Season Two Finale
Bell being rung by the door to Lou’s coffee shop swinging open, the shop is quiet, it’s inhabitants in the middle of whispered conversations or keys being pressed on computers as Josh enters. “Morning, Lou” Josh greets, the man pointing towards a table near the window, his preferred drink already awaiting him on the opposite side of his two detective allies. “You know what to do if you need me” Lou replies, tossing a towel over his shoulder and patting Josh on the shoulder.
“I thought I would have beaten you here” Josh greets, pulling his chair out and noticing the reluctance from the pair. “Something wrong?” Josh asks, the pair looking to each other before Arcnote retrieves a set of glossy photos from her bag. Portrayed is the knife Josh once used long ago, the shape of the handle and the curvature of the blade immediately catching his eye, thus making its familiarity undeniable.
“Do you know that knife?” Holiday asks, Josh not making an attempt to lift his hand anywhere near the photo, gifting the man his first sign that he already knows the answer. “Yes… Yes, I do” Josh replies, “that’s the knife I used to kill Warren Duane, and then proceeded to leave in his car.” Head tilted, Arcnote’s expression finds itself falling on disappointment, Holiday’s face sagging out of exhaustion.
“There goes that” Arcnote replies, her head lifting again, her look directed towards holiday, who places his hand to his mouth. “Glad we didn’t run it through DNA first” Holiday remarks, the pair caught by surprise when Josh asks why that happens to be the case. “You’re smart enough to know that they’ll find your DNA on the knife and connect you to the crime, right?” Holiday asks, Josh wrapping his hands around his still warm beverage and shrugging.
“You found it in his car, didn’t you?” Josh asks, Holiday and Arcnote both confirming his suspicions. “So clearly he was smart enough to not let that knife sit there without inspecting every inch of that car” Josh replies, suggesting Devine wanted it to be found. “He showed up to this place after they found Duane, we actually sat here as a matter of fact” Josh explains, “it took me a while to realize, but he offered me a ride to give me the chance to dump evidence on him.”
“He wanted you to frame him?” Holiday asks, trying not to lose focus on the bigger picture, but finding it odd for any officer to actively seek such a thing. “It’s pretty odd for an officer of his stature to be involved in an underground system of moving child pornography, right?” Josh replies, Holiday forced to admit to being outclassed there. “I don’t understand why you’d be fine with running the tests” Arcnote replies, “you know exactly what they’ll find.”
“Do I?” Josh asks, the officers unable to stop themselves from being baffled at how many turns this conversation is taking, “how many people have used that car since he died?” The response being ‘none’, Josh suggests that Devine didn’t expect to die when he did when he last left the knife, thus he expected to continue needing to use it. “Can I have a piece of paper?” Josh asks, Arcnote’s head bobbing back before pulling out a notebook, Holiday supplying a pen.
Writing onto the paper and closing the notebook, Josh asks the officers where the knife was found and to exactly what position it was left in. Holiday answering as requested, Josh tells Arcnote to open the cover of the notebook, Josh having scribbled down the position the knife was in when he left it. “It’s no match, and obviously that can be for a number of reasons” Josh responds, “but knowing Devine, it’s not unlikely for him to have used that knife for… other purposes.”
“What are you getting at?” Holiday asks, “I know what you’re trying to suggest, but what are you saying he did with it?” With a smile, Josh explains to the pair that neither he, nor Duane, would be in the system. “Run the DNA, there’ll be no one to match it to” Josh explains, “as for whatever other DNA could be on it, that may be a different story.” The suggestion of the knife, in Devine’s possession, being connected with Pipeline crime, opens the world for interpretation.
“You’ve got a mostly quiet Pipeline that much of the world has yet to even truly know exists” Josh furthers, “and you get to choose how people see it, and the people that ran it.” His head hung whilst his partner’s lip curls, Holiday explains that it’s not as quiet as it recently used to be. “The theory that New York has a child-smuggling ring the cops never knew about has started to… well, take shape” Arcnote replies Holiday sliding his phone towards the man.
