Blade Runner: Black Lotus treats fans with non-stop action leading up to this week’s finale as both Elle and Joseph come to blows with their respective equals. Elle and the new replicant tussle while Joseph faces Marlowe in a battle of Blade Runners. This episode delivers a perfect blend of action and drama, keeping me more invested in seeing how Elle’s story will play out as complexities continue to rise for our heroine.

A confused Elle is staring down a new replicant (Water Lily) who mocks our hero by proclaiming she’s the superior model of hers. She informs Elle of Joseph’s attempt to save her life by reporting her fake death, leading Wallace Jr. to send someone else to do the job Joseph couldn’t, to make way for a more obedient model of replicants. This leads me to believe that Wallace Jr. isn’t interested in the basic rights for replicants but wants to use them for personal gain. Despite Elle’s feelings, she begins to fight against the new replicant, who is challenging for Elle, which is rare to see since Elle usually is the dominating force in all her confrontations (besides some back and forths with Marlowe). However, this new model shows advanced combat skills, causing Elle to struggle more than fans have seen so far. Blade Runner: Black Lotus has done an amazing job choreographing every battle seamlessly, with fluid fight scenes involving Elle, which have been a pleasure to see (and if you’re curious about how these moments were animated, Adult Swim posted a video about that). The new replicant moves are elegant yet flawless, making this entire skirmish more enjoyable to witness, especially since viewers get to see someone else move as effortlessly as Elle. Before the fight could be decided, LAPD barges into the lab to take down the intruders (since many people have died), and both replicants manage to evade capture. And while Elle runs down an alley, an unexpected Officer Davis arrives to halt the escapee!

I’m sure many fans were waiting for the fateful meeting between Officer Davis and Elle as she tells her e about discovering the replicant bodies in the desert. She promises protection and requests Elle to testify about Wallace Jr. to end his reign of terror. Elle sadly refuses and continues to run away, putting a bitter taste in my mouth. Both have reasons to work together, not to mention that Elle is a POI (person of interest) in Davis’ investigation. Yet Officer Davis didn’t use much force to stop Elle from leaving, thus not being able to hold up her end of the deal of protecting her when Joseph asked. This comes to stubbornness on both ends, which was excellently depicted even in such a short scene, which fans should commend. But I find myself yelling at the screen, thinking, these two can do so much to stop all the issues! Regardless, Davis goes to a phone booth to report her findings in the Black Lotus case but is suddenly stabbed by Water Lily before she can finish! My jaw dropped at this shocking turn of events; seeing the morally strong character (and a huge favorite) being killed took my breath away. It’s always the characters you get emotionally attached to, isn’t it?  Water Lily then calls Jr. to report the police interference during the mission but is ordered to withdraw, knowing Elle will find her way home (arrogant, much?). And thankfully, it would appear that Officer Davis might have survived her assault. I sighed with relief to see that her body had disappeared and possibly had enough strength to escape when Water Lily left the phone booth. 

So where’s Joseph during all this? He decided to wait at his apartment after calling Marlowe in the previous episode. And while some might have hope for a happy reunion, the two quickly fire their weapons at each other. The gunfight moves from his apartment down the hall to an elevator, where Joseph takes cover (and tries to escape). Marlowe begins to insult Joseph’s emotions and empathy for replicants, flashing back to the singer. Seemingly being married to his work, Marlowe has his ideas on what makes a Blade Runner and feels that Joseph has lost his edge due to the feelings he developed for both the singer and Elle. And it creates an interesting topic to Marlowe: what a Blade Runner should be? Or do you need compassion to be able to fully comprehend what it is a Blade Runner is asked to do? I don’t have all the answers, but it’s a topic that you can move into other professions.

But it was during this diatribe we learn about Joseph’s last job as a Blade Runner. Marlowe actually fired the fatal shot, explaining his presence in the alley that day. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, albeit it was nicely executed in the series. But considering how vocal Marlowe has been toward replicants (as well as his opinions toward Joseph), are we surprised he jumped in to kill another replicant when Joseph couldn’t?. As the fight continues, Marlowe shoots Joseph in the shoulder, but despite being hit, Joseph disarms Marlowe, turning things into a physical manner in the elevator. An injured Joseph was beaten down badly by Marlowe before heading back to get his gun to finish the battle. But Joseph was able to take another shot before escaping one elevator to the top floor. Marlowe makes his way to the top floor as the final round of the battle of the Blade Runners ends with Joseph’s final gunshot (using Marlowe’s firearm) sends Marlowe falling dramatically to his death. It’s ironic Marlowe was killed with the same gun that retired numerous replicants, creating a bit of poetic justice for our antagonist! 

After his brawl with Marlowe, Joseph collapses on the ground, loses consciousness, and dreams of peacefully laying in the grass with Elle. Perhaps being close to death made Joseph realize his feelings for Elle run deeper than expected, which I didn’t see coming because his character showed hesitation when helping Elle’s plan for revenge. Plus, I figured if he were going to think of anyone, it would have been the singer that caused his life to change completely. And while it was a shock to see Elle in this fantasy, I felt moved since these two have been through a lot and shows that he cares more about her than even he led us to believe. Elle later shows up and wakes him, learning her memories weren’t wiped, meaning Jr. has his sights set on them. Elle will go after Jr., the final hurdle to safety and possibly a peaceful life. 

This was a fantastic episode filled with shocking twists and turns throughout! This episode delivered with all that action and drama that Toonami fans love to see. Plus, it kept me tuned in, and happy the pacing hasn’t slowed down, which was something that bogged the series down in its earlier episodes. And despite how I felt about the character, I enjoyed Josh Duhamel as Marlowe till the very end. He did a fantastic job and provided a wonderful performance making his character memorable. I’m used to seeing him in heroic, good guy roles, so it’s a pleasure to hear actors give different renditions than what we are accustomed to, and I loved the grit Marlowe had throughout Blade Runner: Black Lotus. As we enter the last episode of Blade Runner: Black Lotus, fans will see what’s in store for our heroine as she comes face to face with her creator, and this should be a breathtaking finale that I hope puts a nice bow in a series that could use a huge spectacle!

Umeko Long is a staff writer for Feel free to follow her on Twitter @blu_temptation

Don’t forget to listen to the Toonami Faithful podcast!