The 'Firefly Lane' Season 2, Part 2 Ending, (Heartbreakingly) Explained

I haven't been this crushed since 'My Sister's Keeper.'

Still of Katherine Heigl from Firefly Lane, season 2, part 2
(Image credit: Netflix)

Well. I was not prepared. Even though I should have been—even though I know how Firefly Lane the book ends, even though I know there's no Firefly Lane season 3, which should have been a sign—I spent most of season 2, part 2 blindly hoping that Kate would survive her cancer and walk Marah down the aisle at Marah's wedding. And given the Kate-Tully flash-forwards during said wedding, you can see how I got there! Spoilers for Firefly Lane ahead, obviously: I was wrong. The series ended, movingly, with Kate's death, and I am crushed.

So let's talk about the ending of Firefly Lane part 2, season 2, also known as the end of Firefly Lane the series, because I don't think I'll be allowed to go into this much detail in therapy.

Kate and Tully make up.

Thank God. Following her cancer diagnosis, Kate calls Tully—who, if you'll remember, is being banished after drink-driving with Kate and Johnny's daughter, Marah, in the car. Unfortunately, Tully, being in Antarctica and inexplicably without any way of being reached by the outside world, for months, misses the calls. When she does get service, she sees the missed calls and immediately hops on a flight back to Kate, where she finds her best friend resting in between bouts of chemo. Tully promises to never leave her again, and—sob—that's exactly what happens.

Still from Firefly Lane, season 2, part 2

(Image credit: Netflix)

Kate and Johnny get married again.

You'll remember from the previous season of Firefly Lane that Johnny and Kate get married, then divorce, then get back together, which culminates in—a second wedding! This is a gorgeous, joyful affair, officiated by Tully, but culminates in some drama when Kate collapses while dancing—she's just learned her cancer has returned—and Tully hits the roof when she discovers that Kate's been keeping her second diagnosis from her. (Which, classic Tully, am I right?)

Fortunately, Johnny and Kate are fully back on track and more in love than ever in season 2, part 2, which is a relief, because I'm not convinced my heart could take anything else. Although the scene where Kate believes that Marah is still a child—by this point, the cancer has spread to her brain—and Johnny chokes up was a lot for said heart.

Tully falls in love with Sports Man, a.k.a. Danny.

In a predictable, but still wholesome plotline, Tully's old flame and former on-air rival Danny turns out to be living in her building...with his serious girlfriend. Tully and Danny rekindle their friendship, and things come to a head when Danny's girlfriend hits on Tully (that part was less predictable, but I thoroughly enjoyed the respite from the cheating trope I was nervously anticipating). Danny and his now-ex part ways, which frees up Danny and Tully to finally become serious about their relationship. And while Tully has a bad habit of pushing Danny away when things get hard—there's a whole sub-storyline about when she just stops calling him when Kate gets really sick—he's seen helping her to Kate's funeral (sorry, another spoiler), suggesting that he's around for the long run. Which, unfortunately, brings me to...

Kate dies.

Kate gets sicker and sicker over the course of this part of the season, and Tully moves heaven and earth to try and get Kate into an experimental trial. Danny finally gets Kate into a trial that's seeing some early success (go, Danny!)—but then Kate has a seizure. It turns out that the cancer has spread to her brain, making her ineligible for the trial, and Johnny tells Tully that Kate likely won't live much longer. Tully moves into the house, and she, Marah, and Johnny care for Kate until she passes away, peacefully, during a break in a conversation with Tully.

Stills from Firefly Lane, season 2, part 2

(Image credit: Netflix)

Marah gets married...but Kate isn't there.

You really had me here, Firefly Lane gods! In flash-forwards sprinkled throughout the season, we see Tully getting ready for a wedding—terrifyingly, it looks for a moment like it might be Johnny and Tully's wedding, especially when Kate encourages them to get together after she passes (they, rightly, demur, because those two are chalk and cheese). Fortunately, it turns out it's Marah's wedding! (Interestingly, nobody has aged even slightly in the past ten years. It is a credit to the wholesomeness of this show that I did not even mind every character seemingly never aging, Twilight-style, over the course of THREE DECADES.)

Stills from Firefly Lane, season 2, part 2

(Image credit: Netflix)

Anyway. Then Kate shows up while Tully is getting ready for Marah's wedding, and we think for a moment—oh, it's okay, Tully got her into the clinical trial and she's fine! Alas, this is all in Tully's head. Kate turns out to only be there in spirit, since it's been a decade since she passed. This was a depressing flex, Netflix.

Kate makes Tully a keepsake box to open after her death.

Tully can't stand going inside for Kate's funeral, which Johnny tells her that Kate anticipated. He goes inside, but leaves Tully with a keepsake box with items that call back to their years together, including an iPod with 'Dancing Queen' plugged onto it. Outside the funeral, iPod headphones plugged in like it's still 2005, Tully begins dancing, just as she and Kate used to do together. It's a lovely moment (and one that was also in Firefly Lane the book), but it's still heartbreaking.

Speaking to Tudum, creator Maggie Friedman said of the ending: “Ultimately we decided it felt like a good full circle moment to bring it back to the ending of the book and stay true to that element.” She added: “I love knowing that 10 years later, even after Kate’s gone, that Tully has stayed so connected to Kate’s family, and that she’s helped raise Marah...I love knowing that Marah, even though she had a tumultuous teenagehood, turns out happy and good and she’s getting married.” She also confirmed that Danny is around for good: "Now [Tully] finally has grown in a way where she could be having an emotionally intimate relationship with somebody besides Kate. It gave [Kate] the freedom to let go."

Friedman has confirmed that there will be no more seasons of Firefly Lane, but you're still hungry for more Tully and Kate, there is a next chapter in Tully and Kate's story—it just likely won't be on Netflix. Kristin Hannah's book Fly Away, the sequel to Firefly Lane, traces Marah, Johnny, Cloud, and Tully's journeys after Kate's death after Tully gets into a life-threatening car accident and floats between life and death herself. So there's that!