On the screen, news articles discussing the finding of a young girl trapped in a shipping container with a note directed towards a New York senator leave imaginations to wander. “Since some white dude selling real estate and white-collar lies couldn’t smuggle a kid to a Senator, the alternatives have been thrown around” Holiday explains, Arcnote adding that many of them happen to be coincidentally accurate.
His head in his hands, Josh sighs, his coffee lifted to his mouth without any further word, the entire table quiet. “One way or another, they’re on thin ice and they don’t have a ton fo time left” Arcnote explains, “they’re gonna go down at some point, and so will the people involved with it.” Knowing the precinct will have a requirement to stay very tight-lipped to maintain credibility, the idea of making Devine’s involvement with the Pipeline public would likely cost them their jobs.
“At this rate, there’s no way we can put this, or anything else, on Devine” Arcnote replies, her company most likely willing to sever ties if they find her with any involvement. “So where do we go from here?” Josh asks, the table quiet again until Arcnote pulls an evidence bag from her pack, sliding it to Josh. Within the plastic is the knife Josh managed to use on Warren Duane, untested and kept from the watchful eyes of the higher-ups on the precinct totem pole.
“Get rid of it” Arcnote directs, Josh’s eyes looking back up, the contents he holds within his hands serving as the only thing keeping the dirt on Devine’s grave, and his own grave left unearthed. “What happens if everything, or even just anything connected to Devine and the case that got pinned on him falls out of place?” Josh asks, Arcnote taking a moment to think about how something like that could happen.
“If one brick falls out of place, the entire building gets examined” Holiday replies, leaving any potential uncovering to threaten everything from Devine’s innocence to Josh’s doings. His name uttered from the woman’s lips, Josh looks up to Arcnote, who proceeds to inquire what brick might they find unearthed. Taking another sip of coffee as his leg begins to repeatedly tap on the ground, Josh fights off a lip quiver and responds.
“Not everyone you think is dead is… dead” Josh replies, Holiday letting out an audible sigh as Arcnote’s head drops into his arms, the situation’s direction having taken the most volatile path available.
= Joshua Lane is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
“I see you made a discovery last night” Trey calls, Eliza walking into the decayed building, her earbuds pulled from her ears the second before the statement is made. “It wasn’t my call” Eliza explains, Trey putting down his notebook and approaching the girl, already aware of that. “The Guardian makes that kind of call because he does that kind of thing” Trey replies, “you’re more of the type to open the container because you wanna know what’s inside.”
“I don’t agree with that, but as long as we’re on the same page, think what you want” Eliza replies, turning for the stairs. “Before you go anywhere, I wanted to show you something” Trey calls, a keychain removed from his pocket, cradled in his hand to Eliza’s intrigue. “Is this some sort of friendship bracelet alternative?” Eliza asks, the man chuckling at first before popping the tiny flashlight open.
Inside, a small button is left waiting for any noticeable amount of pressure. “What am I supposed to be dumbfounded by?” Eliza asks, the man removing the bottom, only red and green wires falling from inside and pressing the button on top. “When the wires are attached to the little base below, and you press the button, it sends a signal from whatever specific location you’re at” Trey replies, suggesting any free hand they could leave untied could lead to them being uncovered.
“Press the button, the signal goes to whatever receiver the Pipeline has, and they know exactly where you are” Trey concludes, handing the piece of equipment to the woman. Feeling the flimsy contraption in her hand, the tiny size having cost the cause one of its pawns, Eliza feels anger and disappointment. “This thing cost someone their life” Eliza replies, “forced Josh and I to go into hiding, and…” Stopped, the woman’s hand begins tightening, the piece shaking with it.
“And all I had to do was take away his keys, and I could’ve stopped it all” Eliza concludes, turning towards the hall Trey emerged from and launching it across the room. Colliding with the wall, the object bursts into pieces, the scattered bits of metal bouncing off the floor, a gentle ring following. His hand on her shoulder, Trey leans his head towards the staircase, leading Eliza up to the second floor with a clean conscience.
