This article, “Does Helen end up with Erik or Ryan?”, contains major spoilers for Sweet Magnolias Season 2. You can check out our spoiler-free review by clicking these words.
Helen really gets put through the wringer in the second season of Sweet Magnolias, and her desire for a baby forms one of the most crucial threads. But this is also tied up in her relationships with two men, making for a pretty crucial dilemma, especially by the time the season ends. The question is:
Does Helen end up with Erik or Ryan?
So, Helen and Ryan separated because she wanted a family and he didn’t. This has already occurred by the start of the second season, and we rejoin her happily single. Early in the season, though, she discovers that she’s pregnant (by Ryan), and decides to keep the baby without telling him about it — at least not yet. She’s perfectly happy about this decision, and given all the support she has in Serenity, it’s easy to see why.
Tragically, though, Helen has a miscarriage. Having gotten used to the idea of being pregnant, she endeavors to go through IVF given that her loss of the baby doesn’t seem to be related to any underlying health issue or concern. At around the same time, she begins getting closer and closer to Erik, who is the first person to help her when she needs to go to the hospital and continues to be there for her at any given opportunity.
Eventually, after much flirting, Helen and Erik decide to take their relationship further. However, they decide to keep it sexless for now so as not to conflate emotions; Helen is still focusing on the baby, after all, and she doesn’t want her desire for a child to get mixed up in her feelings for Erik. Erik also has a tragic backstory of his own. He’s a former EMT from Atlanta who lost his wife and unborn child when she experienced complications during her pregnancy and he tried to get her to a hospital. He thought he could do so faster than an ambulance, and he carries a tremendous amount of guilt over not being able to.
Helen and Erik make such a great and obvious couple that it’s easy to forget Ryan ever existed — until he returns to Serenity for his Aunt Frances’s funeral. When he arrives, he has more than mourning on his mind. He tells Helen outright that he now wants a child, and at the very end of the season, he proposes to her.