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The Boys Review – Madelyn Stillwell Lives? And Stormfront Is [SPOILER] (2 x 04)



Season 2 Episode 4 of The Boys “Nothing Like It In The World” sheds some light on the mystery shrouding Stormfront. Plus, Madelyn Stillwell makes a surprising return (sort of).

Frenchie and Kimiko are at odds after the latter’s brother is murdered in the previous episode.

Starlight and Hughie get a chance to unwind while investigating with Mother’s Milk (M.M.) regarding an old superhero.

Billy finds Becca and tries to save her but Homelander’s son Ryan causes a disagreement between the reunited lovers.

And The Deep conducts interviews to find a wife?

Madelyn Stillwell Returns But…

In a bizarre and shocking reveal, Madelyn Stillwell makes a brief return in this episode as she’s shown to be alive and hidden at a secret cabin by Homelander.

However, it’s quickly revealed that she’s actually the shapeshifting Supe Doppelganger, whom Homelander employs to imitate his deceased mother figure.

It’s also implied that Homelander has been using Doppelganger’s services for unusual sexual pleasures as the latter tries to calm an agitated Homelander at the end of the episode by transforming into Homelander himself and offers to give fellatio.

Ultimately, Homelander kills Doppelganger and declares he no longer needs everyone to love him.

Homelander Starts To Unravel

Nothing Like It in the World (2x04)

After Stormfront “steals” Homelander’s kill in the last episode by taking out the “Super Terrorist” Kenji, Stormfront becomes a media darling and paints herself as the new “face” of The Seven.

This causes Homelander to lash-out at his teammates as he threatens to kill Starlight for disobeying his orders to kill Hughie, tries to replace A-Train by pointing out his heart problem as a weakness, and exposes Maeve as a lesbian on national TV as well as confront her secret relationship with Elena.

The final thread is pulled when Homelander goes to the Internet to check on his reputation (never a good idea) and finds a bunch of memes about Stormfront becoming more relatable than him.

Homelander then confronts Stormfront and threatens her.

Stormfront, however, doesn’t lose her cool and manages to talk Homelander down and convinces him that they ultimately share a common goal and claims that she thinks Homelander is the perfect being (that’s her Neo-Nazism talking) and suggests he should not hesitate to approach her with “anything.”

Of course, that’s probably just her playing her cards close to the vest as Hughie, M.M., and Starlight make a startling discovery about her

Stormfront is Liberty?

Liberty, in The Boys TV universe, is a superhero from the past who operated several decades before the start of the show. She is referenced by Grace Mallory in episode 2 and can be seen on the cover of an old magazine (shown in the image above).

As a result of Hughie, M.M., and Starlight’s investigation, they uncover Liberty’s dark past who had not been seen publicly since 1979. That is until the sibling of one of her past victims confirms that Stormfront is undoubtedly the superhero formerly known as Liberty.

The victim was a young African-American teenage boy whom Liberty/Stormfront kills seemingly on a whim. Vought then paid for the victim’s family to remain silent regarding the incident with an insultingly low amount of $2,000.

Presumably, Stormfront was then either reprimanded or was asked to remain underground, which explains her apparent distaste for Vought.

Love Doesn’t Always Conquer All (For Now At Least)

This was a rough episode for three of The Boys’ most endearing love teams.

Hughie and Starlight get a chance to be together again for a day and even sneak in a little quality time together despite M.M.’s disapproval.

(Side note: M.M. and Starlight have a sweet bonding moment as they find common ground with their late fathers and love for sugary treats)

The chemistry between the Starlight and Hughie is adorable as always, and I hate it (mostly out of jealousy), as Starlight reveals she’s a fan of what Hughie claims to be “the worst candy of all time,” Almond Joy (sorry Almond Joy fans).

However, the growing reality that neither can be together again for a long time dawns on them as Starlight fears for her and Hughie’s lives and bids him a heartbreaking farewell seemingly for good since she was almost forced by Homelander to kill him in the last episode.

Similarly, Billy finally reunites with Becca as he finally finds the remote location she and her son Ryan are being kept at by Vought.

The two also share a passionate evening and make plans to escape together and start a new life. However, Becca is hesitant to believe that Billy will be able to live with raising Homelander’s son, and decides to stay put and shun Billy away.

