If You've Ever Lost a Friend, 'Firefly Lane' Season 2 Hits Different – Decider

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Warning: Spoilers for Season 2 of Firefly Lane ahead.
From Kevin Can F Himself and A League of Their Own to Dead to Me, The Sex Lives of College Girls, and more, 2022 has been a banner year for TV shows with a focus on female friendship. With less than a month until 2023, Netflix’s Firefly Lane — a series that follows the 30-year friendship of Kate Mularkey (Sarah Chalke) and Tully Hart (Katherine Heigl) — returned to remind us just how impactful and invaluable a best friend can be. But by showing a rift between Kate and Tully, the second and final season also effectively captured the heartbreak of a fractured friendship.
Based on Kristin Hannah’s novel of the same name, Firefly Lane uses flashbacks and frequent timeline hopping to establish and flesh out an inseparable friendship that’s survived decades. In ‘70s scenes, teen Kate (Roan Curtis) and Tully (Ali Skovbye) guide each other through their formative years. In ‘80s throwbacks, Chalke and Heigl don wigs, power suits, and shoulder pads to navigate their characters’ 20s. And early 2000s check-ins offer a look at the 40-something duo in present-day. We see Kate and Tully support each other through romantic relationships, family drama, personal trauma, small wins, and major milestones over the years. But after Tully drives while intoxicated and crashes her car with Kate’s daughter in the passenger seat, Kate loses all trust in her.
After days of disconnect, the two try to hash out their issues in Episode 8, only for Kate to realize she can’t forgive Tully’s latest misstep. “I am not me without you,” Tully tells her, summoning the strength to apologize despite a firm belief in the Love Story line, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Kate appreciates and acknowledges the effort, but knows it arrived too late. “I’m done bending over backwards to clean up your messes. I’ve done it for the last 30 years and I’m sick of it,” she says. When Tully asks if their three decades of friendship is simply…over, Kate says she’s sorry and walks away. It’s a tough moment to witness, especially because their connection is the core of the show. But for anyone who’s ever lost a friend, the falling out is even bigger blow to the heart.
The final episode in Firefly Lane’s Season 2, Part 1 paints a poignant picture of two people struggling to pick up the pieces and accept their broken bond. Beyond their friendship purgatory lies the harsh reality that the world keeps turning after Kate and Tully’s breakup, whether they’re ready to move on or not. Season 2, Episode 9, “Hart Shaped Box,” shows the women taking each day as it comes and training themselves to live without each other. Tully reunites with an old flame, grows closer to her mom, buys and renovates her childhood home, and receives a new career opportunity. Kate loses her dad, goes back to school, gets engaged, and makes a new friend. As their year apart progresses, the distance between them gets easier and the blow softens. But just like in real life, memories, regrets, and what ifs inevitably resurface when major milestones appear, or in moments as small as watching a movie, updating an emergency contact, or finding an old Photo Booth strip shoved in a desk drawer.
When Kate’s dad dies, Tully shows up at his funeral uninvited even though they haven’t spoken in months. She wants to pay respects to the man she considered a father figure, but she also feels a sense of duty and a deep desire to support her old ride-or-die through the tragedy. Kate wasn’t ready to forgive Tully in the moment, but she later admits, “I miss her. I think about calling her sometimes…all the time. But I can’t. I need a new friend without 30 years of baggage between us.” She eventually meets a new friend in her writing class, but quickly learns all the baggage she wanted to abandon was the base of her and Tully’s intimate, irreplaceable connection.
In a string of silly but purposeful 80s flashbacks, Tully lets Kate borrow her home tanning light, which Kate falls asleep under and burns her butt. Without hesitation, Tully comes to the rescue, willingly surveys the damage, and helps Kate heal her caboose. The storyline initially seems like nothing more than a fun filler, but when we hop back to the 2000s and see Kate’s new friend appalled at the thought of checking a concerning rash on Kate’s breast, it’s clear her friendship with Tully can’t be replaced. In the episode’s final minutes, Kate learns that same rash is a rare, aggressive form of inflammatory breast cancer and walks out of the doctor’s office in a trance. Tears well in her eyes as her legs carry her through the city, and after the devastating, life-altering diagnosis, all the can think about is Tully. Coldplay’s “The Scientist” plays as Kate conjures as supercut of Tully memories from the past 30 years. When she finally gets out of her head, she realizes she’s standing outside Tully’s apartment building. She takes the elevator up to Tully’s floor, starts with gentle knock on her door, and after no response, she starts banging, sobbing, and screaming her name. Kate sinks down to the floor, defeated. And in that horrible moment, she knows that her old best friend — the chosen sister who’s been by her side through thick and thin for three decades — is the person she needs most.
The fact that Kate and Tully’s falling out is so gut-wrenching is a testament to Chalke, Heigl, Curtis, and Skovbye’s performances throughout the series. They established a believable, familiar bond, then sold its destruction with stripped down, vulnerable acting and relatable grief. Episode 9’s structure also offered a rare, crushing perspective on both the rift and the healing process. Showing Tully and Kate live their lives separately over the span of a year let viewers see each character cope, struggle to reinvent themselves, and long for the days when they still had one another to lean on.
Firefly Lane’s second season tests the promise of unconditional love by pushing Kate to her breaking point. And once she cracks, she’s able to look in the rearview mirror with newfound clarity and see all of Tully’s past transgressions piled up. The tough realization that she and Tully need to part, and the pain that follows, will resonate with anyone who’s been on either side of a severed friendship. But after Kate receives the ultimate reminder that tomorrow isn’t promised, she and other viewers who lost touch with a loved one are forced to consider how much the hard feelings, pride, and differences truly matter in the end.
Season 2, Part 1 of Firefly Lane is currently streaming on Netflix.
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