Warning: This story contains spoilers from season 2 of Sweet Magnolias.
Bless their hearts! Sweet Magnolias came back with a bang in season 2, leaving fans with even more unanswered questions after finally resolving who was in the car. Thankfully, stars JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Brooke Elliott and Heather Headley were more than happy to discuss all the twists.
Isaac (Chris Medlin) searched for his birth parents throughout much of season 2 — which dropped on Netflix on Friday, February 4 — as Helen (Headley) helped him. Together, they deciphered clues from a Bible that his biological mother left him, which led them to Peggy (Brittany L. Smith), who gave Isaac up for adoption after getting pregnant as a teenager.
Isaac then wanted to know who his biological father was, so Peggy had to inform the mystery man that they had a child together after keeping it a secret from him for 22 years. Turns out, Peggy and Bill (Chris Klein) hooked up during a model UN conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, during their junior year of high school. When Peggy’s mother discovered that she was pregnant, the matriarch and Bill’s mom orchestrated the adoption, without ever telling Bill that his eldest son existed.
Bill’s ex-wife, Maddie (Swisher), lashed out at him when he shared the news, but she ultimately forgave him, telling him that she was finally letting him go.
“I think that she has really made her decision and put it to rest,” Swisher, 42, exclusively tells Us Weekly. “I think that this season, in particular, there is no turning back, and I think that offers an opportunity for Bill to kind of explore — like, go find yourself, Bill, turn this ship around. Because if there was that nagging sort of, like, possible forgiveness, I don’t think it would lend itself to that growth. And I think it just is important for Maddie too to just [say], ‘This is not happening anymore.’”
Season 2 ended with more than one cliffhanger. Helen, for her part, suffered a miscarriage after discovering that she was pregnant with her ex Ryan’s (Michael Shenefelt) child. She chose not to tell Ryan about her pregnancy, so Erik (Dion Johnstone) was the one who helped her through the miscarriage. As she healed, Helen and Erik finally got together, only for Ryan to return to town, tell Helen he changed his mind about having kids and propose to her in the finale.
“You know that person that you loved since whatever, and you always had this thing in your head that, ‘I know what our children are gonna look like. I know how we’re gonna walk down the aisle. I know what dress I’m gonna wear,’” Headley, 47, tells Us of Ryan’s unexpected reemergence. “You just need to ask and everything will go in order, you know what I mean? And so, when that script breaks up, it’s hard because you’re like, ‘This was my script. This was the way the movie was supposed to go.’”
However, the Tony winner notes that Helen’s relationship with Erik is not perfect either. “As sweet as Erik is, I think Erik has some issues that he also needs to address that may prove a little issue for them,” she explains. “But then I think the big problem is just this history with Ryan that they break up all the time. I mean, that’s in the first season. It’s just, like, they break up all the time and then he shows back up or she shows up and they’re like, ‘OK.’ So, it’s the history that’s the problem. I love both relationships. I like both guys.”
In addition to dealing with Bill’s paternity drama, Maddie was handed another shocker when she learned that her boyfriend, Cal (Justin Bruening), previously went to rehab for anger management. The baseball coach got fired upon the revelation that he was arrested for assault and battery in the past. Cal assured Maddie that he had changed, but his temper flared again when a fan got in Maddie’s face while insisting that they help Cal regain his job. As the season ended, Cal was arrested for punching the man.
The cast was floored by the jaw-dropping moments at the conclusion of season 2, as Elliott — whose character, Dana Sue, seemingly got her happy ending with estranged husband Ronnie (Brandon Quinn) — divulges. “I was, like, left with cliffhangers. I was like, ‘Oh, my God,’” the Drop Dead Diva alum, 47, tells Us. “I was really in it with everybody else. Oh, I hope everyone else will be in it just as much. I can’t imagine they wouldn’t. It’s so good.”
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Season 2 of Sweet Magnolias is now streaming on Netflix.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi