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Firefly Lane Season 2 Review - We Finally Know Why Kate Is Mad at Tully Firefly Lane Season 2 Review - We Finally Know Why Kate Is Mad at Tully

Firefly Lane

Firefly Lane Season 2 Part 1 Review – We Finally Know Why Kate Is Mad at Tully

Firefly Lane. (L to R) Katherine Heigl as Tully, Sarah Chalke as Kate in episode 206 of Firefly Lane. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

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If you loved Firefly Lane Season 1, well, buckle up because Firefly Lane Season 2 Part 1 is better, funnier, and darker… and it ends on yet another cliffhanger! 

Warning—spoilers ahead! If you haven’t watched the season and don’t want to know what happens–stop reading!

Since we’re already familiar with Kate (Sarah Chalke) and Tully (Katherine Heigl) and know what to expect from them, the series was able to dig deeper into their past and present to color in lines and spaces, which also included addressing the big elephant in the room: what led to their gigantic fallout.

There was a time in the ’70s when Kate and Tully pressed pause on their friendship, but it was only for a short while and never as dramatic as the feud that they are going through that’s made evident at Bud’s (Paul McGillion) funeral. 

The series, naturally, kept viewers hanging in suspense for quite some time, pulling back the curtain on the big mystery inch by inch. However, it had to be something life-altering to end a decades-long friendship, especially since Tully and Kate have been through so much already and stuck by each other no matter what. 

At first, we saw snippets of an accident involving one of the women, though it wasn’t clear which one. All we saw was the keychain from Germany that Tully bought them while they were visiting Johnny (Ben Lawson) in the hospital. With each passing episode, the picture became clearer, and eventually, we learned that it was Tully Hart in the driver’s seat of the red sports car she wanted to gift to her mom, Cloud (Beau Garrett), and then Kate, both of which turned it down. But the jaw-dropping plot twist came when it was revealed that Marah (Yael Yurman), Kate and Johnny’s daughter, was Tully’s passenger.

Firefly Lane. (L to R) Roan Curtis as Young Kate, Ali Skovbye as Young Tully in episode 202 of Firefly Lane. Cr. Diyah Pera/Netflix © 2022

As I said, there’s not much that could cause a rift between Tully and Kate, but putting Marah in danger would definitely be at the top of the list. If it were a mere accident, I think Kate would have found it in her heart to forgive Tully, but there are a lot of factors at play that put them on the outs, including Tully’s drinking before getting in the car to pick up Marah and the fact that she let Marah go out when she was supposed to be grounded. Marah ended up at a frat party, which wasn’t entirely Tully’s fault, but it was her fault that she didn’t respect Kate’s parenting in the first place.

We got to explore Kate and Tully’s friendship on a more molecular level this time around, and there’s clearly a pattern of Tully leading and Kate following, oftentimes, with dire consequences like getting suspended for swimming in the school pool, going on a road trip without any money, or almost burning down the TV station after hours. And it’s clear that while Kate was lucky to have such a great best friend by her side during her formative years, Tully created problems. Tully dragged her into messes, which Kate then had to clean up while Tully never accepted any blame for them.

But this time, Tully crossed the line, and Kate had enough. All Kate saw was Tully being reckless, yet again, only this time, with the person that mattered most in the world to her. She thought she could trust her for one night, and when she got the call that every person dreads, the trust was broken.

The worst part for me was how Tully handled the situation in the aftermath, which made it hard to feel sorry for her. She thought she was owed something because of how close she was to Kate. When she finally got face to face with Kate, who didn’t even want to see her, the first words out of her mouth weren’t I’m so sorry, though they should have been, they were “what hurt you the most, I’ll explain that.” If Tully had just shown a shred of remorse and humanity, Kate might have been able to forgive her a lot quicker, but it was once again the Tully show. I also didn’t like how she tried to push Johnny out of the way because it was “between her and Kate” because, in this case, it went above and beyond their friendship. Marah is Johnny’s daughter, so it absolutely concerned him, and I was so happy to see him stand up to her and let her know. Johnny has always been so lax about how much Tully is involved in his life, but this is the one time he put his foot down and stood by his wife. 

I had sympathy for Tully for a myriad of reasons this season, mostly her adolescent years being a parent to Cloud because, let’s be honest, that couldn’t have been easy and no one deserves it, but unfortunately, this was not one of her best moments. I don’t blame Kate for pushing her away, even if it was an accident and Tully was technically not responsible for the actual crash. Kate championed Tully in everything—she was always in her corner, and the one time she needed her, she let her down.

