Recap / Cowboy Bebop Session 2 "Stray Dog Strut"

The episode begins with a figure in a restroom stall unwrapping bandages around his head. To his side is a suitcase that's wriggling, obviously containing something alive inside. Just as the man finishes, three men in white labcoats brandishing guns order him to come out, calling him Abdul Hakim. Hakim kicks the stall door open and quickly drops all three with a series of punches and kicks before grabbing the case and heading off.

We then go to the Bebop, who's arriving on Mars. Spike, after some difficulty with his monitor, tunes into Big Shot. A show that showcases daily bounties across the solar system, it's hosted by two people named "Punch" and "Judy" in ridiculous stereotypical western wear. They showcase the day's bounty, Hakim, who looks radically different from who was seen earlier as well as lay out the ground rules of bounty hunting: the target must be brought in alive, otherwise the reward is forfeit. Jet comes back after having no luck fixing something on the ship before the two get a call from someone named "Doc", an elderly bloke. He comes bearing info on Hakim with the condition they cut him in on the bounty. Spike manages to haggle Doc down on the price, but only if Spike punches out Hakim for trampling him while rushing out of his lab. As the Bebop arrives on one of Mars' terraformed cities, Hakim contacts someone on getting "the goods" and promises to meet up with them in six hours. Back with the Bebop, Doc showcases Hakim's new face and tell the bounty hunting duo about the case he was closely guarding. Meanwhile, Hakim has stopped off at a Chinese bar for a drink. Two rather unscrupulous men spot the case he's carrying as he waiting for his order. One of them "bumps" into Hakim to distract him, which Hakim responds to by killing a cockroach crawling by, dropping it in his drink and forcing him to chug it.

However the man's younger partner snatches the case and rushes off. Hakim follows, but loses him around a corner unaware that he jumped onto a passing truck. The boy opens the case to see what's inside, but quickly closes it when the contents start growling at him. On the Bebop, Spike heads off to find Hakim while on street level some more men in white coats are also looking for Hakim, or rather the case he was carrying, as well. Spike gets some information that his target might be at a pet store called Animal Treasure. Right at that moment, the boy is there trying to sell his suitcase's content to the elderly female owner. As he's waiting for her to open the case, Spike arrives and holds him at gunpoint, claiming him to be Hakim. He forces the store owner to open the case to reveal...a Welsh Corgi. While the owner finds it cute, she'll only take it for two Woolongs as they're very common pets. Spike apologizes to the boy for the mix-up and starts to head off, not noticing the real Hakim passing him. As the boy tries to get the owner to give him a higher price, Hakim finds him and holds him at gunpoint. He reaches for the dog, but it bites him and runs away. Hakim gives chase, knocking over the shop's cages and freeing some of the animals. This gets Spike's attention, and he sees Hakim running off as do the men in white from before. A three-way chase commences with Hakim chasing the Corgi, the men in white chasing him and Spike tailing after all three.

Spike manages to get ahead of the scientists after they're forced to continue on foot and have to drop out after coming across some angry patrons whose board game Spike has interrupted. Hakim starts to close in on the Corgi when they reach a bridge, but Spike appears from the other direction. The two fight while the Corgi rests on the sidelines before jumping for a boat. Hakim jumps after it with Spike jumping after him. But the Corgi jumps off at the last minute and onto Spike's face causing him to land in the river. Hakim winds up in a crab tank on the boat to his annoyance. Spike takes the Corgi back to the Bebop while he dries off. Jet fits the Corgi with a collar as Spike grumbles about it being useless (also bringing up his dislike of pets and kids), but Jet convinces him the Corgi will lead them to Hakim. Speaking of whom, Hakim emerges from the river and realizes he has two more hours to make his deadline. The men in white are also continuing their hunt, mentioning that the Corgi is a "Data Dog". Spike heads back out walking the Corgi on a leash in hope of flushing out Hakim while Jet keeps tabs on them with a tracker on the dog's collar. Hakim makes a call to his contacts in hopes of rescheduling, but they refuse him to his adding frustration. As he walks the streets, a street vendor calls out to him, claiming that his pet bird can find what he's looking for. Having nothing to lose, Hakim goes along with it. The men in white meanwhile, having no other options, activate "the dog whistle" a high pitch frequency emitting from their van.

It works, a little too well as not only does the Corgi hear it but so does every dog in the area. Spike is forced to chase after the Corgi and, not surprisingly, they pass by Hakim in the process who joins in the pursuit after hijacking a car during a wedding ceremony. He nearly runs down Spike who manages to leap out of the way. The men in white manage to pick out the Corgi in the parade of dogs chasing them, but it moves clear when they try to shoot a net at it. Hakim manages to grab the Corgi and spray it with a sleeping spray before driving off ahead of the men in white. As this goes on, Spike has gotten on his Swordfish to give chase, helped by the collar tracker. He catches up as the chase moves onto the freeway, trying to get Hakim stop the car by weighing his ship on it. However the men in white open fire in their own efforts to stop it before shooting a harpoon at the car. As Hakim tries to shake off his pursuers, the Corgi wakes up, jumps onto the steering wheel and opens the car door. It jumps out, but bounces off the side of the freeway bridge and down below. Spike reluctantly gives up the chase to save it while Hakim and the men in white lose control of their vehicles and crash over the bridge and, ironically, into a police station.

A week later, Big Shot reports of this oddball occurrence as well as the missing "Data Dog". The pet shop owner sees this, but brushes it off while the men who tried to steal from Hakim are working to pay off the damages to her store. Back on the Bebop, Spike gripes about being stuck with the dog, though Jet counters he was the one who brought it to the ship, and now having to deal with ticks. He makes the suggestion of just eating the mongrel as the episode comes to a close.

See You Space Cowboy

This episode has the following tropes:

  • Ambiguously Brown: Hakim after the plastic surgery.
  • Brick Joke: The shop owner makes the suggestion of eating the dog when the boy thief tries to get her to raise the price. Spike makes the same suggestion at the end of the episode.
  • Car Chase: Near the end of the episode.
  • Gonk: The pet shop owner.
  • Head Pet: The shop owner has a pet turtle resting on her head.
  • Just Testing You: When one of the men in white tells his subordinate to activate the dog whistle. He does, and said man claims he can't hear it. When told only dogs would be able to, he quickly proclaim "that he was testing him."
  • Lean and Mean: Hakim's a rather tall fellow.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Abdul Hakim = Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, specifically his role in the unfinished Bruce Lee movie, Game of Death.
    • Spike gets some info from a weapons store owner by bantering with the owner about a pair of nunchaku, calling them a "Way of the Dragon model." Bruce Lee used nunchaku in several of his films including Way of the Dragon.
    • The dogcatching van has a vanity license plate that reads "NCC-1701," the registry number of the starship Enterprise.
  • Technology Marches On: We're introduced to Big Shot, and its perpetually fuzzy reception, thanks to the show predating the advent of digital film. Though it's still easy to surmise the static is put in deliberately to add to the show's kitsch value.
  • Values Dissonance: Hakim is called a "negloid" in his mug shot, which is Engrish for Negroid (which is one of many outdated terms for a black person, particularly a black person from Africa). The word in Japan is not as racist as it is in America. And what's more surprising is that Cartoon Network, for all its editing in the name of political correctness (particularly when it comes to the theatrical cartoons of the 1930s to the 1960s), didn't edit it out.