Finally, Frenchie struggles to win the affection of a grieving and vengeful Kimiko who nearly attacks Stormfront head-on in public. Frenchie swoops in on time, however, and stops Kimiko but she grows distant even further.

On the other hand, The Deep (under the advice of his new cult) tries to find a new wife in order to restore his public image and become part of The Seven once again through a series of interviews.

An obscure but hilarious reference to Ed Sheeran is made by one of the interviewees.

The interviews are oddly scattered out of context throughout the whole episode (which causes a bit of confusion) and are only revealed at the end of the episode as part of The Deep’s search.

Episode Rating: 7.5/10

The Boys new season 2 episodes stream on Fridays on Amazon Prime Video.

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Lorenz Bacani is a pop-culture enthusiast who's trying to watch as many good comic-book movies and TV shows as superhumanly possible. He received a bachelor's degree in Journalism and New Media at California Baptist University. Wrote for a news tabloid, worked for a couple of non-profits, and dabbled in some photography (mostly for Instagram purposes). He is probably currently binge-watching an old TV show for nostalgia.

The Cleaning Lady

The Cleaning Lady Review – Trust (210)



The Cleaning Lady Recap Season 2 Episode 10 Trust

The Cleaning Lady excels at delivering high-stakes scenarios. Season 1 was an introduction to all the spine-tingling twists and turns that season 2 was going to deliver. 

No other episode has been as intense as when Arman was forced to shoot and kill Maya, but The Cleaning Lady Season 2 Episode 10 came close bringing the same levels of uneasiness, tension, and stress. It mostly stems from the fact that Kamdar is a wild card—he’s a dangerous man, so there’s no telling what he’ll do or how he’ll react. It’s like trying not to step on a land mine—one wrong step and it can all blow up. 

And then you throw in three additional loose cannons into the mix with Arman, Nadia, and Thony, who seems determined to stoke the fire, and the anxiety doubles. 

The episode was basically Thony versus Arman and Nadia. They all have different end goals, which means that the way they approach their situation with Kamdar varies drastically. 

Thony wants to save her boy at all costs, so at this point in time, she benefits from keeping Kamdar alive as he’s the only one with the resources to secure the life-saving meds. 

Arman is fighting the clock, and his plan to kill before he’s killed is pure survival of the fittest. He has no choice but to kill Kamdar if he wants to live. Meanwhile, Nadia is stuck in the middle, though she’s more committed to helping Arman kill Kamdar. She of all people knows what her ex is capable of and knows that Arman will never make it out alive if Kamdar is still breathing as he’s made it very clear to her that Arman is a liability. While she understands Thony’s predicament, she asks her to prioritize Arman for once after all that he’s done for her, and that’s not for nothing. It’s not an entirely fair ask, but it isn’t unfair either. Arman has gone above and beyond for Thony, so I don’t understand why she can’t accept a reality where she gets the meds and her Kamdar problem is eliminated. 

She went to bat to keep Kamdar alive, even recklessly roping Garrett into this whole mess, when the truth is, her life would be so much simpler without Kamdar. 

All she needed to do was trust Arman and stop meddling. Arman has always, always, always protected and helped her, even when it proved to be an inconvenience, including in the present scenario, as he made sure to use up one of his last remaining connections to get his hands on the shipment of drugs for Luca before he gave Nadia the green light go through with the “kill Kamdar” plan. 

Even when his life is on the line, Arman will go the extra mile for Thony because that’s how much he cares about her and Luca. It was one of the most romantic gestures ever. 

I just wish Arman informed her of his plan ahead of time so she would have just stepped back and let it all play itself out instead of meddling and desperately trying to take charge. By saving Kamdar after he went into cardiac arrest, she pretty much signed Arman’s death certificate.

In one moment, Thony undid all of Nadia’s progress. The girl put her life on the line trying to slip those drugs to Kamdar without anyone noticing, and thanks to Thony, all of her efforts were in vain.

Thony may have taken an oath to protect, but if it wasn’t for Luca and the meds, I think she likely would’ve turned a blind eye to killing Kamdar since it was for the greater good and provided a good solution for her. Kamdar’s death would finally give her freedom—so the fact that she’s fighting so hard to keep him alive makes me think that she’s thriving on the thrill of this lifestyle.

