Firefly Lane season 1, episode 9 recap – what happened in “You Say It’s Your Birthday?!”?

By Daniel Hart
Published: February 3, 2021 (Last updated: January 3, 2024)
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Netflix series Firefly Lane season 1, episode 9 - You Say It's Your Birthday


“You Say It’s Your Birthday?!” was always going to be a significant chapter, but it does well to bring one of the most important scenes.

This recap of Netflix’s Firefly Lane season 1, episode 9, “You Say It’s Your Birthday?!” contains significant spoilers.

Keeping on theme, Firefly Lane delves into birthdays, and how this important day has impacted Tully’s life. Plus, the significant subject of miscarriages is brought to the fray. “You Say It’s Your Birthday?!” wakes up with Tully dreaming about her mother and then Kate passes her a baby. However, when she opens the blanket, the baby isn’t there. When she looks at her bedsheets, there’s blood. She then wakes up, and her mother, Cloud, and Kate are at her bedside. Kate tells her she had an infection and she’s been in the hospital. Tully felt it was all a dream, but then she wonders why Cloud is here. Kate tells her she kept calling for her.

Tully realizes that she missed Thanksgiving and that it’s her birthday. Cloud reveals she had three miscarriages herself. Tully isn’t coping well with her mother there and wants to go to work. She reminds them it’s her birthday, and that they can’t stop her. I suppose that’s a difficult argument to come back from — but this is typical Tully, burying her feelings.

Kate spoils Tully for her birthday

And Tully’s birthday has always been important for Kate and “You Say It’s Your Birthday?!” proves so. In the past, as teens, Kate gives Tully plenty of presents for her birthday, and she is overwhelmed by how much she’s got her. She gives Tully a matching necklace, and she loves it. Downstairs, Cloud is high and playing music with her boyfriend, Leon. She tells Kate how the birth of Tully was amazing and that she had a birth-gasm. Cloud wants to take Tully out for a big, fancy dinner. It’s blatantly obvious this is going to go wrong.

In the 80s, Kate celebrates Tully’s birthday at work. Wilson King, a producer from KLET, sends Tully gifts; it’s a big opportunity for her to move studios and become a star, or so it seems.

Tully bravely speaks about her experiences on the show

Firefly Lane season 1, episode 9 then brings a brilliant moment that brings up the importance of women to discuss their miscarriages. It’s a scene that then shows the power of speaking about it, rather than hiding in shame.

In the present, Tully runs her show and discusses a new digital frame. On the frame, there’s a newborn baby, and it rocks her. She goes blank in front of the studio audience but then asks, “Who here has had a miscarriage?”. She reveals it happened to her last week, and that’s she is still bleeding — she admits she’s not okay. Tully then speaks to different women in the audience about their experiences. The audience gives her a standing ovation for encouraging women to speak about it. This is the most important scene in the episode, and maybe the series. It proves there needs to be more conversation about something very common. 

Cloud and the fancy restaurant

In the past, teen Kate and Tully are taken to a fancy restaurant by Cloud — the boyfriend Leon is there — he plays the piano. Cloud then gets up to sing. Tully and Kate sit there awkwardly as Cloud sings “Crazy” in dedication to Tully’s birthday.

She carries on singing, but Tully isn’t impressed. Cloud believes that because Leon works at the restaurant, the meals will be free. However, the manager doesn’t think that’s the case and asks her to pay her the bill. Cloud explodes and throws a drink over the manager, and she gets thrown out by Kate and Tully. It was always going to end this way, and the sympathy increases for Tully, but more importantly, the admiration for Kate increases — she has stood there and always been the supporting figure for Tully. When they get home, Kate gives Tully a big hug, and they vow to be best friends forever and always be with each other on their birthdays.

Wilson King and Tully meet

This moment of “You Say It’s Your Birthday?!” indicates why the #MeToo movement occurred, and brings a fictional reality to how systematic the entertainment industry was, and still is now, in many places.

In the past, Tully meets Wilson King for a meal. He tells the executive producer that it’s her birthday and that she’s been in this restaurant before. Wilson King tells her that he admires her work and is being wasted at her current job. He wants her in his anchor chair. After the meal, Wilson King invites Tully to his hotel room and then threatens to hurt her career when she says no.

Tully doesn’t want to face Max

In the present day, Johnny and Tully toast a drink at the studio; it’s Johnny’s last day as the producer before he heads out to be a war correspondent again. Tully says that was her best show she’s ever done regarding the miscarriage. She tells Johnny that she thought better was going to be before worse in marriage and doesn’t’ know if she can face Max. She’s facing yet another obstacle in her life, and this time she’s facing it in a completely different dynamic — with someone she truly loves and is married too.

Johnny apologizes to Kate

In the past, Johnny tells Kate that he’s bad at relationships and always hurts the other person. He keeps talking himself into a hole and says he’s not good enough for her. He apologizes. Kate accepts his apology, but Johnny asks if they can start over, as friends. In the present day, Kate sees that Johnny is asleep on the couch so puts a blanket over him. The series keeps hinting that it may never be truly over between them.

Tully kicks Max out

“You Say It’s Your Birthday?!” turns explosive as Tully is unable to handle her feelings with Max after their traumatic miscarriage. In the present day, Max wants to talk to Tully about what they went through, but she doesn’t want to talk. Tully tells Max that she’s going to bed alone and that she only married him because she was pregnant. And then she says she would have been a terrible mother and that she’s relieved. Tully tells Max to leave and that she doesn’t want him here. As he leaves, Tully throws her glass at the wall. “Crazy” then plays as Tully lays on the floor crying; flashes of her being raped, being abandoned by her mother, getting married, and then having a miscarriage go through her mind.

The ending

As the episode near an end in the present day, Kate and her daughter blow off some steam and break up a boat. Cloud heads over to Tully’s apartment with a cake and passes her a fork. They eat it together. The next day, Johnny tells Tully that the new bosses have ended the show. As Tully walks into the studio, Wilson King stands there. This is the last thing she needed.

Firefly Lane season 1, episode 9 was always going to be a significant chapter, but it does well to bring one of the most important scenes.

Additional points
  • Cloud tells Tully that she calls Kate by the wrong name as a joke.
  • In the present, Travis and Kate go out together; Travis ends up on karaoke in a quiet bar. Kate enjoys herself and ends up joining in.
  • At school, Marah and her friend are in trouble for standing up for what they believe in. The parents manage to get them off from suspension and call it a “teachable moment”. Travis and Johnny agree with each other, but Kate manages to make it awkward.

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