Creator/showrunner Maggie Friedman breaks down the final seven episodes of the Netflix series.
Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched Part 2 of Firefly Lane's final season.
All good things have to come to an end, even life-long friendships like Tully and Kate's on Firefly Lane.
Netflix dropped the final seven episodes of the series on Thursday, picking up after Kate (Sarah Chalke) received the devastating news that she had inflammatory breast cancer amid a breakdown in her best friendship with Tully (Katherine Heigl) after she got into a car accident with Kate's daughter, Marah. The first episode of Part 2 had the estranged BFFs on ice as Kate navigated her new health challenge and Tully was off on a trip to Antarctica, missing each and every one of Kate's desperate phone calls for reconciliation and support.
By the next episode, the two friends were able to make amends, but not without some major bumps in the road. As Tully stayed by Kate's side during her cancer battle (successfully going into remission after chemo), it wasn't until a bit later in the season that Kate learned it had come back -- and this time it had spread. Even so, she and Johnny (Ben Lawson) married a second time in a touching backyard ceremony and as her cancer began to take away her ability to do simple tasks, Kate began working on a book about her own life, which ended up being Firefly Lane. In the finale, Tully reconnected with Danny (Ignacio Serricchio) after he and his fiancee broke up. After confessing their love for each other, they decided to give their relationship another shot.
Of course, Firefly Lane kept viewers guessing as it jumped ahead to a wedding in 2016, which ended up being Marah's as she said "I do" to her doctor girlfriend. By that point, it's presumed that Johnny, who was without his wedding ring, could have found the strength to move on after Kate's death. And Tully, who was wearing a ring on that finger, was married -- presumably to Danny. The final scene of the series culminated at Kate's funeral service 10 years earlier, where Johnny gave Tully a box of Kate's most prized mementos, including the Firefly Lane manuscript and an iPod with their favorite songs. As Tully pressed play on the iPod to ABBA's "Dancing Queen," she joyfully danced outside the church as the camera panned up toward the sunny, cloudless sky.
"There's a lot of humor and a lot of emotion and joy and fun to be had in these last episodes, even though we're dealing with some pretty heavy stuff," executive producer/showrunner Maggie Friedman told ET of Firefly Lane's swan song. "There's a lot of surprises and twists, and ups and downs." And as Friedman explained, the intention was always to wrap up Kate and Tully's story with a bow. "It was just really important to me to tell the complete story of Tully and Kate and to not end on a cliffhanger. To really have the story feel complete. We got to do that and I was thrilled. It's a real gift because it doesn't always work like that in TV."
With the final episodes of Firefly Lane now streaming, ET spoke with Friedman about ending the series, whether there's a possibility for a follow-up in the future and what she hopes viewers take away from Tully and Kate after finishing the show.
ET: With Kate navigating her breast cancer battle for the second half of the season, there was relief seeing her reunite with Tully in episode 11, which was the second hour in Part 2. Can you speak to the decision not to prolong their reunion?
Maggie Friedman: We didn't want to torture people too much. We tortured them all through episode 10, all through the first episode of [season] 2B. We definitely wanted to keep people frustrated, like, "No, come on, just call her back." Kate keeps calling Tully and Tully doesn't have any cell reception. We wanted to break people's hearts there, but then of course, we have to get them back together because this show is about their friendship. It's the central relationship of the show. It was important, I think, for Tully to be there for Kate while she's going through this.
It was a gut-punch when it's discovered Kate's cancer has come back. What was important to you in portraying her cancer journey?
It was really hard and it felt very delicate and it was challenging, I think, for all of us. It was challenging for the writers. I know it was hard for Sarah because it was a lot to play. I think she's so amazing; I just love her. She did such a beautiful job of showing Kate's journey through that part of her life. In episode 15, for instance, when they do the moon ceremony. In that episode, she's stuck not knowing how she feels. She's a person who's always been a caretaker and she's always been so worried about everyone else's feelings, it's hard for her to connect with her own feelings. That was part of her journey, was recognizing how she felt about this and being mad and feeling grief over this being the end for her and how unfair it is. Then finally, by the end of the finale episode, she's at peace and she's said her goodbyes to each person in her life. She knows that each of them is going to be OK. She's able to have a moment of true gratitude and peace before she goes. We wanted it to be difficult and painful, but hopefully, it's a beautiful moment. It's sad, but also a reminder of how beautiful life is and to feel grateful.
The scene in the finale where Kate dies as she takes one takes in, one last time, the nature around her was deeply emotional and touching. How much discussion went into how you wanted her to go?