“They said they have to be tight-lipped on everything” Josh says, slamming the documentation of Holland’s true identity to the workshop table. “The precinct’s trying to keep everything kept quiet, it would make them look bad” Josh continues, “they’re not gonna be allowed to do anything, especially involving the Pipeline.” When suggesting the higher authority of the precinct has stake in the Pipeline’s undiscovery, Half floats out the idea of leaking information to the press.
“We’re not the rats in this situation” Alec replies, leaving his chair to refill his coffee, “anything that gets uncovered is called into question, perhaps it’s best that they play it down.” Curious to the reasoning, Josh is reminded by Alec that he’s meant to be dead and Devine’s supposed to be this rogue cop that almost took down his own precinct. “If the public finds out they either knew it existed or never knew it existed, they might as well be permanently tarnished.”
“There goes an entire branch we could use the resources of” Half adds, making it clear that precinct’s aren’t guaranteed to exist. “We got those riots in Minnesota a while back and they threatened to defund the entire department” Half recalls, “what happens when you make an entire major city look, not only corrupt, but incompetant.”
“You might as well replaced them with Kia call center workers” Alec replies, Josh now lost for where they go from there. “Keep getting fed your insider information, Josh” Alec replies, “we’ll just keep going according to plan, we don’t need the cops to handle our drama.” His finger tapping atop the paper still residing on the workshop bench, Josh reminds the pair that the information contained within it does nothing if the Pipeline knows the precinct will do nothing.
“Then I walk the tight rope without a net” Half replies, his refusal to take his safety and well-being into consideration baffling the man with his finger still pressed to the top page. “That’s… That’s just it?” Josh asks, the question posed carrying more sarcasm than a rom-com’s witty female lead, with his arms outstretched. “That was the original plan to begin with” Alec replies, Josh denying that suggestion.
“The original plan was to find a flash drive and use that to exploit the senator” Josh replies, “that was the plan.” Head shaken, Alec tells Josh that the plan has changed in light of the police involvement. “We’re testing to see how much the Pipeline’s little distributor knows” Alec informs, “we’ll see which guy he knows is highest on the totem pole, and then we’ll keep climbing until we have the son of a bitch.”
“I fail to see how that is going to help us in any way” Josh replies, Alec beginning to roll his eyes. “There’s no reason to send Half into that place if we can figure out who’s going in” Alec responds, painting the picture for Josh as if he were an infant, “if we can figure that out, we’ll simply wait for them to come out and step into our place.”
Telling Josh that this all comes to a boiling point when they find out who that gray-haired lawyer is. His phone buzzing, Josh pulls it out to check as Alec continues, the last thing to do from there is figure out which ways they can pull him. “Got something we’re keeping you from?” Alec asks, the coffee in his hand pointed towards the man still looking at his phone screen. “No just…” Josh replies, lost in his thoughts, “...just let me know when you have something useful.”
Exiting the workshop, Josh leaves both Alec and Half staring at each other, their eyes narrowed, Alec’s shoulders shrugging forward. “The dude’s losing his mind” Alec proclaims, his chair spinning towards the workbench to allow him to return to his work as Half lowers his welders mask.
“This is more than fucking ridiculous” Holiday exclaims, his words coming through under his breath as he and his partner walk to a conference room in the back of the station. Suddenly, the pair is stopped by one of the precinct’s higher ranking members, the man asking Arcnote if he can speak with her privately. “I’m on my way to something important right now, can it wait?” Arcnote replies, the man insisting that it should be discussed as soon as possible.
“Well we can discuss it now really quickly if that’s alright?” Arcnote replies, the man looking towards Holiday, his eyes giving off the request that Arcnote refuses to fulfill. “Whatever you need to say, you can say it in his presence” Arcnote replies, the man’s head lowering. “Alright, if you insist” the man replies, “I just wanted to let you know that your affiliate has you set for reassignment.”
