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Recap / Cowboy Bebop Session 5 "Ballad of Fallen Angels"

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The episode begins in a city on Mars. Two syndicate bosses are signing a paper to signify their alliance, marking it in blood imprints of their thumbs to make it official. Everything seems to go smoothly and the two part on friendly terms. However as the one leaving is heading out on his ship it suddenly blows up. The other boss, watching this, is suddenly ambushed by men in trenchcoats and held at swordpoint. He tries to tell the leader of this outfit, a man of silver hair, that times have changed and the syndicates can't continue with their warfare. However the leader silts his throat in response. The boss's final words are that if Spike was there he would never have let the leader do this. The leader just cracks a smile upon hearing that.

On the Bebop, Spike and Jet have gotten a new bounty but seem to be in disagreement over it. The bounty is the mob boss from earlier, Spike is all for going after him but Jet has a bad feeling about the whole thing. He asks Spike what he's trying to hide from him but Spike dodges the question and counters with one of his own about Jet's prosthetic arm, leaving the two at a standstill. Faye gets back from shopping and breaks up the tension a little before Spike heads off on his own. Jet tells him he won't back him up but this doesn't deter Spike who takes off in the Swordfish. Faye reads the bounty, identifying the man as Mao Yenrai. Jet cuts the monitor before she can know more and huffs off. No sooner then he leaves, a contact of Jet's calls with "something big". Faye, being the greedy little vixen, takes the info for herself.


Later at an opera house, Faye arrives claiming to be a guest of Mao Yenrai to the usher before leaving her ship's keys to him. Back on the Bebop, Jet investigates more into Mao and finds an encrypted file, he breaks through and realizes there's more to the bounty then let on. At the opera, the show is just beginning as Faye makes her way to Mao's box. However the guards there were expecting her and hold her at gunpoint. We then go a convenience store, two boys are leering at porno magazines and try to tuck them under their shirts. But the owner, a middle aged woman, notices this and orders them to put them back. The boys run with one tripping and being caught while the other runs into a man who happens to be Spike. He also swiped the magazine the boy was carrying. The boy is caught by the woman who threatens to turn both of them to the police until she notices Spike. Shocked, she releases her grip on the boys who run off. Spike and the woman, named Annie, head back to her shop where she promptly starts drinking to ease her nerves. The two apparently have history together and she's not keen on seeing him now alive after being supposedly dead for three years, especially when he calls her by her full name, Anastasia, citing only two people can call her that (the photo on her counter showing Mao and another man, her husband). Regardless Annie knows why Spike has come to visit her and tells him what happened to Mao.


Back with Faye, she's forced into the box seat, the guards revealing they found out about her through her ship's keys. Having no choice, she takes her seat and finds the seat occupied next to her being Mao, or rather his corpse much to her horror. A voice notices she's trembling and she finds it belongs to the silver haired man from before. She demands his name and he answers; Vicious. Back at the store, Annie gives Spike some ammunition but tries to persuade him not to go fight Vicious though knows he won't listen. She then somberly tell Spike that Mao had people looking for him having a feeling that Spike was still alive somewhere. But now that he's come back, Mao will never be able to confirm it. She goes to take one last drink for Mao but Spike takes it, claiming if its for Mao he'll drink it himself. Spike returns to the Bebop to stock up on further ammunition before he's confronted by Jet. Jet tells him that the bounty is fake and most likely a trap but Spike has long since figured that out. Jet asks if its about Mao and Spike comes clean that its a debt to him. Jet tries one last time to dissuade him by revealing he lost his arm "for being too gung-ho" in the past. But Spike doesn't budge, stating he doesn't want to do this but his past is catching up to him so he has no choice.

The two get a call from Faye who's tied up. She tries to tell them her location but Jet nearly cuts her off, telling her to deal with it herself. Spike stops him however, knowing Vicious is setting a trap for him and wants the location. Said destination being a rundown cathedral on the edge of town. Spike arrives, donned in a trenchcoat and heads in, soon meeting up with Vicious. The two trade words (where we learn that either Spike or Mao Yenrai mentored Vicious) before one of Vicious's goon shows up holding Faye hostage. He tries to get Spike to drop his gun. But Spike keeps his aim and manages to kill the goon without hitting Faye. A firefight breaks out between Spike and Vicious's men while Faye makes her escape amidst the hail of gunfire. Spike makes his way to the top floor of the cathedral where Vicious is, but en route is hit in the arm and wounded. Back on the Bebop, Jet is trimming his bonsai trees but can't concentrate. He gets a call from Faye begging for help but cuts her off not wanting to have anything to do with the situation. However his conscience gets the better of him and he heads off. Back at the church, Spike finishes off the last of Vicious' goons before having to fight the man himself who attacks him with a katana.