I also see the other side of it, where Kate should’ve probably cut Tully some slack knowing that she would never intentionally put Marah in danger. Tully acted on instinct because was personally triggered by Marah’s call as it reminded her of her own assault and she wanted to be there for her goddaughter in a way that no one was there for her. However, there were so many other ways she could’ve handled it given that she drank so much wine that evening. It was on Tully to be the adult and make the right call, and you can definitely say she paid the consequences for her actions. In addition to losing her best friend, her reputation was tainted and she lost any shot at her own talk show.

In a way, the accident was also a blessing in disguise because it forced Tully to take a break and reframe her life, helping her realize that the way she was living her life and shutting out everyone so that she couldn’t get hurt was reckless. She couldn’t play the victim anymore (or blame her present-day mistakes on the past) simply because life dealt her a bad hand.

In fact, the time that they both spent away from each other felt healthy and healing—it was necessary, almost like that break you take from a significant other before you come back stronger than ever. It was much like Kate’s break with Johnny back in the ’80s, when they took time apart to reevaluate things. I forced them to reassess what they wanted out of life. In the final episode of the season, Tully tells Kate that distance makes the heart grow fonder, and that couldn’t be more true.  

It’s that very quote that caused Johnny to miss his shot with Kate, as she decided to take a leap of faith and follow her new boyfriend, Theo, to Europe. And to that, I say, hell yes, Kate. I know that her heart was still calling out for  Johnny, but as Tully reminded her at the time, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. No one was saying that Theo was her forever man, but as someone who has only ever been with Johnny, she deserved to see what else was out there.

Firefly Lane Season 2 Review - We Finally Know Why Kate Is Mad at Tully

Firefly Lane. (L to R) Yael Yurman as Marah, Ben Lawson as Johnny in episode 204 of Firefly Lane. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

The season dived deeply into Johnny and Kate’s relationship in the past, including the honeymoon phase of their new relationship and, more specifically, Johnny’s insistence that he didn’t want the traditional marriage and children, which led to their breakup. 

The incredible thing about Firefly Lane and how it’s written is that even though we know how things are eventually going to turn out since we’re also following the storyline in the present, we remain totally invested in seeing it pan out in the past. We know Johnny eventually changes his mind and marries Kate and has a child with her, but I also want to see if Kate does follow through with Europe or if Johnny’s gesture with the glass wipes gave her a change of heart. His speech to her when he brought the wipes was honestly the cutest thing in the world. I’d argue that it may have been more important than the declaration of love, which came later, and a little too late as it seemed Kate opted to go on her trip, leaving behind the wipes on the counter in a move that possibly signaled she was doing her best to leave him in the past.

But will she make it for her flight? Will she get to the airport and realize she can’t get on the plane? Or will she enjoy her vacation and get some much-needed time in the sun before she returns and tells Johny it’s always been him? There are so ways this can go, and while we know how it ends, the journey is just as important, if not even more exciting. 

In the present day, Johnny and Kate try to navigate co-parenting following their divorce, despite the fact that they both still have very strong feelings for each other. 

I love that the series didn’t push them together immediately after his accident in Iraq because it was important for Johnny to work through his PTSD. Upon arriving back home, he wasn’t ready to be the man that Kate and Marah needed. He hadn’t worked through why he went on such a dangerous trip in the first place (which he later says was selfish and that he wanted to “prove” something to himself), nor did he work through the trauma of the accident and the darkness he saw while he was over there. It was crucial for Johnny’s personal and development to remain single until he arrived at a point where he sought out therapy, journaling, and other positive mental health habits. And though it was heartbreaking to watch him go through it, I’m glad the series showed the very real implications of war on anyone touched by it, including war correspondents and their families. 

Kate was a rock through it all for Johnny, allowing him to stay at her house and even taking care of him. Of course, that also brought Charlie (India de Beaufort) into the fold, who was known as Lottie back in the day, the intern at the news station was in love with Johnny and didn’t care that he was taken. Charlie had a bit of a glow-up, and she was now a badass war correspondent who reconnected with Johnny in Iraq. And while there was evident chemistry between her and Johnny, she simply wasn’t Kate. That’s not to say that she didn’t cause her fair share of frustration though, because she definitely did, as Kate felt as though she could never measure up or be the “goddess.” Kate was forever the wallflower, but as Lottie once said, she was the patron saint of mousy wallflowers—and that’s an impressive feat!

