Sweet Magnolias 2×08 “The Rules of the Game” is about struggling, and somehow, getting through. It’s a hard episode that sees many of our favorite characters in dark, dark moments, from Dana Sue struggling with her anger at Ronnie, Ty struggling with what his future looks like and even Peggy struggling out to break out from under the thumb of a mother that has ruled her life for far too long. But it’s also a comforting episode in that it proves that, in Serenity, you are never alone.
And you don’t have just one person to help, either. Peggy, who one might argue hasn’t really deserved it, gets support not just from Helen — who she finally thanks for bringing Isaac into her life — but Isaac himself. Dana Sue gets Maddie and Helen, while Helen has Erik and her friends, Annie has Jackson and Ty …well, Ty has his mom, Cal and yes, Kyle.
So, let’s go into the struggles and the people holding others up as we discuss Sweet Magnolias 2×08 “The Rules of the Game”:
WHEN YOU FALL
This is a hard episode for a lot of characters. Annie’s issues with Dana Sue, and with her life in general, seem to be coming to a head. She’s mad at her mom about half the time, and part of it is that she doesn’t understand. Her parents have never explained what happened between them, or why they made the decisions they made. But then again, there’s also the fact that Dana Sue is always extremely hard on Annie, to the point where it feels like self-correction.
But this gets to the root of Dana Sue’s issues too, which she has been unable or unwilling to deal with. And the thing about her is that she ended up with someone who made it easy to avoid her own issues, because he had so many of his own they took precedence. I’m not a fan of cheating storylines, and I have a hard time wanting her relationship with Ronnie to work, but that doesn’t mean I cannot see the truth behind his claims. Dana Sue is inflexible, and that’s hurting not just her, but her family.
Other people are hurting for different reasons. Helen is struggling with wanting a baby and wanting a new relationship to work, Peggy is struggling with breaking free of a controlling mother and making her own decisions and Ty is struggling with rehab and how to get back to do the only thing he’s ever planned on doing. Neither of them are alone, though. Helen has Erik — and her friends, Peggy has Isaac and Ty has his family and yes, Cal, who has become more of a father figure than Bill has been this season.
Life is about falling down and then getting up. And it’s also about the people that help us along the way, which these characters are lucky to have.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO GET UP ALONE
Let’s start with Helen, who has ended up with the best person for her, in all respects. Someone who loves her for who she is, understands her, but also someone who isn’t just willing to put her needs first, but who wants the same kind of life she envisions. This doesn’t seem like such a big deal when we’re younger, but as we get older we understand that true partnership can only be built by two people who are looking in the same direction. That’s Helen and Erik. It’s also Cal and Maddie, who continue to take steps to consolidate themselves as the most solid couple in Serenity.
That is most definitely not Dana Sue and Ronnie and it’s hard to tell if they can get there. It’s clear they won’t if Dana Sue doesn’t just come clean about what she’s feeling, and why she’s feeling it. And she doesn’t have to, she owes Ronnie nothing. But if she wants to try to salvage the relationship, she’s going to have to be honest. With him and with herself.
And she’s going to need to lean on family — Maddie and Helen, her daughters — just as Ty and Kyle are learning to lean on each other, and just how Cal is learning to be there for Maddie’s family, which is quickly becoming his family. Because that’s the thing about this show, the thing about Serenity. There’s always someone there to support you when you need it the most.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Sweet Magnolias 2×08 “The Rules of the Game”? Share with us in the comments below!