As the buzzer keeps ringing, Brody worries. Marlowe is uncomfortable too, as he doesn’t want to get involved with the police, or with Eddie Mars. Agnes is also tense. Brody gives Agnes a gun to point at Marlowe. He then goes to open the door, his own gun still in hand.
The sudden insistent buzzing at the door puts Brody, Agnes and Marlowe on edge, as they assume an aggressor waits on the other side, showing they always assume the worst in this chaotic, violent city.
As Brody opens the door, he is instantly sent walking backward: Carmen is on the other side and is pointing a gun at his face. As Agnes moves to point her own gun at Carmen, Marlowe uses the opportunity to overpower Agnes.
With two guns now involved, the scene quickly transforms into a fight for survival. Marlowe doesn’t let the opportunity pass to try to grab the gun from Agnes, not only to protect himself, but also his client.
Carmen and Brody ignore Agnes and Marlowe’s fight, and Carmen demands her photos from Brody. She says she saw him shoot Geiger. Marlowe, who now has Agnes’s gun, tells Carmen to calm down. Agnes uses the opportunity to launch another attack on Marlowe.
Carmen has decided to use threat of lethal force to coerce Brody into handing over her photos, a completely different approach from Marlowe’s. Given the photos place her at a murder scene that she has not yet reported, this is a matter of life and death for Carmen.
Brody tries and fails to grab Carmen’s gun, which she then shoots through a window pane. Brody falls to the floor, tripping Carmen and causing her to lose her grip on the gun. Marlowe hits Agnes harder than before and she gives up. The detective picks up Carmen’s gun and points it at Brody, making Brody hand over another gun in his pocket.
Carmen means business, letting off a round as Brody attempts to wrest control of the gun. Finally, Marlowe ends up the winner from this scuffle, holding all the guns in the room. He has now won both the battle of words and weapons.
Marlowe makes Brody hand over the photos and the negatives. The detective pockets them and Carmen leaves, flirting with Marlowe as she goes. She kisses him on the mouth as she passes him, before running off down the hallway.
Marlowe has completed his mission for his client by obtaining the photos, protected Carmen from aggressors as well as herself, and saved himself from physical harm. His cautious approach and well-timed use of force leaves him the victor of the exchange, showing his cynical attitude comes from experience of many exchanges such as this.