Firefly Lane Season 2 Review - We Finally Know Why Kate Is Mad at Tully

Firefly Lane. (L to R) India de Beaufort as Lottie/Charlie, Ben Lawson as Johnny in episode 202 of Firefly Lane. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

It’s hard to say who was more vexing, Charlie or Lisa-Karen, the BFF that Kate tried to replace Tully with while they were “on a break” in high school. Lisa-Karen was infuriating because of how manipulative she was, which largely stemmed from her jealousy over Kate and Tully’s friendship. The plot also underscored how special it was to find a friend like Tully—your person, as Grey’s Anatomy fans would say. Their rift, in fact, emphasized the need for a best friend to go through life with—one that you can be yourself around and share anything and everything with. In the present, we saw Kate try to fill the Tully-sized void with another friend that she made in a college writing class, but that was proof that making genuine friends as an adult is extremely difficult. They were writing class friends, sure, but they weren’t “check out this rash on my boobs friends.” And Kate learned that the hard way. Neither of them had a person to share their accomplishments, fears, or big news with, though Kate definitely had a bigger support system than Tully, who only ever really had her best friend. 

Kate felt Tully’s absence the most after she got re-engaged to Johnny, and then when she got her boob rash checked out and learned that it was stage 3 breast cancer. (I checked—it’s curable but there’s a huge chance the cancer will grow back after treatment). It was at that moment that Tully’s screw-up didn’t matter—she didn’t want to call Johnny, she needed her best friend to deal with this devastating diagnosis. Unfortunately, by the time she realized it, it was too late as Tully accepted an offer to do a docu-special and was on her way to spend half the year in Antarctica. In a movie cliche, Kate arrived at the penthouse right as Tully disappeared into the elevator to go on her trip. They missed each other by seconds, and it was truly heartbreaking to see Kate break down at the thought of dealing with this life-changing situation without her bestie by her side. 

Firefly Lane Season 2 Review - We Finally Know Why Kate Is Mad at Tully

Firefly Lane. (L to R) Sarah Chalke as Kate, Ben Lawson as Johnny in episode 201 of Firefly Lane. Cr. Diyah Pera/Netflix © 2022

The whole cancer storyline in a show about best friends definitely gave me Dead to Me vibes (you can read that recap here), but it’s an important reminder to get checked out regularly and know the warning signs. 

It’s hard to feel bad for Tully sometimes, but it’s also hard not to feel for her considering her tumultuous upbringing, which forced her to put up a shield as armor. Her bubbly, carefree attitude was simply a cover for all the pain and emotional trauma she endured when she was younger, a price she’s still paying for in the present. The second season puts a magnifying glass on her relationship with Cloud, but thankfully, not all the parts are bad. There’s a seemingly happy ending to this story that I don’t think many of us expected. 

One scene stuck out to me in particular: After Tully and Kate go the extra mile to clean up the house and make sure everything is presentable for Cloud’s parole office, including hiding a man they assumed was dead of an overdose in the closet, Cloud showed barely any appreciation for the lengths her daughter continuously goes to in order to keep her from destroying her life. None of this should be normal to a young girl, and yet, it’s the only thing Tully has ever known—she’s constantly in survival mode, and thankfully has Kate to keep her sane. At that moment,  she questions, “she’s never going to be my mom, is she?” and the scene is juxtaposed with the turning point in their relationship in the present, in which Cloud and Tully have a functioning mother-daughter relationship. 

Cloud is present for many of Tully’s darkest days following the DUI and loss of Kate; she’s even the one that Tully calls when she’s lonely, and the person she spends the holidays with. It’s still very much a reversed relationship in which Tully takes care of her mother, but it’s nice that she’s around and that they were able to mend some of the cracks and find a way to exist in each other’s lives. Cloud even apologizes to Tully for not being the greatest mom, while Tully’s quest to find out more about her birth father reveals that Cloud never stood a chance. From the beginning, Cloud was set up to fail by the people that should have been there for her and protected her.

Firefly Lane Season 2 Review - We Finally Know Why Kate Is Mad at Tully

Firefly Lane. (L to R) Beau Garrett as Cloud, Katherine Heigl as Tully in episode 201 of Firefly Lane. Cr. Diyah Pera/Netflix © 2022

There are several moments in the season where we see Cloud try to be better, do better, and get out from under her demons to be the mother that she thinks Tully deserved, but it’s always short-lived. Both Tully and Cloud were hurt, and it all leads back to Benedict Binswanger (Greg Germann), who later becomes governor of Washington, and clashes with Tully in her reporter days as he’s a misogynistic ass that tries to reduce Tully to nothing more than a pretty face. When we first see him pop up on the screen, my mind immediately went to the thought that he was Tully’s father, but that was too obvious. It turns out, all this time, he was her uncle and he knew and still acted that way toward her. 

