Biggest Unanswered Questions After the Finale


The Big Picture

  • The Lewises may face criminal consequences for their actions, even if they are no longer part of the town.
  • Peggy may be a strong contender for the next Mayor of Serenity, with support from Helen.
  • Helen and Erik’s relationship is in question, but there may be a chance for them to reconcile in the future.

Editor’s note: The below contains spoilers for Season 3 of Sweet Magnolias.Netflix’s Sweet Magnolias explores small-town life in (fictional) Serenity, South Carolina, as best friends and titular trio Maddie Townsend (JoAnna Garcia Swisher), Helen Decatur (Heather Headley), and Dana Sue Sullivan (Brooke Elliott) face the triumphs and defeats of life — from romance to their careers, to the pains of parenthood. In the third season, the trio is given time to do some major introspection, looking at the state of their lives, where they want to be in the future, and the current status of their relationships. The very powerful bond between the three of them shows a few cracks in the middle of the season after a major fight, so the ladies are left to figure out how to mend their friendship while they aren’t currently speaking. They come back together, thankfully, well before the Season 3 finale, but the season leaves off with quite a few other questions about how things in Serenity will progress for them and the many other residents we have come to love. Here’s what we’re left to ponder.

Sweet Magnolias

Three South Carolina women, best friends since high school, shepherd one another through the complexities of romance, career and family.

Release Date
May 19, 2020

JoAnna Garcia Swisher , Brooke Elliott , Heather headley , Logan Allen

Main Genre


Will the Lewises Be Held Criminally Responsible for Their Malfeasance?

Throughout Sweet Magnolias Season 2, the ladies experience some trouble from Mayor Trent (Paul Rolfes) and his wife/former high school enemy Mary Vaughn Lewis (Allison Gabriel), who purposely try to hinder their business at The Corner Spa by instituting outrageous parking rules. When the ladies dig into what’s going on, they discover that many of the small businesses in Serenity are having parking issues — all of which could be solved if they buy a parcel of land nearby, which, of course, they uncover has been secretly purchased by the Lewises. So, the ladies and their loved ones come together to start a recall petition to potentially vote Trent out of office, which they successfully get enough signatures for by the end of the season. However, Season 3, Episode 3 ends with a bombshell: Trent is resigning, effective immediately. But, just because he’s out of office doesn’t mean the investigation into his wrongdoing is over. The town’s top journalist, Peggy Martin (Brittany L. Smith), is digging into it. By the finale, she finds some damning evidence, but will anything come from this given how the Lewises were each effectively written out, with their ties to Serenity cut, this season?

Who Will Be Serenity’s Next Mayor?

This question has been floating around since the ladies got started with the recall petition back in Season 2. Many names have been floated, but it seems like we finally have a real contender for Mayor of Serenity now: Peggy. After Helen helps Peggy with her investigation into the Lewises, using Helen’s excellent notes about town business, Helen is in awe of Peggy’s dedication to Serenity. In Helen’s mind, Peggy is the perfect person to take over, as someone who grew up in the town and knows its shortcomings better than nearly anyone else. Helen even offers to lead her campaign, too. Though Peggy doesn’t give an official answer, it seems likely she’ll be on the ballot when it’s time for the election. But, who will be running against her? So many questions, but it seems like Peggy will be getting a lot more focus in the fourth season — and her connection to Isaac (Chris Medlin) will probably come out, too.


‘Sweet Magnolias’ Season 3 Ending Explained: Who’s Leaving Serenity?

The emotional and heartwarming finale of ‘Sweet Magnolias’ Season 3 comes with multiple exits.

Will Helen and Erik Reconcile?

Heather Headley as Helen Decatur holding flowers and walking with Dion Johnstone as Erik Whitley in Sweet Magnolias Season 2
Image via Netflix

In addition to a potential new job being added to her growing list of responsibilities, Helen’s love life is also kind of a mess after the third season. After Ryan (Michael Shenefelt) proposed, and Helen decided she needed to think about it, Erik (Dion Johnstone) called things off with her. Helen and Ryan tried — and failed — to make it work, leaving her single by season’s end. Erik, however, found himself a new girlfriend, one who just started a new job at the Corner Spa (and Helen has no clue exists). When Helen catches the bouquet at Ronnie (Brandon Quinn) and Dana Sue’s vow renewal, Helen and Erik share a longing glance from across the room. He begins to move forward, but stops himself, remembering he’s in a relationship — and, as we know, there’s nothing Erik values more than loyalty and respect, meaning he’d never go behind anyone’s back like that. It seems likely they will reunite eventually, but there’s sure to be another complex love triangle getting in the way.

