Cowboy Bebop – Season 1 Episode 5 “Darkside Tango” Recap & Review

Darkside Tango

Episode 5 of Cowboy Bebop begins with a flashback to the past, as Jet talks to his contact, Fad, regarding his next target. Udai Taxim is their man and Jet is convinced he’s been liaising with someone from the force. Jet is convinced that it’s Chalmers. Jet is so adamant that this is the case, he bets Fad a cool 2k on it.

Unfortunately, chasing Udai only brings up more questions. Out in an alleyway he’s shot numerous times and left in a pool of his own blood by an unknown assailant.

In the present, Jet finds their next target. A prison transport ship has crashed on Europa – including one Udai Taxim. Jet decides to pursue this alone though, leaving Faye and Spike in charge of teaming up and going after another bounty hunter of their choosing. With a whole array to choose from, and targets being snapped up quickly by other hunters, they should probably get there asap.

So Jet heads off to see Fad. It’s just like old times, as the pair reconvene and trade banter. Jet still believes Chalmers was the one who pulled the trigger that night, and remains dead-set on salvaging his shattered reputation. After all, Chalmers was the first one on the scene when Jet was arrested , which essentially destroyed his entire reputation.

Their first port of call is Dagmar, who spills the beans that Udai is being picked up in a few hours. Thanks to some persuasive teeth-popping, Jet knows Udai is near. The pair head down to the docks together, checking through the shipping containers to see where Udai may be hiding.

As Jet starts chasing Udai, he stops short and asks the fiend who pulled the trigger that night. It turns out it wasn’t Chalmers. As a bullet pierces Udai’s neck, it’s revealed that Fad was the one who betrayed him.

Struggling with debt and needing a way out, Fad was paid by the Syndicate to protect them – and that meant turning on Jet. Jet lost everything at the hands of Fad’s greed, and as this realization hits home, Jet kills his partner.

Ironically, it’s Chalmers who shows up on the scene, revealing that he’s been chasing Udai for years to try and make him spill the truth. With him now dead, Jet has no-one left that can clear his name. As a sign of respect, Chalmers decides to cover for Jet, concocting a story that the pair shot each other, and allowing Jet to get away before the police show up.

While all this is going on, Faye and Spike start arguing about marks – both those they’ve killed and the scars they’ve received. It’s a pretty simple chat in truth, one that distinguishes a fair amount of banter and rapport between the pair. The big turning point here is Faye admitting to taking out a particularly nasty bounty called Dupree. Spike is genuinely impressed and listens to her story with enthusiasm.

Meanwhile, Vicious heads off to visit Mao. He presents the idea of killing the Elders, with three at the top. In essence, it would be Santiago, Mao and Vicious who would take over in their wake. In order to sweeten the deal, Vicious suggests handing over the Ganymede Territories and 2% of his net worth.

Mao has a condition though. She wants Julia to sing for her. Its a step too far for Vicious but as he walks away, Julia suddenly starts singing. Vicious is furious off the back of Julia’s singing but she stands up for herself, claiming she did this to help him. However, as Julia reflects back on Vicious’s words, she realizes that Spike is still alive.

The Episode Review

A noir investigative crime drama sweeps over this episode, as Cowboy Bebop takes a detour to allow Jet some time in the limelight.

It’s actually a pretty good episode, although it does bear a lot of similarities to the episode “Black Dog Serenade” from the original anime. Now, the story is different, especially the ending with the stand-off, but the way this remake pays homage to that while telling a different story altogether is something that does help make it unique. It’s also bound to annoy some of the more diehard anime fans out there so it’ll be interesting to see what side of the argument you stand with this one!

A lot of these episodes have felt like reworked versions of the original in truth, and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it does make for a very different viewing experiencing depending on if you’ve watched the anime or not.

Either way, this is still a pretty good episode and does wonders for helping Faye and Spike’s relationship develop.

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You can check out our full season review for Cowboy Bebop here!

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