Sweet Magnolias – Season 3 Episode 1 “Meaning to Tell You” Recap & Review

Meaning to Tell You

Episode 1 of Sweet Magnolias Season 3 picks up where we left off in that dramatic season 2 finale. Remember, we left things with Cal getting arrested for punching Stu, and Ryan proposing to Helen out of the blue. 

After Helen works her magic and gets Cal freed, the magnolias, Erik and Cal end up in Helen’s house. They all express their support for Cal, who keeps apologising and admits he has an anger issue. Maddie is shaken after seeing this new side of Cal and is unable to say much to him. Soon they all leave, but Erik hangs back to ensure Helen is fine. Unfortunately, Helen doesn’t mention Ryan’s proposal and the fact that she has the ring.

Dana Sue gets home to find Ronnie and Annie awake waiting for her.  Dana Sue assures her family that everything is fine and asks to talk in the morning. As soon as Annie leaves for bed, Dana Sue accuses Ronnie of not mentioning that Kathy was back. Ronnie insists he has not heard from Kathy for a long time and has yet to learn she is back and bringing drama. Dana Sue believes him and asks him to handle the situation. We still have no clue who Kathy is and what her beef is with the Sullivans. 

The next morning, Maddie tries to keep her calm and asks her boys to ignore the rumour mongers of Serenity since she is aware news of Cal’s fight will spread like wildfire. Tyler asks if he can meet with Cal, but Maddie shuts down that request quickly. 

As Tyler tries to be a god boy and leave Cal alone for the time, Kyle expresses his frustration with his Nellie situation. Since the recall, Mary Vaughn has banned her kids from interacting with the magnolia’s kids. She is in war mode; not even young love will soften her resolve in this fight. Tyler feels for his younger’s brother’s problem but has nothing but best wishes to offer. 

Meanwhile, things at the Sullivans could be better too. Ronnie feels that Dana Sue was hesitating to tell him about Frances’ life-changing cheque because she doesn’t trust him. We can’t blame Dana Sue, but a lot went down the previous night in this case, and she needs time to process everything. They clear the air and apologise to each other; they admit they still have a long way to find their footing.

On her way to the spa, Maddie runs into Ryan, who is still running errands for his beloved aunt Frances. He gives her a box meant for her as per Frances’ instructions and hints that he might be staying in town for a while. He fails to mention his impromptu proposal to Helen.

Once at the spa, Maddie talks with Isaac and promises to keep his secret. Isaac is still yet to deal with the bombshell that Bill is his biological dad.  Trotter knows that Maddie is having a hard time after seeing that Cal sent apology flowers and has been avoiding his calls. Trotter suggests that Maddie takes a day off to process the events from the previous night.  Maddie confesses that she feels that Cal has been hiding part of himself from her.  Maddie takes Trotter up on his offer and takes the day off. She runs into Pastor Jun walking her dog, and they bond over their mutual journey of reflection. 

On the other hand, Cal meets with Helen to see if the prosecutor is pressing charges. Thankfully, Stu is not, but Cal feels he should meet up with the man and apologise personally. Helen advises him that it is a terrible idea and he should find a way to do the right thing differently. Cal feels guilty because he never meant to hurt anyone, but his feeling got the best of him.

On the other side of Serenity, Noreen and Isaac continue to be roommates.  Isaac finds comfort in helping Noreen look after his little sister. 

In the meantime, Ronnie meets with Kathy, his troublemaking sister, to see what she wants and how long she will be staying. Kathy refuses to tell him her plans but acknowledges she messed with Dana Sue’s tyres.  Kathy feels spiteful because she feels Dana Sue stole the Sullivan restaurant from her. Ronnie is not inclined to walk down that memory road, so he immediately cuts to the chase and asks Kathy to leave town. He makes it clear that Kathy has no room in his family.

Night rolls by, and the magnolias hold their usual margarita night. Helen tells the girls about the proposal and that she has yet to answer Ryan or tell Erik about any of these. Helen still has feelings for Ryan and Erik. Dana Sue suggests she makes a choice while Maddie champions for team Erik.  

