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Recap / Cowboy Bebop Session 17 "Mushroom Samba"

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The episode begins with Ed and Ein searching the ship's fridge but finding nothing. Seems the Bebop has hit a food shortage, plus the ship is now low on fuel and drifting through space, with Jet hoping the inertia will take them to Mars where they can refuel. Jet, Spike, and Faye argue over an empty box of rations, the last of their food which has been eaten, with the latter two denying having opened it. Ed manages to find a peanut in her shorts and is about to eat it before being discovered by the crew. Before anything more can happen, the ship suddenly rocks. Checking outside reveals another ship has hit them. But as Jet tries to hail them, the ship re-aligns itself and blasts off. What's more, the impact has knocked the Bebop off its trajectory and down into the orbit of a western type planet still in development.

The ship crash lands, but everyone survives. Faye suddenly starts complaining of stomach pains and rushes to the restroom, while Ein hands Jet the ration box— revealing that it expired long ago, and thus that Faye (naturally) was the culprit. Spike and Jet have a laugh before their hunger kicks in again and they get to work looking over the damage to the ship. Ed tries to assist, but only ends up breaking things, so the men send her off to get food. Ein accompanies her as they make their way through the desert. After walking a couple of miles, they come across a road and a truck selling watermelons. However, as Ed doesn't have any money, she's denied the fruit. At that moment, a Porsche pulls up driven by an afro haired African American. She buys a melon and asks for any information on a chubby looking man with a rasta hairdo, sunglasses and sun hat. She drives off after making her purchase, unaware that Ed and Ein have stowed away in the trunk of her car. The woman arrives in a town, but is stopped by two local police officers, who ask to look through her car. They find a sleeping Ed and Ein, which makes it seem as if the woman was kidnapping them. As the woman struggles with the officers, the pair awaken, slip out and mill around town.

They come across the same man from the woman's photo, but are more concerned with the hot dog he's eating. Naturally, he's confused when Ed calls him a "meanie" for finishing the food. Meanwhile, another individual shows up looking for said man, whom he calls Domino. Said man (named Shaft) is dragging around a coffin, which he wishes to put Domino into for killing one of his brothers with some bad mushrooms. However, the coffin gets destroyed as Shaft leaves it out in the road and a truck plows over it. Domino uses the distraction to get away with Shaft on his heels, dropping a few mushrooms from his bag. Ein eats one in his hunger and suddenly starts hopping around like a wind up doll. Curious, Ed gathers the mushrooms and heads back to the Bebop, where she leaves one out on a plate in the campsite near the ship. Spike, Jet and Faye shamelessly take the bait for each mushroom laid out when they come across it.

The effects of the shrooms soon take hold, with each member experiencing a different hallucination. Spike, going up the stairs to the cockpit area, finds himself walking up an endless stairway encountering a talking frog who informs him it's a "stairway to Heaven"; Spike ignores him and keeps going. Faye, in the bathroom, suddenly sees the toilet grow and overflow with water; soon, she's underwater, and it's teeming with marine life. Jet, who was working on his bonsai plants, suddenly starts talking with them as if they were real people. Through all of these, Ed and Ein observe their behavior. They then turn on Big Shots, where Domino is revealed to be the bounty of the day. Ed decides to go after him, grabbing a motor scooter and putting Ein in a backpack before she sets off. As she goes through town, both the woman (now identified as Coffee) and Shaft see her and head off to follow for some reason. Ed locates Domino's ship and gets inside as he's plucking off mushrooms from the trees he's growing them on. Ed attacks with a gun that shoots out stink gas, but it backfires as she's affected too. Domino makes a run for it, with Ed in pursuit.

They come across some train tracks, where Shaft and the melon vendor from before happen to be waiting on the opposite side. Shaft sees Domino, but a train passes through, which Domino manages to leap onto. Shaft hijacks the melon vendor's truck to give chase, while Ed and Ein do likewise on her motor scooter. Shaft manages to make his way on the train first, but is interrupted by the arriving Coffee in her Porsche, who tries to get him out of the way. Ed, tailing behind Coffee, leaps from her scooter onto Coffee's car (as well as her head) and scrambles up the back of the train. She sends Ein on ahead, who rushes past Shaft and grabs one of Domino's bags of mushrooms. Yanking it away, it hits Shaft, who goes flying from the train and onto Coffee, who swerves and crashes her car. Both survive, but are out of the chase, allowing Ed to corner Domino at the front of the train. However, the train brakes when a cow appears on the track. Both Ed and Domino are thrown ahead, with Ed landing on Domino. Domino bargains with Ed to take the mushrooms, claiming they're worth more then his bounty. Ed accepts, while Ein thanks the cow for stopping the train (I am NOT making that up). The duo arrives back at the ship just as the crew are coming out of their stupors.

