I won’t lie; I am still in shock after Cowboy Bebop‘s first episode. There is so much to be excited about! From John Cho‘s portrayal of Spike Spiegel to how well Netflix has been able to bring this iconic anime to life. They jam-packed the first episode with action, easter eggs and hints to our bounty hunter’s backstories. In episode two, Venus Pop, Spike struggles with his past as it comes back to haunt him while Jet (Mustafa Shakir) is focused on chasing down a one-handed Venusian bomber. Let’s dive in!

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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Venus Pop opens with a special message from Big Shot! They get us up to date on the one-handed bomber terrorizing Venus. Such a great throwback to the anime. Of course, Jet and Spike are already canvassing the area by attending a wedding and waiting to see if the guy shows up. Spike dips off to use the bathroom and leaves Jet alone in the crowd. The interactions between Spike and Jet are top-notch. Thanks, mom! While Jet tries to get Spike to speed his pit stop up, he tempts him with a noodle bar.

But someone else has plans for Spike. An assassin shows up and tries to take Spike out. Cue an epic bathroom fight scene. Out in the church, Jet is trying to get ahold of Spike, who turned off his communicator, when he spots someone suspicious (Rodney Cook). Jet confronts the man and spots the bomb but only ends up with a fake hand. Spike manages to overpower the assassin and when he doesn’t open up about who sent him, Spike silences him forever. While this is happening, Jet sets out after the one-handed bomber only to get knocked out.

Cue Tank! by The Seatbelts. Never skip this opening. Ever.

Back on the Bebop, Jet lays into Spike about leaving him behind and how he could have lost his life. We all know just how dramatic Jet can be. But, he was able to grab the guy’s hand and despite Spike’s jokes about always needing an extra one, Jet has actual plans for it. They might be able to find trace amounts of explosives used and possibly narrow down where he got his from. Jet tries to get Spike to go through the bomber’s manifesto, but he decides that now is a better time for noodles and heads out. We’ve got to agree. Noodles first, then work. As Spike heads off, he turns off the tracker in the Swordfish II. Guess the noodle place he is heading is his little secret.

Venus Pop jumps to a bar called Ana’s where an older couple turns over their guns and are ushered in by Gren (Mason Alexander Park). The snazzy jazz club seems to be a place where everyone can attend and not worry about outside troubles. While Gren makes their exit, Ana (Tamara Tunie) heads out into her club. She is a hardass who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty to break up a fight. When she heads back into her office, she realizes she isn’t alone. Spike has stopped by to visit her. Clearly, she is surprised and angry that she learns that he is alive after three years and demands he start talking.

Back on the Bebop, Jet goes through the bomber’s manifesto while also taking care of his bonsai tree. It’s great to see that this little piece of him made it into the series! While he is sifting through the information, he seems to be just as lost as the rest of us when it comes to what this guy is really after.

Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black in Cowboy Bebop.

Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black in Cowboy Bebop. Image courtesy of Netflix.

We jump back to Ana’s, where Spike fills her in on what has been going on. He tells her all about how he got caught up with the Syndicate during his last bounty job and that he thought he cleaned up after himself. But the assassin proves otherwise. Ana wants to know why Spike needs her help after all this time. And well, it turns out that Ana isn’t just the owner of a jazz club. She has cameras set up everywhere and it looks like she might deal with selling and trading other’s secrets.

Jet is hard at work on the Bebop, trying to uncover the bomber’s intentions when he finally starts to piece some of the things from the manifesto together. Jet realizes that this guy really just likes to watch the world burn. But, when he tries to get ahold of Spike, he realizes that Spike is dodging him. At Ana’s, Spike ignores Jet’s call and tells Ana he has to head out. This prompts the conversation about if Jet knows about Spike’s past. Of course not. What ex-cop would be okay partnering with a former member of the Syndicate?

On Spike’s way out, he spots a photo of Julia (Elena Satine) and asks if she is happy. Ana fills him in on how she married Vicious (Alex Hassell) and is happy. Though, she doesn’t sound too convincing to us. Spike, however, seems to struggle for a moment over the two of them together. Just as Spike heads out the door, Ana promises to let him know if she hears anything and Spike reminds her that Fearless is dead.

Venus Pop jumps to the Syndicate tower where The Elders have come virtually calling on Viscious and Julia. They have finally caught wind that he was trying to sell Red-Eye underneath their noses. Vicious claims he was just trying to expand their business and make more profit, but they don’t keep him around for that. He is meant to follow orders and nothing else. They also don’t accept his apology and demand that he kill Julia as repentance. Vicious tries to get them to take something else, but they remind him that the Syndicate comes before anything else. In the end, Vicious aims the gun at Julia and pulls the trigger. But it’s empty. The Elders warn him not to make them question his loyalty before the meeting comes to a close.

