Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cowboy Bebop Session #8: Waltz For Venus

The wormholes reminisce of Babylon 5.

I love the wormhole graphics used when ships arrive through the hyperdrive gates. Pretty nifty. A trip en route to Venus indicates floating plants utilized for terra-forming may cause a potentially fatal sickness if left untreated. Spike and Faye are aboard the ship when a handful of hijackers decide to strong arm the passengers with gunfire, but for what?

Here we go with Cowboy Bebop, Session #8, Waltz For Venus. Spike turns in his bounty and via a computer, kind of like a bank machine, collects his big pay out. A young man from the plane tries to swipe Spike's money, but ends up wanting to tag along with him. Spike shows the boy and us his instinctive skill for self-defense. Some cronies show up to go after the boy. He quickly hands a bag of goodies off to Spike and tells him to meet him at the cathedral later as he makes a break.
The boy's name is Roco Bonnaro and there is a bounty on his head. Everyone is after Grey Ash. It's a plant that helps counteract and cure Venus sickness. It's also a very rare plant and pricey to grow.
The Bebop has a kind of lived-in feel to it. The living quarters setup reminds me of Serenity from the series Firefly. Though, thus far, the Bebop isn't nearly as rich in detail.
Spike heads off to investigate Roco's whereabouts. Spike finds a girl who has lost her sight as a result of the sickness. It's Roco's sister. They share some tea together and she senses something "beautiful" in Spike. He tells her, "I'm afraid that I lost that a long time ago." There is certainly a jaded quality to Spike just like Captain Mal Reynolds of Firefly. What is up with all of these similarities?
Meanwhile, Faye is off bounty-hunting on her won. She's a pretty good shot with a gun to boot.
Roco is given a brutal physical beating as the gang of cronies seeks out the plant Roco gave to Spike.
There's a touch of man lovin' thrown in for good measure as Faye interrupts some male on male action in her search for Piccaroo.
Spike finds Roco and the jig is up. He knows he's wanted and a bounty is on his head. Spike cuts to the chase knowing his sister Stella needs the plant for her health to improve. The gangsters show up and an action sequence ensues. Faye arrives in her vessel and breaks up the party. Jet also shows up. Roco is jumped, but remembers his Spike training and plants the thug to the ground. In his joy we are thrown off guard as Roco is shot through the chest from behind dropping the living plant as its glass case shatters. It dies almost instantly as it becomes exposed to the atmosphere. Like the plant the boy too withers lifeless and dies.

Spike visits Stella who is going to regain her sight. She learns her brother is dead. Sadly, she never saw what he looked like. Spike assures her he was exactly what she thought he was, "a terrific guy." Aw, Spike. As Spike walks outdoors the spores of a plant drift sweetly through the air. It is the terra-forming plant that is at once beautiful, but potentially deadly and it is all around him.
Nothing particularly Earth-shattering here. I can't say Cowboy Bebop is keeping my attention like I had first thought it might. It isn't quite as engaging as I had imagined. It certainly hasn't been particularly exciting to write about and certainly not nearly as challenging as the quality science-fiction out there that keeps the mental gears turning. These short episodes have their moments, but nothing compares to the best of Babylon 5 or Firefly. I'm not feeling the same level of passion for the series as most in science fiction that I've enjoyed and perhaps that is coming across. It is what it is. Still, more to come I suppose.

Waltz Away Venus: C+


Anonymous said...

Man, I loved this episode I'm not sure what your problem is. Speaking as a die-hard fan of Firefly, I say give me Bebop any day of the week.

Perhaps the problem is that you seem to be expecting, first and foremost, a science fiction series. It may be one, but not primarily. It's more a film noir sent in space.

With the exception of the sublime Ballad of Fallen Angels, most of the great episodes are yet to come for you (and I do think that there's a stretch of some blah episodes in a row with Sympathy for the Devil, Heavy Metal Queen and Jamming with Edward) so I hope you like it better... but if you didn't like this episode, and weren't just enamored with the mood of it all as Spike walked down that street with the spores in the air as that haunting melody played on the music box... then I dunno what to tell ya.

SFF said...

Well, we have Firefly in common. It's funny you mention Firefly, because there are so many similiarities between the two series. Little things, but they are there. You can see where people would like both easily.

I agree. Cowboy Bebop is more noir than science fiction and I like it for that.

The moment with the spores you mentioned I liked alot. I sometimes enjoy moments in the series rather than entries on the whole. The series has been good overall so far.

I really loved Ballad Of Fallen Angels. It's been my favorite so far. We'll see where it goes and how it all ends.