Benedict kept Tully’s parents apart by paying off her family so that they would give her a letter informing her that he didn’t want to be part of the child’s life. He then gave his brother a letter saying that she was aborting the child. And since the internet and cell phones didn’t exist back then, there was nothing either of them could do. 

Fast-forward to the present-day and Tully’s documentary uncovered that Benedict’s brother became estranged from his family, moved away, and became the owner of a restaurant outside of town that Tully once frequented. It was an entirely surprising turn of events, but it was necessary; not everything in Tully’s life had to be negative and depressing.

While the family’s meddling was to blame for Tully’s chaotic upbringing, thankfully, years later, she was able to channel all that pain into a high-profile career, which allowed her to get some closure not only for herself but also for her mother, who was cheated of her true love and the life she deserved.

 Although she was too late to meet her father, the knowledge that they did meet once—and he gave her the aloe plant after she burned her hand—was a sweet consolation, as was his wife’s intel that once he realized the Tully Hart was his daughter, he couldn’t be prouder of her. Filling in the gap that weighed so heavily over her head finally gave Tully some kind of peace.

There were a handful of positive additions to the season, including Tully’s lawyer Justine (Jolene Purdy), who was a firecracker ready to go bat for her client, and Danny, the other anchor at the news station that Tully had a romantic yet competitive relationship with. 

Oh wow, did Tully need a Danny (Ignacio Serricchio)! She’s dated so many guys, but we’ve never seen anyone who was her equal—who inspired, challenged, and championed her all in one.

Firefly Lane Season 2 Review - We Finally Know Why Kate Is Mad at Tully

Firefly Lane. Katherine Heigl as Tully in episode 203 of Firefly Lane. Cr. Diyah Pera/Netflix © 2022

Quite frankly, I hated Danny at the beginning of the season, as did Tully, but with time, he really grew on me. By the time he turned down the anchor position and jetted off to New York City, I was heartbroken—probably even more than Tully let on. He really seemed like the one that got away, but since the show has a way of working the past into the present, I figured that we’d hopefully see him down the line again. And we did! 

As fate would have it, he ended up being Tully’s penthouse neighbor. What are the odds? From the moment they reconnected, their chemistry was instant, but unfortunately, Danny was already dating Celeste, a great woman, and most importantly, not jealous of Tully in the slightest. I usually hate jealous girlfriends, but in this instance, I think Celeste should have been because she was completely naive to the constant flirtation happening between these Danny and Tully. They weren’t just friends, and Danny made it clear when he said goodbye to Tully before she left for Antarctica. Unfortunately, emotional cheating is still cheating, so I hate that Danny did that, especially since it likely messed with Tully’s emotions when she was supposed to be focusing on her upcoming gig. However she’s not the type to let anything throw her off balance, so Danny’s repressed feelings will just have to wait till season 3. 

What do you think will happen when Tully returns in several months? Will Danny still be around? Will Kate be far along in her breast cancer treatment?

There were so many important topics weaved into the season, and on top of Johnny’s accident and PTSD, Tully confronting her rape, the car accident, and Kate’s breast cancer diagnosis, there was also Sean’s (Jason McKinnon) coming out, which was a long time coming. 

When his parents continued to press and question why he was living in Kate’s basement instead of returning home to his wife and family, Sean couldn’t pretend anymore. Keeping his sexuality a secret was like this dark cloud looming over his life. But when he finally laid it all out for his parents—I agree with Sean that his mother always knew and didn’t want to admit it—he was finally free. Feeling free and finding inner peace seemed to be the overall theme of the season.

Eventually, Sean’s parents fully embraced him as Margie (Chelah Horsdal) joined a group of LGBTQ+ parents to show her support, while Bud connected with Sean’s new boyfriend over sports. 

And somehow, despite all those serious and difficult topics, the series somehow found a way to be absolutely hilarious at the same time. There were some incredibly fun moments throughout, with the episode where Johnny and Kate accidentally take ecstasy in the newsroom being one of the best of the season.

As for the best scene in the season? Tully telling Wilson King she can’t work for him anymore because the price is too high right after he tries to minimize her by calling her “kiddo.”

At the end of the day, Firefly Lane reminds us of the importance of having a true friend while giving us a whiplash of emotions, encompassing the true nature of the ups and downs of life. 

