Cowboy Bebop Sessions 14 and 15

After learning that Cowboy Bebop is getting a live-action remake, I decided to revisit the much-beloved anime series from the 90s (although not aired in the U.S. until the early 2000s). Many people think of it as the best anime series ever, and with good reason. My episode reviews will contain spoilers, so be sure to watch the series before you read this.

Session 14: Bohemian Rhapsody

Usually, when someone goes through an astral gate, the toll is withdrawn from their bank account. However, twenty different criminals hacked the gates to withdraw a person’s entire bank account instead. The Gate Corporation has put out a huge bounty for whomever was behind the scheme. Spike, Jet, and Faye capture all the criminals responsible for the gate attacks, but not the mastermind, so they don’t get the bounty. However, each get a clue: a white chess piece.

Ed pokes around in the ship’s electrical system, gets electrocuted, has a seizure, then stops moving. Faye wonders if she’s dead, then she perks right up. She asks Jet for one of the chess pieces. He tosses it to her and she catches it in her mouth. When she places it on an electronic chess board, a game begins.

Jet meets with the Gate Company and accuses them of using the bounty hunters as pawns. They ask him to leave, but a cigarette he left behind allows him to listen in on their conversation. They talk about a ghost from 50 years ago, Chess Master Hex, who would be 98 years old now.

Ed continues to play chess, clapping with her feet after making a good move. She’s playing against an old man with a parrot online. Spike and Faye try to get Ed to help them track down Hex. When Faye reaches for the chess board, Ed hisses like a cat. Ed tells them she’s playing chess with him. They track him to a space scrap yard through Ed’s game. Meanwhile Jonathan, another bounty hunter, is following them. He fires upon the Bebop, damaging their ship.

In this episode Spike says, “whatever happens, happens.” This is kind of his life’s philosophy, but I think this is the first time he says it. Spike sees a cat and a dog floating through zero gravity while searching the scrap yard. Faye sees a whole community of people sleeping and hanging out. They find Hex, but so does Jonathan. He wants his money back. He points a gun at Hex, but he thinks it’s just a pipe.

Hex returns to his chess game, the best opponent he’s played in ages. Hex asks for lunch, his friends, the three old men from Tijuana, remind him he just ate. Jonathan starts shooting randomly and laughing maniacally until he’s punched out.

Things aren’t what they seem: Jet realizes Hex set everything up 50 years ago, to expose a defect built into the gates, but he’s senile now. He tells the company he’ll keep their secret if they leave Hex alone and call off the bounty hunters. Jet doesn’t want the money, he just wants Ed to have her favorite chess partner. Meanwhile, Jonathan, now crazy, has joined the scrap yard community.

Session 15: My Funny Valentine

In the opening, we see a woman placed into cryogenic storage. In the present, Jet and Ed check their freezer and find the fish have gone bad. Once again, they need to catch a bounty in order to eat. Ein wakes up Faye. She realizes Ein reminds her of someone from her past and tells Ein her story as we enter a flashback.

Faye is unfrozen by Dr. Bacchus and Miss Manly. They tell her she needs to pay for the operation, hospital fees, as well as 54 years of interest. Over 300,000,000 woolongs. But she’s got amnesia and doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Her lawyer is Witney Hagas Matsumoto, the person who Ein reminded her of. She was involved in an accident when she was 20 and couldn’t be saved by the technology of the time, so she was frozen. That was 2014. Now, it’s 2068.

Faye escapes from the hospital. Witney finds her and tells her she can pay off her debt little by little. She notices a barcode on the back of his neck. He introduces her to the future. They have a good time until debt collectors show up. They split up, Witney says he’ll meet her at the clinic. Then, his car explodes. He named her as his heir, which means she inherits his debts! What?

In the present, Faye discovers Spike was listening in. Since she said she was a Romany before, she could be making this story up too. Jet returns with the bounty, a conman who takes advantage of women. It’s Witney and he’s gained a lot of weight over the past three years. In fact, he got a fat implant to disguise his identity. Faye talks to him alone. Jet worries she’ll let him escape because women don’t run on reason.

Dr. Bacchus and Miss Manly show up to claim the bounty. Faye escapes with Witney. Spike fires on them. Faye gets away. She asks Witney who she really is. He doesn’t know. Dr. Bacchus shows up in a stolen police vehicle. He says all the data on Faye was lost when the astral gate exploded. He named her Valentine after his favorite love song. No one knows who she actually is.

The real police show up. Dr. Bacchus leaves. He was Witney’s uncle. Faye turns Witney in for the bounty. Spike gives her her share of the bounty, a single coin. He was smallest of the small fries. Jet tells us next episode will be depressing. It’s not an episode for children, ladies, or young guys. Only old guys should tune in.

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