'Firefly Lane' ending explained: what happened in seasons 1 and 2?

If you're curious about the 'Firefly Lane' ending for season 1 or 2, here's everything we know ahead of the second part of season 2 dropping later this year

Firefly Lane - Production Still Image
(Image credit: Netflix)

Are you still reeling from that mid-season Firefly Lane ending? Join the club! That shocking finale of the first part of Firefly Lane season 2 has left us waiting with bated breath for Firefly Lane season 2 part 2

The sophomore season dropped its first nine episodes on Netflix on December 2, and the rest of the souped-up season is set to be released on June 8 2023, meaning we've sadly still got a couple of months left to wait.

If you've been watching since Firefly Lane season 1, you've likely had a lot of questions about the series. Is Firefly Lane a true story? How will the Firefly Lane books differ from the TV series? And throughout the course of season two, what exactly what did Tully do to Kate to compromise their decades-long friendship?

Thankfully, our leading ladies Katherine Heigl (Tully) and Sarah Chalke (Kate) are back onscreen as the aforementioned besties (along with the rest of the Firefly Lane cast, including Ben Lawson as Johnny Ryan, and Beau Garrett as Cloud), to give us the answers we need. Let's take a deep dive into everything that went down in those Firefly Lane endings, for both season 1 and season 2.

*Warning: Spoilers for seasons 1 and 2 ahead*

'Firefly Lane' ending explained: what happened in seasons 1 and 2? 

FIREFLY LANE (L to R) KATHERINE HEIGL as TULLY and SARAH CHALKE as KATE in episode 104 of FIREFLY LANE.

(Image credit: Netflix)

'Firefly Lane' season 1 ending

Firefly Lane, which is based on The New York Times best-selling author Kristin Hannah's 2008 novel of the same name, tells the story of two best friends, Kate and Tully. The pair, who are now in their forties, have been inseparable since meeting in the eighth grade in the 1970s, and their 30-year friendship has become a stabilizing force in their lives.

In Firefly Lane, we know that someone dies and the plot is set up—to keep us guessing—using the mechanism of time jumps. Similar to This Is Us, we're shown different stages of Kate and Tully's lives, from their teen years in the 1970s to their first industry jobs post-college in the '80s, all the way to the show's present day, which is the year 2003.

However, at the end of season one, we're shown a time jump where Kate and her daughter Marah attend a funeral and eventually, it is there that we learn that she and Tully are estranged and not speaking. We're not shown exactly what happened between the two, but one thing's clear: Kate has been betrayed by Tully in a major way. So whose funeral are Kate and Marah at in the Firefly Lane season 1 ending?

Firefly Lane. (L to R) Sarah Chalke as Kate, Katherine Heigl as Tully in episode 204 of Firefly Lane.

(Image credit: Diyah Pera/Netflix)

Upon first impression, it is unclear whose funeral they are attending, resulting in many fans worrying "does Tully die in Firefly Lane?" But in the final episode of the first season, we find out that it is actually the funeral of Bud, Kate's father. But is he the only one that dies in season one? 

Back in real time (before skipping forward to their tense future), Kate and Tully have another one of their wholesome bestie moments as they comfort each other after Kate's husband Johnny (though the pair and now estranged and going through a divorce) leaves for Iraq. At this point, Tully has also just quit her hit show, The Girlfriend Hour, after a very unpleasant man from her past makes a return. Both Kate and Tully make plans to work together on their own TV show, with Tully as host and Kate as a producer, whilst also trying to navigate the challenges of their lives together.

Meanwhile, perhaps the most tense Firefly Lane season 1 ending is when fans witness Johnny, who is in the Middle East as an investigative reporter, being caught in a bomb explosion. While Kate and Tully comfort one another outside on the pool deck of Kate's home, the phone rings inside—presumably with news of Johnny's awful accident. As the season ends, viewers are left uncertain about the reporter's fate.

FIREFLY LANE (L to R) BEN LAWSON as RYAN in episode 107 of FIREFLY LANE

(Image credit: Netflix)

'Firefly Lane' season 2 ending—how did Firefly lane end?

The two big cliffhangers from the season one finale—namely, what caused the former BFFs' estrangement and Johnny's accident—are, thankfully, answered in the show's second season. So does Johnny die in Firefly Lane? Mercifully, Johnny survives the IED explosion, though he's left pretty banged up and with PTSD, which fans see him struggle with throughout the season. But he's not the only member of the Ryan-Mularkey household who falls into physical danger during the season. So how did Firefly Lane end in season 2?