What did you think of the season? Did you enjoy it better than Firefly Lane Season 1? And where do you think it will go from here?

The second part of season 2—episodes 10 through 16 will arrive sometime in 2023, so stay tuned. 

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Lizzy Buczak is the founder of CraveYouTV. What started off as a silly blog in her sophomore year at Columbia College Chicago turned her passion for watching TV into an opportunity! She has been in charge of CraveYou since 2011, writing reviews and news content for a wide variety of shows. Lizzy is a Music Business and Journalism major who has written for RADIO.COM, TV Fanatic, Time Out Chicago, Innerview, Pop’stache and Family Time.

Firefly Lane

Firefly Lane Season 2 Part 2 Biggest Moments

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Firefly Lane Season 2 Part 2 dropped on April 27—moved up from its original premiere date of June 8—and hit fans in the feels with a powerful storyline about friendship, loss, and letting go. 

We’re breaking down the biggest, most jaw-dropping, and heartbreaking moments from the final episodes below:

 

Kate Dies

This is arguably the biggest development, though the least surprising. If you’ve read the Firefly Lane books, you know that Kate succumbs to cancer, but seeing her journey through diagnosis, recovery, and eventually, the terminal stage, is heartbreaking to see pan out on screen. Kate displays an array of emotions—from shock to anger to sadness and eventually, acceptance—which can also be said for the people who loved her. Johnny, Tully, and Marah are there for Kate every step of the way, holding her close and struggling to imagine a future without her in it. Eventually, Kate’s time comes and she dies a peaceful and serene death alone overlooking the beautiful view of her dream home. 

Firefly Lane Season 2 Part 2 Review Kate's Cancer

Firefly Lane. (L to R) Sarah Chalke as Kate, Katherine Heigl as Tully in episode 216 of Firefly Lane. Cr. Diyah Pera/Netflix © 2023

She Gets Married to Johnny… Again

Much of the first half of Firefly Lane Season 2 focused on Johnny and Kate finding their way back to each other, and it was a little frustrating at times to see two people who loved each other so much constantly push each other away and hurt each other. However, the back half of the season finally gave us all the Kate and Johnny moments, including their second wedding. While the blissful moments were clouded by Kate’s cancer, we saw a beautiful display of love, with Johnny living up to “in sickness and in health.” It was also vital that the series showed a realistic portrayal of cancer as Kate and Johnny still made time for their sex life and having fun as a couple while also supporting each other when things got tough, all the way through Kate’s final moments. 

Firefly Lane. (L to R) Ben Lawson as Johnny, Sarah Chalke as Kate in episode 212 of Firefly Lane. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

Marah Gets Married

There was a lot of speculation about the flash-forward scene at a wedding, with many thinking that it was Johnny and Tully’s wedding. For those who have been shipping Tully and Dan, you’ll be pleased to know that she did not take Kate’s blessing to be with Johnny seriously, and the duo did not get married. When Johnny is waiting for the bride, he’s waiting for Marah to show up and marry a doctor. It’s the reason why Johnny is so nervous yet excited—his baby girl is all grown up! And Tully is there, keeping her promise to Kate, to take care of Marah as she pins the veil on her goddaughter. 

 

Tully and Danny End Up Together

Can you say finally? Tully and Danny’s relationship was 20 years in the making. but the timing was finally right. And they were ready to make it work. Danny called off his engagement to his fianceé Celeste after she kissed Tully, while Tully stopped pushing Danny away and admitted that she loved him and wanted to be with him. We don’t see Danny in the flash forward to Marah’s wedding, but we do hear his voice calling Tully downstairs, so it’s safe to say that they’ve made it work for over a decade.

Firefly Lane. (L to R) Katherine Heigl as Tully, Ignacio Serricchio as Danny in episode 212 of Firefly Lane. Cr. Diyah Pera/Netflix © 2023

Lightning Strikes Lisa-Karen

Kate and Lisa-Karen’s friendship took a bit of a backburner once Tully came back into the picture, but after she walked in on Kate making out with Coop, the hottest guy in school, the two began chatting again with Kate even scheduling a hang-out at Lisa-Karen’s house. Unfortunately, Lisa-Karen died shortly after offering to cover Kate’s shift so that she could go on a hot date with Coop.

As things between Kate and Coop get hot and heavy with Coop, Lisa-Karen gets struck by lightning while taking out the trash. Kate blames herself for Lisa-Karen’s death, telling Tully that it should’ve been her, but the truth is that it was just a freak accident. 

