On the surface, Netflix’s Firefly Lane looks to be a standard gal-pal buddy series, but it goes much deeper than expected. The show addresses the dark topics of addiction, infidelity, and divorce.
On top of that, the show doesn’t sail off with a happy ending — it’s not packed away with reconciliation and fulfilling love, rather it leaves its audience with a few holes in the plot and a major cliffhanger.
Spoilers for Firefly Lane Season 1
The show flutters between four timelines throughout the lives of childhood best friends, Kate Mularkey (Sarah Chalke) and Tully Hart (Katherine Heigl).
Firefly Lane takes place in the duo’s teenage years (the seventies), their college and young professional years (the eighties), and the early-2000s where Kate is a married family-woman and Tully is a famous television personality.
Then the show time hops a few years later to a darker period where Kate and Tully aren’t friends and they have an intense confrontation at a funeral. But the show never answers one major overlying question: What did Tully do to destroy her friendship with Kate?
Throughout the series, the two are seeming inseparable, although they do have their complications. They get into huge fights over their shared boss Johnny Ryan (Ben Lawson) who Kate expresses interest in from the beginning and eventually marries, despite his complicated past with Tully.
They also get into an explosive argument over Tully signing off on a form to allow Kate’s daughter Marah (Yael Yurman) to get prescribed birth control pills. This is an action that both Kate and Johnny feel is “over the line” even for Tully Hart’s predictably unhinged personality.
But amongst all of this, the two women are there for each other through thick and thin. However, it is clear that Kate never truly gets to work through her anger towards Tully.
When they got into the fight over Johnny, in the following moment Tully found herself being a hostage victim during a robbery and all of Kate’s anger melted away and was channeled into concern instead.
So what happens between Kate and Tully?
According to the television show’s timeline, we don’t know. It is never addressed, although Tully’s presence at the funeral is something that’s frowned upon by Kate and surprisingly Kate’s daughter and brother — both of whom were previously very close to Tully.
But, there’s one lucky factor. The Netflix series is based on a book.
Firefly Lane actor Sarah Chalke confided to The Wrap that she personally doesn’t know what happened between the two friends in the Netflix series and she isn’t sure that the series is going to follow the same plot as the book.
In the book by Kristen Hannah, Tully inserts herself into the drama of the mother-daughter pair Kate and Marah. She invites them to her talk show under the guise of wanting to mediate a conversation between the two.
Reluctantly, Kate agrees and the situation gets out of hand.
Going against Kate’s best interest, Tully calls Kate an “overprotective parent” and brings on a certified psychologist who insinuates that Kate is a bad mother and is doing irreparable damage to her daughter’s “psyche.”
With that being said, there is some discretion here. The series has already taken many creative liberties with its script, causing it to differ greatly from the book.
For instance, in the book Kate and Johnny never filed for divorce, whereas in the television series they divorced but continued to sporadically hook-up.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, the show’s creator Maggie Friedman addressed her decision to leave her Netflix adaptation on a cliffhanger.
Regarding the show’s differences from the book, she shared, “There are a number of things that are not in the book. I just took my inspiration from reading the book and then thinking about, how do I capture the spirit of the story and then make it my own and take these characters to some new places for a new medium?”
When Friedman was asked if the show’s ending would be the same as the book, she told the interviewer that she couldn’t answer. However, she did say:
“One of the things I think that’s been fun is that we have kept some big moments from the book and been very true to those, and then there are other things that we’ve done that are different.”
With the direction the Netflix series is heading, Tully had just quit her longtime run on her current talk show due to a sleazy producer taking over. So, it wouldn’t be too “out of line” for her to need to resort to her own secretive behavior in order to successfully make a come-back.
But it’s clear that we’ll just have to wait and see if Netflix renews Firefly Lane for a second series. Friedman appears to have some exciting things scheduled for Kate and Tully’s future.
Firefly Lane is currently available for streaming on Netflix.