Just when you thought Sweet Magnolias couldn’t deliver a more shocking cliffhanger than the accident in the season 1 finale, they prove us wrong.
The uplifting show with a small-town charm also packs in plenty of juicy drama.
As we joined Maddie, Helen, Dana Sue and the rest of the fine people in Serenity for the next chapter in their journey, we laughed together and cried together through these jaw-dropping moments.
Isaac’s Birth Parents Revealed
This one tops the list because it was the most shocking turn of events. Peggy was revealed to be Isaac’s birth mother, which wasn’t much of a surprise considering the Sweet Magnolias previously mentioned that she left town during her junior year. However, it was confirmed that she went to have a baby and gave him up for adoption at the behest of her controlling mother. However, Isaac’s birth father was the one that really made jaws drop. There were theories that it might be Erik or Ryan, and while many assumed it would be the latter — and for a minute there, it seemed as though Peggy invited him to her office to tell him that they had a child — it turned out to be none other than Dr. Bill Townsend, the man who seems to never learn from his mistakes.
Admittedly, he couldn’t learn from this one since he didn’t know about the child now, but it was still such a huge moment for the show. Bill’s actions have hurt so many people in town — Maddie, the kids, Noreen, Rebecca, Isaac, and Peggy. While he tried to own up to the hurt, it’s going to take much more than an apology tour to make amends. But maybe this is the wake-up call he needs to finally start making better decisions for himself and his loved ones.
He has a huge family, but he’s alone because he’s pushed everyone away. Bill is my least favorite character on the series, for obvious reasons, but I do want to see him find a way forward with his children in the next season.
As for Isaac, his adoptive parents are to thank for the incredible man he turned out to be, but his quest for his birth parents gave him much more than just his birth mom and dad — he has a whole family and community rallying behind him. He has two women who are technically his stepmom’s (Noreen and Maddie) and four siblings. It’s also fitting that he extended so much kindness towards Noreen and Rebecca and allowed them to live in his home even before knowing that he was basically giving him stepmom and sister shelter.
What a turn of events.
A New Member of Serenity
That being said, Noreen finally had her baby. Unlike Bill, Noreen came to town to make amends for her mistakes. Her apologies actually meant something. She apologized to Maddie countless times for ruining her family because while Maddie blamed Bill, Noreen explained that she also knew better than to sleep with a married man. Honestly, what is it about Bill?
Noreen stayed in Serenity until her beautiful daughter, Rebecca, was born. And when she was showered with love by everyone in town, including Maddie, she realized that she was going to stay put and build a life here since this is where Rebecca’s family was. I love that the adults have chosen not to punish the children for their parent’s mistakes.
It was sweet and big of Maddie to give Noreen the blanket that she used to bring all three kids from the hospital. It was a peace offering that acknowledge that Rebecca is part of the family. I used to dislike Noreen, and while Jamie Lynne Spears hasn’t done the character any favors, it’s nice to see her welcomed with open arms when it would be very easy for everyone to ostracize her instead.
I swear that Maddie has been more involved in Rebecca’s life than Bill has.
But that’s not the only new face in town. A woman confronted Annie and asked her if she was Dana Sue’s daughter before commenting that she looked like “something she’d spit out” right before calling her mother a “home wrecker.” We then saw the same woman popping the tires of a Sullivan’s food truck. Now, my guess is that this is Ronnie’s ex who has come to get revenge on Dana Sue. And she might not be a new face at all considering when the Sweet Magnolias saw the video, they all huffed and declared: “she’s back.” Who is she?
The Town Rallies Against the Lewis’s
And becomes closer because of it! The Sweet Magnolias are a staple in Serenity, but now, they’re bringing people together and evoking a much-needed change in leadership. They’ve never seen eye-to-eye with Mary Vaughn — that’s not a surprise as their feud dates all the way back to high school — but Mary Vaughn continues to be a thorn in everyone’s side even as an adult. Not only does she bully and manipulate town members, but she wanted to take advantage of them to enrich herself. And she thought she was so clever, too.
In a town that thrives on kindness, Mary Vaugh is a sour lemonade amongst a sea of sweet teas. I didn’t have a lick of remorse considering how nasty her husband was to everyone at the hospital following the car accident involving the kids. Instead of asking for details about what led to the crash, he simply pointed fingers at everyone else. Honestly, even their own children seem to hate them.
I hope the recall sticks and Helen can run for Mayor instead!
