Cowboy Bebop Newbie Recaps: “Waltz for Venus” and “Jamming With Edward”
Ed makes her first appearance! Move over Bebop crew, there's a new favorite on board.
So this is the Ed character everyone was waiting for? I get it.
But first some thoughts on “Waltz for Venus,” which was a nice change of pace after last weeks more slapstick heavy episode:
- The trio of time hijackers that Spike and Faye are chasing down at the start of the episode are Huey, Louie and Dewey which was a hilarious little blink and you miss it gag. It’s also fun to see them finally get their bounty after so many episodes of losing it somehow.
- Rocco Bonnaro is a nice little tragic figure for Spike to interact with and one who’s more amiable and goofy energy is a nice offset.
- Of course having a few sparring sessions isn’t enough, and once Rocco is chased off by some gang members and hands Spike a mysterious plant, he goes on his own investigation. He learns that not only is there a bounty out for Rocco and the leader of the gang he’s fallen in with, Spike finds out he has a sister, Stella. Stella has fallen ill with Venus disease, rendering her completely blind, and the plant that Rocco was trying to smuggle to her was Grey Ash, something that could cure the sickness. Stella tells Spike that she senses there is a light in him, just as she believes there’s one in her brother, and that even though the two have fallen into bad situations in the past, they’re still good people trying to do the right thing. These slivers of insight that we’re getting of Spike every episode or so are a nice way to offset the episodic nature of the series (which I can deal with since the energy and atmosphere of the series is so richly drawn). Spike is our lead and there’s still some mystery surrounding him, but we’re slowly but surely getting to know him more due to these type of interactions with secondary characters.
- Faye meanwhile also has her hands full although her chase for Piccaro doesn’t go quite as smoothly, but it does steer her in the right direction of the episodes finale fight scene.
- Spike has met up with Rocco and unbeknownst to him, Rocco’s gang leaders are all hidden as well, ready to grab the Grey Ash. What Rocco doesn’t know is that they plan to kill Spike and leave, something that he isn’t okay with. It’s another instance where the show get’s to show off their love for big, open spaces for their fight scenes, and placing the characters in extravagant settings. This fight takes place in an open courtyard, with towering stone pillars looming over them. It’s larger than life. Faye arrives just in time and I love how destructive she is in trying to catch her bounty, completely uncaring of if she brings down an entire cathedral in her path.
- Rocco’s death wasn’t all too surprising but seeing it happen just after he managed to fight someone off using Spike’s tips made it land harder. Like V.T last week, Rocco was easy to get attached to even in such a short amount of time and it’s made more poignant with the realization that he’s leaving his sister behind.
- All of this makes his last words of “do you think if we’d met earlier in life, we’d have been friends” all the more frustratingly on the nose. It turns something that’s already dramatic and life altering to a character we’ve met into something overtly dramatic.
- Luckily the last scene between Spike and Stella hits the right chord of drama as Spike has to break the news to her about her brother’s death, just as she’s telling him that she’s going to be getting her sight back. What I thought was the most interesting part was that Spike doesn’t even feel the need to correct her when she says that her brother was probably up to no good when he was killed. Again, it speaks to the character that he wouldn’t try to sugarcoat it, even if he later tells her that Rocco was a terrific guy. The scene of him walking through the city with the spores that caused Stella’s blindness beginning to fall has to be one of my favorites of the series so far.
Now on to Edward.
The universe-building in this episode is spectacular, as we learn for the first time that anyone who still lives on Earth has been forced underground due to a catastrophic Gate accident, causing daily rock showers that pummel the planet. To communicate with the larger, galactic universe, a network of protective satellites were installed in constant orbit. This is how we meet Edward, as she hacks into the Earth Gate server, spotting the Bebop as they’re scheduled to land for a vacation.
Faye and Jet get more of a spotlight this episode as a pairing that is used for great comedic value, as they’re the two who feel like going after a hacker, something Spike deems as too boring for him. Of course, Edward ends up presenting more of a challenge as no one on earth seems to have any real insight, all of their information being built off of rumors. Edward tells them that the actual hacker is the satellite itself, and says that she will help as long as Faye promises her a favor at the end.
The satellite had become lonely from a lack of humans and, gaining consciousness, began drawing pictures of its missing friends. It ends up befriending Edward, who is some sort of genius hacker despite her youth, who in the process uses it as leverage to get a promise out of Faye.
I understand why people were anticipating her arrival, as she instantly shakes up the group dynamic; her bargain with Faye ends up making her an official member of the Bebop team, something neither Faye, Jet, or Spike had really signed on for. At the end of the episode, Spike rants to Jet about how the three things he can’t stand have ended up on their ship, and it’s apparent just how more interesting the show can become with those three (well, maybe not Ein.)
Faye’s destructive nature (again I have so much more fun watching her battle someone than Spike just for the wreckage she leaves behind) and Edward’s intellect and aloof personality compliment Spike and Jet’s more straight-laced traits. Now that the whole crew is onboard (unless there’s anyone new coming along?), I can’t wait to see how the bounty hunting goes from here on out.
Also, for people who have seen it, where should I watch the standalone Cowboy Bebop movie to fit in with the episodes? Does it really matter?
Next episode looks like it’s the Jet-centered episode, which from the comment section last week seems to be the collective least-favorite episode, so I might have to do two episodes for that one as well.
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