‘Firefly Lane’ is a Netflix drama series that spans 30 years, following the story of two best friends at different points in their lives. The narrative constantly jumps back or forward in time, and the story is told through flashbacks and flashforwards. In the 1970s, Tully Hart and her free-spirited “flower-child” mother move to Firefly Lane in Snohomish, Washinton, right across the street from high school misfit Kate Mularkey, and the two 14-year-old girls end up becoming the best of friends.
Through the years of their youth till when they’re officially middle-aged, Kate and Tully love and support one another unconditionally. Together, they deal with heartbreak, trauma, marriage, and career ups and downs. Their presence in each other’s life is unwavering and constant until they have a huge falling out. ‘Firefly Lane’ is a poignant and emotional tale about the unbreakable bonds of an enduring friendship. If you’re looking to get a deeper understanding of the ending of ‘Firefly Lane’ season 1, you’re in the right place. Here’s a short recap of the season 1 finale, followed by an explanation of its ending. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Firefly Lane Season 1 Finale Recap
The last episode of ‘Firefly Lane’ season 1 opens in the year 2005, with Kate and Marah arriving for Bud’s funeral. Kate pointedly ignores Tully when they run into each other outside the church. Kate tells her brother, Sean, that she saw Tully but doesn’t want to talk about her. The series then jumps back in time, flashing back to the 1980s. Still, for the sake of better understanding, we shall recap the events of episode 10 chronologically instead of flitting between timelines.
In the 70s, Tully and Cloud spend Christmas Eve with the Mularkeys but Cloud clashes with Kate’s father, Bud. Bud, who seems to be aware of his wife’s infidelity, asks her to choose between her husband and lover. When Cloud is arrested and taken away by cops for selling drugs, Tully and Kate are forced to separate as Tully goes back to live with her grandmother.
In the 80s, Johnny and Kate flirt their way through work meetings, but Kate tells Tully that they’ve decided to be just friends. When Johnny and Kate spend some time alone at Kate’s parents’ home (after Bud suffers a heart attack), Johnny confesses that he’s in love with Kate, and they sleep together for the first time. Meanwhile, Tully gets a job offer from Wilson King but turns him down because he makes unsolicited sexual advances towards her.
In 2003, Wilson King has taken over Tully’s talk show and makes some decisions that lead to Tully quitting. Tully and Max break up. Kate’s attempts at starting a relationship with Travis fail hilariously. Kate finally realizes she misses Johnny and decides to go see him, just as Johnny comes home to see Kate. The two end up sleeping together before he leaves for Iraq. Kate confesses to Tully that she’s still in love with Johnny. Sean comes out to his wife, and she throws him out, so he comes to live with Kate for a while. Tully and Kate end their year on a festive note as Tully asks Kate to produce her new show. Unbeknownst to them, tragedy strikes in Iraq.
In 2005, Kate and Tully come face to face at Bud’s funeral, but Kate makes it clear that she doesn’t want anything more to do with Tully. Kate tells Tully that she will never forgive her and doesn’t ever want to see her again.
Firefly Lane Season 1 Ending: Is Johnny Dead?
After reconciling with Kate, Johnny goes to Iraq to cover the war. We see him happily writing the kind of meaningful articles that he always wanted to write, and we see Kate reading his piece back home. The last we see of Johnny is him getting caught in a bomb blast, which may or may not have been fatal. At this point, we cannot say if Johnny is dead or alive but injured. After the bomb blast, Kate’s home phone rings incessantly (possibly with news about Johnny’s fate), but she doesn’t hear it because Kate is hanging out by the pool with Tully. This is the first major cliffhanger that the series leaves us with as season 1 comes to an end. Hopefully, a second season will make it clear if Johnny lived or died in the bomb blast.
Why Are Kate and Tully Estranged in 2005?
Unfortunately, the season 1 finale does not show us how or why the two best friends become estranged. This is the other cliffhanger that ‘Firefly Lane’ season 1 concludes with. At the start of 2004, Kate and Tully are celebrating New Year’s by happily discussing their plans for working together after Tully gets herself a new show. What could have happened in the span of one year that caused such a huge falling out between Kate and Tully, to the point where Kate doesn’t even let Tully attend Bud’s funeral?
The reason behind their falling out can be anything from professional (they did just decide to work together) to something deeply personal. Throughout the course of their decades-long friendship, Kate has harbored an inferiority complex while Tully sometimes feels alone and neglected by Kate. These are issues that they have never addressed and instead have buried these feelings for years. They could have festered and turned to subconscious resentment.
One thing is for sure – it cannot be a small incident that caused Tully and Kate to have a serious falling out. They have such a solid relationship that trivial matters cannot even make an impact, so it has to be something big, something profound. Season 2 will probably reveal what actually happened.
Read More: Is Firefly Lane Based on a True Story?