This article contains major spoilers for Sweet Magnolias Season 2. You can check out our spoiler-free season review by clicking these words.
In the first season of Sweet Magnolias, it was revealed that Isaac, who works in the kitchen at Sullivan’s, was adopted and had come to Serenity at least in part to track down his biological parents. While this wasn’t given much room to be expanded on in that first run of episodes, Isaac’s parentage is one of the key subplots in the second season, and yield’s some big surprises. So, without further ado, let’s answer the question:
Who are Isaac’s biological parents?
Initially, Isaac believed — or perhaps hoped — that Dana Sue was his mother. This obviously wasn’t the case, but he doesn’t give up on his quest. Instead, he goes to Helen for help, and her legal expertise enable him to track down first his mother and then his father.
This is a season-long process. It takes several episodes to find out that Peggy Martin is Isaac’s biological mother. This involves following some opaque clues she left in a bible that she gifted him. Peggy lives and works in Serenity and is well-known among the townsfolk. She isn’t close to the magnolias, but she also isn’t disliked; she’s a respected member of the community. However, she also has a very stern and controlling mother, and as we later come to learn, her mother was a huge factor in the decision to put Isaac up for adoption in the first place.
When Isaac initially meets Peggy, it’s quite by accident, and the penny drops for everyone rather suddenly. This makes the situation more complicated because it’s a pretty big bombshell to drop right on someone’s doorstep. Peggy takes a while to process the news that Isaac is in town, and she once again encounters resistance from her mother. Eventually, though, she resolves to develop a relationship with Isaac against her mother’s wishes, and this also allows her to become closer to the magnolias.
As for Isaac’s father, well, that’s an even bigger deal. Peggy might have been familiar in Serenity, but she wasn’t a major character. Bill Townsend, though, has factored into several important storylines throughout both seasons, most notably his affair and child with Noreen. So, when it’s revealed that Bill is Isaac’s father, that’s a big deal.
Now, in fairness to Bill, he had no idea. Peggy’s mother and his own parents kept Peggy’s pregnancy from him completely. He’s stunned when Peggy tells him the news, and his first thought goes to whether or not Isaac was treated well by his adoptive parents (he was.) Bill has done a lot of wrong and caused a lot of pain in town, which Isaac is acutely aware of, but he also showed a lot of warmth to Isaac when he met him earlier in the season and thanked him for what he had done for Noreen and her baby.
Maddie doesn’t take the news well. We’ll have to wait for another season to see whether or not Bill is able — or willing — to bond with his son, though I’d like to believe that he does.