Sweet Magnolias 2×10 “If Thou Wilt, Remember” Spoilers Ahead
Sweet Magnolias writers know how to leave viewers with catastrophic season finales, and to say it’s upsetting would be a lie. This isn’t the type of show where things won’t be okay in the end. We understood as much when the Season 2 premiere, “Casseroles and Casualties,” showed us that despite the horrific accident, everything is fine. Or, well, as fine as it can be. The new season gives its characters ample room for exploration and growth and leaves them with the kind of twists that likely won’t undo how far they’ve come.
While Sweet Magnolias’ debut season was good, its sophomore run is where it becomes great. The entirety of this season and this finale demands conversations. It’s what’s likely going to make fans invest themselves even further into the story because the heart of the series is now better than ever. The love stories are even more exhilarating, and the friendships continue to astound us.
And though the season finale leaves us with more unanswered questions than we’d like, it’s worth noting that this is the strongest episode of the season. There are new, threatening faces in town, relationships are on the mend, others will be facing their most challenging tests yet, and there’s still plenty of work needed to make Serenity a better town.
This show will first and foremost always be about friendships, and Sweet Magnolias 2×10 cements this fact by showing that the three women are now more connected than ever. While we don’t know who Wynn Everett’s mystery character is or why she has an apparent grudge against the women, we know that nothing can stand in the way of their bond. She might be slashing the Sullivan van tires, but her vendetta is something they’re each aware of, and it’s something they’ll each stand against even though Helen states that there is not much they can do.
Whatever she has against them (their partners and kids as well), in a town like Serenity, on the night of Miss Frances’ life celebration, she’s someone this show will either redeem or send packing. In the kind of location that consistently demonstrates beautiful examples of Christian behavior, here’s to hoping it’s the former because a good redemption arc continually works better for storytelling purposes. Plus, considering we already have a Mary Vaughn who’s wreaking more havoc than a single person should, an additional threat isn’t entirely necessary (unless she poses the kind of threat that makes even Mary Vaughn want to play nice).
We’re going to need something to stop Mary Vaughn from terrorizing her children’s lives, and since Jackson is adamant about seeing Annie still, she’ll either cave or make matters worse. It does, however, make for a more riveting story on their end because Jackson’s growth this season is tremendous and worthwhile. His remorse is palpable, and even the conversation he has with Ty at the cafe is proof of it as much as the way he treats Annie is. In this case, the apple has fallen far from the tree, except Nellie is sadly a bit too young to disobey her parents this way, and it’s entirely understandable.
In spite of all their flaws, Dana Sue, Helen, and Maddie make this town a livelier place. Their spirits remain unmatched, and their hearts continue to be beacons of light for those around them, even when doing better is challenging. This is their story, and “If Thou Wilt, Remember” shows us that there’s plenty to learn. We don’t know what trials lie ahead, but we do know that they’ll ceaselessly show up for one another, margaritas in hand, prayers ready to reach the sky, and the world’s love to give.
Dana Sue and Ronnie Sullivan
While there’s a lot we’re uncertain of after Sweet Magnolias 2×10, we can be confident in Dana Sue and Ronnie’s love for each other. We can believe that they’re both going to work on themselves as well as the relationship, and they’re going to try to be more transparent with each other. Additionally, though we can be sure that Dana Sue is trying desperately hard to forgive Ronnie (and by the looks of it, she has), this season shows us how hard that truly is, which still makes me wonder if trouble lies ahead before it’ll get better.
Plus, if we take the mystery woman’s identity into account and Miss Frances leaving Dana Sue with the money, it forces us to question how much we’ll learn and where that development will lead her and Ronnie. (Note: I don’t think she is the woman Ronnie cheated with. Dana Sue’s reaction would’ve been a lot different if that were the case, but she must be tied to the Sullivan family somehow, and exactly what that means raises a lot of questions.) Still, we can be sure that they’re endgame and solid, but it’s still easy to wonder how many challenges remain in their path.
But all that said, Brooke Elliott and Brendan Quinn continue to be standout performers this season, which means yes, there likely wasn’t a dry eye in the room when Dana Sue took him back. This kind of reunion was easy to expect from them, especially with everything they dealt with in therapy and the wedding vows. Quinn nearly crushed me as Ronnie held back tears because it was clear as day he’d burst any moment from sheer joy. (And he nearly does.) Wherever we go from here, for the time being, Sweet Magnolias 2×10 lets us bask in their love, and that’s all we can ask for. We should still dig into Ronnie’s unhappiness in the past and exactly what led him into the arms of another woman, and at the same time, we should look deeper into Dana Sue’s need for control. It’ll make Season 3 even better and more beautiful for their romance to see it all.
But for now, they’re a true family and it’s lovely to see.
Helen and Erik and Ryan?
