Movie Review - Sweet Magnolias Season 3

Sweet Magnolias, a Netflix original series, follows the residents of small-town Serenity, South Carolina, as they encounter challenges and reap the benefits of living in a close-knit community. The Sweet Magnolias’ lives are drastically altered by their exploits in town after two seasons. Maddie (JoAnna Garcia Swisher) has moved on from her ex-husband’s adultery and the public humiliation it caused in the first season, enjoying a sincere new romance with Coach Cal Maddox (Justin Bruening).

Helen (Heather Headley) ends her relationship with longstanding, on-again love Ryan (Michael Shenefelt) after opting to pursue motherhood through IVF treatments, before finally settling down with Erik (Dion Johnstone), who is ready to support her while she pursues motherhood through IVF procedures. Meanwhile, Dana Sue (Brooke Elliott) has finally chosen to give her husband Ronnie (Brandon Quinn) a second opportunity, but this time they’re working with Pastor June (Tracey Bonner) to make things right on both sides.


Season 2 of Sweet Magnolias ended with a handful of huge cliffhangers. The first is the altercation at Sullivan’s, where Cal punches a man in the face for overstepping bounds and causing a scene in order to protect Maddie. Cal is eventually handcuffed and led out of the restaurant by police. The second is the appearance of an unidentified blonde who has an interesting conversation with Annie (Anneliese Judge) and disparages Dana Sue.

Later, a video of the woman vandalizing Sullivan’s van circulates, giving all three of the Sweet Magnolias pause regarding the return of this familiar figure from their past. Ryan, having returned to town after the death of his aunt, Miss Frances (Cindy Karr), now ready to have children, proposes to Helen on the steps of the Corner Spa in the penultimate cliffhanger. Oh, and Miss Frances left Dana Sue a large cheque when she died. Why, and for what purpose? That’s just one of the many issues the characters face in this terrific new season.

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I am completely satisfied after viewing the full third season of Sweet Magnolias. For those who, like me, weren’t huge fans of Season 2 — it was excellent, but not near as wonderful as the first — the current season is several steps up and nearly as amazing as the first. In many ways, it is even better. Furthermore, it’s evident how important the events of the second season were in developing the tales we see unfold here, which is a beautiful journey to behold. This is a season of delightful character-based drama, and it very immediately puts each of our favorite characters on a path of serious, deep, and gratifying contemplation throughout all ten episodes.

Their lives have been flipped upside down by circumstances beyond their control, so the characters must take a hard look in the mirror to figure out not just what they want in the future, but also who they want to be. It’s the path that everyone is on, and it goes to some surprising and gratifying locations. However, the voyage there is also challenging, putting the characters under a different kind of strain than we’ve seen before.

Of course, in order to conduct a comprehensive reflection, the characters must also examine their numerous relationships. Cal and Maddie decide to halt their romance to focus on their friendship, aiming to build their bond as they become more fulfilled with their unique selves after his battles with his wrath throughout the previous season. Helen is in a pickle because she is torn between two men in her life. While I won’t reveal Helen’s decision, it is a vital one for her to make since she must confront the truth that her future may not look like the one she has always imagined for herself.

Dana Sue and Ronnie are still trying to mend things, and the mysterious new woman complicates matters in an unexpected way, but the series doesn’t lose sight of what’s important, as Ronnie learns to have just as much of a say in their relationship as Dana Sue. The focus is on how they collaborate to move forward in their relationship and in life. It’s a magnificent storyline about development, evolution, new beginnings, and second chances that most TV shows couldn’t do.

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Screenshot 12Season 3 delves into other relationships, both known and unfamiliar, in addition to these main romances for the Sweet Magnolias. Annie and Ty (Carson Rowland) are on distinct roads as they prepare for adulthood, but where their lives intersect is where the season’s most touching moments occur. Maddie forms a wonderful new acquaintance with Pastor June, which allows us to learn more about this little-known figure while also greatly assisting Maddie in her quest to grow. After her breakup with Ty, CeCe (Harlan Drum) returns to the show, and her relationship with Helen takes another delightful turn.

There’s also some growth between CeCe and Annie, which is another wonderful component of the season that couldn’t have been foreseen yet works extremely well. (I honestly wouldn’t have believed you if you told me I’d enjoy CeCe this much previously.) In conclusion, Sweet Magnolias Season 3 understands what counts and what people are watching for, providing practically every character an opportunity to grow in some way.

While the third season gets off to a rocky start, I have to say that the third episode, “The Searchers,” is my favorite thus far. The village comes together for a town-wide scavenger hunt called the “Forager Festival,” which brings forth another side of the Sweet Magnolias’ friendship. Each team must have three members, and the Sweet Magnolias do not share a team. The episode is entertaining and exhilarating, as it once again highlights old and new relationships. It brilliantly portrays the charm of these small-town shows, such as Gilmore Girls, that fans adore.

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The most difficult things of Sweet Magnolias Season 3 to accept are the mystery newcomer, Kathy (Wynn Everett), and — predictably — Bill (Chris Klein). The former appears to be a cheap attempt at drama, with very few required advancements for the characters to help them on their travels. Meanwhile, Bill feels as ineffective as a main character as he did in Season 2. He plays no significant part in the lives of his five children, serving merely as a burden since the show is obligated to include him in too many episodes during the season due to his series regular status.

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Overall, Season 3 is extremely well-written and thoroughly enjoyable. While fans may not agree with the story’s path for some of these characters, the journey by the end of the season is well worth it. We see another side of Sweet Magnolias’ friendship, which is both painful and fascinating to see come to life and expand the bond between these women. The series intelligently tackles how relationships evolve and realistically can fall apart or strengthen as people change. Finally, Sweet Magnolias establishes itself as one of the best shows on streaming/television with a dramatic, impacting, and emotional third season.

Sweet Magnolias Season 3 does not, in fact, finish the chapter on Serenity or these cherished characters. There’s a lot more to tell, including innovations from this season that have huge potential in the future. After so much development for the characters, it would be a shame not to witness how their lives progress after their individual assessments of what is essential and how their lives should progress. Should Netflix, for some inexplicable reason, decide to call it quits, the ending is pleasant and rewarding enough to make the ride worthwhile.