Ending Explained

‘Firefly Lane’ Ending Explained: Does Kate Die?

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Firefly Lane

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Firefly Lane‘s Season 2, Part 2: The Final Chapter is finally on Netflix, and just as we expected, you’ll need a full box of tissues on hand to watch the series finale.

After 26 episodes, we finally know whether or not Kate (Sarah Chalke) and Tully (Katherine Heigl) repair their severed friendship before the series ends. We know if Tully marries Johnny (Ben Lawson) when the show jumps forward a decade. And we learn Kate’s fate.

Netflix’s official finale description reads, “On a special day for the Mularkey family, Tully reflects on decades of work, love, grief, and joy alongside her best friend. Kate faces the unknown.” But if you’re looking to unpack Firefly Lane‘s final episode in detail, or you simply want to know what the emotional series finale has in store before you watch it, we’ve got a recap of Season 2, Episode 16, “This Must Be the Place.”

Does Kate die? Do Tully and Danny (Ignacio Serricchio) survive a turbulent turn of events? And most importantly, does the series finale do the Firefly Lane friendship justice?

We’ve got the answers below. But be warned, Firefly Lane Season 2 finale spoilers lie ahead.

Firefly Lane Ending Explained: Season 2 Finale Recap – Does Kate Die?

Firefly Lane’s penultimate episode ends on quite the cliffhanger. For a chunk of Season 2, all signs point to a fatal outcome for Kate, but in the final moments of Season 2, Episode 15, the series jumps forward ten years to Firefly Lane‘s mysterious wedding day and shows Kate looking healthy, sporting long hair and a gorgeous dress. Tully walks into the room and announces “The godmother of the bride is ready!” and the two besties stand in front of a mirror taking in the moment. In a twist, the series leads fans to believe that Kate survived. But did she? The series finale picks up right where Episode 15 left off and quickly answers the burning question.

As the friends stand in front of the mirror together ahead of Mara’s 2016 wedding, Kate says, “It’s been 10 years. 10 years since our horrible fight. 10 years since I got sick. And now my little girl is all grown up.” Tully replies, “We did it Malarky. You raised a great girl… She is the best of you.” After an emotional heart-to-heart, a knock at the door causes Tully’s head to turn. When her gaze returns to the mirror, Kate is gone. Tully is standing in the room alone, and we realize she was imagining the interaction, so Kate did die after all.

Jason McKinnon, Ben Lawson, and Yael Yurman on 'Firefly Lane'
Photo: Netflix

Once we hear Danny saying “Tulula Rose, everyone is waiting for you,” through the door, we flash back to 2006 where Danny is bringing Tully breakfast in bed. As they’re celebrating their love for each other and the good news that Kate was accepted into the cancer trial, Tully gets a phone call and learns Kate is in the hospital after a seizure. Before Tully heads to the hospital, we flash back to 1997, where Kate supports Mara through her Hocus Pocus “dress like a witch phase” and Tully hires Johnny as a producer on her talk show. The 90s flashback ends with the four of them having a dance party to “Dancing Queen,” then flashback to Kate and Tully as teens shows them dancing to “Dancing Queen” again while singing into hairbrushes. It’s their song.

When Tully and Danny arrive at the hospital in 2006, a tearful Johnny says Kate got her MRI results back and the cancer spread to her brain. Not only is she disqualified from the trial, but doctors say she only has weeks left to live (months if they’re lucky) and all they can do now is keep her comfortable. Kate asks to go home, and a passage of time is marked by an emotional montage of peaceful moments — from Johnny reading to Kate in bed, couch cuddles, and knitting, to chess, family brunch, and more.

Yael Yurman, Ben Lawson, and Sarah Chalke in 'Firefly Lane'
Photo: Netflix

As Kate’s condition worsens, she tells Johnny she’s writing a book and she struggles with the thought of leaving Mara motherless. Kate sees how close Mara has grown to Tully, which is bittersweet, but she and Mara share a touching moment after Mara returns from a date. Kate offers advice and visibly savors their conversation. Kate also shares an emotional scene with her brother, in which they clear the air and apologize for all the times they wronged one another.

