Pop Culture Recaps

Sweet Magnolias is back…FINALLY!


Sweet Magnolias is back…FINALLY!

Season three of Sweet Magnolias is here at last and I cannot believe we’ve been waiting a whole eighteen months for our favourite southern ladies to welcome us back to Serenity. I am so ready to pour it out once again, although it’s coffee for me and not a margarita. My bad, I know!

To begin, I must pay kudos to the ‘Previously on’ reminder we get at the start of every season, having forgotten what happened in the last season because it was that long ago. Secondly — and obviously — there are spoilers ahead!

RELATED: Read our season 2 recap!

The Sweet Magnolias break-up!

Cue, the gasps, indeed because my jaw hit the floor when our three favourite ladies had a falling out! Yes, they broke-up! And my heart broke too!

It all starts at a ‘pour it out’ session (which just goes to show that alcohol and talking relationships is not a good mix) and Maddie comments that Helen seems unhappy and wow, does that tick Helen off! Some powerful words follow, and she kicks Maddie and Dana Sue out of her house. In another episode even Maddie and Dana Sue have quite a heated discussion, and its Splitsville 2.0 for these two as well!

Of course, they make-up!

We have to wait a couple of episodes before that happens because this is a drama show, after all, and in the meantime we get to see how they function without having each other in their lives. Needless to say, it’s pretty miserable! So when Helen is off on a soul-searching trip visiting family, she realises that she simply cannot live without her besties, and likewise Maddie and Dana Sue are thinking the same! They reunite and my universe is aligned once more.

Maddie and Cal

So what happens to our number one couple this season? Well, remember how season two ended with Cal ending up in a fight with Stu and getting arrested? Cal’s freed the next day and while he’s apologising to everyone about his anger management issues, we can see Maddie’s not comfortable with this new side of him. But, thankfully, they take the mature route and actually talk about it. Cal admits he’s fighting personal demons, and it’s great to see him owning up to the issue. It’s also refreshing to see two adults working through their problems together, when drama could have so easily brought them to a halt. But relationship woes are not on the cards for our two lovebirds who just keep going from strength to strength.

Helen, Erik, and Ryan.

I was so wanting to change Ryan to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, but JK Rowling beat me to that moniker, so herein the villain will be called by his real name. A cliffhanger from the last season had Ryan proposing to Helen, and me screaming at my TV. I was still screaming at my TV when Helen tells Erik about the proposal and that she needs time to think things over. Oh, Helen, you’re supposed to be the smartest of the magnolias!

Of course, Erik is gutted, and while Ryan says and does all the right things, that old chestnut of a leopard never changes it spots is ringing loud and clear! When the inevitable happens, and Ryan delivers another Serenity is just too small for me speech, I feel vindicated. I also just want to reach into the TV and give Helen a big hug because she doesn’t have her besties as a back-up due to their falling out!

Erik, on the other hand, has moved on completely by quitting his job at Sullivans, and meeting another woman! I don’t want to like Genevieve, but I can’t fault her at all. Except for the fact she’s not Helen! By season end, while we don’t get a Helen and Erik reunion, things do look hopeful between the two.

Dana Sue and Ronnie

When it comes to these two this season it’s best summed up as can you spell drama with a capital D? They have it in spades and then some so I’m breaking it up in bullet form to make it easier.

  • We learn the mystery woman/tyre slasher from last season is Kathy who has returned to Serenity (from the realms of Hell).
  • Dana Sue doesn’t know what to do with the large inheritance she received from Miss Francis.
  • Annie is sneaking around with Jackson.
  • Kathy, the woman from Hell, is Ronnie’s sister!
  • Dana Sue and Ronnie discover Annie has been sneaking around with Jackson.
  • Kathy wants to ruin Dana Sue’s life and proceeds to do so by starting up her own restaurant and bar.
  • Someone trashes Sullivans kitchen (you whistle, and I’ll point…at Kathy).
  • Annie learns to speak up for herself with both her parents and Jackson.
  • Kathy turns up at Annie’s birthday party and ruins it!

In the end, Dana Sue and Ronnie overcome the dramas and renew their vows with a party the likes of only the good folks of Serenity can throw! Even Kathy it seems has come to her senses (the money Ronnie paid her to leave town probably helped) and she gives the renewed couple a family gift. She also leaves holding hands with Bill which looks as uncomfortable as it sounds!

The kids

There was a lot going on with all of the kids this season. One being they have all grown considerably to the point that Maddie’s youngest — Katie — is played by an entirely different actor! She’s still adorably cute, though and has a lot more involvement with her family storyline this time round.

We also see that Kyle and Nellie are still in love, but drama ensues when Nellie’s family up and leaves Serenity due to her father who was the mayor and misappropriating town funds! While that unfolds, someone is leaving flowers for Kyle, and he presumes it’s Nellie. But when he finally meets up with her in a neighbouring town, she breaks it off! We then discover the flower gifts were from Lily and a new romance blossoms!

An old face pops up with the return of Cece who moves in with Helen when her folks want to leave town. Cece is such a great character and I just love her to bits. In the last season she and Tyler had a thing, but this season they end up being friends, which is fine with me because we just know he and Annie are meant to be.

Speaking of Tyler, he’s at a loss this season as he tries to find his place in the world. School is over and college seems inevitable, but he realises it’s not what he wants. When he’s tasked to restore an old family heirloom, he realises that working with his hands feels good so decides to take a gap year. He also meets another girl, who seems nice too and, again, I can’t fault her. But we know he only yearns for Annie.

And, as aforementioned, Annie has a lot of drama with her folks, and with Jackson and with her crazy aunt. I just love the scene when she breaks up with Jackson and walks straight into Tyler’s arms. Yes, she’s upset and needs a comforting hug, but it’s a very telling moment for these two, which makes my heart positively sing!

The Others

We mustn’t forget there are still quite a few other characters that reside in Serenity, and feature significantly too. Like Bill, who is still trying to be a good guy but seems to go about it weirdly. For one thing, he gets it on with Kathy from Hell. For another, he makes Noreen uncomfortable when he tells her he wants to be there for her, and he respects her decision not to name him as the father on baby Rebecca’s certificate.

Speaking of Noreen, she comes into her own as motherhood and a friendship with Isaac brings her out of her shell. She even has a good relationship with our sweet magnolias and starts working at the spa, which introduces her to Jeremy. Newly single, because Dana Sue and Ronnie got back together, and with a new haircut, Jeremy is still the hot farmer from season two and there’s a potential romance on the cards for him and Noreen.

Isaac was probably my most surprising character this season as he featured in a lot of storylines, namely with Noreen, Erik, and Dana Sue. He became a rock to them all, and seemed to know the perfect words to say, whatever the situation. He truly epitomised what we love about Serenity — that small towns have exceptionally large hearts!

You can watch Season three of Sweet Magnolias on Netflix now! And you can find all the books by Sherryl Woods here.

Written by Jo-Ann Milne

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