Helen was all over the place this season, through no fault of her own. After Ryan broke things off and left town, Helen found out that she was pregnant. Her joy was short-lived, however, as she suffered a miscarriage that left her broken but not hopeless. She immediately told Howie that she was ready to have a baby and began the process with the blessing of her sweet friends, Erik being one of them. It was clear to everyone around that Erik absolutely adored Helen, but she wasn’t ready for a relationship, and he respected it.
Eventually, Helen warmed up to the idea, and Erik informed her that he would be supportive of her journey to parenthood regardless of their relationship status. There are a lot of great men in Serenity (and a lot of bad ones, too), but Erik is the cream of the crop.
When it finally seemed like Helen’s life was on the right track, Ryan returned to town after Ms. Frances’s death (may she Rest In Peace!) with a grand vision of what he wanted for his life. Apparently, loss gave him a new perspective. Unfortunately, he didn’t really consider Helen’s vision for her life and instead, just swooped in there like Hurricane Ryan ready to blow things up for her yet again.
In the final moments, Ryan — without having a real heart-to-heart with Helen to discuss all their previous issues or, you know, the fact that he said he didn’t want kids only to come running back to her saying he changed his mind — plopped down on one knee and proposed.
What bothers me so much about this is that Ryan has zero regard for Helen. He saw her holding hands with Erik and still went through with the proposal. He knows how much he hurt her, yet he thinks this gesture and the fact that he now wants kids, erases all that pain. It’s naive.
As a capable and dynamic woman, one would hope that Helen sees this for what it is and realizes that Erik has been by her side the whole time offering nothing but grace, support, love, encouragement, and patience.
Helen, do not do Erik like this!
There were plenty of relationships — old and new — taking shape and falling into place on Sweet Magnolias season 2.
I already mentioned Helen and Erik, but next to them, the sweetest couple was definitely Maddie and Cal, who finally made things official. I know that they were already dating in the first season, but Maddie was still pretty broken up about the divorce and weary about putting herself out there again. That wasn’t the case with season 2 as she accepted him into her life and acknowledged that she was ready to move on with a man who held her heart and was a rock for her and her children during the hard times.
Dana Sue and Ronnie were an emotional rollercoaster, but who can blame them? They were both traumatized by the hurt that they caused each other in the past. It’s easy to get back into bed with someone, but letting them in emotionally is a whole different story. That’s why Dana Sue pursued a relationship with Jeremy — even though he was younger, it was easier than facing the reality that getting back together with your unfaithful ex-husband is going to bring up a lot of stuff from your past that you bottled up inside.
However, Ronnie was adamant that he wasn’t leaving or giving up on the idea of a reconciliation. At times, Dana Sue was pretty hard on him as he tried his best to prove that he was a changed man who deserved her love.
After a few attempts at counseling, Dana Sue admitted that forgiving Ronnie meant that she also had to forgive herself for the damage she caused. They always say it takes two to tango, and in this case, Ronnie acted out because he was unhappy, but Dana Sue made him unhappy by pushing aside all of his dreams.
The two finally decided to give their marriage another shot, but we’ll see what that looks like moving forward. All I know is that Ronnie fit in seamlessly in Dana Sue’s life, and I, for one, want him to stick around.
Young love was also in full bloom as Jackson pursued a relationship with Annie. Jackson was a troubled kid, and the Lewis reputation didn’t do him any favors, but after he opened up, it was revealed that he was a sweet and well-mannered kid who fell hard for Annie.
Kyle and Nellie also admitted to having feelings for each other after, but their romance was short-lived after Mary Vaugh forbade Nellie and Jackson from seeing the “Sullivan girl” and the “Townsend boy.” Jackson wasn’t interested in abiding by his mother’s rules, but Nellie was too young to push back, so she kissed Puck goodbye… for now.
Tyler and CeCe also broke up, but considering Ty was mad at the world following his accident, he didn’t actually deserve her. Annie’s friend Lily expressed interest, and come season 3, I’m sure we’ll be exploring something there. Tyler’s baseball-free summer also allowed him to see a world past the game, and he realized he no longer wanted to play professionally in college.
The Aftermath of the Accident
The accident, while a huge cliffhanger on season 2, was a mere footnote. Kyle’s passenger was Nellie, but thankfully, they both survived. Kyle was a little more banged up than Nellie, and his road to recovery was tough, but with a little therapy, he was back on track.
At the hospital, emotions were running high, and in one stupid moment, Jackson and Tyler got into a fight that broke Jackson’s arm and cost him his shot at state. It was a hard pill to swallow considering this is all he’s ever wanted and worked for, but Tyler used the summer to really figure himself out.
