Spoilers below for the latest episode of The Conners, so be warned!
For longtime fans of The Conners and its predecessor Roseanne, the joy over seeing Danielle Harris' Molly Tilden was short-lived, as the character was killed off in an unexpected twist that kicked off Episode 316. Thankfully, Molly was able to light an inspirational fire under Sara Gilbert's Darlene that could very well cause the character to turn over a new leaf. But will that leaf-turning then cause problems to sprout between Darlene and Jay R. Ferguson's Ben? It sounds like that might be the case.
When CinemaBlend recently spoke with The Conners' showrunner Bruce Helford and executive producer Dave Caplan, I voiced my concerns over Ben's growing fixation on Darlene moving in with him. It'd be one thing if Darlene was giving him a "One day soon..." kind of response, but by and large, she has justifiably argued against that outcome while she and Becky are still in the process of helping their father pay the mortgage. In response, Helford and Caplan did not thwart my somewhat pessimistic feelings about where that relationship is heading. In their words:
BRUCE: Without spoilers, I can say there are some very big speed bumps.
DAVE: The pressures that they both face with with the changes in their lives – with Ben taking over his father's hardware store and with Darlene having to help Dan – those things can create a lot of obstacles in a relationship. We're gonna see those obstacles play out. It's going to be difficult for them. Because of economics and just the trick of managing a relationship at any point in time – let alone through a pandemic – and through the difficulty of somebody you know going away, they've got a lot of troubles ahead. But we're rooting for them.
Indeed, Ben's short time running his father's hardware store so far has already created some turmoil for these characters, mostly involving Dan trying to backdoor his way into partial ownership. That largely seems to be water under the bridge now, with Ben giving Dan a 10% stake, with the idea that Dan can build his finances back up to a point where Darlene can feel comfortable moving out. Will that ever really happen? Your guess is as good as mine, but I think fans are well aware of how Darlene's headspace works at this point. There's a reason why she's slept so many years of her life in the same bedroom, after all.
So it's easy to imagine that Darlene and Ben's relationship troubles would spark from their mutually exclusive living situations. (And not necessarily from Johnny Galecki's return as David to mess things up.) But that brings us back to Molly, who clearly had an impact on Darlene's psyche by reminding her that life is meant to be enjoyed as much as anything else. It's still not exactly clear whether or not Darlene somehow got a refund on those airline tickets that Molly left her as a parting gift, but if she didn't, that'll no doubt cause Ben to ask why it didn't happen after she'd previously agreed to. Cue the stressful dialogue.
That said, The Conners' showrunner Bruce Helford then also offered up a pretty wild reveal about what viewers can expect to see before Season 3 is up, and it almost necessarily has to involve Darlene and Ben. In his words:
There will be some marriage proposals at the end of the season.
Note that Bruce Helford didn't just mention ONE marriage proposal, but rather multiple big questions being popped. Of course, he did not tease that these proposals would be greeted with approving answers, so maybe viewers shouldn't be getting their hopes up just yet. Considering it was part of the same conversation as the Ben and Darlene tidbits, I would put lots of money on Ben asking Darlene to marry him, though I wouldn't wager nearly as much on Darlene saying yes. Though she could very well be the one to propose to Ben as a sign of relationship faith that she's not shying away from commitment.
Elsewhere, is it possible Becky and her baby daddy Emilio will attempt to have a more romantic wedding that isn't solely tied to him being allowed to live in the U.S.? Or will Dan and Louise get married, despite Katey Sagal being on another ABC show now?!? Dan and Louise! Dan and Louise!