Katherine Heigl as Tully Hart Sarah Chalke as Kate Mularkey in Firefly Lane's 2000s timeline

Here's Your Firefly Lane Season 2 Timeline To Keep It All Straight

You're welcome.

by Ani Bundel

Firefly Lane is a story that spans decades; the novel it’s based on begins in 1974 and traces the friends of Kate Mularkey and Tully Hart across the decades, ending circa 2005. The TV show covers the same period, but unlike the book, which follows a linear timeline, it jumps around. This allows the show to juxtapose decisions Kate and Tully made as teens with the ones they make in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. But it also makes Firefly Lane Season 2, Part 1 timeline a bit hard to follow sometimes.

Warning: Spoilers for Firefly Lane Season 2, Part 1 follow. Firefly Lane’s first season mostly stuck to the events within Kristen Hannah’s original book, with a few key exceptions. As those exceptions started to change the story, Season 2 started going further afield. Notably, Part 1 incorporated parts of Hannah’s sequel, Fly Away, which focuses on filling in much of Tully’s backstory, including the history of her mother, Cloud. The new season also added decades outside the book’s original preview, pulling from Fly Away’s flashbacks. Further, it added parts of the timeline Season 1 skipped over wholesale in its non-linear storytelling. The result can feel jarring, especially when the series steps out of its established 1974-1985-2003 trio of timelines that viewers got used to in Season 1.

So, when does everything take place in Firefly Lane? Here’s a detangling of events in order.



The furthest back the show traveled to onscreen was to the late 1950s. The show first hit 1959, the year Tully was born, toward the end of the season premiere. Cloud was seen banging on the front door of a fancy house, demanding the person inside answer and acknowledge the child she’s holding. Over the next few episodes, viewers discover the place belongs to Benedict Binswanger, the politican whose career Tully was covering as a journalist in the 1980s. Audiences also realized Binswanger knew exactly who Tully Hart was, as he was introduced to her as a baby when he answered the door.

As viewers learned in Episode 5, when the show flashed back to 1958, Binswanger deliberately tricked his brother PJ and Cloud into breaking up when he learned Cloud was pregnant, denying his brother the chance to be a father to Tully.



Season 1 focused on Tully’s arrival into Kate’s life in 1974. When the show re-picked up that thread in the season premiere, it was now 1975, and Tully had returned to living at her grandmother’s. However, she wasn’t happy there and returned to Kate on a mission to find her father. The two played hooky from school and hitchhiked out to where they thought he might be, only for Tully to be heartbroken when it was a dead end. She then picked a fight with Kate and told her their friendship was over.

That became a bit awkward several months later when, in Episode 3, Tully once again went to live with a now-sober Cloud in the winter of 1976. Kate forgave Tully and ditched her new friend Lisa-Marie to be with her bestie again, and the two moved hand in hand through their junior year together, getting jobs at the burger joint, having first kisses, and attending that all-important 200th birthday of America, July 4, 1976. The 1970s timeline was the only one that does not end on a cliffhanger, instead promising Tully and Kate will hit their senior year closer than ever.



Much like the 1970s timeline, the 1980s story lurched forward another year, picking up with Kate and Johnny getting together in early 1986. While they struggled with a workplace romance and intern Lottie crushed on Johnny, Tully met her rival and possible match in Danny, who was hired by the station to compete against her for the evening newscast. Tully and Danny fell into bed together, neither admitting how much they cared for each other, while Kate pushed Johnny to settle down.

Unlike the 1970s, the ‘80s timeline never jumped forward; instead it rolled into the summer of 1986. At the July 4 party in Episode 6, Kate decided she’d had enough of Johnny’s reluctance to commit and dumped him, while Danny announced he was heading to New York to work for a newly launched sports channel. As Johnny helplessly watched, Kate met a new guy, Theo, a British ex-pat, and decided to follow him to England, leaving Tully and him behind. The 1980s timeline ended on a cliffhanger at the end of Episode 9, with Johnny outside Kate’s empty apartment begging her to take him back, needing her when she’s no longer there.



This timeline only turned up for a single episode, a one-off stop in Episode 4, when Tully and Kate met up in 1993. It was a new era, and Tully was pursuing her dreams in New York with a sharp haircut and blazers, while Kate ironed her hair and tried to hold onto her youth by embracing the goth-esque fashions while Johnny was home with baby Marah. But Kate’s real problem was her inability to conceive again, dashing her hopes of having a large family.



Season 1 ended in the early days of 2003, as Johnny left to be embedded with the U.S. Army. Season 2 picks this story up again a few months later, as Johnny’s been injured and flown to Germany, and a frantic Kate is desperate to get to his bedside and make it alright. Despite Tully having no job since her show crashed and burned months earlier, she flew Kate to Germany and reunited her with Johnny. There was only one small problem — as Kate and Johnny are divorced, Lottie (now going by her full name, Charlotte) moved back into the picture and was aiming to be the second Mrs. Johnny Ryan. Lottie didn’t get very far, though — by July 2003, Johnny and Kate got back together.

As for Tully, her new apartment was in the same building as Danny’s, and she moved the now-sober Cloud into it. Her career rose with internet videos, and she won in the legal battle against her former employer, Wilson King. Tully then continued her self-discovery dive to find her father once and for all. However, PJ had passed by the time she realized he was nearby the whole time, sending her spiraling. Her drinking and extravagant choices finally came to a head in Episode 7, when she raced to rescue Marah from a frat party while under the influence and wound up in a car crash (although she was not at fault), putting them both in the hospital.



Episode 8 moved the story from 2003 to the present day in a montage, ending with Thanksgiving 2004, when Kate’s father passed away in his sleep, bringing the show full circle to the funeral where she refused Tully entry. Over the year, viewers saw Kate return to school and make new friends while her relationship with Johnny officially headed back toward the altar.

As for Tully, the loss of Kate finally got her to do the emotional healing work she’d avoided for decades, returning to Firefly Lane and the house she and Cloud lived in. She spent the year renovating the house herself, gifting it to her mother that Christmas, finally achieving a measure of peace.



As the new year dawned in Episode 9, Tully decided to get her career back on track and, with Dany’s help, got a gig taking her to Antarctica to report on climate change. Meanwhile, Kate woke up one morning to a giant red mass on her breast and was summarily diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. The show ended this timeline with a cliffhanger that echoed 1986, this time with Kate outside Tully’s empty apartment, needing her when she was no longer there.

Firefly Lane Season 1 and Season 2, Part 1 are streaming on Netflix. Season 2, Part 2 will premiere in 2023.