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Sweet Magnolias 2×01 “Casseroles and Casualties” Highlights

Sweet Magnolias 2×01 “Casseroles and Casualties” Spoilers Ahead

Sweet Magnolias. (L to R) Heather Headley as Helen Decatur, Joanna Garcia Swisher as Maddie Townsend, Brooke Elliott as Dana Sue Sullivan in episode 201 of Sweet Magnolias 2x01.
Cr. Richard Ducree/Netflix © 2021

Netflix‘s Sweet Magnolias Season 2 is back with answers. “Casseroles and Casualties” doesn’t lead us on a merry chase; instead, it gets straight to the answers we’ve asked for since the Season 1 finale. Who was in the passenger’s seat? Is Dan Sue Isaac’s mother? When oh when will Erik and Helen get together? 

The first few moments remind us that no matter what these characters go through, the load will be lighter to carry because they’ll be doing it together. There’s nothing the women can’t accomplish through prayers, margaritas, and holding hands even if they argue.

“Casseroles and Casualties” is more like Prayers and Remorse

Praying in Sweet Magnolias
©Netflix

As a Christian, I love nothing more than an accurate display of faith that doesn’t feel forced or cringeworthy, which is often the case with the media’s use of it. However, the way it transpires on Sweet Magnolias beautifully reveals the truth behind the Lord’s purpose—to love. You pray when you’re breaking, and you pray when there’s nothing left to be done, but at the same time, you try your hardest to love those around you. The best kind of faith is selflessness, and on this show, that’s generally the case.

Watching Dana Sue and Helen comfort Maddie while taking on the entire situation with strength and grace is the true heart of this series. Something Erik solidifies when he tells Isaac, “love and grace—that’s what you get with the three of them.” But the hospital room is such a riveting showcase of remorse because, despite the boys being on edge, you can see how much it breaks Jackson to know that this fight went too far. He keeps taking it too far, and he is now showing remorse. Prom night was never meant to escalate this poorly—he didn’t want to hurt Ty. They’re all on edge, and watching the women have one another to pray with and support while all the men are left to their own devices is the kind of juxtaposition that’s going to be fascinating to examine throughout the season.

If they had what the women do, this wouldn’t have escalated as far as it did. If they could learn how to communicate without throwing fists and insults, then maybe, just maybe, the person on the other end of the battle would be willing to listen.

Strength is Exhausting

Brooke Elliott as Dana Sue Sullivan in Sweet Magnolias 2x01
©Netflix

After a long night, pouring out becomes more literal, but that’s essentially what becomes the most substantial part of the episode. On any other show, we could question how Dana Sue’s confession could leave lasting ramifications, but on Sweet Magnolias, we know that it’ll lead all three of them towards growth. 

Because the truth is, Dana Sue is right—being the strong one is exhausting and being the one who’s always at the receiving end of darkness because of someone else’s actions isn’t fair. Plus, much of Annie’s journey in Season 1 was realizing that she needed a life outside of the Townsend boys. (And the Townsend boys understanding that they need to communicate with her better.)

While it’s anything but a joy ride to watch these women argue, it’s necessary to see how they’re going to patch things up. It’s also important to showcase that sometimes, while you aren’t the one walking through the valley of the shadow of death, having to uphold strength when you’re at wits’ end still hurts like hell. It reminds me of one of my all-time favorite moments on One Tree Hill when Nathan Scott tells Brooke Davis that just because they’re going through something like a tremendous loss, it doesn’t mean Brooke’s heartaches are any less critical. However big or small an issue might be, a person’s pain is essential to work through. 

Love and Grace

Isaac in Sweet Magnolias 2x01
©Netflix

So Dana Sue isn’t Isaac’s mother, which we kind of figured because spending that much time with him, you’d imagine that if she had put up a child for adoption, she would’ve realized it’s him. But still, the women willing to help him find her is everything we needed and more because that’s exactly who they are—people whose doors are open and whose hands are always willing to help.

Sweet Magnolias 2×01 is a lovely opening that exhibits the fact that we’re knee-deep into the darkness with these characters. There’s still plenty to figure out and plenty to talk about. And it’s these crucial conversations that are ultimately going to be the most vital parts of the series’ second season. 

Pour It Out and Further Thoughts

  • Ronnie reading Pride and Prejudice to Annie and wanting to follow up with the story…y’all—I think we are going to like this man?
  • Cal bringing pizza cut up in squares like the sweet peanut that he is and the two of them getting back together while realizing that irrational anger got in the way of better decision making? You’re doing so good so far, Sweet Magnolias. He’s also grown on me significantly since Season 1 and I’m so glad we’re here.
  • The moment Helen revealed that she’s pregnant my heart burst into a million pieces because I don’t have a good feeling about it. LET THIS WOMAN BE HAPPY, UNIVERSE.
  • “Don’t swallow the storm” might be one of my favorite quotes from this series.
  • It’s refreshing to see boys cry on this show.
  • How did a sweet kid like Nellie come from parents so awful?!
  • My heart breaking for Jackson genuinely wasn’t on my bingo card this year.
  • ERIK AND HELEN, WHEN?

Now streaming on Netflix: What are your thoughts on Sweet Magnolias 2×01 “Casseroles and Casualties?” Let us know in the comments below.

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Gissane Sophia View All

Gissane (pronounced Geese-enny) or, as people often call her, "Goose," is a Christ fan above all and a romance enthusiast who's taken her Master's degree in English and love for essays into writing lengthy analyses about pop culture.

She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Marvelous Geeks Media and the co-host of Lady Geeks' Society Podcast. She drinks too much coffee, wants to live in a forest, and cries a lot because of her favorite characters. She's a member of The Cherry Picks and can also be found writing features for Looper.

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