We have hit episode three of Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop and obviously, this is one of my favorites. No spoilers up here, of course! The crew of the Bebop has been struggling to make ends meet and in the last episode, Jet (Mustafa Shakir) followed a lead on a teddy bear bomber while Spike (John Cho) sought out a person from his past. In this episode, Dog Star Swing, Jet needs cash quickly to get his daughter a birthday present, so they track a potential bounty to a brothel. What could go wrong?

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!

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Dog Star Swing opens with Spike visiting a fish market. He is on the hunt for some food (per usual), but he has other plans. Ana (Tamara Tunie) has left a note for him and with a quick passcode, he learns that Vicious (Alex Hassell) knows he is alive. Spike pays the man to get some intel for him and then the opening credits roll. You aren’t skipping them. Right? Ein would be very disappointed in you if you were.

Back on the Bebop, a Walking Sally Doll commercial is taunting poor Jet. It’s the only gift his daughter wants and it happens to be sold out everywhere. Jet plans to move on to another place, but Spike needs to stay put. You know, all that secret stuff he is doing behind Jet’s back. So Spike convinces Jet to stay and take on a new bounty. Jet isn’t sold on the one Spike pulls up since the ISSP is all over it, but Spike goes all “stick it to the man” on us. Plus, he knows that Jet needs to get his daughter this doll and see her since it has been years. Sweet guy, if you forget that he has his reason for staying put.

Jet finally agrees and reaches out to Woodcock (Carmel McGlone), who certainly leaves an impression on us all. I mean, she refers to Jet as a “tall glass of creamy chocolate milk.” Try getting that out of my head. But she is more than just a few laughs. Woodcock has the raw footage of their bounty and she wants a date with Jet in return for handing it over. He agrees to think about it, which is enough for her to hand it over. Spike tries to pry some more information about their past, but Jet isn’t talking. Instead, they focus on the footage and we learn that Spike reads lips. Nifty talent in his line of work.

Turns out the guy isn’t just randomly attacking people. This is personal to him. Spike also realizes that the guy wants to be seen and then relishes the moment as Jet tells him that he is right. I mean, I would too. But what Spike doesn’t pick up on is that the guy wants to be seen because he most likely changed his face. Jet recognizes a scar on the guy’s wrist that most likely came from an outdated technology that changed looks.

We get a funny little moment where the guys talk about Doc Holiday coming up with a scrambler that Jet used to use when he worked for the ISSP. It would undo the guy’s change and he would need to head back to whatever brothel he got it done at. I laughed so hard over their conversation about Doc Holiday and am picturing the gunslinger in a doctor’s coat on a beach.

Jet and Spike split up and head out to Betty’s Boop and Betty’s Bottom to set up the ambush. Jet sets off the signal and we see the perp (Jay Paulson) at a game station as his face begins to glitch. He screeches out of there, heading back to Betty to get it fixed. Back at Betty’s, Jet learns that his black market guy has the doll he has been looking for. They just need to finish the job and get to the party.

John Cho as Spike Spiegel in Cowboy Bebop.

John Cho as Spike Spiegel in Cowboy Bebop. Image courtesy of Netflix.

We learn that Jet has been more forward about his past to Spike and that something happened that took Jet away for five years. Something Chalmers (Geoff Stults) set him up for. We don’t get much other than that. But there is something else we can take from this scene. Spike asks Jet if he ever thought about putting a bullet in the guy just as he glances down at Ana’s note. Like hinting that this is precisely what Spike is planning on doing to Vicious for what happened.

Jet’s Black Market Santa, the pimp of playthings, the man with the bag shows up to drop off the doll and Jet pays an excessive amount for it. Nothing ever changes about the value of a popular kid’s toy. Back at the Betty where Spike is, Hakin (the perp’s name) finally shows up complaining about the face changer. Spike wastes no time trying to bad Hakim, but he heads off running. On the roof, Hakim’s (now played by Franck Nelle) go head to head while Jet and the Sally doll go through literal hell trying to get there. He finally arrives and Hakim uses that moment to land a blow that sends Spike nearly over the edge.

Jet takes a few shots at Hakim while he tries to run away, but Jet decides instead of pursuing him, he will try and save Spike from going overboard. He even lets the now destroyed Sally doll fall off the building just to make sure he has a better grip on Spike. What a partner. As Spike lights a cigarette and relaxes, he glances over and spots the same company he asked the vendor about earlier.

Dog Star Swing shifts to Vicious, who is visiting the fish company, which is actually serving as a front for his Red-Eye drug ring. He tells his subordinates that they are closing it temporarily, most likely to appease The Elders, but he fully plans on going forward with it soon. Inside, Vicious kills all the workers (who were forced to be naked and have their eyes sewn shut) before heading out. He reminds the two to make sure they pick up Julia’s (Elena Satine) chocolates. This man is beyond crazy and I would expect nothing less of him.