 

Hot for Teacher, Hot for Coop

Kate’s secret romance with Coop, who was too embarrassed to admit his feelings for her in front of his friends, was a huge focus of the high school timeline, as was Tully’s crush on her English teacher. Thankfully, he never reciprocated those feelings, setting boundaries instead, while Kate eventually realized Coop was not the guy she wanted to be with. When he finally owned up to his feelings and told the whole school Kate was his girlfriend, she turned him down like the boss that she is. 

Firefly Lane. (L to R) Roan Curtis as Young Kate, Ali Skovbye as Young Tully in episode 211 of Firefly Lane. Cr. Diyah Pera/Netflix © 2023

Kate’s Masterpiece

With her days limited, Kate decided to finish writing her book, which she later revealed was the story of her life titled Firefly Lane. She gave one version to Johnny to give to Marah when she was old enough so she could get to know her mother while the other copy was given to Tully at Kate’s funeral. Kate’s note told Tully that whenever she misses her, she can open the book and find her within the words. It was a beautiful way to pay tribute to Kate’s passion for writing and her friendship with Tully, while also honoring her life story.

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Firefly Lane

Does Kate Die on ‘Firefly Lane’?

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Firefly Lane Review Dancing Queens Season 1 Episode 3

Firefly Lane Season 2 Part 1 ended on quite a devastating cliffhanger with fans clamoring for some insight into Kate Mularkey’s (Sarah Chalke) fate. 

After being diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer during a doctor’s visit, Kate bolted to Tully Hart’s (Katherine Heigl) penthouse apartment to seek out comfort and make amends. The former best friends were not on speaking terms at the time, however, the soul-crushing news forced Kate to reach out to the only person she’s ever trusted. Sadly, they missed each other by mere moments—as Kate got off the elevator to visit her friend, Tully got on the elevator with her bags to hop on a plane for a months-long assignment in Antarctica.

And now that the final few episodes of Firefly Lane Season 2 Part 2 aired on April 27 on Netflix, fans now know that, as many of us feared, Kate did not survive. 

The Netflix drama is based on Kristin Hannah’s novel of the same name, so if you’ve read the book, there’s a good chance you weren’t surprised by the ending.  

The back half of the season details Kate’s journey with cancer and the emotional toll it takes on her and her loved ones. 

After an initial round of chemo, during which Kate loses her hair and experiences bouts of nausea, she goes into remission, which is an exciting sign. But the day before her second wedding to Johnny, she gets a call from her doctor informing her that her cancer has returned. She keeps the information from everyone hoping that they can all just get a day to sit back, relax, and celebrate, but when she collapses on the bathroom floor before the ceremony, she comes clean to Johnny. Not long after, she takes a tumble on the dance floor and Tully also learns the truth before the rest of her family receives the grim prognosis. 

Everyone does their best to get the necessary help, with Johnny (Ben Lawson) hiring holistic medical professionals while Tully and Dan the Sports Man attempt to get Kate into clinical trials, the latter of whom is successful. Unfortunately, Kate suffers a seizure which means that her cancer has progressed and she has mere weeks left to live.

No one wants to admit that she is dying, but Kate assures them that they have to start letting go. She eventually learns the cancer spread to her brain, which makes her disqualified from the trial.

From there, all they can do is be there for her, bask in her glory, and soak up all the moments together before they are gone forever. 

Kate dies a peaceful death alone overlooking the beautiful lake view from her home. Prior to her death, she managed to fulfill a lifelong goal of writing a book—aptly titled Firefly Lane– which tells her and Tully’s story; the good the bad, and the ugly parts.

She gifts the finished novel to her BFF Tully and her daughter Marah to get to know her mother’s story when the time comes.

It’s a devastating ending but one rooted in reality—and an important lesson to seize the day because nothing is ever guaranteed. 

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Firefly Lane

Firefly Lane Season 2 Part 2 Review – Dancing Queens

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Firefly Lane Season 2 Part 2 Review Kate's Cancer

Good storytelling can make you laugh and cry all in the same breath—and the final handful of Firefly Lane episodes did just that. 

The series gave a raw and powerful look at Kate’s cancer diagnosis, digging deep to reveal how it affected everyone—from the patient to the loved ones in her orbit.

What started as a fun journey documenting the past and present experiences of two best friends became an incredible story of resilience and strength But most importantly, it was an important reminder that life is not fair and we don’t have all the time in the world.

