-26 Jun 2016, p.17]

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Scott D. Pierce

    Greenleaf is a big ol' soap opera. A pretty good soap, as a matter of fact, filled with more than its share of characters who are instantly unlikable.

    The Salt Lake Tribune Full Review
  • Daniel D'Addario

    A soap that alternates between unartfully delivered exposition, provocative weirdness and real insight.

    Time Full Review
  • Mitchel Broussard

    The show is earnest--perhaps to a fault--but its hollow stakes have the tension of a wet blanket and its most interesting offerings in the way of gripping television, mainly centering on a few intriguing theological disputes, are far too fleeting.

    We Got This Covered Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    Wright has thrown everything into the mare’s nest of a plot you can think of--and the reason you can think of it is because most of it is pretty standard for nighttime soap operas. The one unexpected element, of course, is religion.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Bruce Miller

    The drama that surrounds them is fairly familiar and hardly religion-specific. Greenleaf World Ministries needs more of the details that would make this more than just another soap opera.

    Sioux City Journal Full Review