“Why is she staying with you again?” Eliza asks, descending the stairs with Josh after he informed the lady residing in his apartment that he’d be home later in the evening. “She got that note from the pipeline” Josh replies, “it was a dig at me, sent through her.” Walking for the side exit, Eliza is called for by the man, who tells her that there’s one stop they need to make before they depart.
Entering the parking garage, Josh combs through the lots without the memory of his last spot, ultimately beckoned by the call of cherry-red paint and black seats lit beneath a dying lightbulb. “You expect to not stand out in this?” Eliza asks, her hand motioning towards a well-maintained convertible sporting the look of a classic American muscle car. Hopping into the vehicle like a kid on spring break, Josh turns the keys in the ignition and puts up the convertible roof.
“There!” Josh replies, “all better!” Her eyes rolling, Eliza climbs into the passengers seat and the vehicle drives off, entering the New York streets for the first time in weeks. “How exactly does this guy expect to get insider information?” Eliza asks, “you’d expect members of an underground child porno circuit would learn to keep their mouths shut about what they do for a living.”
With a smirk, Josh tells Eliza that there will always be weak links in a system of chains. “The only way to bring the chain down is to break the weakest link in it” the driver says, turning towards Long Island, “so the pipeline keeps extra support around that link to make sure it doesn’t snap.” Her arm hanging out the window, Eliza asks why any of this information would be reassuring to their current task.
“If you take out the support keeping that link upright, you get the weak link all to yourself” Josh replies, the eyes of Eliza losing their poise as she takes a glance towards Josh. “You’re not gonna kill them, are you?” the woman asks, the man looking towards her, asking if she has an issue with the murder of child-endangering sociopaths. “I have a problem with killing in general” Eliza replies, Josh reminding her of the ease it took for her to kill Devine.
“You should have let me go down for that” Eliza returns, Josh making sure she hears him clearly. “I wasn’t gonna let you take the fall for something you didn’t deserve to take” Josh retorts, “and considering the only other person that knows that wants pipeline bastards dead, I’d suggest you change your primary issues real quickly.”
Biting her lip, Eliza begins her attempt at accepting that she’s now become a part of Josh’s bigger picture now, forcing her into a state of discomfort. Handing her a handgun, Josh tells her to simply take it and use it if she needs to. “I’ll do the killing, you just cuff the link when I tell you to” Josh says, “but if I go down, this is the only thing that’ll keep you alive.” Truly wanting to hop out of the car instead, Eliza reluctantly takes the firearm and places it in her boot.
“I’m beginning to hate you more and more” Eliza says, Josh glancing towards her and laughing. “I’ve gotten used to it by now” the man returns, keeping his eyes on the wheel as he drives onto the freeway, leaving behind downtown New York with his hands ready to be bloodied once again.
= 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 =
“Did I stutter?” a man pimped out in jewelry almost overloaded with diamond says, watching an aggravated armed enforcer hush down and return to his phone. “De, nothing’s gonna throw us off the game” another unnamed enforcement assures, the pimped out leader quelling his nerves about potential exposure as the door bell rings. “Get the pizza, fool” Deangelo directs, the initial armed enforcer grabbing a few loose bills and walking towards the door.
“Just take the cash and-” the enforcer begins, the end of his order being stifled when a bullet rips its way through his head. Still stood in the doorway, Josh fires off another round, taking out the second armed figure before shooting Deangelo in the arm. “Having a little group therapy session?” Josh jokes, Eliza stood frozen in the doorway as the initial victim lays at her feet.
“Care to do the honors?” Josh asks, snapping her out of her unconscious daze as his foot rests itself on the back of the wounded target’s neck. “I’m sorry!” Deangelo shouts, his apology being accompanied by his groans of pain, “I’ll give you whatever you want!” Tossing Eliza the handcuffs, Josh replies that he wants answers, and he’s very much aware of how easily he is going to get them.
