Season 1, Episode 23: Brain Scratch
April 12, 2010
Its 3 AM. I’ve got caught the common cold. Can’t sleep. Bebop only has 4 episodes left. Must watch.
The first half is quite the trippy experience. We watch for 6-7 minutes as a TV flips channels and all we see is information about a cult-like group called Scratch, which is trying to turn the brainwaves of humans into digital codes. The leader is being hunted down by bounty hunters and that’s where our plot comes in. We receive a slight twist though, when suddenly the TV flips to a channel showing a group of members from Scratch on a daytime talk show and the person talking on behalf of the group is Faye. Spike and Jet see this and realize they’ll have to go after the cult not only to rescue Faye, but also because of the huge reward on the leaders head, however all of the remaining bebop crew’s work turns up with nothing, until Faye suddenly messages the bebop. We find that she does not actually believe the cult, and she was just there to infiltrate it, but something went wrong and now she’s tripping out with the rest of the cult members. We also find out that the bounty hunter show that Spike has been generally watching since the beginning of the series is being cancelled. I figure this might have some strange importance so, I’d point it out.
This episode surprised me; it turned out better than I expected for a few reasons, but first I’ll finish the story. Jet and Ed find that the device being used for the brain wave to digital data is a game controller that is pretty much the equivalent of virtual reality, and after watching Jet fail to control himself while using it, they give it to Ein who is able to not only control himself but also hack it. After he hacks it, they find that there is no cult leader, he doesn’t actually exist and instead the signal is coming from a hospice. They go to the hospice and find that the signal is coming from a 13 year old boy who became a vegetable after getting into an accident, he was a master hacker before he had become on and that’s the reasoning behind why he was able to create his alter-ego that the entire universe was after. Meanwhile, Spike finds the place where Faye tripped out and fell asleep and turns out that the place is full of televisions. Fitting quite perfectly into the Mass Media class I seem to be enrolled with, the vegetable boy begins to talk to Spike through the mass of televisions and it turns out that he is doing this because he wants to give people an escape from the real world, and explains that the best and worst creation in all of human history is the television, because it is a replacement for god. To quote him “its word is holy and unquestioned” and it’s generally the root of all evil, so he chose to abuse it. As he’s explaining this, Spike begins to go under the same sleepy effect that Faye had gone under, but he is saved as Ed disconnects the vegetable boy from his brainwave transmitter, without killing him.
So here’s what I have to say about the episode and I’ll start with the biggest and most important thing related to the actual bebop story, and that is Ein hacking into the data of the game and into the cult’s data. Back in the second episode where Ein was first introduced we found out that he was stolen from a science lab and was declared a data dog, and finally 21 episodes later, we actually get to find out what that means. However, the major and more important event in this episode is the message that the “cult leader” gives out, that TV is the new god, and just as god was manmade the TV was no different. This episode was also entirely different from all the other episodes in the show, it was made to be more trippy and psychedelic like (obviously to fit the cult theme) and the way that it was done worked really well for the show, the constant changing of TV gave off both a sense of confusion and one of perfect linear development and it’s strange how it ended up working out. The ending was a surprise and had a subtle twist that was well deserved for this episode and in the end; I can say that it was more an episode I enjoyed. Much more so than the last two especially. 4/5.