We are officially in the second half of Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop. We’ve got the crew together and things are really underway. In the previous episode, we dived into Jet’s (Mustafa Shakir) past. But, we still have Spike (John Cho) and Faye’s (Daniella Pineda) to deal with. In episode six, Binary Two-Step, the Bebop needs repairs, so Jet sends Spike to chase down a tip on a bounty to cover the costs while Faye is left to babysit the mechanic. Grab your noodles and let’s dive into this adventure!
DISCLAIMER: This is a recap and, by definition, will contain spoilers for Cowboy Bebop. If you haven’t watched it yet – stop. Go watch it first and then come back. You can thank me later!
Binary Two-Step opens with a mechanic named Mel (Jade Harlow) poking around within the Bebop. Something is wrong and this time, it seems the repairs are above Jet’s abilities. While Mel is going on about all the ways Jet has managed to mess up the Bebop (please never let her under the hood of my car), he gets a message from … drum roll please … Radical Ed! For those who have not watched the anime – this is Ed’s hacker name. Now, it could be an easter egg, OR we could be seeing them very soon.
The message is a tip on a job, but Jet has other priorities. Like not falling for the trick that the mechanic needs to do all these repairs. Nice to know they still think that even in the future. He tells her to just prep everything and he will handle the rest. In Spike’s room, he is struggling to get his drawer out when he rips it off. Seems like the Bebop could use a lot of repairs. In the mess, he finds a picture of him and Julia (Elena Satine) and we see a few brief flashbacks of the two. He decides to throw the picture away instead of saving it.
Jet arrives and gets Spike up to date on the Bebop repairs info. Since they will be grounded for a while and the repairs are going to take a bit of woolong, Jet wants Spike to track down this lead from Radical Ed. The bounty is for Cy-Baba, the “Let Go” Guru. He is responsible for killing over 3,000 people and is now going by Dr. Londes. Spike isn’t down for this goose chase and even calls it the Bigfoot of bounties. But news to us, we eventually find Bigfoot and Jet thinks that Spike just may have the same luck.
Elsewhere on the Bebop, Faye is putting together her new railgun when Jet pops in. He needs to head out to pick up the part they need to fix the ship and he needs her to babysit the mechanic. Seems easy enough. Before he dips off, he reminds her that the railgun is a scam, which Spike confirms in the next moment. But Faye doesn’t want to hear it. This is her new baby. And cue the opening theme. If you skip Tank! Faye will shoot a paperclip through your foot with a railgun. Think wisely about hitting that “skip intro” button.
Binary Two-Step picks back up as Faye heads down to check in on Mel. Of course, she thinks the railgun is a total scam also, but that doesn’t stop her from hitting on Faye for a bit. I think Faye might have a little more trouble with this babysitting job than she initially thought. Elsewhere in town, Spike arrives at Londes Center and finds a digital receptionist who guides him through the building. Spike listens to how Londes believes people need to let go and that by holding onto their past, they can’t be present. He is finally guided into a room where he takes part in a rather weird orientation.
Not wanting to deal with the 90-minute journey this thing is sending him on, Spike gets up and tries to track down Londes. He kicks open the door that leads to the back of the building, but something isn’t right. This world seems different and we finally figure out just how different when we see Julia, dressed like she was in his flashbacks. But, she is talking like this is the present. Julia tells him that Ana (Tamara Tunie) told her where to find him and that she is here to warn him that Vicious (Alex Hassell) has an army coming after him. Spike tries to get her to go with him, but she won’t.
Julia tells him that he needs to let it go, but he can’t. Before he can say anything else, Vicious shoots her through the head. A shootout between the two occur and before we know it, Spike wakes up in the chair in the Londes Center. He heads out the backdoor and we can see the same events happening over and over again. Inside the building, and what we assume to be the real world, we see monitors and cameras watching over his vitals and brain waves as he plays through the scenario again. Weird stuff is happening here, folks.
Binary Two-Step jumps to Jet, who is trying to find the get ahold of Spike. However, he is lost within Londes’ weird world. It looks like they found the piece they are looking for and just needs the money. Back at Londes, the machine is running a brain scan of Spike. The scenario with Julia runs a bit different as Spike realizes that he has seen this already. Spike convinces her to leave and go for a chat so she can convince him they can’t be together. As the two ride off, we see Jet arrive at the Londes Center and Spike’s bike still out front.
I have a theory about this machine. It is built on the idea of forcing someone to let go of something from their past. The vision of Julia they are showing is the last memory that Spike had of her. It uses his memory to know that Ana would be the one to tell Julia he is alive. But the reason she keeps telling him to let her go is because that is what the machine wants him to do. Let go of his past. Let’s just hope that Jet can break him out of that thing before it’s too late.
When Jet heads inside he finds all the TVs smashed and Spike hooked up to the machine. But Spike and Jet aren’t alone. Another man (Mark Mitchinson) shows up claiming to have been sent by Radical Ed instead. It turns out that this guy created Cy-Baba, who was an AI that went crazy and killed a bunch of their test subjects. He tells Jet if they try and pull Spike out now, the googles will fry his brain. He needs to rewire the system to get him out of it. Let’s just hope this guy isn’t lying about it.
