What Did Tully Do to Kate on ‘Firefly Lane’?

Reviews

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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