“What?” Arcnote replies, “we haven’t found the dealer’s killer, yet.” His brow lowered, the man assures Arcnote that everyone in the hallway knows that wasn’t the reason for her original assignment. “They just thought it would be better that you were pulled from the case” the man concludes, giving his apologies to the woman before walking off. “I can’t imagine that has anything to do with the mission to keep us all quiet” Holiday remarks, pulling Arcnote away.
“This is going too far” Holiday declares behind newly-closed doors, “they want everything we’ve been finding to be swept under the rug and forgotten.” Taking a seat at the table, Arcnote tells Holiday that she’s more than aware of that, “they just wanna cover their asses, and our investigation threatens that.” More than in agreement, Holiday takes the seat next to her, his mind wanting to wander to ways to work past this hurdle, only for those ways to be too difficult to come across.
“What do we do now?” Holiday asks, his head turning towards the detective, who takes a moment before returning her face to his, holding her hand out. “I don’t think there’s anything we can do now” Arcnote replies, Holiday accepting her offer of a hand shake, “it’s been a pleasure working with you, Officer Holiday.” Not one for gracious good-bye’s, Arcnote stands up and walks out of the room, the man left to reassemble the pieces left to himself, hand pressed to his face.
A tooth broken in half, left to drop to the ground and collect dust, the Pipeline’s workhorse catches his breath, his face being marked with the hand of Trey every other minute. His chin captured by the man’s hand, face pointed back towards his assailant, the prisoner watches a picture raise over Trey’s face, depicting the man whose face remains posted along every billboard, bus stop and telephone pole across the city.
“Who is he?” Trey asks, demanding a name to no avail, his captured spitting forward, Trey’s head tilting to the side to evade it, slapping the restrained man as punishment. “Give me the name of anyone inside” Trey demands, letting another hand collide against the man’s cheek after a few moments of silence. Hand reached towards Trey’s shoulder, Eliza asks for a turn, the man glancing back at the prisoner before stepping away.
“Haha” the man prods, “a woman?” With a smile, Eliza lays a strike beneath the man’s chin, sending his head rocketing back, blood shooting back and resting upon the walls. “Yeah, a woman” Eliza replies, reaching for the same photograph and demanding an answer to Trey’s question. “I’m not giving you anything” the captured replies, “you’re better of killing me right now than you are wasting your time, ‘cause you’re only gonna kill me eventually.”
“You don’t know that” Trey replies, his arms crossed as he sits in a classroom chair, the back of the chair pressed against his chest, “we may have no reason to kill you if you answer us.” Laughing, the man tells Trey that there’s always a reason to kill, Eliza immediately interested in his reasoning. “Because” the captive replies, spitting the blood behind his lip and before his gums to the ground, “there’s always tracks you need covered.”
“Not if no one’s looking for them” Trey replies, hinting at the possibility of neither the Pipeline, nor the precinct’s caring about what tracks lead where. “The precinct sure as shit doesn’t” the man replies, his head turning towards Trey until Eliza redirects it towards herself. “What do you mean by that?” Trey asks, the man’s eyes turning towards him until Eliza lifts a fork into the air, the man immediately returning his glare.
“Unless you don’t know who Eric Devine is for some reason, I’m pretty sure you already know” the man returns, Trey following up with a question of what the officers have to lose. “What do you even mean?” the man asks, Eliza reformatting the question. “Are your connections in the department clients or leaders?” Eliza asks, the man narrowing his eyes, almost beginning to laugh until he notices the fork in her hand once again.
“Neither” the man replies, capturing both Trey and Eliza’s interest, “they’re beneficiaries.” Despite this revelation not serving their overall plan directly, Trey leaves the room to run it by the Guardian, leaving Eliza to return to her original post. “You weren’t born for this, were you?” the man asks, having noticed something about the woman that causes such a statement to bring her head over her shoulder.