“Let me go!” Deangelo shouts, his mouth immediately being silenced when Josh forces a sock between his teeth, telling him to bite down. “That’s not gonna happen so easily” Josh replies, picking the man up and leading him away from the apartment.
Beneath the cover of total darkness nearly an hour later, Josh leads a blindfolded Deangelo into a run down building surrounded by the remnants of a dismantled plaza. Followed closely by Eliza, Josh drags a chair from a random corner of the room and shoves Deangelo into it before tying him in. “You don’t know who you’re fucking with!” Deangelo shouts, Josh replying with a thunderous backhand to Deangelo’s face, causing him to go momentarily silent in pain.
“Shut your mouth” Josh returns, ensuring the restraints are as reinforced as they can be. “Now” Josh says, braggadociously strolling to a hammer left in the middle of the floor, “what shall we look for first?” Trying to get some leverage, Deangelo tells Josh that he’s going to come away empty handed if he’s looking for answers. “The pipeline’s tight-lipped” Deangelo quipers, “ain’t none of us gonna tell a word to you!”
Pulling a chair up for Eliza to have a seat, Josh walks back to the man, asking if he’s confident in that assessment. Confirming his side, Deangelo smiles at Josh, telling him that he’s got nothing to keep him safe from the pipeline. “Is that so?” Josh asks, his own smile spreading on his face before he brings the hammer down on Deangelo’s foot, causing a deafening shriek of pain.
“You fuckin’ faggot!” Deangelo shouts, Josh following his surprise attack by placing his shoe onto the man’s injured foot and gradually adding pressure. “It’s the modern world, Deangelo” Josh replies, lifting his foot, “you should be more open minded.” Gasping for breath, Deangelo listens to Josh grant Eliza permission to step outside and get some fresh air. “You don’t have to sit through this” Josh says, “I’ll come get you when I’m done here.”
“Weak stomach, eh!?” Deangelo interrupts, another backhand from Josh silencing him before he can add any further details. “I should stay” Eliza replies, “If I’m stuck in your world, I should start figuring out how you navigate it.” Shrugging, Josh tells Eliza to suit herself, turning back to the captive man and crouching. “How about you tell me where the main pipeline meets for a start, De?” Josh asks, Deangelo getting lucky, spitting forward, his saliva landing in Josh’s eye.
Wiping it away slowly, Josh rises to his feet, the slow pace audible in the sand beneath his shoes gradually grinding against the ground. Assuming himself to have screwed up, Deangelo quickly removes his smile, telling Josh that he meant nothing by it. “Eat shit” Josh replies, lifting the hammer into the air again and bringing it down directly beside his head, the snapping of Deangelo’s clavicle being followed by a howl for mercy.
“Where the fuck do you meet?” Josh asks, leaning towards Deangelo closely enough for the two to become inches apart, one hand holding his prisoner’s head towards his own, the other adding pressure to the shattered bone. “You’re hurting me!” Deangelo shouts, Josh continuing to increase pressure. “Tell me where you meet!” Josh screams, his spit flying from his mouth and landing at random spots on Deangelo’s face.
“The Lone Wolf!” Deangelo shouts, his pleas for mercy turning into a cry as he directs Josh towards a rundown motel on the outskirts of Buffalo. “Oh goddamnit!” Josh shouts, walking away from Deangelo as the tortured man horrifically groans in pain. “What?” Eliza asks, surprised by the unusual response by the man now creating distance between himself and his captive.
“I fucking hate Buffalo” Josh replies, Eliza rolling her eyes as she turns back to the prisoner, noticing the sharpened clavicle bone ripping through his skin. “How many of you are there?” Josh asks, his back towards Deangelo as his hands take residency on his hips. “A couple hundred” Deangelo replies, his answers barely coming together in a coherent sentence as his tears continue running.
