REVIEW: ‘Cowboy Bebop’ 1×03 “Dog Star Swing”

cowboy bebop episode 3

Who knew dogs were so expensive in the future. Yes, the episode has finally arrived where we meet the Welsh Corgi named Ein. Yet, before that, we have an episode that focuses primarily on the bounty of the episode. Yes, we do get a few moments building up the overarching plot, but the core of the episode is about Spike figuring out how to handle the fact his identity has been blown. So, we finally take a moment to explore the characters to enforce the story rather than the other way around.

COWBOY BEBOP Recap: (S01E03) Dog Star Swing

This episode highlights Jet’s new role as a family man. The doll he is trying to buy is nightmare-inducing, but who knows how rare they are in this galaxy. While a strange addition at first, it does add an extra layer of motivation for the character that was mostly just dragged along until the story affected him directly. Not going to lie, the doll getting damaged in every possible way was a funny addition as he’s trying to help out Spike. The tender moment between Jet and his daughter was quite nice, especially with how Ein played a role in bringing them together.

I will say that what they did with Abdul Hakim was certainly strange. Not sure why the character needed to be a holographic projection, especially with some questionable implications. It’s the same episode where the now-infamous “blackmail” comment appears that sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s something that does sour an overall good episode, as we finally get a feeling for how Spike and Jet work with each other to take down their targets. Plus, his motivation with kidnapping dogs (who are no longer Data Dogs this time around) was an interesting twist on the original. It’s too bad that these are overshadowed by some questionable additions.

Speaking of, Cho is a highlight in this episode. He’s having a lot of fun with the role and has a great grasp of balancing that cool but fun side of his character. The visual of him hanging from the building while Jet’s desperately holding was great. Seeing him lighting a cigarette upside down until the camera reveals what he’s leaning against was a rather well-done scene. Also, his “Nice!” comment when Hakim pulls off some moves is probably one of my favorite moments in the series. His first confrontation with Vicious was also great as this version of Spike shows off why he was called “Fearless” back in the day but does once again highlight that our main antagonist is not that vicious as he could be.

There are great moments in this episode, but it is dragged down by some strange decisions. It’s great to see Ein and he’s as adorable as he always is. Spike gets some great moments sprinkled throughout with Cho being a highlight. His dynamic with Mustafa Shakir‘s Jet Black finally got some attention and it was worth the wait. The way they play off of each other is one of the series’ highlights and we get a good glimpse here. They are friendly and joke with each other, but even after working for three years, they don’t get along with everything. Here’s hoping the next episode focuses on the strong points and drops what didn’t work.

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