“You’re a long-term thinker, which makes you scary” the man replies, “it means you weren’t desperate when you came in.” Asking what any of that has to do with the work the Pipeline or her own side does, Eliza watches the man shuffle his head around. “The people in this war had no other option to turn to, at least not most of them” the man replies, “the people that did weren’t smart enough to think about the long-term effects something had. Just a spurt of the moment mentality.”
Nodding, Eliza asks the man if he’ll share information with her if she answers the question he asked. “I already know the answer” the man replies, “that ain’t a fair deal, so I’m good.” Turning around, Eliza walks away, pausing for a moment before answering his question anyway. “No, I didn’t” Eliza says, her eyes attaching to the man, now nodding with a smile. “Lucky you” the wounded man, still spitting blood responds, watching Eliza walk the remainder of the way out of the room.
Parking his car on the bridge he found himself falling over months prior, Josh takes the key from the ignition and exits, intending to remain dry for the remainder of the night this time around. Hands in his pockets, no spare gloves in his car to cover his hands with, Josh walks towards the railing and leans forward, his attention given to the frozen water below, the New York winter taking its tole on everything, which includes nature itself.
“I don’t want it” Josh calls out, his breath circling the air as his hands dangle over the edge of the railing, “the healthy conscience, it’s not for me.” His presence upon the bridge not being alone, a second figure walks up to him, joining his appreciation for nature with a great deal of curiosity. “I would’ve thought I’d be gone for good” Nore replies, her head turned towards the smiling Josh, “why do you want me here?”
“Didn’t I just say it?” Josh asks, his face turning towards Nora’s, “what am I if I have nothing to be guilty of.” Her mind coming up with a few different examples, Nora begins rattling them off, one by one. “Blood-thirsty, toxic in relationships, problematic, chaotic, stubborn, unpredictable, unable to follow instructions” Nora goes, stopping herself when she notices Josh remaining silent, allowing her to go on until her heart’s content.
“You want all of this” Nora replies, Josh’s smile growing, “if there’s not someone around to remind you of how broken you are, you’ll never accept it yourself.” Finger raised, Josh finally stops her, admitting that she was mostly right until the end. “I’ll always accept it myself because I’m nowhere near as perfect as that would otherwise require me to be” Josh replies, “but if I’m not reminded of what I’ve done, all I’ll be is some anti-hero with an undeserved clean slate.”
Nodding to herself, Nora figures out how to put such a statement into one truth. “You don’t want closure” Nora replies, the man’s smile fading as he struggles to keep himself from choking up, turning around with his eyes filling themselves with hurt. “Yeah” the man replies, his jaw stuttering as he looks back out onto the sights ahead, Nora tilting her head to the side and letting it rest on Josh’s shoulder.
“I’ve done so much good...” Josh admits, unable to keep himself from choking up any further as Nora rests on hand atop his, “...But I’ve done so much wrong, and that shouldn’t cancel itself out.” Using his free hand to wipe away tears, Josh lets his head rest atop Nora’s, their hands interlocking in an example of what he kept himself from having. His work having taken Nora away from him, the moment he imagines can never exist, and the only reason to blame is himself.
“If I’ve done no wrong, this would all be real” Josh admits, “I could have all of this, but I can’t… I shouldn’t.” Pulling her head from his shoulder, Nora pulls Josh’s face towards her own, their eyes finding each other’s as their hands remain tied together. “You don’t get both” Nora replies, her voice soft and forgiving, still holding him accountable, the way she is meant to, “it’s the work you do or the life you want… Not both, and not neither.”
“That’s the best closure you’re going to get” Nora concludes, “and that’s how you’ll live every day from this point on, no difference until the day you die.” His head dropping, Josh feels the touch of Nora’s skin press against his forehead, both of their hand now tucked into each other’s chest, kept cradling the other’s. “I don’t deserve to be free” Josh accepts, “my crimes shouldn’t go unpunished.”