“How many of those have power?” Josh asks, the question coming off as generic, but remaining crystal clear to those familiar with the underworld. “A few” Deangelo replies, “maybe thirty.” Nodding to himself whilst muttering “I can handle thirty”, Josh turns around to look at the man, asking if he can spare any other information he has yet to be able to ask for. Continuing to gasp for his breath, Deangelo remains silent as Josh nods to himself whilst pulling out his pistol.
“Well, I thank you for your cooperation” Josh says, beginning to give Deangelo his send off until the wounded captive utters one line that Josh takes immediate interest in. “They won’t kill you” Deangelo says, his head hanging low as it’s one of the few positions where the pain isn’t as bad. “You think I’m gonna believe that?” Josh asks, “not all billionaires are idiots, clearly by the fact that I haven’t been caught yet, I’m not one either.”
Readying the gun to fire, Josh holds it towards Deangelo once again, lowering it back to his side when Deangelo clarifies his prior statement. “They’ll kill the girl and make you watch” the prisoner says, putting fear in Josh’s heart. “They’ll kill her… Just because they can” he continues, “you’ll know they don’t fuck around, and then they’ll blackmail you with whatever dirt they’ve got to make sure you play nice with them.”
“How did they know anything about Becca?” Josh asks, “how could they know anything about her connection to me?” Confused, Deangelo asks why he’s calling the woman by the name of ‘Becca’. “That’s who you sent the letter to” Josh replies, “that’s who you’re targeting to keep me from your tail.” Now lost, Deangelo asks what Josh is talking about when he mentions a letter, stating that he wasn’t talking about this Becca girl.
“I’m talking about that blonde friend” Deangelo points out, immediately raising the concerns of Eliza, whose eyes widen as Josh turns towards her, watching her stare at the blinded man. “They’re gonna get her and you’ll never see it coming” Deangelo continues, knowing his time is limited, opting to go out in the cockiest manner imaginable, attempting to play his hand at digging Eliza’s fear deeper.
“They’re gonna have to give it their best shot” Eliza replies, her voice going cold as she reaches into her boot, pulls out her firearm and fires a round through Deangelo’s head, spilling his brains into the sand. His mouth slightly ajar, Josh turns his gaze from the corpse of his prisoner to Eliza, who quickly goes from composed to sick, turning around and spilling her dinner all over the floor.
“It’s been four days, Angel” Josh says, “there haven’t been crews down there for months and it’s rained for two full days. Our tracks are covered.” On the other line, the guardian checks off a list of “must’s” to avoid Josh and Eliza’s capture. “And you said she pulled the trigger?” the guardian asks, Josh pausing for a moment before forcing himself to confirm. “You sound disappointed” the guardian suggests, “you should be happy she’s getting the balls to keep herself from getting killed.”
“I don’t want her coming along anymore” Josh replies, wasting no time in voicing his concerns, “I don’t want you roping her into business she doesn’t deserve to get her hands dirty with.” Placing down the checklist for a moment, the guardian asks Josh why he phrased it in such a way that makes it sound like a bad thing. “Do I have to remind you of the fact that were killing people that never get what they deserve and move onto hurting more people?” the guardian asks.
“Of course you don’t” Josh replies, “but some people don’t exactly have the guts to think of it as being different from what we do. Eliza’s one of those people.” Sighing, the guardian reminds Josh that he’s not there to blackmail them into doing anything. “You almost got exposed by Devine, and the threat of exposure only grows the longer we do this” the guardian continues, “your name is involved in the cases regardless, she’s a key to making sure it stays in the right column.”
“I’m aware of this all, but I don’t want it to be Eliza” Josh replies, “just knowing about what I do makes her blood boil. I can’t ask her to get involved with it now too.” Assuring Josh that he’s well aware of his side of things, the guardian tells the man that there are no true alternatives. “The work we do is important, and the only way to continue that is by making sure you don’t get caught” the guardian concludes, “Eliza is the key to making sure that remains the same.”
