Faye finally makes her return after a brief appearance in the pilot episode. We get a clearer picture of her character and the series’ new take on her origin from the original anime. She’s on the hunt for a con artist but ends up involved with the incompetent Callisto Liberation Front, who accidentally steals the only lead she has and her ship. Luckily for her, two familiar cowboys are at a local diner and allow her to get back what she was going to steal. Do we get a better insight into her character, or are we retreading familiar problems?
As Faye Valentine takes center stage this time around, we get a better grasp of her character. She’s not the same character we know and love from the original anime. Daniella Pineda’s take on the character is just as outspoken but very much “in your face” which summarizes the series’ general adaptation perfectly. Once you get used to her take on the character, there’s quite a bit of charm there and she does work well when she plays off Cho and Shakir’s spins on their respective characters. Spike wanting to kill her was quite a hilarious running gag.
The biggest change though is the Liberation Front. While the Ganymede sea rat is referenced and remains their core motivation for this group, but they now turn their victims into trees rather than monkeys. So, the connection is that due to this corporation deforesting trees it led to their extinction. It seemed like a strange extra step to avoid an expensive monkey transformation. It’s also rather gruesome to watch and adds to the lack of subtlety that the original had. Yet, it’s also visually impressive and nightmarish to imagine. So, it balances itself out.
Julia gets more focus this time around again. Vicious reveals his plans to take down the Elders and she seems to be the driving force behind her husband’s actions. It teases a darker future for her and adds another layer to how different they are from the original. Seeing the main antagonist of the anime being manipulated so easily is still a hard pill to swallow but highlights that this is a different take on the original characters. After a brief appearance, the episode also highlights that Gren is quite removed from the original but is given a more active role in the story. We’ll see if their tragedy will ever get a focus later down the line.
This episode does build on the strengths of the last one. I love the dynamic between these three, even if it’s a bit more cynical. While there’s no cor mystery, our team has something to do as a group, and we get a great moment from Pineda when she has to decide what is important. Sadly, our main antagonist, Adrienne Barbeau‘s take on Maria Murdock, is oddly the most downplayed aspect of the episode, as we spend little time with her. She doesn’t even interact with our main cast outside of running away, but it’s her hubris that becomes her undoing.
The episode is quite a bit better than the previous one, as outside of some bidet discussions, there are some strong moments scattered throughout. Pineda gets a great moment after she seemingly sacrifices herself that is given more weight with a beautiful piece by Yoko Kanno. While the episode still doesn’t quite catch that Cowboy Bebop magic, there’s a lot to love here. Cho’s performance and comedic timing add that extra layer of enjoyment. It has me excited going into the next episode.