We know that Helen and Erik are endgame in the books. We know they’re going to make it. There’s nothing and no one that can stand in their way, and even though there will be likely threats, this season is their beginning—it’s not their end.
As far as the romance goes this season, Helen and Erik are it. They’re the couple we’ve been rooting for since day one and to watch their journey unfold the way we have is a beautiful, brilliant thing. The “friends-to-lovers” slow burn is deliciously perfect for them, and this season’s vulnerability has been the most incredible addition.
Heather Headley is the year’s performer for Sweet Magnolias, and Dion Johnstone follows closely beside her. They’ve shown us that the pull between them is more substantial than anything they have faced before, and they’ve shown us that they want this to work.
Ryan’s return and proposal, along with the declaration that he now wants children isn’t a threat because while we could see Helen take some time to think about her answer, we can’t see her agreeing to it. She didn’t outright say yes to Ty’s question about getting back with her ex in “Dear Friend,” but the “maybe” in response tells us that Helen hasn’t had complete closure. And this proposal could be what leads her to have all the answers finally. It could lead her to choose Erik not only because she cares tremendously for him but also because she won’t be left wondering what could’ve been with Ryan. She’ll know now.
We all hate love triangles here, but something tells us that the events in Sweet Magnolias 2×10 “If Thou Wilt, Remember” won’t lead to a love triangle that drags on for seasons. This will likely be resolved in Season 3 reasonably quickly as soon as Helen gets a moment to breathe and talk things through. Plus, it’s worth noting that this is something we’re confident she’ll share with Erik too, and it’ll make their future that much stronger because they’ll both know, without a shadow of a doubt, that they chose each other. They have second chances at love with each other for a reason. This way, Erik won’t be left wondering what could happen if Ryan ever changed his mind because he’d know that Helen would choose him in the same way he would choose her.
Maddie and Cal
While Maddie and Cal’s relationship endgame doesn’t worry us, Cal’s rage should. We know he’s trying, and he’s worked hard to put it behind him. We also know that his transparency with Maddie is one of his more admirable traits, but we don’t know whether he’ll choose to get further help because he needs it. And the thing is, he should.
Maddie’s grace this season continues to be one of her strengths and everything she shows in the season finale is worth noting. She might be angry and frustrated beyond words because of Bill, but she is the type of character who’ll show Peggy and Isaac nothing but love because it’s what they deserve. (And her conversations with both of them had me in tears.) Bill was supposed to give everyone space, and he should still do that. He needs to walk away for now because his presence does more harm than good when everyone else is trying to continuously better themselves, and he’s still the same.
That said, because Maddie has been with an unreliable man before, she needs to have complete confidence in everything Cal stands for. She needs to know that he’s going to be a better example for her boys (and the team), but the rage that’s been marinating since “The More Things Change” needs a bit of work. Cal can’t be an example to her boys from prison. Cal can’t be the partner she needs if she’s worried that something could trigger his anger. And thus, with the focus on therapy this season, here is to hoping we see Cal take the necessary steps to help himself.
The two of them are solid throughout Season 2 and it’s been great to see, but the drama sometimes matters as much as the quiet moments. The cards are all stacked against Cal from multiple angles at this point, and where this scandal will lead the two of them will likely be a rocky road before it’s a better one.
Teen Reunions and Growth
It’s so lovely to see that Annie, Ty, and Kyle have finally patched things up. Their friendship was always more important than anything else, and since they’re mending it all, even with Jackson, it will lead to even better development for Annie and Ty. We’re always going to ship them here, but there’s a long way to go until that happens, and now, we’re back on the right track.
Although Annie’s friend hitting on Ty isn’t a good look, here’s to hoping we don’t deal with further drama with the kids and tossing relationships around. Plus, now that Ty and Jackson have made up, it’s high time Annie and Cece make amends too. The kids deserve friendships as strong as the parents, and they’re (hopefully) on the right path towards finding them.
Sweet Magnolias’ Season 2 finale is one worth re-watching a few times. It’s fun, it’s lovely, and it’s emotionally packed with the kind of moments romance hearts yearn for. But still, it’s the kind of conclusion that demands another season. It’s the kind of conclusion that tells us we’re only just beginning, and that above all things, this show cares about honoring friendships in a way that feels organic. It’s a gut-punch and a comforting hug at the same time.
Pour it Out and Further Thoughts
- Can Season 3 please recast Noreen?
- I want every single dress that each of the women wore at Miss Frances’ celebration.
- Not sure how I feel about Ronnie’s fedora though.
- I’m so tired of Mary Vaughn never learning. Do we think a redemption is in store for her? After Sweet Magnolias 2×10, who knows.
Now streaming on Netflix: What are your thoughts on Sweet Magnolias 2×10 “If Thou Wilt, Remember?” Let us know in the comments below.
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 MovieWeb and Looper.