Back at the Bebop, Mel and Faye have gotten relatively close and Faye shares a bit of the past two years with her. Ever since she woke up from her cryo nap, she has had total amnesia. But it isn’t just the little memories that Faye is missing. She talks about how she doesn’t remember what touching a hot kettle is like or skinning her knee. Things that we take for granted. The whole experience has made the last two years extremely hard on her as she tried to find people she could trust and uncover who she really is. It makes a lot of sense as to why she has never worked with a crew before now. But we have to agree with Mel; we think that Faye has a really good soul.
Binary Two-Step takes us back to Spike in the virtual world. He hides out in a hotel room with Julia and still tries to convince her to run away with him. We get brief hints at their past, like how she was supposed to meet him that night, which I assume is the night he was “killed.” He keeps promising her that he will never let her go, which we learn through Jet’s eyes is a good thing. If he does let go of his emotional tether, it’s game over for Spike. But the system is intelligent than that. They need to shut down the power to the mainframe, which is on Earth.
While Jet heads off to figure out how to turn off the power, Spike is thrown through the loop again. The way the visual effects team can show the difference through each of these loops is fantastic. We see the blurred colors of everything except for precisely what Spike is focused on and it gives the appearance of a computer system pushing its limits. Again, chef’s kiss to this team. Seriously.
Back at the Bebop, Jet finds Mel and Faye. He drops the new piece down to them and lets Faye know that Spike is in serious trouble. Of course, Jet bought the wrong part, but he is sure Mel can make it work. In Spike’s virtual reality, we see him going face to face again with Vicious and his men as they try to make their way to the Bebop. The scenes flip back and forth between Spike and Julia in the virtual reality world and Jet, Faye and Mel in the real world. Mel and Faye are able to get everything up and running in time for him to make the jump to Earth.
In the virtual world, Cy-Baba makes Julia say some rather mean things like how when she was talking about being scared, she meant by trying to stay with Spike and that he is the psychopath, not Vicious. It seems like it is willing to do and say anything to make Spike let go of his past. Which we know is the only way it can consume him. He isn’t the only one struggling. The coil that Mel fixed breaks again. Jet just needs them to hold it together long enough to get to the ground.
We flashback to the virtual world where Julia goes for the low blow. She tells Spike that she didn’t mean him that night because she knows what he did at the Blue Crow. He killed some people and a girl as well. Spike denies it, but from the look on his face, something tells me that Julia might be right. This doesn’t bode well for Spike’s actual body as it seems he is slowly starting to let go of his past.
Jet manages to land the Bebop just in time to cut the power source. However, there is bulletproof glass that they can’t get through. That is until Faye uses the railgun to breakthrough. See, it isn’t a scam! However, we don’t know for sure if she was able to cut the power in time. We see in the virtual world that Spike has finally had enough and agrees to let go of Julia and their past. We don’t have to wait long to find out if he is alive, though! Everyone is excited. However, I can only imagine the emotional impact this is going to have on Spike.
Binary Two-Step picks back up on the Bebop, where Spike suffers a bit of a hangover from the experience. Jet fills him with what really happened and admits that this one wasn’t the best choice. He just can’t wait to get his hands on Radical Ed and show them exactly how he feels about the situation. On the other hand, Spike is ready to head back to sleep for a while and as he heads to bed, Jet tries to ask him what he saw. But Spike tells him he doesn’t remember.
Down below, Faye and Mel say their goodbyes. Faye hands over the railgun and Mel promises she can have it back whenever she wants. She just needs to work on figuring out who she is first. The episode comes to a close as Spike relives the last few moments of the virtual reality where he tells Julia that he will go, but not without her. Just before the end credits roll, Spike pulls the picture out of the trash and promises never to let her go.
What an episode. Seriously. Just when I think Netflix and Tomorrow Studios have shown all they can do, they top it. While this episode lacks the heavy fighting we expect to see, the way it handles Spike’s complicated relationship with Julia and how he feels about everything that has transpired is astounding. We know Spike is trying to live in the present but still holds onto the past and this episode proves that he isn’t ready to walk away from it completely. Which is why he will eventually need to deal with everything that has been going on. But when and how that will happen is still up in the air.
We also get the chance to peek into Faye and how she is doing emotionally. Up until this point, she has been rather comical when thinking about her past. But for the first time, we see that emotional toll it is taking on her. It will be interesting to see how she deals with Mel leaving at the end and if we will see her again. I hope we get another episode to dive into Faye’s past sometime soon. And finally, I think the moment we have all been waiting for. We have our first spotting of Radical Ed! Netflix was very quiet about whether or not we would see the eccentric hacker and I am hoping that this isn’t just an easter egg for fans. I guess the only way to find out is to keep going!
But first, what were your theories about Radical Ed? Let us know in the comments below and on social media!