Spike manages to hold his own before both end up pointing their respective weapons at each other point blank. At a stalemate, Vicious cites the two aren't so different as the blood of "a "beast who wanders, hunting for the blood of others" runs through both of them. Spike disagrees: "I've bled all that kind of blood away," to which Vicious' furiously responds "THEN WHY ARE YOU STILL ALIVE?!" Both men wound each other at that moment. Vicious recovers first and grabs Spike by the face before throwing him out the cathedral's window. However Spike manages to drop a grenade which Vicious notices at the last second. As Spike falls and the cathedral explodes, he sees visions of his past life, among the most prominent being a blonde haired woman who had nursed him back to health after he collapsed in front of her shop after a dangerous assignment. As he was recovering, he awakened to her humming and asks her to keep going before passing out.

Spike awakens in the present day, back on the Bebop and his wounds bandaged, this time to find Faye humming. She mentions he's been out for three days. He motions Faye to come closer before telling her she sings off key. Faye takes offense to that and hits him with a pillow before storming off.

See You Space Cowboy

This episode has the following tropes:

  • Badass Longcoat: Spike wears one for the confrontation at the church.
  • Ballad of X
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: We've never really seen a No Kill rule from Spike, except insofar as it's been required by his profession. However, his Let's Get Dangerous! moment here involves him going in heavily armed and eager to kill.
  • Bloodstained Glass Windows: In true John Woo fashion, Spike and Vicious's first clash in years takes place in a church.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Spike pulls one off that sets the firefight in motion.
  • Bowdlerize: Very "blink-and-you-miss-it," but the porno mag the kids steal from the store was altered. In the original version, the model was topless, but in the [adult swim] version, she had on a bra.
  • Brick Joke: The Ace card
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Coming off the comedy-centric last episode, this was quite the dark and dramatic turnaround.
  • Destination Defenestration: Through a stained glass window, no less!
  • Eye Take/ Oh, Crap!:
    Vicious: You're trembling.
    Faye: Who... are you?
    Vicious: ... ... Vicious.
    Faye: o_o ... O_O;
  • Face Palm Of Doom/Neck Lift: You just had to piss off the psychopathic Blood Knight, didn't you Spike?
  • Guns Akimbo: Spike blasts off with two guns at one point during the big church shootout.
  • Guns vs. Swords: Spike vs. Vicious
  • Heroic Bloodshed: This is the very first of the blood-opera inspired episodes of the series.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Vicious's introduction is the kick-start to Spike's Arc and the overarching story to Bebop. Unlike the previous bounties, Vicious is far more cold-blooded and can incite fear just by saying his name.
  • Oh, Crap!: Vicious gets this look when he realises that Spike left a grenade with him after being thrown out of the cathedral.
    • Faye sports a pair of Oh, Crap! eyes as well just by having Vicious say his name.
  • Mob War: Subverted as the Syndicates are trying for peace but Vicious, being both a warmonger and Social Darwinist, prevents it from happening and frames Mao for this to set his bounty and lure Spike out.
  • Mexican Standoff: One of the series' classic images, Spike with his gun and Vicious with his sword.
  • Not So Different: Vicious cites Spike and him as this during their tense standoff.
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: A Red Dragon mook tries this with Spike with Faye as his hostage. It doesn't end well for the mook.
  • Slow-Motion Fall: The famous and very beautiful one of the series as Spike falls from the cathedral.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: A rather beautiful female vocal piece plays as Spike is falling.
  • Wham Episode: This is the first episode where the Red Dragon comes into play, and we learn through the episode that Spike was once a member of the syndicate. It's also the very first glimpse we get of Julia, the woman Spike loves most in the world.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never see Vicious escape the church. While he appears in later episodes, it's unknown if he got out unscathed or not.


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