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Recap / Cowboy Bebop Session 3 "Honky Tonk Woman"

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The episode begins on Mars in one of the terraformed cities. At a curio shop, a purple haired woman enters and talks with the owner, who offers her a cigar and a job. Before anything can be said, the woman notices she's being tracked. She reaches into the paper bag and pulls out a machine gun, opening fire on her pursuers. They manage to get out of the way in time and the woman starts to head out to fight in the streets when a car pull up with a man wielding a gatling gun. He fires, tearing up the store (though the owner manages to get down in time). When the gunfire stops, the woman is surround by armed figures. She promptly surrenders.


The woman is taken to a ship and handcuffed, where she meets the boss, who identifies as her as the legendary "Poker Alice". She points out that Alice would be 219 if she was still alive, and she knows she doesn't look over two centuries. The boss points out that, unlike the woman, Alice never cheated at her games. The woman defiantly challenges him to prove that accusation, but then he mentions the huge amount of debt she's in, and tells her that she can either take it up with the police or accept the job he wants to offer her.

Meanwhile on a casino satellite, Spike and Jet have arrived and ready to hit the tables, with Jet having a good feeling after having a dream involving Charlie Parker. The two split off with Jet playing the slots while Spike mills around the tables, gaining some chips after helping three old men win a card game. Eventually he settles on a Blackjack table where "Alice" is dealing. She spots him and looks at a monitor under the table, mistaking him for a similar-looking man.


In a flashback, the boss, apparently the casino owner, lays out a plan to Alice that a person will come to her table, play and lose (with some help from her skills), then hand over his final chip as a gift to his pretty dealer, who will then hand it over to the boss. Once she does, he'll clear her debts in return. Back in the present, the game progresses and the other players fold, leaving only Spike and Alice. Spike notices she's counting cards but flirts with her rather than point it out. Eventually "Alice" wins the final hand and clears him out save for his last chip. However, instead of tipping her (as the plan dictates), Spike holds onto it as a souvenir. As Spike's walking away he bumps into the person who was really suppose to be in his place. Their poker chips fall from their hands and get mixed up. The lookalike grabs what he thinks is his chip and runs off, while "Alice" finds Spike and demands the poker chip.


Spike calls her out on her cheating which stirs the crowd and gets the attention of security. When she demands the chip, Spike pretends to swallow it. Alice runs off while the security confront Spike, starting a fight. Alice calls her ship to her and jumps in while Spike finds Jet among the crowd and the two have to run for it (to Jet's dismay; he didn't get to cash in his winnings). Alice blasts her way out and flies off only to find two stowaways: Spike and Jet. Meanwhile, the Spike lookalike has been found, beaten and taken to the casino owner, who finds he doesn't have the poker chip he was looking for. When told Alice is missing, the owner orders a bounty on her head while he kills the lookalike.

Meanwhile at the spaceship port, Alice has brought the bounty hunting duo back to the Bebop. But they promptly throw her into restroom and handcuff her to the stall, blaming her for losing their winnings. When she brings up the chip and that her boss, Gordon, will pay to have it back, Spike pretends to hock the chip back up and gives it to Jet to analyse. While waiting for the results, Spike turns on Big Shot and learns the bounty of the day is their "Alice" - or rather Faye Valentine, with a price of six million wulongs. Faye, unregarded in the toilet, pulls out a lipstick-shaped device which doubles as a communicator and contacts Gordon. She only reveals her location before Spike and Jet visit again, telling her they intend to hand her over to the police. She pleads with them not to, explaining that she's part-Gypsy and she has to travel onwards, while calling Spike a "Gaojo", someone who doesn't know up from down. The two don't buy it and leave her, though not before Jet frees one of her arms when she complains she can't even use the restroom.

The Bebop starts to head off to go cash in the bounty, but are intercepted by Gordon who demands the chip, claiming it's worthless. Jet however reveals that the chip is part of encoding program need to unlock an encryption file to launder stolen money and the I.S.S.P have been looking for it. They threaten to turn it over to the police when Gordon offers to pay for it. Jet asks for thirty million wulongs and Gordon agreeing to their demands. Meanwhile, Faye has managed to pick the lock of her handcuff and starts making her way around the ship, eating the boys' food and coming across Ein (the Welsh Corgi from the previous episode, now named here) before reaching her ship.

Outside the ships, the exchange commences with Spike donning a space suit and making his way to Gordon's ship, where one of his men likewise meets him outside the ship with a case full of wulongs. Both parties agree to swap on the count of three. However Gordon quietly orders the Bebop destroyed once they have the chip. The count is made, but Gordon's man pulls out a gun and tries to shoot Spike. However, Spike times it so the Bebop's rotating ring blocks the shot. He leaps toward the man, demagnetizes his suit and sends him flying into space, and catches the chip. However, Faye has managed to break out of the Bebop at that time and snatches the money case before flying off. Spike makes his way to the Bebop while Gordon orders his men to attack. They try shooting missiles at Faye, who send out decoys to keep them from hitting her - but one of the missiles is deflected and goes flying right into the cockpit of Gordon's ship, killing him and his crew.

Spike makes it safely back to the Bebop, but laments that Faye beat him and left him once again with nothing but a single (and now useless) poker chip. The boys return back to the casinos to spend the chip in hopes of getting lucky again. As they head in, Spike hears someone yell that the dealer's a cheater and sees a dot zoom off into the sky; at the sight, Spike just smirks.

Easy Come, Easy Go...

This episode has the following tropes:

  • A Twinkle in the Sky: Done twice and both involve Faye's ship.
  • Brick Joke: When Faye explains that a Gaojo is a person who doesn't know which way is up. Later when Spike has to make the deal he has to space walk while the Bebop and Gordon's ships are horizontal to each other. Which the camera has to flip from his point of view, indeed making it hard to tell up from down.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: When the payoff for the chip is brought out, it's in a large metal case. Which also has a hidden compartment for a handgun.
  • The Casino: The focus of this episode.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Spike first pretends to swallow a cigarette butt and cough it back up to disgust Jet, then does to same with the chip to stymie Faye. (It's an old magician's prank; he just hides the objects under his tongue, then palms them when nobody's looking.)
  • Contrived Coincidence: Spike running into his lookalike and winding up with the poker chip Gordon wanted.
  • Eat the Evidence: In a variation, Spike doesn't pretend to eat the chip to hide wrongdoing; he does it just to annoy Faye for cheating.
  • Foreshadowing
    "You shouldn't play here, your eyes are too sharp. They'll kick us out if you win too much."
  • MacGuffin: The poker chip.
  • Macross Missile Massacre
  • Misguided Missile: The bad guy ends up being introduced to one of his own weapons.
  • Mistaken for an Imposter: Amusingly, it's the other way around; Faye mistakes Spike for another man.
  • Oh, Crap!: Gordon, when Faye redirects one of his missiles. And it heads straight at him...
  • Reverse Polarity: When Faye manages to deflect one of Gordon's missiles.
  • Technology Marches On: This time, the plot hinges on those fuzzy reception signals, as this is how Faye mistakes Spike for her contact.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Gordon gradually grows less and less sleek as the episode progresses.

How well does it match the trope?

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