They also talk about Ronnie’s reaction to Frances’ cheque, and Helen points out that Ronnie is still struggling with how much voice he has in the relationship. They move on to what Dana Sue plans to do with the money. Beyond Annie’s college fund, Dana Sue and Ronnie have yet to decide. Dana Sue is still grappling with why Frances left her the money. 

They get to Maddie, and she tells them how she is handling the Cal situation and the advice she got from Pastor June. Maddie thinks she jumped from one volatile relationship to another, but we and the rest of the magnolias disagree. Cal seems to be a better man than Bill, and one could argue that at least Cal is owning and facing his demons. 

The next morning, Ronnie and Sullivan inform Annie that her college options are limitless with Frances’ money.  Annie notices that her parents have different outlooks on what to do with the money, so she thanks them and leaves them to talk. 

Maddie talks with Bill, who stops by the spa. She is shocked to learn that Ty is giving up basketball. 

Elsewhere, Noreen gets help from Sullivan’s restaurant staff so she can get some rest. Being a single mom to a new baby is overwhelming, but thankfully, she has the whole town rallying behind her. 

Another person the town is rallying behind is Ryan. He is still in town, trying to honour all his late aunt’s wishes. He drops by Helen’s place to deliver Frances’ box for her. Helen decides it is time to tell him about the pregnancy she miscarried and explains that they need to work on their fundamental differences. Ryan is gutted to learn of the loss and blames himself for not being there for Helen. She also tells him there is a slim chance of her getting pregnant again and asks if that changes his plans now that he wants kids. 

Later that night, Cal talks with Erik about his anger issues, and Erik asks him to identify where his pain is coming from. They have an illuminating discussion about dealing with pain in order to move on. Cal is ready to put in the work but is unsure where to start. Erik advises him to face each trauma head-on and remember that he has Maddie and his friends to help. 

As Cal tries to forge his way forward, Annie and Jackson sneak around the cemetery to get some time to themselves. Sadly, their new budding young romance is being crushed by their parents’ feud, so they are doing their best to hang on. 

Concurrently, Maddie confronts Ty about forgetting to mention that he is giving up baseball. She is not against the idea but feels hurt that Ty told Bill first. Maddie tells Ty she will support him in this big decision and reminds him that he has time to explore and love other things. She asks that they maintain a healthy and honest line of communication. In turn, Ty promises to keep up with his therapy. 

Away from Serenity, Bill has a chance meeting with Kathy, and they hit it off. Kathy seems to be taken by Bill, and they chat over a few drinks in honour of Frances. 

The following morning, Cal stops by Maddie’s house and honestly discusses what they must do. Maddie is willing to give him another chance but wants answers to what he has been hiding. Cal admits he has been struggling to be a good guy for Maddie. Serenity was meant to be a new start, but his demons caught up with him again. Ultimately, they agree to be patient with each other and fix their issues. They give themselves homework to make sure they become better people. 

At Helen’s place, she finally comes clean to Erik about Ryan’s proposal and the fact that she needs time to figure things out. Erick is momentarily lost for words and simply says, “ I see. That’s all I need to know.” Helen looks at him, wondering what he means by that statement.

The Episode Review

First things first, it is great that Maddie and Cal will be working through this problem. It would have been exhausting if they went through a breakup and all the drama that comes with it. Admittedly, Cal has anger issues but is working through them, and we can only hope he will overcome them. 

When it comes to this whole Ryan debacle, it feels like a needless storyline. How many times will Helen give this man a chance to walk all over her heart? At this point, it is just a grace too many. Erik was making her happy, and Helen should learn to let the past go. She is in love with what could have been with Ryan instead of what it is. And honestly speaking, it is a storm of tears every time Ryan shows up in town. 

As for Ronnie and Dana Sue, they are proving that relationships need work. They are putting in the work, and we can only hope Kathy doesn’t torpedo all their efforts. It is already concerning that she is hanging out with Bill. What is she up to?

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