In true Tully fashion, she’s avoiding Danny’s calls as she struggles to navigate her grief. As Kate and Tully sit side by side for one of the last times, Kate asks Tully if she’s mad at her for leaving after she promised they’d be together forever when they were kids. “We had a deal, Malarky,” Tully sobs. “We were gonna be old ladies together. You can’t die. You can’t. I don’t know who I am without you…I’m so scared that I’m literally going to disintegrate. I don’t know how to exist without you. I’m not ready. I’m never gonna be ready.” Kate makes Tully promise that she’ll dedicate the first episode of her new talk show to her, and also that she’ll call Danny back ASAP. Tully promises, then wheels Kate’s wheelchair outside and tells her to close her eyes.

Roan Curtis and Ali Skovbye in 'Firefly Lane'
Photo: Netflix

“We are kids again. It’s the 70s. We just snuck out of our parents’ house to ride our bikes. We’re laughing because we’re invincible,” Tully tells Kate. “Hold your arms out like an airplane.” Kate obeys, Tully starts running while pushing the wheelchair, and the series toggles back and forth between 2006 and the 70s, when teen Kate and Tully are riding their bikes. When the tearjerking comparisons stop, the 2006 besties get high under the stars and are joined by two unlikely guests: their mothers. After some delightful mother/daughter bonding, we see Kate in her office printing out the final pages of her book. “It’s the story of my life,” she tells Johnny. “I wrote it for Mara. I figured it’d be a way for her to know me; remember me. It’s been really fun to remember those moments — the first time I saw Tully at bus stop. The first time I met you…All I want is for Mara to know I’m proud of her and what a gift it’s been being her mom. And I want you to know how proud I am of us and life we’ve built together.” Kate hands the book, titled Firefly Lane, to Johnny, instructing him to give it to Mara when she’s ready. They kiss, and he carries her to their bed.

While Tully was ignoring Danny’s calls, he decided to move back to New York to pursue a big career opportunity. When he confronts Tully about shutting him out and starts to say goodbye, she takes Kate’s advice, admits she was scared, and breaks her pattern of self-destructive, isolating behavior. “I love you and I want to be with you,” she tells Danny, before asking him to stay. He agrees, they kiss, and at long last we remember what joy feels like. But not for long…

Sarah Chalke and Katherine Heigl in 'Firefly Lane'
Photo: Netflix

After a series of flashbacks, we check in with Tully and Kate, who are chatting outside Kate’s house taking in her gorgeous view. Tully is gushing about Danny, but before launching into a giant recap, she steps inside to refill her tea. When she returns and sees that Kate has passed, she breaks down crying.

After another vision of Kate riding a horse, experiencing pure freedom, we’re taken to her funeral, where Mutt, Kate’s mom and brother, Cloud and Danny, and Tully are giving their condolences to Johnny and Mara. “I don’t think I can go in,” Tully tells Johnny. “She figured,” he replies. “She left something for you.” He hands Tully a black box before heading inside, and Tully makes her way to a nearby bench to see what’s inside. “I know you won’t be able to attend my funeral…you’re not the fucking star,” a letter from Kate begins. Inside the box is a copy of Firefly Lane, and the letter explains that Kate wrote down every funny, awful, embarrassing thing she can remember from their friendship. As she lists off memories, we see them play out on screen and realize this entire series — every flashback and time jump — has been a moment worthy of Kate’s book.

Katherine Heigl in 'Firefly Lane'
Photo: Netflix

In addition to the book and letter, Kate leaves Tully a light and a joint with a note that reads “Smoke me,” a photo of David Cassidy with a note that reads “Kiss me,” and an iPod with a note that reads “Play me and dance.” Tully puts the earbuds in, presses play, and “Dancing Queen” blasts into her ears. In Firefly Lane’s final scene, Tully dances to the “Firefly Lane Mix” outside Kate’s funeral, just as she hoped.

Firefly Lane is currently streaming on Netflix.