Season 1, Episode 14: Bohemian Rhapsody

March 20, 2010

11:00 pm on a Saturday and I’m going to watch Cowboy Bebop. I’m a loser. OH WELL.

Well this episode started off awesomely. Faye, Jet, and Spike all go into some city, and all catch different crooks, Spike beats some business man up, Faye poisons some crook, and Jet uses a net to catch a gang of kids. Turns out though, all the criminals they caught were small-time and had no bounty on them. However, upon returning to the bebop completely demoralized, Ed asks them if they picked up any clues. All three of them take a King chess piece out.

The bebop crew is watching TV, and the galaxy-wide bounty hunter show is on. According to the show the groups of people caught by the bebop were just pawns in a bigger scam, and that only catching the mastermind will give bounty, at which point, Spike quickly kicks the TV and breaks it. I missed Spike’s cool factor. I swear I’m gaining a man-crush on this handsome devil… I mean just devil.

Jet is trying to figure out how they can catch the mastermind, when Faye tells him that one of the criminals she caught said he was just following orders from a mail-order manual and hands over a flyer for the manual. Unfortunately, the site that sold the manual disappeared and had no physical address. Spike interjects by saying that the person who was running the scam had to be at one point involved with the gate system company, being that the process the scammers were using was so complicated that only someone with inside information would know it. All of this is comically interrupted by Ed, who gets herself electrocuted while trying to rewire something. Faye looks over at Ed (and this had me laughing for some damn reason that I can’t recall) and asks “You dead?”

The crew begins to examine their individual chess pieces after Ed suddenly gets back and begins working again. She gets Jet to give her one of the pieces, and finds that each one is a data chip that allows you to connect to the internet and play Chess against an opponent, according to Ed though it has nothing at all to do with the case at the astral gates. However, after Ed begins playing- we see a different scene where some old man is sitting in the dark, and he has a virtual chess board in front of him as well. Well, I don’t want to sound overly confident or count my chickens early (I totally just used that phrase) but I’m pretty sure this guy is our villain. This episode’s doing a great job so far, entirely interesting, soundtrack’s doing well. So far it’s holding up for a 5/5.

Jet goes to the CEO of the gate company, and upon entering, he lights a cigarette and immediately throws it into the nearby plant. He questions the CEO about the case, saying that he’s under the suspicion there is no mastermind and that someone in the company is doing the scamming themselves and the mastermind is a cover-up. He gets no response though. However, he leaves the chess piece behind. The cigarette of course had a hidden microphone inside and Jet finds out through it that someone that the CEO refers to as “Chess Master Hex” is responsible, and that he has just recently returned after 50 years of being absolutely gone. While this is all occurring, Ed is still playing against his virtual opponent, whom I still suspect to be our villain.

I totally called it; the old chess guy our villain. He’s Chess Master Hex, and he was dubbed a genius in his teens and went to work for major science corporations that would later develop the astral gates that the entire universe uses. However, he was fired and after being fired he had completely disappeared. This episode is great. I love this episode. So far this episode is contending with Ballad of Fallen Angels as my favorite episode. Everything is so perfect thus far, the soundtrack is smooth and fitting, each scene minimal and to the point, the plot is simple and interesting, and most of all- Ed is fun to watch. Again, she just does random yelling and randomly says stupid things, even plays chess with her feet.

Using the chess game that Ed was playing, they track Hex to a planet made of scrap metal where there is no laws, no police, no taxes, nothing, only drifters and homeless people living there, as well as criminals. The crew goes towards the planet with Spike leading the group. Jet tells Spike to be careful and he replies in a cool, calm tone: “Whatever happens, happens.” As the crew enters the planet of scrap, Jet finds that he is being followed by another bounty hunter who apparently has a score to settle with the man they’re after. Inside the planet though, Faye and Spike are looking for Hex and having trouble finding anything. However, the scene in the following picture kind of made me laugh.

Spike and Faye are finding nothing but floating animals and floating bums around the floating scrap planet. We’re cut randomly to scenes of Ed and Hex playing chess against each other, both of them laughing and having way more fun than I’ve ever seen anyone playing chess have, and I have a problem with that. These two people are seriously enjoying this chess game too much, their laughing and guffawing and it almost seems like they are acting like two 13 year old girls talking about the new twilight movie.

Spike and Faye do however find Hex, but at the same time the bounty hunter that had followed him finds him too. They all point their guns at him, and his only response is “Hey could you kids be a little quieter, I’m trying to play a game here.” Unfortunately though, the old man has gone completely senile. As the bounty hunter begins yelling for him to give back his money, the old man asks him what’s the purpose of the long pipe the hunter is carrying, while being completely oblivious that there is a grenade launcher pointing at his head. After realizing that Hex is out of his mind and can no longer help anyone do anything, the bounty hunter starts randomly shooting his grenades before Spike punches him and stops him from blowing everyone up.

Time quickly skips forward, and Jet is back at the CEO’s office, telling them what happened. Hex had originally planned for his scam to expose the defects built into the astral gate. However, he had planned for it to begin 50 years after his firing. In 50 years though, he aged and became senile and forgot all about it- but the scam still went forward. However, in return for not telling the press about the defects in the astral gate, Jet asks for a bribe. The bribe is to leave Hex alone and call off the bounties, and the reason he gives is a very sweet one, “We wouldn’t want Ed to lose her favorite chess partner.” In the next scene, we see Ed playing chess, as Faye passes by and sarcastically asks “you’re playing AGAIN?” to which Ed replies, “Not again, still playing.” A week’s time has passed since the start of this game, and they are still playing the same one they were playing when Ed first used the chess piece. Hex defeats Ed however, and afterwards leans back, and calmly dies. A fitting end to this episode.

This episode get’s the 5/5 it deserves. Even with action lacking, this episode had a story was that fun to watch unfold and was humorous at the same time. It was just a fun episode and it even had some strange adorable factor about it, as it was focused around a game of chess between a young girl and an old man. This episode was had a completely linear story, and a very simple one that was blunt and entertaining, and the fact is if I’m entirely entertained then regardless of the complexity or what it’s lacking, it served the purpose it was meant to accomplish and that was to entertain the viewer, and this episode did just that and did it well.

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