'Sweet Magnolias': JoAnna Garcia Swisher Breaks Down Season 2 Finale Cliffhangers (Exclusive)
By Philiana Ng
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Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched season 2 of Netflix's Sweet Magnolias.
There's never a dull moment on Sweet Magnolias. The hourlong Netflix drama, based on Sherryl Woods' series of novels, kicked off its second season on Friday, and there was a lot to unpack in the latest episodes.
"[Fans] can definitely expect the same roller-coaster -- maybe even more of a roller-coaster than season 1. A lot is revealed," Sweet Magnolias star JoAnna Garcia Swisher told ET's Lauren Zima. "All of the unanswered questions are addressed and then we obviously have to set the stage for all of the new things that we're gonna throw your way."
And what a roller-coaster it was. By the end of the sophomore season, a lot had changed for Maddie (Swisher), Helen (Heather Headley) and Dana Sue (Brooke Elliott).
For Maddie, her season-long quest to take down the mayor had an explosive ending, as the skeletons in Cal's (Justin Bruening) complicated past came rushing back to the surface. After suffering a debilitating injury that ended his professional baseball career when he was younger, Cal spiraled -- his anger issues from back then resurfaced and became Exhibit A in the present day, resulting in him getting fired by the school board. Soon after, Cal found himself at the center of a heated fight that led to him getting arrested.
"I had a little bit of time to process his anger management and you start to really see the trauma that’s experienced and how he’s so focused on [it]. I think that is heartbreaking to see," Swisher noted. "He clearly was defending me as a strange man is lurching at me on more than one occasion. It’s a huge public fight. He had every right; I believe any man in his position would feel wanting to control that situation, but then it’s so much more complicated because of his past and his current job security and what that is going to mean for them. It’s just so layered, it’s one of those things you’re like, 'I wish that didn’t happen,' and you’re just bummed out."
Swisher acknowledged that the aftermath of the fight and Cal's subsequent arrest will have "a big fallout for him." "It’s not going to be an easy thing to process," she teased.
Meanwhile, Helen was faced with a dilemma in the closing minutes of the season, as her on-again and off-again beau, Ryan (Michael Shenefelt), returned to the picture and asked her to take him back, not knowing that she had suffered a miscarriage. And Ryan complicated matters for her even more -- she was happily moving on with Erik (Dion Johnstone) -- when he got down on one knee and proposed. What will her answer be?
"I don’t know!" Swisher admitted when asked about Helen's cliffhanger. "I felt very Team Eric all season long and even until the end of season 1, but then I watched it and I’m like -- and it's funny because if you asked Heather the same thing, she’s like, 'I really don’t know whose team I’m on.' I really don’t know. But there’s something about Ryan and Helen and their love story that is certainly going to open up a big crossroads for her. You know what you want, or you know what your heart's begging you to do. You know what’s right for you. It’s going to be interesting how she processes all of that."
The actress expressed enthusiasm for a third season, saying that while there is no official news of a pickup (yet), "there are a lot of plans happening and preparations happening in that we would be ready to hit the ground running when Netflix says yes."
"There's a lot of desire on our end and we've always felt super supported by Netflix. So I I would love to tell you, 'Yes, of course,' but that's not how they do that," Swisher said. "We have to still resonate. People still have to be excited for the show and there are some things, some hurdles to cross, but I have a lot of faith."
Asked what she hopes to explore in a potential new season, Swisher was game for anything. "At this point I'm completely addicted to the drama. I'm like, 'Bring it on. What else can we do?' I just want all of it to be 10 times more insane and emotional. I tasted the other side, like, so let's get crazy!" She hypothesized that season 3 would likely pick up "close to where we left off, 'cause I don't think you can come back months later and say, 'Whatever happened with Helen?' and 'Is Justin in jail?' Why not go big or go home?"