As with any good TV drama, chaos reigned supreme at the end of the second season of The N's hit family drama, South of Nowhere. The relationship of young lesbian lovers Spencer Carlin (Gabrielle Christian) and Ashley Davies (Mandy Musgrave) was in question. Ashley struggled with feelings for her ex-boyfriend, Aiden (Matt Cohen), and both Spencer and Ashley battled with mothers who disapproved of their lesbianism and their love affair.
Spencer's brothers, Glen and Clay, struggled with drug addiction and a pregnant girlfriend, respectively, and a drive-by shooting at the prom in the season finale left the fate of many of the South of Nowhere regulars in question.
Fan forums are rampant with speculation about what will unfold in the third season, which premieres Friday, Aug. 10, at 8 p.m. ET on The N. Although stars Gabrielle Christian, Mandy Musgrave and Maeve Quinlan (Paula Carlin, Spencer's mother) weren't able to divulge much when they recently spoke to AfterEllen.com, they did drop a few hints about what we can expect to see.
Warning: Minor Spoilers
Spashley: To Be or Not To Be?
The main concern of most South of Nowhere fans is, of course, whether Spencer and Ashley will still be together in Season 3. Their tempestuous romance appeared to take a nosedive in the Season 2 finale when Aiden declared his lingering feelings for Ashley. Rather than reject his advances outright, Ashley seemed surprised and, yes, even interested in her ex. So will Ashley rekindle her affair with Aiden, or will she stay with Spencer?
Mandy Musgrave told AfterEllen.com: "No matter what, you can't lose the relationship between Spencer and Ashley. We have something happen over the summer that affects them, and when they come back there's a whole different turn of events that go on with them. Ashley decides who she's going to be with, and it doesn't completely work out in her favor. She doesn't know where to go, she starts making a lot of bad decisions, and Spencer gets to witness every single one of them.
"When you love someone, you can rekindle your friendship as long as you have that thing. You can stay friends even if you can't be lovers. And Spencer and Ashley will have that even if they're not together. But I feel like Spencer and Ashley are true loves. They are meant to be together."
Gabrielle Christian added: "I think like most high school relationships, even though Ashley and Spencer usually end up coming back to each other, there are periods where Ashley makes a wrong decision and Spencer makes a wrong decision and we take our little breaks.
"Over the summer break some things happen between Spencer and Ashley, and it kind of gives Spencer a different outlook on life and teaches her more independence, how to be strong and not so repressed all the time, and how to make decisions for herself instead of always just trying to get Ashley back and trying to impress her.
"She definitely becomes a lot more confident and more determined to figure out where she's going with her future and figure out what she's going to do with her life, because she's going into her senior year and graduating. And with that goes learning the independence of what she's going to do — with or without a relationship. And it's what every high school senior goes through, which I really like because it's a totally different route for Spencer. Now she's in Los Angeles and she's more comfortable with herself, and she's better able to make decisions in her own world."
So if Spencer and Ashley do end up taking a "break" from one another, does this mean that each will have new love interests? The promotional ads for Season 3 indicate that this is indeed the case.
In fact, fans are already speculating about Spencer's romance with a new character, Carmen (aka "Bangs"), played by Brooke Vallone.
Asked about the potential relationship between Carmen and Spencer (already dubbed "Spangs" by the great minds that brought us "Spashley"), Christian said: "There is this new character that shows up and brings a lot of drama along with her. And the actress who plays her, Brooke Vallone, is really great.
"The Carmen character comes from the wrong side of the tracks, and she's got a lot of issues behind her with her life and her family. She's gay, and Spencer meets her and there's a bit of a love story there, but it kind of comes and goes. And by the end of the season, you find out some other things about her that are interesting and make you understand why she is how she is.
"But for Spencer, it's kind of interesting because this is the first person she's really been with, relationship-wise, besides Ashley. And you see the way her family deals with the Carmen character, and the acceptance they have of her as opposed to Ashley. It's kind of contradictory, actually. There are some choices that the writers have made that show the family in a different light, and the way Spencer handles being with women now — because before it was mainly just Ashley. But now she's a gay woman and she's experiencing other women, so you kind of get to see that part of her."