film / tv / politics / social media / lists / web / celeb / pajiba love / misc / about / cbr
film / tv / politics / web / celeb


The Cruel Trick 'Firefly Lane' Plays On Its Audience [Spoilers]

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 1, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 1, 2023 |


I don’t know why I ended up being the person on staff who covered Netflix’s Firefly Lane, other than the fact that I love Sarah Chalke, Katherine Heigl, and Kristin Hannah… okay, I see why now. Here’s what I will say about the series as a whole: The first season was annoyingly and insufferably watchable. The first half of season two was just annoying and insufferable, and the second half of season two was not very good, but it was very watchable and occasionally affecting.

Spoilers for the second half of season 2

The thing is: Even if you haven’t read the books (and I have not), you know exactly where the series is going to end at the end of the first half of the season when Kate is diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. The issue is: 1) Can you put yourself through it, and 2) if you do, how hard will the series try to make you cry? I pushed through because I love to punish myself, and I am happy to report that they handled Kate’s death delicately. It’s sad, but it is not overly belabored. Yes, the entire season is about Kate’s diagnosis, her treatment, her relapse, and her coming to terms with her death, but the point between when all hope is lost and her death — the most painful few days, weeks, or months — is blissfully short.

The only time I shed a tear was not when Kate died (which she does in the final episode while staring out into a body of water and reminiscing about several nice moments in her life) but during the cruel fake-out at the end of the penultimate episode. After Kate’s relapse, Tully tries to get her into a medical trial. At the end of the episode, Kate and Tully are hugging and celebrating because Kate had been accepted into a trial at the Mayo Clinic. The episode flashes forward ten years to the wedding of Kate’s daughter, Marah. Several episodes in the back half of the season give us a glimpse of Marah’s wedding. Kate is never seen, so we assume that she doesn’t make it. However, in this particular flash-forward, we see Kate and Tully talking ahead of the ceremony. I was so happy to see that Kate had lived, until the next episode when we learn that Kate’s cancer is terminal and Tully is actually having a conversation with the ghost of Kate.

It’s a real jerk move for Firefly Lane to slowly lead us down a path toward Kate’s death, trick us into believing that she survived to see her daughter’s wedding, and then pull the rug out from beneath us to reveal that she’s been dead for a decade.

But here’s the good news: After Kate and Tully’s falling out at the end of the first half of the season, they reconcile in the first episode back (although, a year has passed on the series). Kate also lives long enough to remarry her ex-husband Johnny. Tully and her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Danny, end up together, at least in the present timeline (it’s unclear if they are together in 10 years). Marah gets married, but we do not see if Johnny remarried in the future. Before Kate dies, she also strengthens her relationship with her mom, Margie, who interestingly develops a friendship with Tully’s mom, Cloud.

The teenage storyline is about Kate and Tully’s experience in a high-school production of Romeo and Juliet, where Kate ends up playing Romeo at the last minute because the actor who was supposed to play him backed out midway through the production, because Cloud was high and kept interrupting from the audience. The twentysomething storyline, meanwhile, was about Johnny and Kate’s first courtship and wedding, which was juxtaposed nicely with their second wedding. Also, Tully and Danny’s initial on-again, off-again romance is juxtaposed with their present on-again, off-again romance.

Final Verdict: The series is about 8 episodes too long, the wigs are uniformly awful, and the writing is barely worthy of Lifetime, but it works in fits and starts thanks to Sarah Chalke and Katherine Heigl and the believable friendship between their characters. Despite its many flaws, fans of the first season will likely find enough to enjoy in the second season of Firefly Lane.

The Future of ‘Firefly Lane’ — This is it. There will be no season three. Netflix only renewed Firefly Lane for two seasons.