Cowboy Bebop Newbie Recap: “Stray Dog Strut” & “Honky Tonk Women”
AKA Faye Valentine steals the episode.
I’m going to cover two episodes in this weeks Newbie recap. While both episodes are entertaining races from beginning to end, there isn’t much in terms of anything new, essentially reiterating what we already knew. That’s fine however considering how much of a blast it is to see Spike, bounty-hunter extraordinaire, race against the clock to find the baddie of the episode.
The fact that one of them included a chase scene including two grown men scrambling after a corgi puppy makes it even better.
Rather than run through the plot of the episodes line for line (because how dull/I’m lazy) here are some quick thoughts on the episodes:
- I haven’t mentioned the opening credits yet but they’re awesome! Check them out below-they’re a great length, plainly display the series moody atmosphere and noir like qualities while also hinting at the action to come. The color, the music, the style-it all works into the larger scope of the Cowboy Bebop world.
- I love the dynamic between Spike and Jet as it’s our main source of comedy. There’s always a sense of Jet being disgruntled with Spike, especially when he’s acting on his more hot headed tendencies. From Jet’s immediate enjoyment of their new puppy opposed to Spike declaring he hates dogs, to Spike riling up a crowd ready to fight while Jet simply wants to gamble a little, their dynamic brings some humor to the show that’s necessary amongst all of the car chases, intergalactic jailbreaks and smugglers.
- If I had to pick one of the two episodes, Session 3 definitely has the upswing. Session 2 was fun and the car chase at the end of the episode was spectacular with some great visuals-the animation of the sky along with it’s purples and reds was gorgeous-but overall it felt largely inconsequential. Maybe this series is meant to be compiled of standalone moments and in Session 3 that idea works, but the second episode of the series seems like a mere stepping stone, reestablishing what we’d already learned about Spike.
- Session three was fantastic all across the board though, especially any of the shots of the outer space that we saw. Jet and Spike go to what seems to be a strictly gambling planet and the episode opens with a Blade Runner esque downwards swooping shot of the city. The city itself seems like it was made of scrap metal, built on teetering hinges and rust and it adds to the overall atmosphere. The characters are moody and stylish and everyone seems to be a tad roguish.
- I do like that Spike and Jet’s main hurdle is all of the formers doing and based on his bad habits such as refusing to tip with his last poker chip. Faye Valentine has been blackmailed into being a drop off point for a man (who shares a likeness to Spike) for a data chip that could spell catastrophe. Instead she get’s Spike, get’s confused and the chips get swapped in the mayhem while Faye is captured by the two Bebop crew members. She manages to get away, of course, and leads to a great fight sequence between Spike and one of Donovan’s henchmen. Faye Valentine is a wonderful addition to the world, an intelligent gambler who manages to give Spike the slip at the end while he’s in the midst of a zero gravity brawl. I’m trying to keep away from spoiling myself from any future shenanigans but I really want to check IMDb to see if her character is one that’s recurring. She was intelligent and savvy and got away on her own terms.
- I continue to be blown away by the animation. I am far from artistic (something that bothers me greatly) and I have a huge appreciation for animation as an artform (which makes my absolute lack of talent sting even more) so I’m always in awe of seeing something like the zero gravity fight animated or the skies in that chase scene on the bridge in episode two. It gives the world (s) such a presence. The show is incredibly detailed and while some of it dates itself, the scenery and the landscapes, the universe as a whole has such a present imagination that it’s hard to fault it.
While I wasn’t as swept away by these episodes I’m still super on board with the show as a whole. It captured my interest immediately with the premiere episode, and Spike and the gang are fun protagonists to follow. Sessions two and three have the unfortunate responsibility of narratively establishing the world we’re going to be living in for the following season, and it’s quite a world. The antagonists have also been largely faceless goons up until this point and since it’s so early in the shows run, it’s hard to be worried about the stakes and health of our characters. Once the series progresses and once we become more and more attached to Spike and co. I’m sure that will all change.
I can’t wait until episodes four and five! Bring on the excitement.
And thanks for anyone who commented for the recommendations last week-I’ve accumulated quite a list!
Allyson Johnson is a twenty something writer and a lover of film and all things pop culture. She’s a film and television enthusiast and critic over at TheYoungFolks.com who spends too much of her free time on Netflix. Her idols are Jo March, Illana Glazer, and Amy Poehler. Check her out at her twitter @AllysonAJ or at The Young Folks.
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