Sweet Magnolias – Season 3 Episode 3 “The Searchers” Recap & Review

The Searchers

Episode 3 of Sweet Magnolias Season 3 starts with Cal and Maddie having fun washing Cal’s truck. Cal shares with Maddie how the truck was an important part of his life and a symbol of his never-ending quest to prove himself. Maddie is also working on the list of things the town needs due to Trent’s incompetency, which is getting long.

Later, Kyle points out that Maddie and Cal should try group activities to help them bond and learn new things. He suggests the upcoming annual Forager Festival, and Maddie thinks it is a good idea.

Elsewhere, Ronnie and Dana Sue are working on their love language assignment given by Pastor June. Judging by how they couldn’t keep their hands off each other that morning. It is safe to assume they will nail this assignment, no pun intended!

Things are also looking up for Helen as she reunites with Ryan, who is still in town fulfilling his late aunt’s wishes. They are planning to go on their first date in their new chapter as Ryan continues to figure out his work situation. 

On the other hand, Noreen and Isaac continue to get close. Noreen’s brother even sent him a gift from his New York trip. Noreen is thankful that Isaac has been her rock for the past few months and admits she misses her family. Isaac suggests she gets a babysitter, and they can go to the Forage festival and have fun. Noreen can use some fun after the past few months of being a newly single mom.

In the meantime, Erik meets with Kathy, who introduces herself as the new assistant manager at Z’s Place, a local restaurant. Kathy tries to make Eric an offer and get him to jump ship, but he turns her down. 

While on her errands, Helen runs into Paula, and they have lunch to catch up on how well things are going with Ryan. After lunch with Helen, Paula stops by Maddie’s and tells Ty about his grandfather’s carpentry skills. Ty is amazed to learn something new about his grandfather and starts to consider what he wants to be defined for. Paula also offers to go to the Forage Festival with Cal and Maddie as a chaperone to help them keep things cool.

Meanwhile, Isaac tries to get Dana Sue to approve his idea about putting a herb garden on the roof. Unfortunately, Dana Sue is too preoccupied to listen to him. She is looking forward to the Forage Festival and hopes to take the trophy. Ronnie is 100% behind Dana Sue’s winning spirit, and he gives her a crown to proclaim her as queen of the event. I guess they are counting their eggs even before they hatch!

Initially, Helen was not going to participate in the Forage Festival, but her competitive spirit is awakened after seeing Maddie and Helen join the fun. She quickly calls Ryan and invites him to join her in the hunt.

As the Serenity citizens prepare for the Forage Festival, Bill meets again with Kathy. He tells her all about his shitty day, and she gladly offers a listening ear. He then invites her to dinner. Unfortunately, something comes up during their meal, and Kathy leaves abruptly. 

Back to the Forage Festival, the magnolias make their team, and Annie joins Isaac and Noreen’s team. Kyle joins Sullivan’s team, and Helen recruits Ty into her team. They do their best to trash-talk each other, but it is more pitiful than funny. Let’s just say they won’t survive one round in Wild n Out. 

Ty questions why Annie is not on team Jackson, and she tells him that Jackson is away on a trip with his mom and sister. On the other hand, Noreen has a hard time focusing on fun as he worries about her baby. Lastly, we have an excited Helen who is happy to share this experience with Ryan. This is the first time Ryan is around for this, and Helen shares some fond memories she has of the town.  Eric sees them while on his run and is hurt but tries to ignore them. 

Trent arrives to kick off the hunt and ignores Peggy’s request for an interview regarding the recall. He does a fantastic job kicking off the much-awaited hunt, and the teams get busy trying to win.  The competition is bordering on unhinged, but that makes it so much fun. Especially since Maddie has a reputation for sabotaging the festival to win, this time, she is blamed for hiding a fox box; however, she swears she has always played it fair. She also takes this time to add to the list of things that need to be tended to around town. 

During the competition, Annie helps Isaac come up with a way to pitch his idea better to Dana Sue. In return, Isaac helps her figure out what she wants for her birthday. They both help Noreen loosen up and have fun. Ty and Ryan also get close as they work together, making Helen even happier. Cal and Maddie discuss one of his deep traumas, involving his late dad.

It turns out that Kathy abruptly left her dinner with Bill to meet Eric. Eric agrees to hear her out, and Kathy has big ambitions. She tells him she always wanted to own Sullivan’s, but it was sold to Dana Sue. She wants her long-awaited dream to come true at Z’s place.

At the end of the Foraging Festival, Isaac, Noreen and Annie surprisingly win the Forage Festival trophy. Everyone is happy for them, but the biggest shock of the night comes from Trent, who quits his job as Mayor effective immediately. It is also revealed that Paula stole the fox box to mess with Maddie. She gives it to Cal so he can prank Maddie in a few weeks.

The Episode Review

This was a fun episode. The Forage Festival is a great way to teach and keep the town’s history alive. It also allowed most of these characters to get close and see different sides of each other. 

It was also fulfilling to see Trent quit, but what happens next? Let’s hope Peggy will continue her investigation into him and reveal the corrupt nature of his term. The only thing missing is Mary Vaughn’s reaction; we can bet she didn’t like that her husband was stepping down as Mayor. There must be a reason she is out of town during such a tumultuous moment in her husband’s political career. We will have to wait and see in the upcoming episodes.

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Expect a full-season review once the season ends!


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