When she went to Garrett and informed him of Arman’s plan to kill Kamdar, she didn’t consider Arman’s safety or what would be best for him. All that was top of mind was Luca, which is understandable, but it proves that she’s not putting out the same love and care for Arman as he is for her. And as someone rooting for Armony to happen in some way, shape, or form, that’s upsetting.

Thony’s decision was also a huge miscalculation; Garrett may have proved to be a confidant in the past, but he’s very much a man of the law and one who has wanted nothing more than to get his revenge on Arman. Thony didn’t realize that Garrett knew the truth about Maya after picking up Arman’s partial print, so she fed him right to the lion. I normally would side with Thony but not this time.

Garrett wanted the truth and he got it, but it wasn’t exactly the version of it he was expecting. Once he finally had the full picture, he had no one to direct and channel his anger at anymore, which meant that he had to face the grief. Garrett tried to make Arman feel bad about what happened, but the hurt on Arman’s face when he recounted the events of that evening proved that the unspeakable horror would stay with him forever.

Garrett made up a story in his head about what went down so that he could make Arman the villain, assuming he did it because Maya was a loose end that could out him to Kamdar, but he was completely off base. When all was said and done, he understood why Arman did what he did, even if he didn’t like it. He added that he would’ve never pulled the trigger, but that’s easy to say when you’re not in the situation with an unhinged man who is threatening the very woman you love. No one can say how they would handle an absolutely impossible situation. And in the end, it’s Kamdar that should pay the ultimate price, not Arman or Thony.

While it seemed as though Garrett was finally warming up to Arman, he made sure to remind him that once he was no longer of any use to him, he would bury him, which drives home the point that Garrett isn’t a friend at all—he’s just self-serving. Though I would take his threat with a grain of salt because I think, in the end, Garrett actually wants to help Thony, he’s just too upset right now. 

Robert may have been paranoid before following the Sin Cara shooting, but now he’s going to be even more intense now that he’s aware that someone is trying to kill him. His paranoia is going to make it harder for anyone to get close to him, including the FBI, who wants to take him down. Thony’s decision just made it that much harder for them all to free themselves from Kamdar’s grasp, but she probably bought herself some brownie points after saving his life. There’s definitely a perk to having Robert Kamdar indebted to you.

However, Kamdar is smart, and while Nadia tends to be his weak spot, I don’t think it should be hard for him to see the light and put two and two together, especially after he saw her snooping around his pills earlier that day. He’ll soon be alerted that Arman diverted his shipment, and any goodwill he has toward Thony will likely be erased. 

For now, Thony has been an asset to him, much like Nadia, so he has granted her a security guard for her protection… or so he says. We all know that having someone tail these women around all day works mostly in Kamdar’s favor as it allows him to keep tabs on everything they do and who they meet with. 

Thony found a way around the security detail, meeting up with Garrett while going through the drive-thru, though, personally, I wish she didn’t.

However, the security detail also threw her family life into jeopardy when the man came after JD, who arrived at Thony’s house to bring Fi some dinner as she watched Luca. The whole situation alerted JD to the fact that Fi’s relationship with Thony is a real threat to everyone in her life, including his daughter, Jaz. I can’t blame JD in the slightest—he wants to be supportive of Fi’s relationship with Thony, especially since Thony is dealing with a sick child, but there’s no way he can stand by idly and watch Fi get dragged deeper into Thony’s mess. And he’s right; she’s nowhere near getting out.

Of course, this puts Fi into a rather tight spot as JD doubled down on his initial warning and left her with an ultimatum: Thony or her children. Fi is understandably upset, but she’s also aware that JD was right—she has no idea the extent of the danger that Thony is putting them in. 

There’s no world in which Fi would choose Thony over her daughter, and Thony is a rational person, so I think she’ll understand JD’s take on it and will encourage Fi to prioritize her children, including Luca. If Thony is going to continue being involved, even for a short time, she can’t bring anyone else down with her. Fi, Jaz, Luca, JD, and Chris don’t deserve any of this, and while Luca benefits from her medical expertise, he’s safer away from Thony for the time being. She’s made so many sacrifices for that little boy, so I have no doubt she’d make this one in a heartbeat, even if it is the most painful thing she has to do. She fought so hard to keep Luca alive, so keeping him away until it’s safe to return is the best course of action. 