Cal’s Angry Outburst
Forget state, Cal might be headed back to anger management classes. After the Sweet Magnolias rallied the town to sign a petition to boot the Mayor out of office, Mary Vaugh decided to retaliate by going after Maddie’s sweetheart, Cal. First, she got him fired as coach by bringing up a bar fight he was involved in years ago. It’s unfair considering that was in the past, but when is fair a word that’s associated with Mary Vaugh? I wouldn’t be surprised if she paid the “super fan” who was so worked up that he came to Sullivan’s in order to help Cal get his job back.
The moment immediately took on a crazed/obsessed fan vibe, and when Dana Sue called the cops and he crossed a line with Maddie, Cal simply lost it and punched the guy. The assault, and the subsequent arrest, happened right in front of the patrons, which only feeds Mary Vaughn’s point that Cal is too hotheaded and violent to coach high school.
Again, it seems too coincidental to have been an accidental situation. It smells of Mary Vaughn’s meddling.
Of course, this might not only be a setback for Cal’s new career path, but also for Maddie and Cal’s relationship as he promised that he was no longer that angry man from his past, and yet, she was once again blindsided by a totally different side of him. Maddie’s heart can’t take being blindsided by another man anymore — Bill has done that enough.
While I still think Cal is a great guy, the situation was simply too much for him. He was fired, his past was held against him, and his future was threatened by a fan who could’ve done real harm to the people he loved. It might not be the right reaction, but with so much stress coursing through his veins, it was a human one.
What are your thoughts after watching Sweet Magnolia’s season 2?
What moment did you find most shocking?
Share all your thoughts in the comments below!
Who Is Kathy on ‘Sweet Magnolias’?
Sweet Magnolias Season 3 hit Netflix on Thursday, July 20, and finally gave fans some clarity on a cliffhanger from season 2—who is Kathy?
In the final episode of season 2, a nameless woman confronted Annie and asked her if she was Dana Sue’s daughter before commenting that she looked like “something she’d spit out” right before calling her mother a “home wrecker.”
We then saw the same woman popping the tires of a Sullivan’s food truck, and once the Magnolias saw the video, they all let out a deep sigh and declared: “She’s back.”
Now, we finally have our answer.
SPOILERS AHEAD *** Stop reading if you haven’t watched the new season yet ***
Kathy (portrayed by Wynn Everett) blows into town like a hurricane, setting her sights on destroying Dana Sue and her brother, Ronnie. There’s plenty of animosity between the siblings as audiences learn that Kathy still holds plenty of resentment for the fact that Dana Sue and Ronnie got Sullivan’s instead of her; she believes they “stole” it from her.
And naturally, she wants revenge, even after all these years. She sets her sights on Erik, propositioning him to join her restaurant, Z’s, where she’s an assistant manager. She attempts to poach him from Dana Sue’s business so that he can help elevate the place and make it a Southern destination, clearly hoping to put Sullivan’s out of business.
Erik is in a low place after his split from Helen, so he takes some time away from Sullivan’s and agrees to work with Kathy without knowing the backstory of her feud with Dana Sue.
Kathy also sinks her claws into Bill, whom she meets at the restaurant while he’s dining alone and who has no idea who she is. They seem to be kindred spirits in the fact that they’ve hurt a lot of people and don’t have anyone to turn to—they are lonely, and it’s a situation of their own making.
In later episodes, Kathy crashes Annie’s sweet 16 party to hurl nasty comments at everyone, including Maddie and Helen. It’s unhinged behavior and a clear indication that she hasn’t found peace or moved on with her life, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
When Erik turns in his resignation letter—after learning that she’s related to Ronnie and hired him out of spite, something he feels very guilty about—she retaliates by trashing Sullivan’s kitchen. It’s clear she wants attention from her estranged brother, and when he meets her to talk, she promises that she won’t leave town until she gets what she’s owed.
Ronnie determines that it’s a hefty check, later informing Dana Sue that Kathy only understands money.
Kathy decides that it’s a sufficient payout to leave town, but Bill’s pretty disappointed with the news, informing her that running away isn’t the answer and it isn’t going to fix all the pain she’s caused—and he’s someone who would know a thing or two about hurting people in Serenity.
In a surprising twist, Kathy and Bill show up at Dana Sue and Ronnie’s vow renewal with a thoughtful gift in hand—she hands her brother a vintage tea set that belonged to their mother because she understands what it feels like not to “get what you want.”
She then apologizes to everyone she’s crossed paths with, while Dana Sue shows plenty of grace, informing her that she wishes they could’ve been friends all these years.
Kathy and Bill then leave town “for a bit” to find themselves and get back on the right track.