We jump to Ana’s, where Julia has shown up to chat with Ana. When they retreat to Ana’s private office, she recognizes the Kudo and tries to bring it up, but Ana plays it off as just being nostalgic. Maybe this was Spike’s prior drink of choice? Ana notices the marks on Julia’s neck and we can tell that she isn’t a fan of Vicious (us too, girl, us too) and reminds Julia that this will only keep happening unless she leaves. And there is always a way out. She only has to want it. We then see a brief moment as Vicious leaves the fishing vendor, and we spot Spike’s man watching him.

At Betty’s, Spike and Jet try and piece together what is going on. Jet is pissed about the Sally doll and doesn’t want to show up empty-handed to see his daughter. He has been making some calls and is able to track down one but falls just 1,000 woolong short. Jet asks Spike to lend him some, but Spike is flat broke and Jet sets his sights on leaving this crumby town once again. But, Spike convinces him to stay and that they have a chance at catching Hakim. In fact, Spike believes that he must have a regular at the brothel and convinces Jet to get back to work.

Dog Star Swing jumps to Hakim (back in his disguise) as he is emptying his van of dogs. He spots that one crate in particular, which has a code in the front, has been opened and the contents missing. He doesn’t think much of it, but we know who was in that crate! We know! Hakim ties up the rest of the dogs to a chain and pulls the gun out. If he harms a single hair on any of their heads, I will pull him through the screen and beat him myself.

Ein in Cowboy Bebop.

Ein in Cowboy Bebop. Image courtesy of Netflix.

Back at Betty’s, Betty herself is ripping into Spike and Jet for the damage they caused. She won’t let them in the building but does agree to grab Greta (Natascha Diaz). While they are waiting, Spike spots the vendor’s truck which prompts him to ask Jet about Chalmers again. Would he shoot him? No, it would be too quick and painless. A metal fist to the face is more his style. But Jet isn’t bitter. We know Jet, we know.

Over at the cart, Spike learns that Vicious is in town. He simply tells the man that he needs a package and writes it on a notepad. They agree on a pickup place, but the guy wants to know if he is really willing to sacrifice his life for an eel. Like a real eel? Or is this code for something else? We have to know! Before Spike heads back over to Jet, he checks in to see what he can get for seven woolongs. A whole lot of nothing.

Inside Betty’s, Spike and Jet finally meet with Greta. She shares what she knows about Hakim – he is cheap and never pays extra. Which tends to annoy her since he is loaded and most likely takes a dump on a toilet made of gold. Spike and Jet find this hard to believe, but Greta tells them all about the hund (dog) he brought with him last time. After they leave, Jet realizes that Hakim wasn’t kidnapping their kids but their dogs. Greta also let on that Hakim has a job at the atmo farms. The perfect place to hide a bunch of barking dogs.

As they arrive at the only inactive atmo farm, they come into contact with Ein! That adorable little pup! Spike and Jet follow him to find Hakim now playing with all the dogs. Quite a drastic change from wanting to kill them. He even tells Spike and Jet he was going to but couldn’t. They didn’t do anything wrong. Hakim explains that he stole the dogs to get back at the people his parents used to work for. When the Earthgate collapsed, they put their dogs into escape pods instead of people, which cost his parents their lives.

Hakim decides that he is a terrible person and tries to unalive himself, but Spike and Jet talk him out of it. However, before they can get him in cuffs, the ISSP shows up and kill him. They claim he was hostile, but Spike knows they just didn’t want to pay out the bounty. Walrus ‘stache is going to be one of my favorite comebacks from here on out. For the first time in this episode, Spike is more upset than Jet over the fact that he won’t have a doll to give to his daughter for her birthday. But Jet has his eyes on something far better.

Dog Star Swing comes to a close as Jet gifts Kimmie (Molly Moriarty) something far better than a Walking Sally doll. He got her Ein! But of course, her mom can’t afford to keep the dog and Chalmers accuses him of getting it someone illegal. He is asked to leave and take the dog with him. But before he does, he tells Kimmie she can call whenever she wants to. While Jet is doing that, Spike sets up shop and waits for Vicious. He gives him a call and lets him know that he had wanted to put a bullet in his head. But, it appears that something (Jet) changed his mind. But Vicious isn’t about to back down and neither is Spike.

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Ein is here! Ein! The real star of Cowboy Bebop is everyone’s favorite corgi! Clearly, Jet and Spike don’t know what they have come across! I am sure over the next few episodes, we will get the chance to see more of Ein in action! I just need them to find Edward now so the iconic crew can get back together! On another note, can we talk about how amazing the music has been? I know I can’t be the only one who caught the opening of Ask DNA by The Seatbelts at the beginning of this episode. That song will always be on my playlists! Yoko Kanno has nailed each of these episodes out of the park!

Now, this episode featured a mix of comical (the entire brothel situation) and series (Vicious) tones throughout the balance is impeccable. You can tell they wanted to keep the lighthearted feel of the anime but still wanted to focus heavily on the severe tones it introduces. I feel like we will start seeing more and more of Spike’s past seeping into each episode until he can’t escape it anymore. And what will Julia do once she realizes he is still alive? Only time will tell! So let’s get ready and head over to episode four!

But first, we have got to know, are you going to have nightmares about that Walking Sally doll? Let us know in the comments below and on social media!

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Julia Roth
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