And it’s clear JD really cares about the kids. I didn’t trust him at first, but he seems like a good person to have in their lives, and it’s finally some support and stability for Fiona. She deserves a shred of happiness after the hard life she’s lived and navigated. 

For now, Thony has to focus on getting out from under Kamdar and protecting Arman—as Nadia explained, she owes him that much. Thony still cares about him, even though they have a slight disagreement about how to proceed with their plan. They didn’t see eye-to-eye, and, quite frankly, fought like a married couple, but they’re in this together… all three of them. Though, I am a little concerned by Arman’s reaction when he finds out that Thony ruined his brilliant and nearly-successful plan to eliminate Kamdar, thus putting them all in the line of fire, including Nadia, who now has to get closer to him than ever to convince him that she’s actually in love with him.

Amidst all the action, the series still found a way to get back to the basics of what’s at the heart— the love between a mother and her son. Thony’s storyline with Luca grounds the series while continuously pulling at our heartstrings. It reminds us why we’re always rooting for the protagonist, even if we don’t necessarily agree with all of her decisions as of late.

Thony poured all of her energy into baking Luca a cake and making his 6th birthday extra special, even if his cousins weren’t around to celebrate. And it was heartbreaking to watch Luca struggle to blow out his candles. The poor sweet boy has been through so much in his little life, and he has no idea the extent of his mother’s love for him.

Thony put on a brave face for her kid because she has to—she’s the mom—but when she was finally in her safe space, with Arman by her side, she felt comfortable enough to break down and just cry. And despite everything that’s happening around them—and their disagreement on how to deal with Kamdar—Arman was there for her, reassuring her that she’s been through this before and will get through it again. 

Other Stray Thoughts

  • Fi and JD kissing—get it, girl! 
  • Russo always brings Garrett back down to planet Earth. Without her, he’d jump the gun countless times, and he sort of did when he ambushed Arman, but in the end, he realized that keeping him alive was more important to the overall case that was much larger in scope than just getting revenge for Maya’s untimely death. If they take down Kamdar the right way—with Arman and Thony’s help—they can dismantle the biggest drug and human trafficking rings in Vegas. 
  • The way Joseph and Nadia exchanged glances at the hospital when Kamdar woke up makes me think that they’re in cahoots together. 
  • Nadia and Thony’s chat left me super conflicted. On one hand, Nadia is right, they have helped Thony’s son countless times, but on the other hand, she’s so cold and indifferent about the little boy’s current health setback. 

What did you think of the episode? Will Thony feel guilty about sabotaging the plan, or will she come up with a better one? How will Fi resolve her issue? And where do we go from here? Cravers, the two-hour season finale of The Cleaning Lady is next week, so come back to to read all about it!

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Firefly Lane

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



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

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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Big Sky

Big Sky Review – Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire (309)



Big Sky Deadly Trails Recap Season 3 Episode 9 Where There's Smoke There's Fire

Big Sky is amping up the drama as the series barrels toward the winter finale.

On Big Sky Season 3 Episode 9, Cassie made huge strides in the cas as finally found the key piece of evidence to make sense of everything. 

Cassie was always onto something when she thought Sunny and Buck Barnes were involved, but she didn’t have all the clues until Emily suggested combing through everything for something sentimental. I love that it was Emily with the save as she’s also been very invested in everything since day one and knew something was off despite multiple people telling her to just let it go. Isn’t that always what someone says when you’re too close to figuring out what they’re hiding?

Emily got more than she bargained for when it came to finding the perfect mystery for her podcast. Plus, she’d definitely be an asset to Dewell and Hoyt’s detective agency. She asks questions just like her mom, Carla, and pursues the truth just like her dad, Beau. Of all the newcomers, Emily has been the best addition to the series, and I hope when it’s all over, she sticks around Helena with her father.

Unfortunately, for now, Emily is still in a world of danger as the man looking for the $15 million that Paige and Luke stole is now threatening Avery and his family. I wasn’t entirely clear on Avery’s connection to this whole operation. Was he always involved? Is that why he came to Sunny Day Camp to try to find Paige and Luke? Was he hired just like Tonya and Donno? Or did someone get to him after they realized that he stole the drive with the money on it? The man in the suit called Avery an “old friend” and they seemed to have an established relationship when they met up at the bar, so my guess is that Avery’s been a lot sketchier than we ever thought possible this whole time. Beau was definitely right about him being a shady character.  And he’s likely in a lot more “business trouble,” too.