Firefly Lane Season 2 Part 2 doubled down on the bond between Tully and Kate, now tested more than ever as they navigated a health crisis while also figuring out how to deal with the resentment they held towards each other after their explosive fight. And there was also the struggle of figuring out how they move forward without each other now that life has thrown them an unexpected curveball. 

Despite everyone’s positive thinking—ours included—Kate died. We knew it was going to happen, especially if you read the book, but seeing it pan out on screen and watching this fierce and loyal woman wither away with each passing day in the most graceful manner was emotionally taxing yet somehow inspirational.

For Kate, and her family and friends, there was no happily-ever-after as you see in the movies because that’s not how things happen in the real world, no matter how many holistic practices you put your faith into and how many phone calls are to get into a clinical trial.

Kate’s cancer was too aggressive, eventually spreading to her brain and limiting her days left. 

We saw her loved ones dealing with the harsh reality that they had to let her go and desperately trying to avoid any thoughts about what a future without her might look like, but we also got a poignant look into how Kate grappled with the fact that she was nearing the end—and that she wasn’t ready to die so soon. She wasn’t ready to miss out on so many big moments like Marah’s wedding, being a grandmother, and enjoying a second shot at love with Johnny. 

Kate’s cancer was hard to accept for those that loved her because as Kate’s mother Margie noted, it wasn’t fair. Margie smoked all her life and didn’t have cancer. Cloud, Tully’s dysfunctional mother, took every drug on the planet and was somehow still alive. And yet Kate, who exercised and took care of her health, was the one who got sick. 

Kate had so much life left to live, but cancer doesn’t care.

We all know we’re going to die, but there’s something so strikingly different about knowing you’re dying or knowing that person that you love more than life itself is slipping away

And thus, Kate lived every day like it was her last. She remarried Johnny, she danced it out at her wedding, she had as much sex with Johnny as her body would allow, she went horseback riding so she could feel free and at peace, she smoked pot with her uptight mom, Cloud, and her best friend (which. may have been my favorite scene), and she finally finished writing a book. 

Firefly Lane. (L to R) Ben Lawson as Johnny, Sarah Chalke as Kate in episode 212 of Firefly Lane. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

And it was a special one at that as it was the story of her life, aptly titled Firefly Lane—a book that would serve as a reminder to Tully about all their adventures and special moments, fights included, but also one that would help Marah remember her mother and really get to know her. 

Kate’s time on Earth was stolen, but through it, she realized that all of those things we all worry about in life are so silly. All that really matters is the people you love and the ones that love you back. In that regard, she was incredibly lucky because she had a tribe of people who fought like hell for her and put everything aside to be with her in her final days. Kate won the lottery when it came to loved ones. 

Kate always thought of herself in such a negative light, repeatedly saying she wasn’t anything more than a housewife and a mother, but she was a housewife and a mother; there’s nothing more important than that. She was also the glue that held Tully together—personally and professionally. She was the one who raised and accepted Marah every step of the way, and she was the one who allowed Johnny to flourish in his career.

It may have been cut short, but it was a life well lived, and we got a front seat to all of it, which is why it was so hard for us to let go as well.

Tully and Kate’s friendship was codependent, and not always healthy, but it was also so rare. A friendship that special is hard to come by, so when Tully found out that Kate was sick, she dropped everything to be by her side. 

Their fight was addressed—and both of their feelings were valid. Kate’s response was to push Tully away after she risked Marah’s life by driving drunk and getting into an accident, but Tully was so hurt by the abandonment because in one fell swoop she lost her entire family. Kate and the Mularkeys were everything to her, and they all turned on her after one bad judgment call.

The series never sugarcoated anything, so those big, ugly, and emotional moments were addressed even during the inappropriate times as Kate was fighting for her life. Kate gave Tully the space to feel angry at her because she was dying, which unintentionally broke their promise of being together forever and going into a retirement home together when they were old. Their love story was cut short, and there was nothing they could do about it. 

We watched Tully and Kate’s friendship change through so many phases of their lives; they were on two different paths and yet, somehow, always on the same page. It was always them against the world until it wasn’t.

Kate’s cancer took everything away from her—and it took her away from Tully. As Kate said, in a way, she got off easier because she didn’t have to face the world without her best friend.

But Tully did. And we saw that she kept the promise she made Kate to help her raise Marah all the way into the ’90s. In Kate’s absence, she was Marah’s fairy godmother, pinning her goddaughter with a veil for her wedding in the flash-forward that takes place 10 years in the future. 

