Season 1, Episode 8: Waltz for Venus

March 4, 2010

12:25 am, Thursday. Final episode, and although I’ll have this handed in on time, I have the strange feeling I won’t be waking up feeling fully rested tomorrow. This is the price I pay for my inability to manage time. Damn you, Los Campesinos! Damn you, physics that causes time to move forward and not be stopped as I please! As soon as this is over I’m going to take one last listen to Daft Punk’s Alive 2007 and go to bed, so that’s what I have to look forward to.

Wow, what a great starting scene. That was so good. I could go on for an entire paragraph just praising this, but I have to explain it. We’re inside the equivalent of an airplane, except this one is going from planet to planet. The plane arrives at Venus when 3 of the passengers take out guns and tell everyone to take their hands and put them behind their head. One of them shoots the TV screen, which looked like it had something similar to Tom and Jerry on it, and then the camera focuses on one guy holding on tightly to his bag and whispering “why today?” over and over again. Suddenly, one of the guys holding guns comes up to a passenger who isn’t listening, and guess who that would be, Spike! Spike’s asleep, and as the guy with the gun starts trying to wake up, Spike hits him, beats the hell out of him, then one of the other two people holding up the plane come to try and defeat Spike, and Spike beats them too. All very nonchalantly, he did the whole thing while stretching, yawning, and moving his pillow. On the other side of the seats, the last person has their gun aimed at Spike but suddenly, Faye takes her out with some kind of perfume.

It was beautiful, purely beautiful. This episode’s off to a great start and I’m looking forward to the rest.

Spike cashes in his reward for catching the thieves at the airport and splits half of it to Faye, but that’s not important. Apparently Spike has made a fan, the guy who had been holding on tightly to his bag earlier in the plane is now following Spike around begging for Spike to teach him how to fight like him. He even chases Spike down 5 floors when Spike enters an elevator, this guy’s way overdoing it. He tells Spike to show some “mercy and compassion”, but Spike’s reply is exactly what’s expected of anyone who’d been watching the show. “I’m fresh out of that stuff.”

However, the guy does get Spike to teach him a bit about fighting after giving him a tablet to reduce the effects of Venus’s helium upon Spike’s vocal chords. So I guess he’s become somewhat of Spikes apprentice, and his name is Roco Bonnaro. They go into a field where Spike completely explains his style of fighting, where it’s all about being fluid. He doesn’t tighten his fist when he fights, and he doesn’t even get angry. He tells his new trainee to come at him with a knife, at which point Spike easily moves out of the way and flips him over. He begins to explain “You’re tense, I’m calm. You apply excessive force, and I control that force through fluid motion. That means relaxing the whole body so it can apply instantly without resistance, you know without thought.” It’s like he’s half super-hippie and half kung fu master. After that happens, three men exit the Airport (they were training in a field right next to it) and begin chasing after Roco, who before running away, gave his bag to Spike and told him to meet him in two days by a cathedral.

Well, a slight twist in the story. Spike returns to the Bebop (apparently they were only on the public planes to catch criminals they knew would be there) and Jet decides while they’re in Venus, they should try and catch more criminals and gather more bounty. So they find a group of criminal (just a small gang), and one of the henchmen with a bounty on their head is Roco Bonnaro. The group apparently stole a plant that creates the cure to a disease known as Venus sickness that’s worth a lot of money. So what’s in the bag? One of those plants.

Our Spike decides that instead of waiting to see Roco, he’s going to go catch him now. He goes to some random part of Venus inside an old abandoned church-like building, and there he finds a woman. The woman points a gun at Spike, but is too weak to stand up, so she drops the gun and upon finding out that Spike is a friend of Roco’s, becomes friendly to him. While this is happening though, Roco himself has stopped at a public bathroom, and what happens in there? He’s caught by the people he was running away from earlier.

Well, the woman that Spike found happens to be Roco’s little sister, and she’s gone blind due to a spore that’s released by the plants on Venus. It’s a curable blindness, but it costs money that they don’t have. They have a conversation about the kind of people that Roco deals with, and she tells Spike that she can feel that he’s not one of those people. According to her, both Roco have Spike have something beautiful inside them, to which Spike replies with “I’m afraid I’ve lost it a long time ago.” So maybe this episode might open up more of Spike’s past, something that I desperately hope will happen. In any case, she shows him something Roco bought for her and it’s a small musical box, but hidden on the box is a small bag containing something. It’s not obvious or really visible what it is, but Spike decides to take it.

Faye decides to go out and find the other people involved in this little crime syndicate, and enters a bar where she ends up shooting a lot of people and scaring someone into telling her information about them. Maybe she isn’t the whiny money-hungry woman I’ve been thinking she was since the first episode, perhaps she actually has more to her. I hope so, because that original character was very annoying. Either way, Spike returns to the Bebop and asks Jet what the price of seeds for “Grey ash plants” is, and that’s probably what was in the little bag Spike found.

Roco is being violently interrogated for the location of the plants by his gang, as we get some insight into Faye’s method of bounty hunting. Her method is pretty simple, scare people to death and then just f-ing force them to give out information while you point a gun to their face. Shoot some people unrelated to who you’re after so they know you’re serious. I like her method, it’s aggressive and upfront. Spike’s is cool-minded, cunning, and sneaky. Occasionally he’ll get in someone’s face about it, but he tries to do it in good taste.

Spike goes to the cathedral that Roco talked about, and after giving Roco back his plant, he finds it was a trap. However, the trap was set by the gang and not by Roco, so he’s still a “good guy.” Spike ends up starting a gunfight; meanwhile Faye arrives at the Cathedral and begins firing at everything. Soon after, Jet arrives too and they begin taking in fugitives. While the gunfight is happening though, Roco is in the middle of the cathedral and as a man runs towards Roco, he remembers the little training he was taught and is able to flip the guy over with ease. However, immediately upon that guy hitting the ground- Roco gets shot in the chest. Now that, was a good twist, and even better is that it was done so well. Roco is still alive on the ground, but barely talking. The last words we hear from Roco before the scene closes is after Spike has left to get a doctor for Roco is “If I had met you earlier in my life, I wonder, would we have been friends?”

We find out that some time has passed, and now Spike is visitng Roco’s younger sister at the hospital, named Stella. Stella is going to get her eye treatment, and she tells Spike that the first thing she wants to see is Roco’s face. However, Spike remains silent. Stella asks if Roco’s alright, but Spike still remains silent. Stella reaches over to Spike’s face and feeling the stern look on it, she can tell that Roco is dead. It’s a sad ending to Roco’s story, but it’s fitting. Spike begins to leave when she asks Spike what was Roco like, and he responds “exactly the person you thought he was.” Spike leaves the hospital and while he’s outside, he sees the same snow-like spore falling from the sky that had originally made Stella blind, and it all makes for quite a sad scene, and a sad ending in general.

This episode receives a 4/5. It was definitely a good episode, with a great introduction and an amazing climax, with great falling action as well but what it highly lacked was good rising action. The rising action was slow, and unexciting. It didn’t make me look forward to anything, and it didn’t add to the overall story of the characters. While there was a chance in the rising action to at least give a little more insight into the past of Spike, they didn’t take the opportunity. The ending though really brought everything together, if it wasn’t for the falling action after the climax of Roco getting shot, I would’ve given this a 3. The ending that was given to this episode actually brought a bit of emotion to me, I actually felt sympathy and a bit of joy when Spike said to Stella that Roco was exactly who she had always thought he was, a great person. I had planned to post another link at the end of the video, but I felt that putting it at the end of this episode would be inappropriate. The ending was just that good.

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