“Pour It Out” makes for a functional introduction to Sweet Magnolias, teeing up a bunch of subplots to be developed over the rest of the season.
This recap of Sweet Magnolias season 1, episode 1, “Pour It Out”, contains spoilers.
Sweet Magnolias episode 1 has some work to do in establishing its characters and bedding them into its setting of Serenity, South Carolina. Longstanding fans of the books will likely have no trouble, but for newcomers like me, there’s still some piecing together to be done. On that note, let’s take a look at what the women of Serenity were up to in the premiere episode, “Pour It Out”.
Most of this episode revolved around Maddie since it’s her complicated and very public divorce from Bill that kicks a lot of the episode’s happenings into gear. Maddie’s having a mare, to put it mildly. Bill wants to sell the family home, so she’ll need a new house, a new job, a new everything, and the transition isn’t being smoothed along by her eldest son, Tyler, who keeps acting out at baseball practice.
Then again, that might be a good thing, since Ty’s ex-pro hot-stuff coach Cal Maddox has an immediate glimmer in his eyes when he sets them on Maddie. If your son won’t be reasonable, you might as well use him to introduce you to rebounds.
An interesting subplot is burgeoning between Maddie’s younger son, Kyle, and Bill’s new fiance Noreen. He’s the only Townsend kid who’s willing to give her the time of day, and she’s taking an interest in him since she’s pregnant and alone and presumably guilty for having helped to break up the family. Keep an eye on this.
Sweet Magnolias episode 1 puts Dana Sue through the wringer. Her daughter, Annie, is as annoyed as Tyler is about the breakdown of the sacred family unit, and so she has taken to running an Instagram account that exclusively posts pictures of roadkill and bins and other unpleasant things that she claims best represent Serenity. That small-town ennui is strong in Annie.
But that’s the least of Dana Sue’s problems. When expensive whiskey is stolen from the restaurant, she’s happy to overlook it as long as the liquor is returned. But when she comes across her sous chef Brad getting drunk (on the whiskey) and lairy, she fires him and throws him out. Later she discovers her car has been vandalized; it looks like Brad isn’t going to just go and get another job.
Helen is served the least by “Pour It Out”, but in fairness, she gets the most done regardless. It’s her who purchases the old house that she and Dana Sue convince Maddie to turn into a spa together. She spends most of the episode embroiled in a local business dispute during which she pulls no punches whatsoever, and she’s able to get through to Annie’s ambitions by explaining why she returned to Serenity after “escaping” to San Francisco — and why the place isn’t so bad after all.
Sweet Magnolias season 1, episode 1 might not have been the most thrilling episode, but it was functional and had a lot of plot threads to introduce and begin developing. With the groundwork laid, let’s hope for a bit more… well, a bit more everything in subsequent episodes.