Now that is what I call a step in the right direction. The sixth episode titled “Binary Two-Step” is quite the highlight of the season. Mostly due to the plot actually primarily focusing on our main trio. Yes, they are still refusing to stick together, but the dynamic feels less forced this time around. While it doesn’t fully capitalize on every aspect that is presented, the concept of Spike getting lost in a virtual space and facing his past actually pay off the side story that’s been dragging it down through most of the season.
We get the Dr. Londes, who goes by Cy-Baba now, set up very early in the episode alongside the first mentioning of Radical Ed. They don’t appear in the episode but we get our first confirmation of their existence within this adaptation. Still, the focus of this episode is an adaptation of one of the later releases “Brain Scratch.” While it’s less of a cult this time around, the biggest departure is that Faye isn’t directly involved with this storyline. While she has her own little adventure involving a mechanic and a rail gun, Spike is the one to get sucked into Londes’ offerings.
Once he enters the machine, he is stuck in a loop where he tries to save Julia from Vicious. Londes, once again a machine rather than an actual person, wants to force him into a scenario where he gives up on life to make way for the AI to take over. Jet is briefly taken out of the picture as he tries to repair the Bebop while fighting the already teased mechanic. It’s a decent setup to force him into this solo scenario but does once again highlight how this team just cannot stick together.
The VR nightmare is quite an interesting concept that is even realized quite well. As the AI keeps fighting Spike’s mental fortitude, the world around it starts falling apart with an interesting visual effect. Taking a closer look at how it changes over time, especially as he recalculates to break Spike’s love for Julia adds a nice bit of character development. Especially, when the moment we think he “gave up” turns out to be quite different after a last-second save.
I did like Jet a lot in this episode. The moment he realizes what is happening to Spike and the desperation of getting to Earth at all cost was a great moment. We do get the tease of what it would mean if he found out about his friend’s time as “Fearless” but you really get the feeling these two would go through hell for each other. Here’s hoping we get a similar scenario from the other’s perspective as well.
The funniest bit is (sadly) probably Alex Hassel’s face when he is getting ready to shoot Spike in his last flashback from that virtual world. It just once again cements this is a very different take on the character but also highlights the way Spike sees him as well. Most of this episode is here to give our characters some character development with Faye on her own journey of self-discovery adding a nice step into the next episode where she takes centerstage again.