This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, Sweet Magnolias wouldn’t exist. We stand with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA.
Sweet Magnolias 3×02 “Meet Me Where I Am” gets more into the meat of what this season is about than Sweet Magnolias 3×01 “Meaning to Tell You,” as Erik Whitley makes the right decision for himself, Ryan Wingate continues to act like the perfect man we all know he isn’t, Ty is a mirror of Cal in more ways than one and friendships are the saving grace for all characters – not just Maddie, Helen and Dana Sue.
This show might be called Sweet Magnolias, and it might be centered on a female friendship, but one of the things it has excelled at throughout the course of three seasons it’s been establishing just as strong bonds between the men of this show. The women can pour it out and the men can hug it out on a basketball court, and neither of those things feels inauthentic to what the show is.
If anything, I could do with less Annie and Jackson – and Ryan Wingate, but that’s another problem altogether. For now, let us talk about the decisions – and the developments of Sweet Magnolias 3×02 “Meet Me Where I Am”:
YOU ALREADY HAVE
Helen admits it later, but it was truly very naïve of her to think she could keep Erik in her life – as a friend, or as whatever else, while she was exploring what she could have with Ryan. And it’s also really, really unfair how she keeps giving Ryan chance after chance after chance. In a way, I get it, though. There’s so much history there. So much baggage. She feels like she owes it to herself.
But for someone who can see everyone else so clearly, Helen has never been able to see the toxicity of her relationship with Ryan Wingate clearly. Because there’s no other word for what their relationship has been than that: toxic. Even as they discuss their possible future in this episode, it’s all about the sacrifices they have to make, the things they have to give up for each other. They don’t want the same things, they never have. That hasn’t changed.
Ryan is just reacting to his aunt’s death, and Helen is just clinging to him partly because of the same reason, partly because of the miscarriage, and in some ways, because she has never known how to lose. That’s the lawyer mentality, you win cases, and you have to win at life. Except life isn’t about winning or losing, sometimes it’s about finding peace. Joy. A person that makes you feel like you don’t have to keep score. Ryan Wingate isn’t that person, he can never be. And Helen will come to figure that out. Hopefully, it won’t be too late when she does.
TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN
In many ways, it feels like Ty and Cal are two sides of the same coin right now. Cal clearly sees it, and he calls Ty out on it. For a second, near the end of the episode, it even seems like Ty kinda gets it too. Because they both let their emotions get the better of them because they’re trying to protect Maddie, when the truth is, sometimes they gotta let Maddie fight her own battles and think of themselves.
Cal is an adult, of course, but he’s gotta get his anger issues under control and find better coping mechanisms, but he also has to understand that he’s got a support system now. He’s got Maddie, yes, but he also has friends, people that love him and won’t just turn their back on him because he had a bad night, a bad moment.
Instead, he’s got people who will ask him what he needs, and will do their best to help him. And Ty, who is a kid, has to understand that he can still be that – a kid. He’s got a lot to figure out, but he still gets to be a kid. He can be angry at his dad, and he can feel protective over his mom, but he isn’t responsible for his parents, or even his siblings. He is only responsible for figuring out what he wants to do going forward. No more, no less. He can let the adults figure out the rest.
Things I think I think:
- Helen, I love you, but did you really tell the man “I don’t want to lose our friendship”?
- Someone give Erik a hug.
- Ty feels like he’s more Cal’s son than Bill’s sometimes.
- Annie’s face at the description of the birthday party is priceless.
- They cannot make it two weeks without touching each other, can they? Can they?
- Please, let the Annie and Jackson era end.
- Hey, Ty did watch Romeo + Juliet!
- Ty’s “really?” to his dad was POINTED and it gave me life.
- I love how they basically kicked Ronnie out of Margarita night. Kindly, but yeah.
- Friendship is Maddie not telling Helen “I told you so,” even though she did.
- Kinda cute that Isaac is going to be his mom’s friend. Fresh start.
- Yeah, Maddie and Cal aren’t gonna make it.
- Maddie running is the obvious answer, everyone can see it, right?
- I don’t believe you, Ryan Wingate.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Sweet Magnolias 3×02 “Meet Me Where I Am”? Share with us in the comments below!
Sweet Magnolias Season 3 is now available to stream on Netflix.