“I don’t know how you came to that conclusion, and I really don’t want to know” Josh replies, the guardian telling him to keep it that way. “I’ll get in contact with the pair of you in the coming hours, be ready” the guardian signs off, hanging up, allowing Josh to go about the remainder of his day. “That Eliza?” a voice calls out from behind, startling Josh for a moment before he notices Becca’s face.
“I didn’t expect you to be there” Josh replies, shooting down the suggestion by passing the other party off as a friend from work. With that, the pair go silent, Becca walking over to zip up a bag placed on a table in front of Josh’s couch. “Are you sure you don’t want to stay for a few more days?” Josh asks, his request being presented as a concern for Becca’s safety, whilst also quietly representing a hope to not be left alone with whatever may follow him afterwards.
“I can’t stay here forever” Becca replies, the smile in the corner of her mouth having the appearance of a smile for the sake of smiling rather than it being genuine. “I almost forgot that I still owe you that date” Josh says, the suggestion coming out of the blue. Her hands folded, Becca turns towards him and does her best at letting him down easily. Telling Josh that she thinks he’s a nice guy, she admits that he seems to have more pressing issues to deal with.
“I think you’ve got something that you haven’t truly gotten handled yet, and you should probably deal with that first” Becca concludes, “I’m sorry.” Swallowing the little hope he had left at making right on his wrongs, Josh flashes Becca a necessity smile back, telling her that it’s fine. Holding the door open, Josh nods to Becca as she walks off, allowing him to close the door and return to his warmly-lit living room alone.
“It’s like I’m watching a sad movie” Nora says from the couch, prompting the man to glance towards her with a frown. “You can keep your sarcasm to yourself” Josh replies as he ventures down his hallway. “It wasn’t sarcasm” Nora replies, “I thought you were supposed to be the mean, tough, nice-guy vigilante that everyone looked up to and adored!” Turning back, Josh glances back to Nora, asking her exactly what she expected.
“Knowing you, less of this complex-character bullshit and more honesty” Nora replies, “I really didn’t get my money’s worth.” His eyebrows lifted, Josh returns to his room, closing the door behind him, only to find Nora with her hands folded on her chest, laying gracefully atop the bed. “I’m a figment of your imagination” Nora repeats, “You can’t exactly walk away from me when I’m practically haunting you.”
“You’re not haunting me, you’re pissing me off” Josh replies, “there’s a very big difference.” In disagreement, Nora tells Josh that whatever he tells himself is not strong enough to make him forget about the truth. “If I were alive and in your ear all day, I’d be pissing you off” Nora replies, “but I’m dead, you killed me, and now what I’m really doing is getting even.” Only one eyebrow raised, Josh asks the woman if attempting to kill him was a good enough form of revenge.
“It was just where I started” the woman replies, her prize-winning smile antagonizing the man. Getting up to leave, Josh is called back by the woman asking him why he thinks the outcome of this attempted runaway will be any different. “I don’t, it just feels-” Josh begins, Nora cutting him off by finishing his sentence, “-like it helps?” Stammered into silence, Josh confirms her suspicions and walks away, Nora walking after him.
“You don’t get to walk away from what you’ve done!” Nora says, the statement immediately catching Josh’s ear, forcing him to turn around and stare daggers at the woman chasing him. “What did you just say!?” Josh asks, the woman flashing a smile, casually asking if he’s getting used to the ‘sparkling white’s’ yet. “Seriously, repeat what you just said” Josh replies, hearing as Nora repeats the same exact statement, word for word as she had said it prior.
“You’re starting to remember it now, huh?” Nora asks, citing his internal shock when Eliza said it as he was leaving for New York nearly a week prior. “You were caught off guard by her saying it because it reminder you of when I did” Nora returns, watching Josh slowly look back at her before swallowing the spit in his mouth and walking for the door. “You don’t” Nora repeats as Josh pulls the door open. “She’s not wrong” Nora replies, “and neither was I” as Josh walks through the opening.
