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 3×07 “Somebody I’m Longing to See” is another really, really stressful mid-season episode I really could have done without. Everyone is acting super out of character, and though some of it could be attributed to heightened emotions, it really feels like Maddie is the only one making sense, while Helen and Dana Sue get to externalize their emotions in ways that end up being more destructive than anything. And sure, friendship is about forgiveness, but when these women inevitably make up, probably next episode, it’s going to irk me to see it all be handwaved away.
The episode is also about the other mini-issues that are set to explode just as the issues with the Magnolias are at a boiling point, Erik and the Kathy drama, Annie and Jackson, and Bill and all the drama he’s caused, and that, no matter how much he’s now trying, cannot just be magically fixed now. So let us discuss all of that as we talk Sweet Magnolias 3×07 “Somebody I’m Longing to See”:
I’M FIGHTING FOR THE PEOPLE I LOVE/WITH THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE
Maddie sees it as fighting for the people she loves, but for Dana Sue and probably for Helen, he’s fighting them. It’s a fun perspective shift to see, because we, the viewers, are on Maddie’s side in this “fight.” Just as we are on Annie’s as we see Jackson basically choose the easy road, the one that allows him to still be on his mom’s good side, but “keep” Annie. And as for Bill Townsend, well … it’s true that we see him trying, and that he, for the first time in the history of Sweet Magnolias, seems genuine, but this is Bill we are talking about. We are going to need a lot more to be convinced.
Then there’s the Erik of it all, and the thing there is way more complicated, because …he’s lashing out and he’s got a right to. He’s been done wrong by a narrative that required drama and by a woman that is acting in a way no one expected her to act – a woman that he, at some point, will probably need to fall in love with again, considering what type of show this is. So he has to straddle the line between anger and longing, and there’s nothing quite as complicated at that, though I will give Dion Johnstone props for the acting side of it.
HOW CAN YOU FIX SOMETHING THAT SOMEBODY DOESN’T WANT FIXED?
If the show does something right, it introduces the idea that fixing everyone else’s problems isn’t on Maddie. Everyone’s gotta fix their own issues in their own time. And that means Helen might need to step away, and Dana Sue might need to take some time before they can all come together to talk it out, pour it out, and be on the same page, once again. And hopefully, this moment will be a learning experience for these women, for this friendship. Because the bond they have shouldn’t just be about the good moments, it should be about the bad moments too. It should be able to withstand questions and doubts.
But we also cannot fix our problems if we don’t try, if we don’t put use our words. And perhaps Maddie’s journey has taken her to the precise moment where she can be open and Dana Sue and Helen just aren’t where they need to be in life, and sometimes, we also need to give our friends grace. It’s okay to be upset, and it’s okay to prioritize our mental health, but it’s also fine to understand that others aren’t always as capable as we are to see and understand. If we love someone, we can give them a moment to get to where we are. We can stand there and wait, as Maddie is, hoping they will meet her where she is.
Things I think I think:
- Helen to CeCe: “Don’t be afraid of being first.”
- Helen goes to her mom, who is all of us being like be done with Ryan for good, please.
- Maddie hearing about Ryan and Helen from her mom huuuurts.
- Annie gets into a car crash, because fucking Jackson. And he doesn’t even STAY.
- Jackson gets no sympathy from me. I’m not usually on Dana Sue’s side, but hey, this time.
- But then Dana Sue turns around and is super unfair to Maddie, because she’s super overwhelmed about Annie, which I get, but this episode is stressing me ouuuut.
- Cal helps, he really, really does. And I gotta say, I’m proud of where he’s gotten. It’s not just empty platitudes, either. He says the right things.
- Look, Maddie might just be my favorite this season.
- I love Cal and Erik being friends.
- And I really, really love Ty and Cal.
- This Helen detour is nice, but it also feels sorta directionless.
- Well, that was an ending.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Sweet Magnolias 3×07 “Somebody I’m Longing to See”? Share with us in the comments below!
Sweet Magnolias Season 3 is now available to stream on Netflix.