Netflix’s latest drama Firefly Lane has taken us all on an emotional roller coaster, to say the least.
The show centers on the friendship between Tully Hart and Kate Mularkey, and spans across three decades—from the mid-1970s all the way to the mid-2000s.
The two meet as teenagers when Tully moves into Kate’s neighborhood with her mother. Although their friendship gets off to a rocky start, they soon become inseparable. However, something terrible happens in their 40s, making Kate upset with Tully so much that she doesn’t wanna look at Tully anymore. What really happens between Kate and Tully?
The fact that Tully is the more attractive and confident one of the two, and grabs more eyeballs, always remains a silent bone of contention in Kate’s heart. This gets further emphasized as the two grow into young women and a love triangle of sorts forms between the two of them and their boss Johnny.
1. The Beginning of the Tully-Johnny-Kate Love Triangle
In the 1980s, we see that Tully is already working at the local news station KPOC under her boss Johnny Ryan. She brings Kate in one day to get her hired there as well, and succeeds.
The moment Kate meets Johnny for the first time—or rather before she even speaks to him—she is smitten. It’s love at first sight!
Unfortunately for Kate, there’s a small problem—Johnny’s got his eye on Tully. He doesn’t express this very openly, but as time passes and he becomes more friendly with the two women, Kate sees glimpses of his attraction to Tully.
Kate, a reserved person by nature, doesn’t speak openly of her feelings for Johnny, but Tully is no fool. She knows her best friend well. She sees Kate’s attraction to Johnny written all over her face and often teases Kate about it. Basically, we know that Tully is well aware of Kate’s feelings for Johnny from the get-go.
2. Tully’s First Flirtation with Johnny and How It Affects Kate
One night, after Kate has been working there for a while, the KPOC team goes out to the local bar for drinks and dancing.
Tully and Kate, forever attached at the hip, are enjoying their drinks together and having a good time. Tully even teases Kate about her crush on Johnny.
However, at this point, Tully does something that feels like a betrayal to Kate, and understandably so. When Tully gets on the dance floor and an inebriated Johnny starts dancing flirtatiously with her, an equally drunk Tully returns his enthusiasm.
At this point, we see that Kate is clearly shocked and uncomfortable with this. How could her own best friend, who knows how she feels about Johnny, flirt with him?
Kate does not say anything to Tully, but this incident clearly affects her deeply. Deeper, perhaps, than even she herself realizes, at least until history repeats itself almost 20 years later with Travis, Kate’s PTA crush from Marah’s school, and Kate experiences flashbacks.
3. Does Tully Sleep with Johnny?
What seems like anywhere between a few months to a year or so after this incident with Tully and Johnny (the show does not indicate clearly), sparks are once again flying between Johnny and Tully.
Tully injures herself while the KPOC crew is partying at the office late at night, and Johnny almost kisses her while bandaging her up, before they get interrupted.
At this point, Kate has seemingly moved on from her feelings for Johnny, and is now dating another member of the KPOC team, Mutt. However, it is clear to viewers that she still has eyes for Johnny, and has only “moved on” because she doesn’t see anything happening between them.
On another office outing, what has been teetering on the brink finally happens—Tully and Johnny sleep together. What’s worse is that it happens while Kate is in the house, and she can hear them all night long. Though Mutt is by her side, Kate is clearly tortured by this because she still harbors feelings for Johnny.
Once again, Kate does not say anything to Tully about how she feels, presumably because she’s with Mutt and doesn’t want to admit that she still loves Johnny. However, the resentment in her heart builds and grows.
4. Tully and Kate’s Rift: Could Tully Have Slept with Johnny Again?
At the end of the first season, we see that Tully and Kate, “Firefly Lane girls forever”, are forever no more. They have had such a bitter falling out that Kate tells Tully that she can never forgive her, and never wants to see her again.
Here’s where the fan theories of Tully having slept with Johnny once again come in. The show leaves us on a cliffhanger as to what actually caused the rift between Tully and Kate, so fans have plenty of possibilities to explore.
Fan forums of the show on Reddit are abuzz with theories about Johnny’s potential role in the demise of Tully and Kate’s friendship. Some fans think that the baby Tully miscarried could potentially have been Johnny’s.
“One of the more far-fetched theories I have heard is that Tully slept with Johnny that night he went over to her penthouse & mentioned to her how things could’ve been different in the first episode?” theorizes Reddit user u/Zoelouxoxo.
“Maybe the baby she miscarried was actually Johnny’s after all? Maybe his possible death or near-death experience means the truth comes out, by either Johnny admitting it or Tully coming out with it somehow.”Reddit
The fan then goes on to make another observation that I feel is particularly relevant:
“I could be completely wrong but I feel as if the show has emphasized Johnny’s love & admiration for Tully & not so much for Kate, his actual wife, for a reason.”Reddit
Considering Tully’s history of unabashedly flirting with men whom she knows Kate likes, Johnny in particular, it seems plausible that this could have been the reason behind their falling out.
What do you think?
About Firefly Lane
Firefly Lane is based on the eponymous novel by Kristin Hannah and has been adapted for Netflix by Maggie Friedman. The first season landed on the streaming platform in February 2021 and has quickly acquired a dedicated fanbase. While there is no official confirmation yet, Firefly Lane is all set to be renewed for another season.
The seies is a Netflix drama centered on the lives and friendship of two protagonists, Tully Hart and Kate Mularkey. The series follows their individual trials as well as the tests their friendship is put through right from their teenage years in the 1970s all the way up to their 40s.