Love, loss and lifelong friendship is at the heart of Netflix’s latest binge worthy drama. Based on Kristin Hannah’s novel of the same name, Firefly Lane follows the decades-long friendship of Tully (Katherine Heigl) and Kate (Sarah Chalke) who meet as teen neighbors living on the titular street and are bonded by a chance encounter after a traumatic event. Over ten episodes the show follows the friends at different stages of their lives – as teenage girls, as young women embarking on careers and family and as forty-somethings juggling different sets of life events
The show doesn’t cover the entirety of the book and also makes some major diversions from the plot, adding in and taking out various characters. There’s also a sequel to the novel called Fly Away, so there’s heaps of material should Netflix decide to renew for a second series, and that’s even assuming the showrunner Maggie Friedman opts to follow the story of the books. Either way, should a Firefly Lane season 2 be commissioned there are several big questions that require answers.
What did Tully do to Kate?
This is the biggy. From episode one Firefly Lane teases a funeral and some sort of incident which has resulted in Kate and Tully’s separation. It’s not, as we might have initially thought, that Tully has died. This is the funeral of Kate’s father, Bud (Paul McGillion).
But something has definitely gone down between the two. Tully turns up to Bud’s funeral but is sharply told to leave by Kate, who reminds Tully she will never forgive her for what she did.
But what did she do? In the show it’s deliberately mysterious. What we do know is that the funeral takes place two years after the ‘present day’ events (which are not present day but in fact 2003 going on 2004) so something must have occurred during this gap.
Much of the show teases the love triangle between Tully, Kate and Johnny (Ben Lawson) so it’s conceivable that this great betrayal is related to Johnny, but we very much hope not. Firstly because it would be a shame if the dissolution of a lifelong friendship came down to a bloke – we hope Kate and Tully would be stronger than that. But also because the last we see of Johnny he’s been possibly killed in Iraq – more on that in a bit.
In the book Kate and Tully fall out over Kate’s teenage daughter Marah (Yael Yurman). Tully invites Kate and Marah onto her talk show under the pretence of discussing their fractured relationship, but live on air Tully reveals the slot is about over-protective mothers and the teenagers who hate them, essentially calling Kate a bad mother on live TV.
Towards the end of Netflix’s version of Firefly Lane Tully asks Kate to be her producer, so it’s possibly the fallout is something to do with her career, though again, you’d expect them to be able to weather this.
Kate and Marah at Bud’s funeral don’t appear to have any animosity between them, though we don’t know what’s gone down over the past two years.
What’s Tully’s big comeback?
Tully quits her job on The Girlfriend Hour after her sex pest producer attempts to bring on a co-host who Tully hates. Kate quit her job at the magazine after the editor did a hatchet job on Tully. At the end of 2003 they are both unemployed but agree to work together going forward. Tully will be bigger than ever, she says, because she has Kate by her side.
What’s the big venture going to be? And will it be this that drives a wedge between the two? Only season two will tell…
Is Johnny dead?
It’s certainly left as a possibility after he encounters a mine while out reporting in Iraq – the last time we see him, he is lying on his back with a blank expression. Cut to the phone ringing in Kate’s house while Kate and Tully are sitting in the garden toasting to a better 2004… Is that someone calling to tell her Johnny has died? Or perhaps that he’s been injured?
In the books Johnny doesn’t die, and in fact he and Kate don’t get divorced, though that doesn’t mean he won’t be knocked off should a season two be commissioned.
What’s the deal with Margie’s affair?
Kate’s mum and dad Margie (Chelah Horsdal) and Bud look like the perfect couple on the face of it but we know they are not – teenaged Kate knows it too. Tully’s mum Cloud (Beau Garrett) even calls her out having seen her with a man, and Bud knows about it too, though it’s not clear if he knows who the man is.
He tells Margie she can’t have them both – the implication is that she chooses Bud and they stay together for many years.
Does Kate die?
In season one – obviously not. But in season two, who knows? In the book Kate passes away from cancer but there is no reason to believe the series will follow the same route. The combination of Chalke and Heigl is what makes this show work and without her that dynamic would be missed. It’ll also depend whether the show is popular enough to warrant further seasons going forward…
Firefly Lane is available to stream on Netflix now.