We talked about it a lot in the writers' room. We took some time to find what felt like the right [way] to portray that moment in an interesting and hopefully emotional way. We always knew we wanted her to be at peace. I wrote that final episode and I wrote that she's looking around at nature in this place that she loved. We got so lucky because we had perfect weather that day. We were able, I think, to capture, I think Vincent [De Paula], our DP, and Michael Spiller, the director, captured really beautiful images. Sarah's performance is so great. It's hard to write a scene like that. I hope it turned out OK. I'm still close to it.
The last image of the series takes place at Kate's funeral and Tully has inherited a box of her best friend's items, including the unpublished Firefly Lane manuscript Kate wrote about their friendship, as well as an iPod with ABBA's "Dancing Queen" cued up. Can you discuss your intentions behind that being the final moment of the show and what it represents?
That day shooting that scene, everybody was sobbing as we shot the funeral. Katie [Heigl] really captured just so much emotion. When she cries, you just feel it. The idea was that even though Kate is gone and it's really sad, Tully will always carry her with her. She's always going to be there. The idea that Kate wrote down their whole story and Tully will always have it. That even, when you see at the beginning of the final episode, you see Tully 10 years after Kate dies. She's at Marah's wedding and she's still talking to Kate. Kate is still there with her in her heart and in her mind. The idea is that she's dancing and it's sad, but also, she's joyful because she had this friendship and because she'll always carry it with her. We pull up on the last shot into the sky and it's like Kate is looking over her.
You mentioned the flash-forward to 2016 at Marah's wedding. There's a span of time from 2006 before we get to that point in time. Have you thought about what happened in between and if could make for a potential spinoff or continuation of the story?
I can't say. I don't know about that. A big part of Tully's arc throughout the series was dealing with her trauma, dealing with her difficult childhood and coming out the other side a stronger person. Even though she's lost Kate, which is the worst thing that could happen to her, she's also so much stronger than she was when the series began. I think she'll be OK. I love that she and Danny are going to be together and that she and Cloud have healed their relationship. That was really important to me.
Did Tully and Danny get married? Are they the marrying type?
We did talk about it. We don't show Danny's face, but that's his voice [in 2016]. For anybody who's really listening, when she's at Marah's wedding in 2016 and she's in the bedroom. At first, we think Kate's really there, that Kate has lived, and then we reveal that actually that's just Tully imagining Kate with her. Then we hear somebody outside the room say, "Tallulah Rose, everybody's waiting for you." That's Danny. That's his voice. It's a little Easter egg. If you're listening hard, you'll realize, "OK, Danny's there with her." Are they married? She is wearing a big honking ring, so maybe they're forever engaged. Who knows?
By the end of the series, Marah is starting a new chapter in her life. Have you thought about or written out, just for yourself, what Johnny and Marah's lives look like by then?
When we are in the main bulk of Marah's story, she's going through those really tough teenage years. To see that she makes it out the other side and is happy and successful, that was important to me. She's getting married and she's a lawyer. I wanted to show that even though she loses her mom, it's like what Tully says, "Everything good in her, that's from you." Kate still made her impact and still raised her in an effective way. I'm glad to know that Marah is OK.
There is a follow-up novel by Kristin Hannah, Flying Away, that chronicled Tully and Marah's lives after Kate's death. Was the topic ever broached about staying within this world a little while longer?
It's not that it never came up, but we were really just focused on telling the story of Firefly Lane and making it into, hopefully, its best TV version and adapting it for that medium and telling the complete story. I'm just glad that we got to do that. I don't know beyond that.
What do you want people to think of or feel when they watch or re-watch the show?
I want this to be a show that when you watch it, it makes you want to call up your best friend or your oldest friend, or your bestest, oldest friend and feel connected to them. I want it to be a show that people feel like, "Oh, I want to go hang out with Kate and Tully like they're my friends too." I always say, I'm the type of person -- if I'm having a hard day -- there are certain shows that I return to that, "Oh, this is going to make me feel better now." I wanted it to be a show like that, that you can just sink into like a warm bath and it feels good to watch. You laugh and you cry and you go through a lot of emotions and feelings and you feel connected to the characters. That's the idea. It's like a good ride. Hopefully, we did that.
Hopefully, [viewers] wipe a tear. Hopefully, they also feel warm inside. Hopefully, it reminds them to call your best friend up and tell her how much you love her and how much you appreciate her. Hopefully, it connects people with feeling gratitude about their own lives and the people in them. That's the idea.
Firefly Lane is streaming now on Netflix.