His head lifting at the sight of headlights pulling around the corner, the car they belong to slowly coming to a stop in front of Josh’s. “They won’t be for long” Nora whispers, Josh turning back towards her to find emptiness, the woman having gone, and his own hands folded at his own chest. From the vehicle, cold rain beginning to lightly fall upon the bridge, Becca emerges from the driver’s seat, slowly approaching Josh, who lets his hands fall to their sides.
“It’s been awhile” Josh mutters, the woman keeping her distance, Josh insisting that he understands why. “I heard what happened at the precinct” Josh says, “I’m sorry I didn’t check in with you when I should ha-” Stopped Josh hears Becca tell him to stop talking, her reason for calling him out to the bridge not having anything to with wanting an apology. His head lowered, Josh remains quiet, waiting for Becca to begin speaking, the moment for that never coming.
Slowly approaching the man, Becca tells Josh that she knows everything, not a single detail of his deeds being left up for interpretation. “What do you-?” Josh begins, stopped again when the woman begins listing the acts he’s been guilty of. “You killed some exec in a back alley, ditched the knife in this Lieutenant’s car to cover your ass” Becca says, the first statement enough to bring Josh to silence.
“You killed some other guy in the middle of the street with the same knife, too” Becca continues, Josh’s eyes narrowing as his head lifts up, hsi inquiry into what she’s talking about beginning. “You and Eliza shot the cop in that building and you let him take the fall for all of it!” Becca continues, her information continuing to flash between accurate and misguided, only further adding to Josh’s confusion.
Eventually, Becca begins referencing Holland’ murder in the police station, incinuating Josh snuck in and committed the act himself before drugging her and dragging her out. “I never did that, who the hell told you that?” Josh asks, watching the woman walk up to him with her hand stuffed in the pocket of her hooded sweatshirt. “Enough with the lies” the woman says, Josh continuing to inform Becca that her information is wrong.
“Becca, I’ve never l-” Josh continues, his pleas with the woman to hear him out stopping suddenly, the sharp pain in his lower abdomen stopping him in his tracks. “Fuck you!” the woman responds, pulling a knife from his abdomen before burying it in once more. Two stab wounds delivered, Becca walks away, her steps taking her backwards as Josh’s blood drops from the edge of her weapon.
Watching the man clutch at his stomach, Becca watches Josh lean forward and collapse to the ground, the sound of his body dropping to the cement prompting her to run for the car. The water from the heavens running down his face, Josh helplessly lays there, spasming on the wet ground. After a few seconds go by, Josh tilts onto his back, looking up towards the heavens as a second figure walking up to him.
Reaching down, the older man, whose face remains plastered upon every inch of New York, place a card inside Josh’s coat pocket. “It won’t do you any good, but I figured you might want some help” the man says, patting Josh on the shoulder and walking off, entering the car with Becca before it speeds off into the night. Alone again, Josh’s hands remain folded upon his stomach, the only sound in the air being the droplets falling upon the concrete ground.
The rain growing heavier, Josh lets it run down his head with no issue, his face still, his eyes locked on the world above. Letting his hands fall to his sides, Josh begins to laugh, letting whatever breaths he can let out be his soundtrack to the next world. With a smile, the man makes peace with his fate, his laughter tiring, and his lungs emptying further than they can fill.
-> “You feeding us a story?” a voice asks, a folder slamming shut int he hands of an officer, stationed at the other end of an interrogation table. “You’re still here, so you clearly haven’t died yet” the officer persists, his words directed to a jumpsuit-wearing Josh, his head shaven almost bald, the man insisting that he never suggested that he had died. “Well it’d be hard to get out of that kind of situation alive” the officer replies, Josh nodding in agreement.
“Of course it was… This is how the story went after all” Josh continues, the officer preparing to exit. “I said no stories, Mr. Lane” the man replies, Josh assuring him that this story is exactly what happened in its exact detail. “Tell me why I should be waiting to hear what happens next, then” the officer demands, a smile across Josh’s face. “Because this is only the completion of one story...” Josh replies, the officer settling back down, “...and the continuation of a new one.” <-