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Johnny Ryan made it out of the warzone alive, but he didn’t come out unscathed. Johnny survived that Firefly Lane season 1 finale cliffhanger and returned home to Kate and Marah. In the wake of his injuries, Johnny struggled to process what happened to him and began to experience PTSD. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Ben Lawson about preparing for this emotional arc for his character in season 2.

“I have CPTSD [complex post-traumatic stress disorder] as a result of an interesting childhood, so I’m very familiar with the symptoms of PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder],” Ben said. “Johnny has primary PTSD. The two are not the same necessarily, but they share a lot of the ways that it presents — anxiety, depression, mood swings, and in severe cases, suicidal tendencies, so I was very familiar with the way that Johnny’s behavior was erratic on the page. It was enjoyable to do but it felt like familiar territory.”

Ben Lawson
Ben Lawson as Johnny in ‘Firefly Lane.’ (Netflix)

In the midst of Kate and Tully’s fallout, Johnny dealt with trying to move forward from his near-death experience and not revert back to his old tendencies. “I think that’s probably been his biggest arc of the season. I think at the beginning of season 2, he’s repeating himself. It’s the old Johnny. By the end of the season, I think that has been his journey. He wants to come to terms with his trauma in being able to realize really what is important to him, Marah and Kate, and that is for sure,” Ben continued.

Johnny and Kate reconciled in season 2 and put on a united front after Tully’s car accident that involved Marah. Despite their history, Johnny sent Tully away when she came to the house to talk to Kate following the accident. HollywoodLife asked Ben about how Johnny feels about Tully by the end of the season.

“Johnny stands by his woman,” Ben said. “We see in that scene he obviously has his own feelings about the situation. I think that he’s ready to forgive. When Kate’s ready to forgive, I think that he is going to be in lockstep with that. But as far as if Kate wanted to ice Tully out for the rest of her life, so would Johnny. I think he’s really on that level of devotion, but I think by nature he is more forgiving.”

Ben Lawson
Ben Lawson and Sarah Chalke as Johnny and Kate. (Netflix)

Just as Johnny and Kate thought they had this next chapter of their relationship all planned out, Kate was diagnosed with cancer. In the final moments of season 2’s Part 1, Kate went to tell Tully the heartbreaking news, only to discover Tully was gone. Ben teased how Johnny is going to react to Kate’s news.

“Now that he’s recommitted, and we took a long time getting there, like a season and a half. He’s going to do whatever he can. It’s going to become his focus and priority for sure. Kate is now 100 percent his world,” Ben told HollywoodLife.

The second and final part of season 2 will be released on Netflix on June 8, 2023. Ben revealed that the show will “stay true to the book [by Kristin Hannah] in many ways, and we also paid some artistic license in others. So I really hope that fans will be satisfied by the end. I think they will. I think it really wraps up in a really beautiful way. I think the fans are going to be happy.”

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