Sweet Magnolias – Season 3 Episode 5 “On This Foundation” Recap & Review

On This Foundation

Episode 5 of Sweet Magnolias Season 3 starts with Ronnie and Dana Sue preparing for Annie’s birthday while discussing their vow renewal party. They are unsure how big they want the event to be, but Dana Sue is wary about using Frances’ money for this. She wants to use the funds to honor Frances by feeding the people of Serenity.

Elsewhere, Ty is frustrated that his teacher is suggesting he broaden his schedule this senior year. In particular, the teacher suggests statistics, and Ty is not a fan of math. Maddie tries to be supportive and asks him to give his new schedule a chance. 

Ryan and Helen talk about their future and come up with some ground rules for the new chapter of their relationship. Helen clarifies that all she needs is for him to want to stay and make Serenity home and enough for him. 

At the spa, Maddie hires Noreen to offer childcare services to their clients. Of course, Noreen is grateful for the job and the welcoming nature of Serinity and Maddie.

Meanwhile, Kyle learns that Nellie is moving to Castlewood when he and Bill run into Mary Vaughn and Nellie at the mall. He is understandably crushed. 

As Kyle mourns the end of his relationship, Annie and Jackson are still sneaking around. Jackson drives to Serenity late in the night to wish Annie happy birthday since he can’t be at her party. 

The next day, Maddie shares more about their grandfather and his carpentry skills with her kids. She also tells them about the letters her dad used to write to her mom. This inspires Kyle to start writing a letter to Nellie.

At the Sullivan’s, Jeremy delivers the produce to Dana Sue, and they catch up. They are both happy for each other. 

Concurrently, Helen is a ball of nerves as CeCe runs late. Finally, CeCe arrives, and Helen helps her settle in before leaving for Annie’s party. Maddie is also almost running late as she has an impromptu meeting with the acting Mayor, Vernon. He wants to talk about the people’s complaints, and Maddie gives him a folder she has kept since their recall meeting. 

Finally, the party kicks off, and Annie is happy that her parents listened to her and gave her the party she wanted. She also gets close to Lily, and they get along well. Ronnie and Cal talk about how they love the magnolia women, and Ryan states that he is willing to give up everything to be with Helen. 

The magnolias also devise a plan to use Frances’ money to start a foundation. Helen promises to handle the paperwork, and Maddie also agrees to help. Helen thinks they should start with the food insecurity in Serenity. 

As Dana Sue is away for Annie’s party, she leaves the restaurant reins to Isaac, and he does a fantastic job. Peggy can’t help but be proud of him and gush about him to her friends. Of course, she introduces him as a friend, not her son, but this is cool with Isaac.

Back at the party, the drinks, music and enriching conversation keep the vibes just right, but when Kathy makes an unwanted entrance, things take a turn. She causes a scene, tries to embarrass and defame Dana Sue, and has some choice words for Maddie and Helen. Ronnie does his best to defend his wife and escorts her out. 

Annie is sad that her party is ruined and runs away. The party ends on a sullen note, and Helen returns home in a foul mood.  She fights with Ryan because he defends Kathy and sees her as the victim who feels left out. Ryan claims he is feeling judged by Serenity. 

Annie gets Ty to drive her to see Jackson, but unfortunately, Mary Vaughn spots Ty outside her house. Ty lies that he is there to see Jackson and bring him some of his old baseball equipment. Mary Vaughn rudely asks him to leave, and Ty gets angry at Annie for putting him in that position. He vows never to drive her again to see Jackson. However, we can’t help but wonder if his feeling for Annie was part of the reason he made this decision. 

In the meantime, Ronnie shares how pissed he is with Kathy for ruining  Annie’s birthday. He feels he didn’t do enough to protect his family, but Dana Sue is content with how he defended them. She talks him down and assures him Kathy won’t ruin him. 

The following morning, Kyle finds a surprise note with a flower on his doorstep and assumes it is from Nellie. Cal also drops by and tells Maddie how proud he is of her. They talk about her drawings and what they mean. The drawings symbolize Maddie’s journey of healing and finding herself again. 

Elsewhere, Howie and Eric have a meal together, and Eric is surprised to learn that Helen and Howie used to date. Howie tries to comfort him and suggests that Eric and Helen can evolve and be friends again. Later, Eric meets with Kathy, who offers her a full-time job at Z’s place, but she turns him down. While at the restaurant, Eric meets a gorgeous woman, Genevieve, who tries to flirt with him. They end up having a friendly chat together. 

Back at Townsend’s house, Ty confides in Cal that he is having second thoughts about giving up baseball. He asks Cal to help him talk to Maddie about joining a new school which has made him an offer. 

Meanwhile, Maddie is at Helen’s place for their margarita night. They pour it out and talk about Kathy and CeCe moving in.  Maddie tells them about the meeting with the acting mayor. They talk about the foundation, and Maddie brings up how Helen’s attitude changed when she asked about Ryan earlier in the night. She points out that when she was going through it with Cal, she shared everything with them. She only wants to know if Helen is happy, and that is when things turn for the worse. 

Helen gets defensive, and Dana Sue says it is clear that maybe something is wrong. Maddie asks again, and Helen kicks them out. 

The Episode Review

Well, that escalated quickly! We started this episode on a high note, but things drastically changed. First, it was Kathy who really should know better. It has been over two decades; she needs to let things go. She will lose her brother if she keeps up with this attitude. She has had plenty of time to start over and make something of herself. What has she been doing?

Secondly, Helen needs to get a grip. She is obviously unhappy, so she felt so triggered by Maddie’s question. After all these years, why is she having such a hard time admitting the truth to her best friends? 

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