She tells the crew what Domino told her, and the crew are all for the priceless shrooms. However, a cop comes by to check on their ship. Faye and Jet try to act as if nothing's wrong, but just draw suspicion to themselves. Spike comes out with the bag of mushrooms and the cop scans them, revealing they're just ordinary mushrooms, much to Faye and Jet's dismay. Eventually, the Bebop is fixed and heads back into space. Jet makes the most of the mushrooms and fixes a variety of dishes with them; Spike and Faye soon tired of eating them, but Ed and Ein are more than happy to dig in— though Ein hiccups after gobbling one, indicating there might still be some bad ones among the bunch. Hoo boy.

Life is but a dream...

The episode has the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Long Stairway: Spike's hallucination of the Stairway to Heaven. He's actually just raising and lowering his feet on the same step without going anywhere.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Ed and Ein are the main focus this time around.
  • All Deserts Have Cacti: On Io?
  • Animal Talk: The only time you'll find it in this series. Played for Laughs of course.
    Ein: Thanks for the help.
    Cow: No problem.
  • BFG: Shaft and Coffee both carry grenade launchers in their attempts to catch/kill Domino.
  • Blaxploitation Parody: The guest characters really play up the Jive Turkey type, dig? A Sassy Black Woman is on the trail of a (black) shroom dealer, who killed the brother of a wannabe Scary Black Man, and the one good or at least competent cop that is not hard nosed and aggressive is also black.
  • Brain Freeze: Shaft had just ordered a shaved ice when he sees a chase scene going on outside that includes Domino. Not wanting to miss his chance at revenge, but also not wanting to waste the desert, he attempts to scarf it down with predictable results.
    Old geezer: That's what you get for trying to eat it all at once!
  • Car Chase: A three way one between Ed, Coffee and Shaft.
  • Chase Scene: Shaft wants Domino out of revenge for accidentally killing his brother with a shroom that made him Die Laughing, Coffee wants the bounty on Domino for selling illegal shrooms, while Ed just wants to get food and figures the bounty will pay for it—Domino is able to get rid of her by giving her a bag of 'shrooms instead (ironically they turn out to be ordinary mushrooms).
  • Choosy Beggar: When the bag of mushrooms Ed brings back are regular shiitake mushrooms, Jet proceeds to make use of them with a variety of dishes. Aside from Ed and Ein, none of them are happy about having the only ingredient on the ship, but Jet decides that they should all be grateful to have food that isn't expired.
  • Denser and Wackier: Ed and Ein takes center stage when the rest of the cast gets high on mushrooms. They later get involved with a zany chase.
  • Everybody Must Get Stoned: The entire main cast save for Ed get high off of Domino's mushrooms at one point or another.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Shaft's threat against Domino was going pretty well until the coffin he was saying he'd put the dealer in was hit by a car.
  • Feet-First Introduction: Coffee's introduction focuses first on her legs as she steps out of her car.
  • Food as Bribe: Well Domino thinks he's paying off Ed with a bag of shrooms worth 100,000 woolongs each, but they turn out to be the food version which is what Ed is looking for anyway.
  • Karma Houdini: Ed decides to take Domino's shiitake mushrooms rather than arrest him for the bounty.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Faye's the one who ate all the emergency rations. But since they expired years ago, she ends up getting sick from them. Spike laughs at her deserved misfortune.
  • Mushroom Samba: The trope namer of course.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Coffee is based off Pam Grier, a well known actor of Blaxploitation films
  • Punk in the Trunk: When the cops search Coffee's car, they find Ed and Ein unconscious and assume the worst, arresting the woman. Ed and Ein weren't put into the trunk, they snuck in and took a nap.
  • Round Table Shot: At the beginning as Jet tries to find out who ate the rations.
  • Schmuck Bait: Faye, Jet, and Spike are so hungry they eat the 'shrooms Ed leaves out with little hesitation.
  • Shout-Out: We have Shaft dragging a coffin around with him.
  • Traintop Battle
  • Water Guns and Balloons: What Ed tries to use against Domino, only filled with stink gas. Didn't take into account she would get hit too.
  • Way Past the Expiration Date: Faye eats all of Jet's emergency rations and rushes to the bathroom following a crash landing. Jet reads the labal and learn they spoiled "a year ago".