“Eliza, open up!” Josh calls, pounding away at the front door of her hideout home to no answer. “Eliza, it’s Josh!” the man repeats, continuing to knock as he begins wondering whether or not he should have mentioned that it was him specifically. Eventually, Josh tries the handle, realizing the door to be uncharacteristically unlocked. “Eliza!?” Josh calls once more, peaking his head through the front door before shutting it behind himself.
Noticing the front corridor to be completely void of life, Josh looks through a side window to spot Eliza’s car still in the front lot. Not liking the potential for disaster, Josh draws his gun, calling out for the woman once more as he reaches the top of the staircase. Every door other than one closed, Josh begins his travel down the hallway, opening each door he walks past on the way before reaching the intended one.
Cautiously pushing the door in, Josh spots a slump beneath a blanket in Eliza’s bed, whatever rests beneath it having the appearance of a sleeping woman. The blonde hair protruding from the tucked sheets, the figure remains motionless as Josh closes in, reaching for the blanket and pulling it off of the figure.
“Eliza?” Josh asks again, hearing a muffled “please leave” coming from the figure’s mouth. “Why the hell would you do that?” Josh asks, citing her refusal to answer and complete lack of cooperation as a reasonable cause to come to the conclusion of her being in trouble. “I was hoping you’d go away” the woman replies, still having refused to turn around or attempt to exit the bed.
“Can you pull it the fuck together?” Josh asks, his gun being placed back into his holster as the woman groggily steps up and walks for the connected bathroom. “Why is everything in here so empty?” Josh asks, the question remaining one of the many things keeping him up at night. “What’s the point of pimping out the one place I only want to be in when I’m asleep?” Eliza asks, the genuine complexity some people have over the smallest of things always having eluded her.
“Because it, I don’t know, looks nice?” Josh replies, his response coming off as more of a question neither of the two truly have an answer for. “I don’t like to cause trouble for myself in the decorative department when I have much more pressing issues to deal with” Eliza replies, scanning Josh up and down. “I get I’m a bit of a handful” Josh replies, “but I’m not the only problem you’ve got and I certainly shouldn’t be.”
“You’re telling me” Eliza replies, Josh quickly trying to redirect the conversation towards their current objective. “What happened the other night?” Josh asks, the woman refusing to face him as she brushes it off as nothing. “It’s not nothing” Josh replies, “you killed someone.” Quickly turning around, Eliza reminds Jsh that she pulled the trigger on Devine too. “Devine was self-defense” Josh replies, “what you did was outright murder.”
“What I did was self-defense” Eliza replies, not seeing the hypocrisy staring her down for miles. “What you did wasn’t defendable” Josh retorts, Eliza telling Josh that it was what was necessary. When asked why, Eliza throws her hands outwards and tells the man that it just was. “He threatened to kill me” Eliza replies, “how is that not defendable?” Seeing his opportunity to change favor, Josh takes the same hypocritical train as Eliza.
“For a start, he said the people he knew were going to kill you, not that he himself would have” Josh replies, Eliza’s question of whether or not that makes it right being quashed beneath his shoe. “You didn’t have to kill him” Josh replies, suggesting that they could have taken him into the hospital. “You were going to kill him anyway!” Eliza shouts, baffled when Josh pulls the card designed for stupidity, suggesting that she’s not positive of that.
“You would’ve blown his brains out, don’t even pull that shit!” Eliza retorts, Josh catching her by surprise when he asks if he would’ve deserved it. “What do you mean?” Eliza asks, her shouts having turned into tired responses. “He did bad shit, did he deserve to die?” Josh asks, “would you do it again?” After thinking it over for a moment, Eliza answers yes to both, putting a delighted smile across Josh’s face.
“What makes what you did different from what I did then?” Josh asks, the air going quit as Eliza realizes what she’s turned into. “It’s not” the woman replies, her voice going soft as Josh subtly nods, walking for the exit of the room. Left stood in the empty room alone, Eliza looks around aimlessly as she begins to look at herself as the same monster she’s viewed Josh to be as the man walks off, leaving Eliza to her own vices.
