Oh! Sweet Something
Episode 2 of Firefly Lane returns to the high school party in the 70’s as Pat Richmond gets Tully drunk, convincing her to continue letting her guard down. Tully chugs alcohol, struggling to walk in a straight line. As the pair start kissing, Pat eventually forces himself on her as she pleads with him to stop. Well, he doesn’t and after finishing, gets up like nothing happened and asks if she wants more to drink.
Traumatized and in shock, Tully walks home crying as she eventually sits with Kate outside. Kate senses something is up and hugs Tully. Eventually the girl admits the truth about her assault, sobbing as Kate tells her they need to tell someone. Instead, Tully pleads with her friend to keep it a secret. It’s a defining moment for the pair, one that solidifies their bond together.
Things are predictably awful in the morning when Cloud awakens high and with a strange man in the house. He gets close to Tully in the kitchen – too close in fact – as she turns and smacks him in the face with a spatula. With nowhere else to turn, Tully heads over to Kate’s but finds her inside laughing and joking with her brother; a far cry from the broken home she’s from.
On the bus to school though, Tully decides to sit with Kate instead of the popular kids. She gives Kate some tips on make-up and suggests she head over to her house that evening.
In the 80’s, Carol Mansour shoots an advertisement for CDs before Kate’s brother Sean arrives to greet them in the office. He’s been overseas all this time and has finally returned from his stint in the Navy.
While the others snort lines of coke and drink, Kate continues to work with Johnny in his office. We then see the glass table incident – the same one we were told about in the previous episode. Only, this ends in Johnny taking Tully away as Sean comments how Johnny is perfect for Tully. Kate can only smile awkwardly.
Alone, Sean and Kate talk as the former dances around his identity and sexuality. Eventually he decides to keep quiet about who he really is.
In 2003, Tully sits with Johnny as they discuss Kate and how she was playing “divorce chicken” with him. She wanted to make a go of their relationship but it obviously failed to manifest itself. The conversation soon turns to Tully’s reporting job, as Johnny admits he’s returning to Iraq again as a war correspondent. As he questions the choices they made in the past, Tully dodges the question and walks away.
Well, she heads over to Kate’s house the next day where Marah continues to whisper about the pill and how she suspects Kate is going to figure things out.
We’re 24 hours after the incident at the dance and hostilities are high. This is only made worse when Tully admits that Johnny stayed at hers in the guest bed that night. “He always knows where to go first,” She says. To add fuel to the fire, Kate knows about the pill and confronts her best friend about what’s happened.
Kate arrives at her new job where Kimber is not exactly an aspiring boss. She’s hungover and demands Kate set up the meeting with Tully. First up though, she needs to read an email which happens to be a personal break-up from her former partner Brendan. After reading this, she’s forced to look after Kimber’s dog.
It’s a brief affair though as Kate heads back into the office and saves Kimber’s skin from her bosses. Kate suggests an idea of an article about modern romance stifled by technology, with the executives love and decide to run with.
Meanwhile, Tully’s interview with a woman on-air garners some pretty emotional reactions while she listens to her words, which she immediately tells Sam and the editors to cut and change to audience reactions.
Johnny eventually heads over and talks to Kate, who learns that Tully gave Marah birth control pills. Soon after, Johnny drops the bombshell that he’s leaving in several months.
Much like in the previous episode, all three timelines then intersect together as Tully encourages Kate to come down from her room. There, they both push past their problems, at least for now, and embrace.
Our present day timeline then jumps forward two years as Kate and Tully wear black and prepare to say goodbye, admitting that they “miss her.”
The Episode Review
So episode 2 continues the timeline distorting as we jump all over the place again between the three timelines. Only, this time we get a fourth timeline in 2005 which reveals a pretty major plot point. Once again, the editing sabotages the show’s emotional peaks as we’re told about events before we actually see them take place.
A perfect example of this is the glass table incident which we were told about in episode 1 before seeing the whole thing play out here. Why not just show us? It feels sloppily handled and in a way exemplifies the problems with chopping a timeline up and distorting it in this way.
While some of the visual flair and edits between timelines are well-handled, they’re constantly betrayed by the tone in an episode that mixes potty humour (Kimber’s dog in the bathroom) with a serious situation involving Tully being raped. It feels completely jarring and to be honest, cheapens what should otherwise be a very dramatic event.
For those who haven’t read the book, there will undoubtedly be material here to enjoy but there’s no doubt this story could have been far better had it just been told in chronological order.