Well kids, just like Boys II Men or anybody who made it through that super depressing movie, we’ve come to the end of the road. Our long national neogenic nightmare is just about over.
When we last left off, Spider-Man had just gotten the youth sucked out of him by Adrian Toomes, better known as the Vulture. He’d also been unmasked by the villain, but it doesn’t much matter what with his face being all old & wrinkly. Vulture flies Ol’ Spidey around the city for a while, gloating about how strong he feels after sucking out Spidey’s life force. He teases dropping him to a splatty death a few times before ultimately revealing that he plans to keep Spider-Man alive in order to continuously suck out his youth every time Toomes’ body resets itself to old age. Well, at least that’s the plan until Vulture forgets that he blew up his building via self-destruct mode and some fiery debris falling from the building appears to crush Old Man Spidey. Little does Vulture know, Spider-Man just barely got out of the way and is now clinging to the side of the building. You’d think that would be something Vulture would check for, but oh well.
Elsewhere, Scorpion is at a newsstand reading the evening edition of the Daily Bugle that features a front page headline about neogenics research. When the proprietor scoffs at the idea of neogenics being front page news because “Who cares about that stuff?”, Scorpion says that he cares because neogenics is something that can make him normal again and give him a second chance at life. He’s also wearing the classic trench coat/fedora disguise that’s a staple of every freak that wants to go out in public for a while, from The Thing to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In lieu of paying for the newspaper, he busts up the newsstand with his tail. So does he want to be incognito or not? Does he want to live a normal life again or not? I think the answer is “yes” to both, he’s just also a huge asshole.
Elsewhere, Old Man Spidey is slowly swinging his way home to wait for this whole “old age” think to wear off. For everybody else that got zapped by the Vulture, the change was temporary but this one seems to be going on for much longer than usual. Spidey encounters a couple of thugs trying to steal an old lady’s purse. Even though he’s old and frail and everything hurts, Spider-Man still gotta Spider-Man. Lucky for him, the bad guys run away at the sight of him. He does manage to snag the trench coat off the back of one of them, which means he gets to walk/take the bus home in the classic freak disguise sans fedora.
In case you’ve forgotten what the Vulture was after, he attacks Norman Osborn as he’s coming back to Oscorp HQ in his private helicopter. Osborn’s helicopter starts firing missiles at Vulture, which is something I assume all billionaire CEOs have on their private helicopters. Vulture pulls out a laser pistol and takes out the main rotor, causing everyone to abandon ship. Just as Vulture gives a short monologue revealing his identity to Osborn and another about how he doesn’t have time to monologue, he begins to transform…only not back into his old self, but into something else entirely. Something that Peter Parker had been worried about for this entire season.
At a nearby mental institution, Dr. Farley Stillwell (the man who invented neogenics) is freaking out. He’s been a patient there ever since he turned Mac Gargan into the Scorpion because he’s out of his mind with fear that the Scorpion is out to get him. Well, it’s not paranoia if they’re really after you, as Scorpion breaks into the institution to get to Stillwell. However he doesn’t want to hurt him. His plan is to take Stillwell to the new neogenics lab and use the technology to make him normal again. He then takes Stillwell out through a giant hole in the wall that I’m not sure how anybody missed.
Vulture, no longer a giant spider-monster and once again the younger version of himself (also sporting an entirely new costume since the last one was ripped to shreds) pays a visit to Curt Connors at the neogenics lab. He tells him the whole deal about his age reversing technology and the problems he’s been having since absorbing the energy from Spider-Man. Instead of going back and forth between older and younger versions of himself, he’s now swapping between his young self and a spider-monster self. Connors tells him all about the disease he was treating Spider-Man for and how Vulture must have sucked it out of him and the only way to fix Vulture is to put the energy back into Spider-Man. Scorpion & Stillwell show up and Scorpion makes a great crack about Vulture’s “stupid green costume”. The two start fighting before Connors & Stillwell point out that they’re destroying the neogenics lab, so they stop. Stillwell apparently takes the time to change out of his pajamas during the fight.
Since Vulture needs Spider-Man and Scorpion wants access to the neogenics tech, the two work out a deal to help each other. In exchange for his help capturing Spider-Man, Vulture will let Scorpion use the lab. Lucky for them, Spidey & Connors had made plans for Spider-Man to come to the lab. There’s nothing Connors can do to let his friend know that he’s walking right into a trap, but he does have a trick up his sleeve. While Old Man Spidey is pretty easily subdued Scorpion, Connors reconfigures Vulture’s talons to transfer energy back instead of sucking it out. Only what he didn’t tell Vulture is that he specifically set it to only transfer the good energy back and leave all of the “could mutate into a giant spider-monster at any moment” parts behind.
During the confusion, Stillwell programs the neogenic recombinator to overload and blow up. Stillwell was the father of neogenic technology, but he’s decided that it’s too dangerous to exist what with the propensity for creating horrible freak monsters and all. This enrages Curt Connors, who had hoped to use the technology to cure him of his own mutation. And when Curt Connors gets enraged, things can get a little green and scaly.
It’s too late to stop the explosion. Everybody makes it out alive, but all the neogenics tech & data is destroyed. Connors, who has calmed down a bit thanks to a stray blast of energy from the recombinator right before it went kablooey, confirms that Spider-Man is cured of his mutation, which wraps up the season long dread that’s been looming over the character. Stillwell tells Connors that he’s never recreating the neogenics technology, that he can try if he likes but Stillwell will not help him. Scorpion got out on a different side of the building and thinks everyone else is dead. He’s also pissed off that he’ll never get his chance to be normal again. Vulture, still in spider-monster form, flies away to live a life of freakish solitude just like Morbius did a few episodes ago.
And there you have it, true believers. Spidey is cured, the technology is destroyed, and the neogenic nightmare is finally over. There’s a moment at the end of the episode where Peter is running late the be with Mary Jane as she meets her father for the first time in years and something very strange happens, but that’s a story for another day.