Recap / Cowboy Bebop Session 20 "Pierrot le Fou"

The episode begins on an dark night as a shadowy figure is somehow able to fly over a city. Down below on a certain street, a car pulls up loaded with bodyguards. A rather important looking official is comes out from a building. Then, a portly, bearded man, dressed in a fancy suit, top hat, and clown collar, while wielding a crane, suddenly lands in front of them with a Slasher Smile on his face. The guards arm themselves as he greets them with a sinister, yet oddly cheerful "Hello, gentlemen!" before stating that he journeyed there to take their lives.

We go to Spike who is at a pool hall playing against one of the patrons. He makes the winning shot and salutes his opponent who heads off. Spike heads outside for a smoke and strolls through an alley, presumably on his way back to the Bebop when he comes across the portly man massacring the guards one by one, before eliminating the official in the car. Once done, the man spots Spike lurking in the alley. He greets Spike with a "Hello, boy!" before opening fire on him. Spike dodges behind a trash can and returns fire but his bullets are stopped by a force field around the man. The lunatic floats over to Spike while engaging in close range combat, and matches Spike blow for blow. Even shooting point blank doesn't penetrate the force field. Spike takes a beating as the portly man juggles him in the air with kicks before letting him land. He then points his gun cane at Spike, preparing to finish him off when the sound of a cat meowing is heard. The man is driven into a frenzy, trying to kill the cat (which gets away).

Spike uses the distraction to shove a conveniently placed gas canister towards the man, then shooting it. It explodes, throwing Spike into a wall, bruised but still going. A knife appears out of the blast and hits Spike's arm. The man emerges from the flames unharmed and opens his coat to reveal an arsenal of weaponry. Spike makes a run for it as the man picks a grenade launcher and fires it toward Spike. The blast hurls Spike into a nearby river. Before the man can continue his pursuit, he hears police sirens in the distance and disappears from the scene.

The next day, Jet meets up with his police contact, Bob, to discuss the event. Bob tries dissuade him from looking further into it but Jet persists. Bob eventually reveals that the man who attacked Spike is named "Mad Pierrot". Meanwhile on the Bebop, Spike has been patched up and is resting on the couch. Faye taunts him over his recklessness (which in this case wasn't his fault) before leaving him be. Back with Bob and Jet, Bob reveals that Pierrot has been targeting I.S.S.P. directors, the current victim from before being the seventh one. Up until now all of Pierrot's targets have never escaped alive and he won't quit until they're dead. As all this goes on, Pierrot goes after another I.S.S.P. director who has bodyguards flanking him. Pierrot dispatches them with ease before leaving the director's body embedded in a chain link fence.

Sometime later that night, Ed gets a message on the laptop intended for Spike. She shows it to Faye who realizes that it is challenge from the man who tried to kill Spike, and she decides to try to keep it secret from him, lest he takes up the challenge, something that she is sure will kill him his current condition. But Spike, surprisingly back on his feet, manages to snatch the laptop from Ed and reads the message. He decides to head to the destination listed, a amusement park named Space Land, despite Faye's attempt to dissuade him. As it is night, the park is closed and all of the attractions are shut down. However as soon as Spike sets foot in the park, the lights turn on and everything springs to life. Standing on the top of the statue holding the park sign, Pierrot cheerfully greets Spike before opening fire on him. Spike manages to duck into sled ride (with a annoying hologram of a cherub trying to usher him back out). Pierrot finds him easily, forcing Spike to dodge the sleds, then grenades, which blow the attraction sky high.

Meanwhile Jet contacts Ed and has her hack into the I.S.S.P. database to get info on Pierrot. We cut back and forth between her hacking and Spike trying his best to fight off Pierrot. The fight leads into a roller coaster which ends with Spike being blown into a water below. Ed, after several dead ends, manages to find the file; Section 13. Through a flashback, we see the man who would become Pierrot going through experimentation. Over time his mind began to regress until he could barely think. The scientists cancel the experiment and put Pierrot in quarantine. As he was being lead to his cell, he attacks and kills everyone in the facility before escaping. Jet, reading the file, notes that Pierrot's mind is still regressing and he's more like a child now then a man.