I truly hope nothing bad happens to Carla and Emily because of him. He managed to unlock the seed phrases and gain access to the money, but from the promos for the upcoming episode, he still has a huge target on his back. Avery kind of strikes me as the guy who would try to steal the $15 million despite knowing how dangerous it is, so I won’t be surprised in the slightest if he ends up dead by the end of the season. 

But back to Cassie, who was trying to find a connection between Toby (Walter) and backpacker Mark. When Jenny and Beau interrogated Toby, they didn’t get very far, but Cassie took a friendlier approach as someone that Toby could trust. They accused him of killing Luke and Mary, but he also confessed to Paige’s murder, which was odd since there was no body to corroborate his story. Of course, we know that he lied to protect Paige. Cassie found it strange that he made the little wooden doll for Mark, but not for his other victims, especially since he said the figurines were for “protection.”

Based on this, she figured that Toby was lying, but until they knew more about him, she couldn’t find a motive. However, once she found documents under his floorboards that revealed his true identity as Walter, the man who killed his family in a fire, and Sunny’s son, well, it changed everything. 

Cassie always had a gut feeling about Sunny, and this revelation points the finger right back at her. Walter may be strange and a recluse, but I don’t think anyone believes he killed those campers. 

Once they use his mom as leverage, who has always been there for him no matter what, I have a feeling he might crack in order to protect her. 

We also made some headway about the Bleeding Heart Murderer, and I was just so thrilled to see that it was, in fact, Buck Barnes. The nerve of that man to judge and talk down to Walter all this time when he’s a deranged serial killer who remembers his victims by leaving bloody marks on the trees where they were killed. The one thing I can’t figure out is why Walter’s figurines have the bloody heart etched into them, but if I had to guess, it would be that he knows Buck’s secret and wants to show Buck’s victims some respect. I wouldn’t be surprised if Buck killed Luke. 

Cormac pretty much figured out Walter’s identity on his own, and Sunny and Buck confirmed his worst fears—his whole life has been a lie. Sunny attempted to paint herself as a loving and caring mother, but Cormac proved to be the only sane one in the family when he suggested that their desire to keep this secret and give Walter a good life was the reason that so many people died. Remember—Cormac only knows half the truth, and he still believes Walter is the murderer rather than his own parents. The poor guy. I truly feel for him when he finally learns the whole truth. 

Cormac’s date with Cassie was cute—and they danced!—but it was cut short when Cassie pushed a little too hard about trying to connect the dots when it came to his parents and the murders. Cormac shut down, understandably, as he was trying to process it all on his own, but I hope that he entrusts Cassie with all that he found out now instead of being tricked into staying loyal to his parents. It’s a tough spot for him to be in, but ultimately, I have faith that he’ll do the right thing. He’s a good apple among a tree of rotten ones. 

In the final moments of the episode, Paige approached Sunny at the camp, revealing that she was, in fact, alive. Sunny went to see Tonya and Donno in order to find her, as it would give her insight as to what really happened and give her a shot at freeing Walter. The promo reveals that Paige and Sunny can now be of use to each other and will likely form an alliance, but honestly, I don’t see this ending very well for either of them. 

The worst part of the episode was Jenny and Beau galivanting off to solve a crime about a dead smokejumper found in a tree. His chute was cut, which upgraded the case to murder, but honestly, it was hard to get invested in this storyline with everything else going on. The show succeeds when Jenny and Beau are making strides to solve the main mystery alongside Cassie. I know Jenny is helpful as a cop as she can do a lot more than Cassie and Denise, but sometimes, I wish she would just go back to the detective agency as it made for more compelling television. Jenny and Beau are a great team, but their cases tend to be a distraction. 

What did you think of the Big Sky penultimate episode? Will Avery survive? Are Carla and Emily in danger? Will they reunite with Beau, or will Beau and Jenny finally admit their feelings for each other? Will Cassie finally figure it all out? And will the truth destroy her chances at happiness with Cormac? After all, it’s kind of hard to start a life with the woman who ruined your family, even if she was just doing her job.

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