We Need To Talk About Johnny's Ending In 'Firefly Lane' Season 1

by Ani Bundel

Warning: Spoilers for Firefly Lane Season 1 follow. Firefly Lane presents itself as a story of the friendship between two women: Kate and Tully. But folded within the intertwined timelines, there's also the old-fashioned love story of Kate and her husband, Johnny. When the two meet in the 1980s, it's love at first sight for Kate, although Johnny first has to stop being distracted by Tully before noticing her. But once they're together, it's impossible to let go, even after they've technically divorced. But their relationship might be over for good due to Season 1's major cliffhanger, which left fans desperately asking one question: Does Johnny die in Firefly Lane? His condition is uncertain.

In present-day 2003, Kate and Johnny's marriage has disintegrated. It leaves her in need of a job after being out of the workforce for over a decade. But although it seems like Kate is the one bringing on the divorce after an emotional affair with a fellow PTA member, Johnny isn't so innocent either. Kate's breaking point with her husband? Johnny's decision to become an embedded journalist in the second Iraq War. After Kate gave up so much to support the family, his insistence that he "needs" to do this for himself is just too selfish for her to handle.

Johnny's motivation makes sense; he was a war correspondent before getting sidelined in Seattle, where he met Kate. The Iraq War under President George W. Bush was the most significant military offensive since Vietnam. To Johnny, it probably looks like his last chance to follow his dream of reporting ~important news~ again.


Of course, hindsight is 20/20. Even before Johnny leaves on assignment in the final episode, viewers know the Iraq War was ugly. Journalists did die, most of them in the first three weeks of action. And with Firefly Lane repeatedly teasing a funeral set two years after present events of 2003, fans spend most of the season wondering if Johnny will come home.

It turns out, the funeral isn't Johnny's, but that might be because he may not survive to see 2005. As Tully and Kate hang out by the pool on New Year's Eve, ringing in 2004, the phone goes unanswered inside the house. Viewers presume it's a call about Johnny, who was part of a platoon blown up by a landmine as they crossed the desert. The last shot of Johnny is of him lying in the sand; blood splattered across his bulletproof vest marked "Press."

Whether or not Johnny died seems to be left for a potential Firefly Lane Season 2 to answer. Netflix has not yet greenlit a new season. But with a cliffhanger like that, it looks like the writers are pretty confident a renewal is coming soon.