Eventually, the Firefly Lane ending reveals that the reason why Kate is not talking to Tully is that she and Marah get into a car accident, after Marah spends the night in the city with her—an accident which left fans wondering, does Marah die in Firefly Lane season 2? Though the incident is not technically Tully's fault (another car appears to run a red light, crashing into the side of Tully and Marah's car), she was drinking wine earlier in the evening, and so gets arrested for driving under the influence, despite the stressful circumstances (Tully is rescuing Marah from a frat party where a boy had tried to assault her). Both Tully and Marah are fairly banged up from the crash, but both survive without any major injuries.

Following the accident, Tully tries to make amends, but Kate and Johnny are icy in response, with Kate saying that she can't forgive her for what she's done. While Tully experiences a renewed relationship with her mother Cloud in season two, clearly, the estrangement between her and Kate is still in effect when Bud passes away on Thanksgiving, as evidenced by the very chilly reception Tully receives at the funeral. 

Firefly Lane - Production Still Image

(Image credit: DIYAH PERA/NETFLIX)

Things weren't all sad for Kate during the end of season 2 though, as she and Johnny rekindled their romance. And after a few persistent attempts, Johnny ends up proposing once more to Kate her while decorating their home for Christmas. 

But this being Firefly Lane, we don't go long without a tear-jerking event: after noticing a large rash on her chest in the final episode of the series, Kate is diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. Distraught, she leaves the clinic and ends up at Tully's apartment, tearfully banging on her door. However, Tully has already left for a months-long work assignment in Antarctica. Will Tully find out about the diagnosis? And while it seems like news of her ill health has put things into perspective, does Kate ever forgive Tully

And that's not the only cliffhanger from the mid-season finale of Firefly Lane season 2. In a post-credits scene, we have fast-forwarded ten years and see Johnny on his wedding day. However, the bride appears to be Tully, not Kate, as we see the popular presenter getting ready in what looks like a white dress. She also ends the season by saying, 'It's not like you can start without me anyway.' What's going on?! You'll have to wait until June 8, 2023 to find out!

Is the 'Firefly Lane' ending in the book different from the show?

So now that we're patiently waiting for the second half of season two, how does Firefly Lane end? And will the TV show ending be anything like the book? In short, yes, Firefly Lane differs somewhat from page to screen. In the book though, a major character dies—Kate Mularkey. 

Yep, in the novel, Kate dies in Firefly Lane after suffering from late-stage cancer. Season one didn't touch on this storyline, however, it does of course come up in the first half of season two, with Kate discovering a rash around her nipple and later being diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer.

The sequel to Firefly Lane (the book) follows the aftermath of Kate's death, focusing on Tully and Marah's relationship and on Johnny's grief. So how does Firefly Lane end, and will it follow the same path? While we don't yet know how closely the Firefly Lane ending on TV will match the book, if we're going by what's written, the second half of the season 2 storyline could be incredibly heartbreaking. Or, will writers go a different direction for the Firefly Lane TV series, and decide to allow Kate to overcome her health issues? Only time will tell...

And if you're wondering, is Firefly Lane a true story? It turns out that the tales of Kate and Tully are entirely fictional—though the author of the book Kristin Hannah, did draw inspiration for the story from her own life experiences, such as her time spent at the University of Washington, in Seattle.

The first part of Firefly Lane season 2 is available for streaming on Netflix. 

Firefly Lane, which is based on The New York Times best-selling author Kristin Hannah's 2008 novel of the same name, tells the story of two best friends, Kate and Tully. The pair, who are now in their forties, have been inseparable since meeting in the eighth grade in the 1970s, and their 30-year friendship has become a stabilizing force in their lives. 

In Firefly Lane, we know that someone dies and the plot is set up—to keep us guessing—using the mechanism of time jumps. Similar to This Is Us, we're shown different stages of Kate and Tully's lives, from their teen years in the 1970s to their first industry jobs post-college in the '80s, all the way to the show's present day, which is the year 2003.

However, at the end of season one, we're shown a time jump where Kate and her daughter Marah attend a funeral and it's there that we learn that she and Tully are estranged and not speaking. We're not shown exactly what happened between the two, but one thing's clear: Kate has been betrayed by Tully in a major way. 

Upon first impression, it is unclear whose funeral they are attending, resulting in many fans worrying "does Tully die in Firefly Lane?" But in the final episode of the first season, we find out that it is actually the funeral of Bud, Kate's father. But is he the only one that dies in season one? 

Back in real time, Kate and Tully have another one of their wholesome bestie moments as they comfort each other after Kate's husband Johnny leaves for Iraq and Tully has just quit her show, The Girlfriend Hour. The two make plans to work together on their own TV show with Tully as host and Kate as a producer while reassuring one another of their love. Meanwhile, Johnny, who is traveling to the Middle East as an investigative reporter, is caught in a bomb explosion.  

Sagal is a journalist, specialising in lifestyle, pop culture, fashion and beauty.  She has written for a number of publications including Vogue, Glamour, Stylist, Evening Standard, Bustle, You Magazine, Dazed and Wonderland to name a few. 

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