It’s unclear if we’ll see this random couple in the future if/when Netflix decides to renew Sweet Magnolias for the fourth season, but if so, hopefully, they’ve made good on their promise to “do better.”
You can read all of our Sweet Magnolias Season 3 reviews right here!
The Fate of ‘Sweet Magnolias’ Season 4 Finally Revealed—Will There Be Another Season on Netflix?
Sweet Magnolias just dropped its third season on Netflix with 10 exciting episodes taking fans back to the town of Serenity alongside Maddie (JoAnna Garcia Swisher), Helen (Heather Headley), and Dana Sue (Brooke Elliott).
SPOILERS AHEAD *** Stop reading if you haven’t watched the new season yet *** SPOILERS AHEAD
While the third season ended on an uplifting note that would suffice as a series finale, fans absolutely don’t want the story to end as they are heavily invested in all of the friendships and relationships that have formed over the course of three seasons.
And thus, the question on everyone’s mind remains—will there be a fourth season of Sweet Magnolias?
On October 19, 2023, Netflix officially renewed the hit series for season 4, which means we’re now officially going to be spending more time with our favorite residents in Serenity.
Yet another season means that fans can find out if Helen and Erik will give their love another try, whether Isaac will tell Noreen about Bill (and confront Bill about being his son), and get more insight about the future mayoral candidates of Serenity—while also getting justice for the town that was mistreated and taken advantage of by the Lewis family!
Season 2 was confirmed two months after the first season was released, while Season 3 was three months after the second season aired.
There’s currently no premiere date set just yet, and with the SAG-AFTRA strike still looming large, it might delay the upcoming season just a smidge, but with the WGA strike finally over, at least the writers can get back to penning a worthy script to move things along when the time finally comes to start filming again!
You can read all of our Sweet Magnolias Season 3 reviews right here!
Sweet Magnolias Season Finale Review – Save My Place (310)
Let’s pour it out for Dana Sue and Ronnie… and the three leading ladies of Serenity.
Sweet Magnolias Season 3—through all of its bumps and hiccups—continued to be a love story not only between three best friends, but between them and their significant others, their significant others with each other, and their found families within the community.
It’s a love story for Serenity, highlighting everyone’s dedication and commitment to the charming small town.
Much of the season finale, Sweet Magnolias Season 3 Episode 10, was focused on Ronnie and Dana Sue’s wedding, one that was picture-perfect and the epitome of love and renewed beginnings.
Dana Sue and Ronnie recommitted to each other in front of the whole town, with their loved ones by their side—and may I say, everyone seriously dressed to impress. The wardrobe team really outdid themselves as all of the Magnolias rocked dresses that complimented them, their personalities, and their personal styles. And I dare say that Maddie stole the show in that baby blue dress!
One of the season’s overarching storylines came to an end, a positive one at that. Kathy showed up at the reception, as expected, with Bill in tow, announcing their relationship of sorts to the public, but instead of bringing pain and destruction, she offered an apology and gave her brother their mother’s tea set as a peace offering. Everyone seemed rather surprised that this change of heart was brought upon by Bill, though, in his defense, he did tell Maddie he was going to do better.
And this is his start. He’s trying to turn his life around and find meaning in his life while finding his place amid a family that he’s hurt and that has moved on all while he’s been trying to hold on. It’s not doing anyone any favors that he’s just there, randomly popping in, so he has to figure things out for himself before he can be there for others. Bill’s been quite the pain, but at least he’s aware—that’s all we can ask. He’s putting in an effort to make this second half of his life as a father be a little more intentional and meaningful.
His relationship with Kathy may have been surprising to everyone, and vengeful on her part at the beginning, but in a way, they are good for each other—two villains trying to claw their way back to the top and find peace and love.
There were many unspoken, off-screen moments that we didn’t get to see that I feel would’ve made the storyline stronger. Why didn’t we get to see Bill finding out who Kathy is? Are we to assume he wasn’t phased by it at all.
Dana Sue and Ronnie deserve this second chance, and I’m glad it wasn’t tainted by Kathy’s antics yet again. She’s done enough damage, and for nothing, when they all could’ve simply been a family. You could tell it meant a lot to Ronnie that his sister finally acknowledged that she was the problem.
Dana Sue and Erik also figured things out prior to the vow renewal, which meant that she had her kitchen team back together and someone to make a scrumptious cake. All’s right in the world.
It seems that in Serenity, it’s all about moving forward with grace, love, and forgiveness—and this season taught us that simply being there for people and giving them the space to accept to reach out for help when they are ready is essential. It’s an important reminder to everyone who always wants to leap into action and fix things.