On Venus, Spike and Jet head out to investigate a few job sites that have their explosives. The two bicker like an old married couple and we are here for it. Of yes, we agree with Spike. We get prickly when we haven’t gotten our noodles either. Their moment is broken up when the boss of the job site starts questioning why they are there. Inside, the two go back to bickering. Clearly, Jet feels some type of way about Spike just dipping off for six hours. Kind of like how we would get mad about that one student who never contributed to the group projects.

The boss man breaks up their little fight again and while he would love to be a part of the payout, the explosives didn’t come from them. His guy keeps a count of it every week and he double-checks it. Who is his guy, you ask? Theodore Clark. Are you thinking what I’m (and Jet and Spike) are thinking? Teddy is clearly the guy. Spike and Jet head out to the guy’s place and break in. But just before they enter, Jet tries one more time to get Spike to open up to him about what could be going on. And for just a moment, we think Spike will open up, only to fall back on the lie about being hungry.

The Teddy Bomber in Cowboy Bebop.

The Teddy Bomber in Cowboy Bebop. Image courtesy of Netflix.

We flashback to Vicious and Julia, who are having a challenging moment after meeting with The Elders. Vicious tries to claim that he knew the gun wasn’t loaded, but Julia calls his bluff. We don’t blame her for being angry at him. And she continues to chid him about not being man enough to protect her before he loses it and attacks her. And if you needed another reason not to like this guy – here it is.

Aboard Teddy’s ship, Spike and Jet scope out the place. While Spike thinks they should head towards the cockpit, Jet tells him they should go the other way. Throughout the ship are bobby traps and explosives that make navigating quite hard. In the back, they finally find where Teddy has been building his explosives along with other things like lotion and a warm cup of noodles. But no, Teddy. Why? Because he was in the cockpit and now the ship is heading out into space!

They race to the front, where space debris is flying closer and closer to the ship. Spike tries to get Jet to relax until a piece tears the cockpit right off the ship. A fight between Jet and Spike breaks out as Jet starts letting out all of his frustration about Spike sneaking out and not responding to his calls. He isn’t being a good partner, but Spike disagrees and says he is the best partner when it counts. Jet steps forward to get into Spike’s face and finds himself on top of a trap to make matters worse. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Teddy decides it’s time to show up. In a bear mask and his underwear? We are just as confused as Spike and Jet on this one.

Teddy tries to give out his orders, but the mask makes it a tad bit hard. He is going to blow them sky high and then something about an Ichabod? Jet admits he has no clue since he just skimmed the manifesto. His reason for skimming it? Spike dipped out and the bonsai needed tending too. We’ve said it before and we will say it again, this man has priorities. Teddy isn’t in the mood to listen to Jet and Spike fight and starts yelling again. Spike uses this as a moment to attack him, knock him out and get the detonator from him. And in a clutch move, Jet catches it without taking his foot off the trap. Plus, they both spot the escape pod!

The two have a good laugh over the whole thing until they remember that Jet is standing on a trap. Jet tries to tell Spike to take the escape pod, but he slides his foot over it. If Spike went first, he would get sidetracked and forget to him pick Jet up. And in a brief moment, we think that Spike is going to open up to Jet once again, but instead, he asks that he bring him the noodles. It feels good to hear them call each other partners, but I wonder if we will ever get to see Spike really open up to him.

Venus Pop comes to a close as Ana listens in as Vicious’ subordinates tell him that Fearless has killed the assassin. Safe to say that Vicious isn’t too happy about this. Too bad, Mr. Bad Guy! You haven’t won yet!

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What an episode! I absolutely love the dynamic between Spike and Jet. It reminds me of how they played off of each other within the anime. I also love all of the subtle (and not too subtle) nods to the anime. We are two episodes in and as someone who has spent her entire life rewatching the anime at least twice a year, I have to say that I love the changes we see here. I am interested in learning where they will take Julia’s story and when we will get to see Faye again. Plus, I think it is on everyone’s minds – where is Ein? and Ed?

We’ve got eight more episodes this season, which is enough time to build up the anticipation and action. I hope that they are as well balanced between action and comedy as these first two were. But, we know that eventually, Vicious and Spike’s long-time issues will need to come to a head. And who will come out on top? No spoilers now! Who knows where Netflix might take this story! We can only hang on for the ride! And speaking of that, let’s head into episode three!

We gotta know, are you noodles before work or vice versa? Let us know in the comments below and on social media!

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Julia Roth
Catch Me