Murder solved, Stingwell's sister hands over Emerson's cash and he hands over the Dam Ruby. Hooray! But, what about Lila? Well, the terms of his meeting with her were simple. Lila makes him meet her in the woods alone. A deal's a deal, she tells him, and says Emerson can go catch up with Penny in the car. "Thank you, Emerson," she adds. "No one else could do what you did." Emerson says that no one else would have been stupid enough to even try. He says her life is crazy and that Penny surely deserves some normalcy. "You'd be shocked how normal her life is," Lila answers. "School, homework, braces..." Emerson is moved. "She has braces?" he says, smiling a little. Lila laughs, saying that her life may not always be on the straight and narrow, but Penny's is. "Emerson Cod looked into the eyes that had lied to him so many times before," Jim Dale says, with an ominous tone, "and decided they were lying to him, again." Emerson abruptly changes the tone of the meeting. He doesn't just want to see Penny for 10 minutes, he says, he wants a lot more. "It's my turn to parent, now," he says. (JD: "Surprise.") Lila resignedly says she thought he might want something like this. "Don't worry," Emerson assure her. "I'll take care of her." Sighing, she says she knows he will, it's just that she doesn't know how she'll take care of herself. She's broke, she says, and her car is on its last legs. Emerson considers this. "Take mine," he says, handing her the keys. "Penny and I can find something else." Finally, she accepts and turns to leave. "I always could count on your big heart," she says. "Maybe I was a fool to leave you." Triumphant, Emerson walks toward her old car and Penny, saying over his shoulder that yeah, people do stupid things when they're in love.
Yeah, like you just did, Emerson. "Surprise," JD says again. Because, y'all, Penny ain't in the car. It's a dummy. The real Penny is in Emerson's old car, now being driven away by the evil Lila. Once again, Emerson's been duped but, as he watches the car drive away, waving to the beautiful little brace-face in the back seat, he realizes that despite her many flaws, Lila does love and take care of Penny. "One way or another, he'd find her," Jim Dale says, and as we see Emerson later in his office opening a congratulatory letter telling him that "L'il Gumshoe" will finally be going to press, "maybe it would only be a matter of time before she found him."