Dana Sue didn’t hound Erik, ultimately letting him come to her when he was ready.
Helen and Erik also cleared the air, starting over fresh as friends, though there’s so much unspoken love and longing between them. I truly believe that their biggest obstacle was always timing… and Ryan. Helen couldn’t fully give herself over to Erik and envision a future with him because she didn’t close the chapter on Ryan; she was still holding onto that hope for their fairytale ending. But now that she’s gotten closure and Ryan is officially out of the picture, it’s clear that she and Erik are like two magnets pulling towards each other; it’s inevitable, especially after Helen caught the bouquet and they locked eyes across the space. Though this time, I hope they take their time and honor each other’s feelings, first and foremost.
It didn’t help that she didn’t attend the event, telling Erik that she works with the Magnolias and doesn’t feel ready to party with them, which is fair. I fully expect things to get messy in the Erik, Helen, Genevieve love triangle next season, and I’m ready to see these two women fight it out for him. May the best woman win.
Maddie and Cal remained unproblematic this season, and they couldn’t be more in love, constantly supporting each other at every turn. It’s just nice to see her finally find a man that treats her the way she deserves to be treated as we know that was never Bill’s strong suit. Even now, she’s doing much of the heavy lifting when it comes to parenting, with Cal subbing in when necessary. Maybe next season, we’ll get to attend their wedding!
Also finding love again—Noreen and Jeremy! The way my heart melted when he was just walking around with Rebecca as if she was his own daughter. He’s a keeper! After everything Bill put her through, Noreen deserves a good man who will step up to the plate. Look at Maddie and Noreen, both finding good men after Bill.
And in the spirit of love, Ty is head over heels in love with Annie. He’s surrounded by CeCe and his new tutor friend, and yet he only has eyes for her. I think he’s slowly coming to the realization, but since Annie is nursing a broken heart, it’s not exactly the right time.
Annie broke up with Jackson, and though it hurt like hell, she realized she deserved so much better than to have to lie to all her loved ones to be with him. She needed him to grow up and stand up to his mother, and he was too scared, and it took a toll on their relationship. Jackson was admittedly shocked, but I don’t think anything hurt more than Annie turning around and running straight into Ty’s arms for comfort. It’s clear that her heart is also with her childhood best friend, even if she’s not entirely aware of it right now.
Love was definitely the theme of the episode as Peggy showed up with Charles, her journalist friend helping her dig up dirt and evidence against the Lewis’, which sadly wasn’t revisited much this season (I know, I know, they’re building a case), while Pastor June brought her date from bingo, and Paula came with her good friend and the man who continuously commissions her work, Jimmy. Or should I say, recently divorced Jimmy who planted one heck of a smooch on her at Sullivan’s and then basically asked her to move in with him into his new house—under the guise of commissioning her to paint. Listen, Paula, get it girl. Isaac’s face was a mirror reflection of mine, but as Maddie noted, she deserves to find joy, and if it means letting her mother fly free, so be it.
As for Peggy, Helen was adamant that she needs to run for office, even offering to run her campaign for her. And to that I say, Team Peggy and Helen has my vote!
It’s exciting to see everyone getting invigorated and involved, trying to do what’s best for the town and the people living in it.
Another storyline that wasn’t addressed was Isaac and Bill, though, after a heart-to-heart with Paula about lies, Isaac decided that he wanted to tell Noreen the truth about his birth father. It’s going to be quite a bombshell, but I don’t think anything can shake their friendship—if anything, it will bring them closer together.
Annie seems to have found her “sisters”—the friends for life she wished for—in CeCe and Lily, who is also putting the moves on Kyle. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing some episodes focus heavier on the teen Magnolias… yep, that’s what I’m calling them.
- Bailey is truly one of the best supporting characters!
- Erik and Helen have a lot in common including blaming and being hard on themselves and running away from their problems.
- Wayne is home—and Skeeter and his men were there to greet him and lend a helping hand. I love the small scenes depicting the true realities of small towns.
- I hope Maddie decides to publish her novel even though she said she’s just doing it for fun.
- And you know the Magnolias treasured being by each others’ side during the wedidng so much more after their big fight. They won’t ever take their friendship for granted again!
This wasn’t my favorite season of Sweet Magnolias, but it did have a sweet ending that gave us potential for new, and old, relationships, while also showcasing plenty of character growth for everyone, including Serenity’s least-liked residents.
Whenever we finally get another season, I hope that we’ll explore Erik and Helen’s rekindled spark, Isaac telling Noreen and finally confronting Bill, and all the drama with the Lewis’.
What did you think of the season? Did you enjoy the finale?
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