Firefly Lane explained: Does Tully Die?

Tully and Kate from the series Firefly Lane.
Tully and Kate from the series Firefly Lane. Pic Credit: Netflix

Eat your ‘Hart” out! Netflix’s new drama series Firefly Lane kicked off with loads of drama and an enticing plotline. Spanning multiple decades, the series follows childhood best friends Kate Malarkey and Tully Hart through their tumultuous and often conflicting lives.

Early on in the first and only season, the audience is transported from the past into the show’s present-day where the characters are attending a funeral. However, whose funeral it is remains a mystery until the season’s ending. 

Spoilers for Firefly Lane Season 1

Firefly Lane is told through a series of flashbacks and flashforwards, following the two friends and their insane adventures from the seventies to the early-2000s, all the way to their present-day. 

The first glimpse into the present-day is during a funeral scene that only shows Kate (Sarah Chalke) and her daughter Marah (Yael Yurman). They are standing outside, sorrowful and dressed for a funeral. Marah makes a comment about her diamond earrings and Kate jokes back about Tully’s taste. 

That was a clever and deceiving quip meant to throw the show’s viewers off-track. As episodes pass, the characters drop subtle hints as to what truly happened. 

Is Tully alive?

After it is revealed that Tully (Katherine Heigl) is still alive in the present-day and arrives at the funeral, much to the dismay of Kate, the moment intensifies. If Tully is alive, then who is dead? 

This isn’t the cliffhanger that the showrunner Maggie Friedman left everybody on. Through conversation, the characters share that it is Bud’s funeral, Kate’s father.

However, Firefly Lane threw in another curveball. In the last few moments of the final episode, Kate’s ex-husband, who she recently rekindled with, is seen working as a war correspondent overseas in Iraq. He publishes a successful article and after leaving his campsite, he is blown up.

The sharp explosion knocks him back and the camera pans to him laying on the ground, unmoving with blood wounds. 

This ending was bittersweet as Johnny Ryan (Ben Lawson) is a charismatic and handsome character. He is presented as the perfect love interest for Kate. The two are “endgame,” as fans like to put it.

At the funeral, a number of people were accounted for— if not in person, then in mention. 

It was never a doubt that Kate and Marah were alive, Tully gets added to the equation, and then there is Kate’s brother Sean (Jason McKinnon) who mentioned the alive status of the Malarkey matriarch Margie (Chelah Horsdal). Unaccounted for remains Johnny Ryan, who may have died in the years between the early-2000s flashbacks and the present-day. 

Since the show is based on a novel, it is commonly presumed that if continued, the show will follow that storyline. However, Chalke dissuaded people from taking that route. 

In an interview with The Wrap, she was asked about the mysterious happening that ended Tully and Kate’s friendship. Chalke shared, “I don’t even know, to be 100 percent honest, what the actual last straw is. I know what it is in the book, but I don’t know if Maggie will choose to use that or something else, if we’re lucky enough to get to continue for another season.” 

Taking Chalke’s advice and given what’s already been shown in the first season, Firefly Lane is taking its own creative liberties and is not sticking, page by page, to the book.

Johnny Ryan’s fate, as well as the state of Kate and Tully’s friendship, will remain uncertain until Netflix decides the future of Firefly Lane. 

Season one of Firefly Lane is currently streaming on Netflix.

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