As the night falls on New York City, Josh parks his car in the lot of the VeroSoft building and begins navigating the stairwell towards the roof. Upon reaching the tallest point in downtown New York, Josh walks over to the ledge Eliza stands upon and leans over it. “It’s a beautiful night, ain’t it?” Josh asks, the woman, taking her gaze from the ant-like cars one-hundred and twenty-three feet below and placing them squarely on Josh’s unaffected shoulders.
“Why are you not trying to get me to climb down?” Eliza asks, knowing the tricky gears in Josh’s head already know something she doesn’t. “Because I already climbed down” Josh replies, Eliza’s intrigue captured in a snap. “You didn’t ‘kill’ Devine, you defended someone you thought you loved at the time” Josh replies, “your first true kill was Deangelo.”
With the woman now standing over him with a look at his face as he peers out at the New York skyline, Josh admits that he felt the same way after his first. “You never forget your first kill” Josh says, “it changes you until you realize that you were the same person all along, you just never knew you had this ability in you.” With a laugh, Josh asks Eliza if anyone that finally learns how to play the guitar looks at themselves as a monster for learning something new.
“It’s in our nature to kill” Josh continues, “we just don’t do it that often anymore.” Accepting that she won’t end up jumping, Eliza takes a seat on the ledge, dangling her feet over the edge and feeling the gusts of wind sway them gently from one side to the other. “What was yours?” Eliza asks, hearing the wind snap in her ears as Josh looks towards her for reiteration, not having understood the question at first.
“Tess McKnight” Josh says, his words not missing a beat as he reads out her birthday, the date in which the ordeal occurred, and the manner in which it happened. “Her little baby was crying so she smacked it a few times while I was on the bus” Josh says, “I saw it from the window and I was incensed.”
Following Eliza through the steps, Josh admits to following the woman nearly a mile until they were out near the docks. “She died out her cigarette on her baby’s head and I couldn’t stand it anymore” Josh concludes, “I caved her head in with a brick and dumped her body in the bay.” After running down the events of her body washing ashore, Josh admits to fleeing from his original home and making peace with his actions in New York City.
“I worked my way up the ladder at VeroSoft and never worried about it again once my wallet hit a certain number” Josh finishes, “I am much more of a hypocrite than you think you are.” Eliza asks if she’s going to end up turning into the monster that Josh had become, prompting the man to breathe for a second and think about his response. “Yeah, probably” Josh replies, telling the woman that the thing he and Eliza share is that they take their rages out on the right people.
“These people deserve to be punished” Josh continues, “and if it weren’t for people like me, they never would be.” Acknowledging that it brings on an entirely different conversation as to whether or not vigilante justice is moral or inhumane, Josh says that it never truly matters. “Bad people deserve to have bad things happen to them and it never does” the man continues, “so if you’re going to kill anyone, these are the people you should target.”
“You talk about this like it’s a job” Eliza replies, the smirk from Josh as he turns towards her and admits it to be his passion sends chills down the woman’s spine. “I’m not killing good people” Josh reiterates, “I’m killing the people that let good people take the fall for them.”
Preparing to leave Eliza to make the decision for herself, Josh tells her to keep one thing in mind. “We’re not monsters, we’re vigilantes” Josh says, his hands leisurely tucked in his pockets. “People commonly argue between whether or not vigilantes are good or bad” Josh reaffirms, “you can’t have that conversation about monsters.”
Walking off, Josh disappears behind the doors of the VeroSoft tower elevator and sinks into the building as Eliza takes a final glance at the world beneath her feet. With a deep breath, the woman pins the hairs being flung by the wind behind her ear, whilst Josh climbs into his car and pulls out of the lot. Stopping on the side of the road, Josh looks towards the very top of the tower and watches Eliza climb down from the ledge, offering him the assurance he needs to drive off.