Spike manages to crawl his way out of the waterway but is instantly bombarded by explosives. Faye comes to the rescue in her ship (to Spike's chagrin) but is quickly knocked out of the sky when Pierrot fires a missile at her, hitting a statue and causing debris to fall on her ship (though she lands unscathed). Spike, leaping out of the way of the statue, is thrown into a souvenir shop. Pierrot lands in front of him laughing, but panics when one of the toy cats falls from the store and starts meowing. This triggers Pierrot's memories of his experimentation. Cats are revealed to be a traumatic influence as there was a distinctive looking cat with a red eye constantly watching during the experiments. Pierrot shoots at the toy to shut it up as Spike gets to his feet and returns fire. Pierrot is unaffected and floats in front of Spike shooting away the gun from his hand.

The two stare down one another as the park's robotic parade makes its way near them. For a few tense seconds, neither side takes their eyes off one another. Spike silently reaches for the knife he was hit with earlier, hidden in his belt. Just as Pierrot looks to shoot, a reflection from Spike's prosthetic eye reminds Pierrot's of the cat from the experiment. He hesitates, allowing Spike to pull out the knife and throw it. Pierrot fires, hitting Spike in the arm. Pierrot then notices the knife has hit his right leg. He suddenly breaks down in tears and crumbles to the ground, calling for his mother. Spike can only watch, not sure what to make of it as the parade passes around Pierrot. One of the giant robots crushes Pierrot under its foot, killing him.

As Spike recovers, Jet calls him with the info. Spike cuts him off, saying he doesn't need it any more and closes the episode stating how he hates amusement parks.

See You Space Cowboy...


  • Amusement Park of Doom: Under Pierrot's control, it quickly becomes this.
  • Beard of Evil: Pierrot
  • Big Damn Heroes: Subverted: Faye arrives in her Redtail to help Spike and give him covering fire in the final battle against Pierrot. It doesn't work (Pierrot shoots her down) but at least she tried to help.
  • Deflector Shield: Pierrot has one that makes him Immune to Bullets but not throwing knives. It manifests as rippling green light.
  • Evil Laugh/Laughing Mad: Pierrot has these in spades.
  • Giant Foot of Stomping: Pierrot is killed when a giant robot in an oncoming parade steps on him.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Pierrot was made to be the perfect killing machine. That was a little too successful.
  • Hollywood Healing: Subverted in this case as Spike is still clearly wounded when he arrives at the park.
  • Hostile Animatronics: The robots at Space World, activated by Pierrot, give off a definite Five Nights at Freddy's vibe.
  • I Am Not Shazam: The titular psychopath of the episode is actually named Tongpu, alias Mad Pierrot. He is never referred to as Pierrot Le Fou.
  • Kids Are Cruel: As Jet notes of the regressed Pierrot is like a child "And there's nothing more pure and cruel than a child".
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: Downplayed in the sense that a knife in the leg is perhaps not a minor injury, but Pierrot goes all out on Inelegant Blubbering and screaming for his mother when he discovers it.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Pierrot delivers one to Spike at the opening of the episode.
  • No-Sell: When Spike finally gets off a few shots on Pierrot at the beginning, they get stopped by a force field of some kind, and Pierrot just grins. Still.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Pierrot.
  • Shout-Out: To Jean-Luc Godard's movie Pierrot le Fou.
  • Slasher Smile: Take a wild guess who.
  • Stop Helping Me!: Spike is none too pleased that Faye showed up to help him, most likely because he doesn't want her to end up in the crossfire.
  • The Unreveal: For Spike. Jet and Ed spend the episode uncovering Mad Pierrot's true identity and background story before finally attempting to relay it to Spike. But at this point Pierrot is dead, and so Spike no longer cares who or what he is and declines to find out.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Pierrot spends his last moments crying for his mother after being stabbed in the leg.
  • Walking Arsenal: Pierrot's suit coat is wall-to-wall guns and grenades. On top of his cane rifle/jetpack dealie.
  • Why Did It Have To Be Cats?: Mad Pierrot is ailurophobic, a result of a cat being present during his horrible experimentation at the lab. The cat also had heterochromia, and when he notices that Spike has two different-colored eyes, it causes him to freeze up, allowing Spike to take him down.