Firefly Lane season 1 recap: A rapid run-down of Tully and Kate's story, including their shocking estrangement

We've got you covered with a Firefly Lane season 1 recap delving into the details you need to know before watching season 2...

Firefly Lane season 1 recap, seen here are Katherine Heigl as Tully and Sarah Chalke as Kate
(Image credit: COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2020)

If you’re looking for a Firefly Lane season 1 recap before making your way through the first part of season 2 then here’s all the moments and plot points you need to know about.

From the beautiful locations where Firefly Lane was filmed to the brilliant acting of Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke, this friendship-focused drama won fans’ hearts when it first landed last year. Following Tully Hart and Kate Malarkey as their bond grew from their first meeting as teenagers right through the following decades, Firefly Lane had moments to make you laugh, cry and squeal with excitement and was based on Kristin Hannah’s book of the same name. 

The season 1 finale sparked some major questions after Tully and Kate's friendship reached breaking point. And now with the arrival of Firefly Lane season 2, we’ve got you covered with a Firefly Lane season 1 recap of what happened the last time we saw Kate and Tully… 

Firefly Lane season 1 recap - what you need to know 

It’s been quite some time since we last saw best friends Kate and Tully in Firefly Lane and with season 2 now here, newcomers and fans alike might well be looking for a Firefly Lane season 1 recap. Especially since unlike fellow hit shows like The White Lotus season 2 and The Pact season 2 which have a whole new plotline to get to grips with after the first series, Firefly Lane season 2 will have the same focus on best friends Kate Mularkey and Tully Hart and their decades-long friendship.

Set in Seattle and Washington State, Kate and Tully’s bond blossomed after they met as teenagers in the 1970s when they both lived on Firefly Lane.

ROAN CURTIS as YOUNG KATE and ALI SKOVBY as YOUNG TULLY in episode 101 of FIREFLY LANE

(Image credit: COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2020)

Tully’s experience growing up with her mother Cloud wasn’t easy and helping her through it all was Kate. Whilst Firefly Lane season 1 introduced viewers to how they first met, the show didn't keep to a linear time frame. Viewers also got to see 2000s Kate and Tully, as well as them starting out as journalists in the 1980s, with plenty of flashbacks and flashforwards.

Kate met and fell in love with producer Johnny and they ended up having a daughter, Marah. But by the early 2000s, after their many years together, Johnny and Kate had decided to divorce. Meanwhile, when it came to romance, Tully had previously had a fling with Johnny in the past before he found love with her best friend.  

SARAH CHALKE as KATE and BEN LAWSON as RYAN in episode 102 of FIREFLY LANE

(Image credit: SHANE HARVEY/NETFLIX/NETFLIX © 2020)

Tully later met Max and the two hit it off big time, got married and Tully became pregnant with their child. Based on her own rather difficult childhood with her mother Cloud, Tully wasn’t initially thrilled at the prospect of becoming a mom, only to come to the conclusion that it was right for her after all. But her and Max's happiness ended in tragedy in Firefly Lane when Tully experienced a miscarriage. 

As they grieved their loss, their relationship was pushed to breaking point. Although Tully had hoped to make their marriage work after considering getting an annulment, Max ultimately decided that this wasn’t what he wanted. 

SARAH CHALKE as KATE, KATHERINE HEIGL as TULLY, and JON-MICHAEL ECKER as MAX in episode 109 of FIREFLY LANE

(Image credit: SHANE HARVEY/NETFLIX/NETFLIX © 2020)

When it comes to what happened at the end of Firefly Lane season 1, there was a heart-stopping moment that left fans asking themselves whose funeral it was in Firefly Lane and perhaps fearing it was Kate or Tully's. However, the character who died turned out to be Kate’s father, Bud, who'd previously had a heart attack.

Though the Firefly Lane season 1 finale left another character’s fate hanging in the balance - Johnny. Having become a war correspondent, he’d traveled to Iraq and was last seen at the end of Firefly Lane season 1 apparently unconscious after an explosion. 

Thankfully for concerned fans, the Firefly Lane season 2 trailer has already shown that Johnny survived this terrifying incident. But it also dropped heavy hints that he's going to be struggling massively with the impact of what he went through.

BEN LAWSON as RYAN and SARAH CHALKE as KATE in episode 109 of FIREFLY LANE

(Image credit: COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2020)

Kate also appeared to reaffirm how “close” she and Johnny are as former spouses in the opening moments of the trailer. Could this be a light at the end of the tunnel for those hoping they’ll get back together? Perhaps, especially since their divorce is one of the Firefly Lane book vs show differences and wasn’t in Kristin Hannah’s novel, but we’ll just have to wait and see…

Why did Kate and Tully stop talking at the end of Firefly Lane season 1? 

The biggest mystery that left us hanging at the end of Firefly Lane season 1 was the matter of why Tully and Kate stopped talking in Firefly Lane. After an entire season watching their friendship develop over the years it likely came as a shock to some when Kate coldly turned Tully away from Bud’s funeral in the Firefly Lane ending, telling her “No-one wants you here”. 

From there things only got a whole lot worse, as Kate told her former best friend, “When I said that I could never forgive you for what you did, what did you think that meant?" 

SARAH CHALKE as KATE and KATHERINE HEIGL as TULLY in episode 107 of FIREFLY LANE

(Image credit: COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2020)

The supposedly unforgivable issue that fractured their friendship remains a matter of speculation until Firefly Lane season 2 reveals the truth, as we never did find out in season 1. However, in the Firefly Lane book the pair had an argument and it was all down to Tully involving Kate and her daughter Marah in her show, The Girlfriend Hour. 

The journalist convinced them to come on the show, but what Kate hadn’t known was that the segment was on overprotective mothers and she was furious and felt this suggested Tully thought she was a bad parent. Firefly Lane season 2 might not take the same route as Kristin Hannah’s book storyline, but it’s intriguing that Kate and Tully both arrive at the hospital to try and visit Johnny in the trailer. 

This could suggest that they’ve at least temporarily paused their argument - or put it behind them entirely. Tully’s career in the show has also taken a different path with her quitting The Girlfriend Hour after the arrogant Wilson King took it over.

The trailer showed her being served as she faces legal action after leaving The Girlfriend Hour and furiously declaring, “He took my show”. So it seems that Tully’s career will be a huge focus of Firefly Lane season 2. The Netflix drama could of course still follow the path of the book and reveal via a time jump that whilst she still had the show Tully got Kate and Marah to appear on it.

At this point anything’s still possible when it comes to the reason for their estrangement. All we know is that plenty of Firefly Lane fans will likely be hoping for a complete reconciliation between Tully and Kate in season 2.  

KATHERINE HEIGL as TULLY and SARAH CHALKE as KATE in episode 103 of FIREFLY LANE

(Image credit: COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2020)

How to watch Firefly Lane season 1 

If you love romance, friendship and nostalgia and haven’t already seen Firefly Lane season 1 or perhaps you just want an ultimate Firefly Lane season 1 recap by re-watching your favorite moments, then Netflix is the place to head. All 10 episodes of Firefly Lane’s first season including the spellbinding finale are available to watch via the streaming platform. So if you want to watch or re-watch Firefly Lane season 1 before seeing the second season, then why not settle down and immerse yourself in Tully and Kate’s friendship from the beginning? 

The first nine episodes of Firefly Lane season 2 premiered on Netflix on December 2, with the remaining seven to follow in 2023. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.