How Will Noreen React to Isaac’s Secret?

Chris Medlin as Isaac Downey and Jamie Lynn Spears as Noreen Fitzgibbons walking outside with a stroller in Sweet Magnolias Season 3
Image via Netflix

After learning his biological father was none other than Bill Townsend (Chris Klein), Isaac spends the entirety of Sweet Magnolias Season 3 wondering how to move forward. While the titular trio knows the truth, as do Peggy and Bill, Isaac isn’t sure who else he wants to be in on the secret. This is particularly complicated seeing as Noreen (Jamie Lynn Spears), his roommate and close friend, has a new baby that is technically his half-sister. At the vow renewal in the finale, Isaac finally decides to reveal the truth, but it’s one of the “cliffhangers” of the season. Given Noreen’s tense relationship with Bill, and the amount of time that Isaac has been keeping this from her, it’s hard to predict how she’ll react. Hopefully, though, she won’t take it poorly and the two can continue building upon their steady, beautiful friendship foundation. Plus, what is it that Noreen needs to tell Isaac? Please don’t let it be that she’s moving out.

Will Annie and Ty Ever Get Together?

close up of Anneliese Judge as Annie Sullivan in Sweet Magnolias Season 3
Image via Netflix

The will-they-won’t-they relationship between the Magnolias’ oldest children, Annie (Anneliese Judge) and Ty (Carson Rowland), is beginning to drive us crazy. It’s a beautiful story and a slow burn worth rooting for, but with the state of streaming and what is expected regarding a show’s longevity now, we would like the writers to move things along. Now that Annie and Jackson (Sam Ashby) have broken up, giving Ty a chance to subtly show Annie that he’s who she should be with (even if he doesn’t quite realize what he’s doing), it’s the perfect opportunity to finally dig into how these two could work as a couple. But, unfortunately, it seems like there’s going to be another love triangle with CeCe (Harlan Drum) based on the looks she was giving Ty in the last few episodes of Sweet Magnolias Season 3, which is frustrating because it has been done already and because CeCe and Annie’s new friendship is actually super enjoyable.

Is Bill Gone for Good?

Close up of Chris Klein as Bill Townsend at a restaurant in Sweet Magnolias Season 3
Image via Netflix

Additionally, before the vow renewal, a much-loathed Bill showed up with Ronnie’s sister Kathy (Wynn Everett) as she made her grand exit from Serenity. Surprisingly, though, was the revelation that Bill would be joining her in leaving town. Bill has always been the weakest link in the series, and Season 3 only continued to flounder with him as he finally came to the realization that none of his five children need him in their lives. Given how the series has handled his story, let’s hope this exit is permanent, so the characters can move on and Bill can stop being used as a scapegoat for the unwelcome goings-on for the Townsends and company.

What’s Next for Maddie and Dana Sue?

Joanna Garcia Swisher as Maddie Townsend and Brooke Elliott as Dana Sue Sullivan in sitting at a breakfast bar with drinks in Sweet Magnolias Season 3
Image via Netflix

Unlike Helen, who (as discussed earlier) has multiple avenues open for the next season, it’s not quite so clear where Maddie and Dana Sue are heading. They’ve both made significant growth in their lives, particularly in the third season. Maddie is a more realized person than ever before, and her relationship with Cal (Justin Bruening) is stronger after what they’ve been through. She has the book she’s working on for Katie, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to change her life in any significant way. She’s truly happy, and the next step for her seems to be going down the aisle with Cal. But, given the short time that has taken place since the series premiered, is it too soon?

Meanwhile, Dana Sue is ready to embrace her happiness in her renewed relationship with Ronnie. They’ve both evolved as people and partners. Like Maddie, Dana Sue is more realized than before. She also has Erik and Isaac at Sullivan’s, and business is better than ever. With the money she was left by the late Miss Frances, the foundation is also up and running. Dana Sue has everything she wants; if this were the series finale, we could live happily with this being her ending. So, it’s even harder than with Maddie to see what exactly is in store for Dana Sue if or when the series returns. Regardless, we are hoping to see much, much more of these ladies and the other lovely residents of Serenity now that the show has been renewed for another season.

Sweet Magnolias is now streaming on Netflix.

Watch on Netflix


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