It was cruel of the creative forces behind the show to show Kate next to Tully, giving a bit of false hope that Kate beat the cancer and lived for much longer, only for audiences to realize that Tully was simply imagining her best friend there for her daughter’s big day. 

I wish we got to see a little more from those flash-forwards to see how everyone was holding up without Kate, particularly Johnny. We know Marah got married, and we know that Tully’s romance with Dan was going strong as his voice could be heard calling her down to the ceremony, but what’s Johnny up to? Kate gave him permission to move on and be happy as she didn’t want him to be alone—even giving him and Tully her blessing to be together—but seeing how devoted he was to Kate, I don’t think he would ever choose to be with anyone else. Still, the thought of Johnny getting older on his own and missing his wife daily pains me. 

Kate’s death scene was so powerful because it was the one time she got to be kind of selfish. I know that sounds weird, but she was always pleasing everyone around her and putting them first. When she went to therapy and they asked her how she was doing, she talked about everyone else’s feelings but her own. But in that moment, without anyone around, she was no longer holding on for someone else—she felt empowered to let go and be free. It would have been nice if she passed away surrounded by all of her loved ones, especially Tully considering they did everything together, but that’s why it was so necessary for her character. 

The back half of the season also made it clear that life doesn’t stop for everyone just because someone is sick. Tully’s world kept spinning as her relationship with Dan the Sports Man intensified. I didn’t see the twist with Dan’s fianceé making a move on Tully coming, but it seems neither did she. Tully has always pushed people away in the name of self-preservation, so it made sense that she wanted to do that while her friend was dying, but it was also incredibly brave of her to finally take the leap and go after what she wanted. She did need a rather large push from Dan, who threatened to move to New York since she dodged his calls after saying “I love you”, but she eventually got there. It was only a relationship 20 years in the making. 

Kate’s cancer storyline was so powerful and moving that it could have easily overshadowed other parts of the season, but the flashbacks to the high school years and Kate’s engagement provided an escape—it was almost like you were reminiscing on the good old days right along with them. 

In high school, Kate ended up snagging the “big man on campus,” Coop, but while he knew all the right things to say to her in private, the truth is that he was a real douche who was too embarrassed to admit that he liked her in front of his “cool” friends. Eventually, Kate realized that Coop wasn’t the standup guy she thought he was, and when he mustered up the courage to announce in front of the whole school that she was his girlfriend, Kate turned him down in glorious fashion.

I wish we could have seen a brief reunion with Coop just to see what he’s up to in the present day and what kind of man he became. I know this is Kate’s story and he was just a blip in it who doesn’t deserve the time of day, but I would’ve liked to see if the experience with Kate changed Coop in any way. 

Tully was in love with her teacher, who, thankfully, did not pursue her back, and the story arc was proof that Tully always just wanted to be loved and seen. 

We also got more insight into Kate’s engagement with Theo, who was a good guy just not the right guy for her. Kate was in denial about her feelings for Johnny, trying to convince herself that she wanted to be with Theo, but when Johnny declared his love for her, she couldn’t fight the feelings any longer. And the rest is history… and Theo has the scars to prove it as he lost a ball after coming home and trying to surprise Kate in the shower, who actually ended up being Johnny.

Kate was such a minx! 

Other Memorable Moments

  • Lisa-Karen’s storyline also didn’t have a happy ending, and it’s partly why Kate felt empowered to kick Coop to the curb. Kate and Coop weren’t responsible for Lisa-Karen’s death directly, but Kate still felt guilty because LK offered to cover for her at work while Kate snuck out for a steamy date If Kate never left, maybe LK would’ve still been alive. It was a terribly sad incident and an even worse end to their tumultuous friendship. 
  • We finally understood where Johnny’s commitment issues stemmed from as he confronted his dad, a priest, after finding out he was going to be a father. He blamed his dad for his mom’s addiction and death, realizing at that moment that he was never going to be like him. And he did an incredible job being a loyal husband and father to Kate and Marah. They were so lucky to have him. And its why he deserved so much more credit from Kate’s parents, who never fully approved of him. Though, it was nice to see him finally get some love from Bud on his wedding day.
  • Tully took Carol’s advice and decided to go back to hosting her own talk show, and it’s a bummer we never got to see it. Let’s hope Johnny served as a producer once again.
  • And finally, who knew I would ball so hard watching a woman do a choreographed dance to Abba outside of a funeral? But I know Kate was there doing it with Tully in spirit. 

Let this series serve as a reminder to live your life while it’s happening—make the bold choice, take the risks, love hard, and never wait till the end to say how you feel.

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