Blue Crow Waltz
Episode 9 of Cowboy Bebop begins in the past, as Vicious and Spike end up working together as cleaners. When they wind up murdering a guy, Spike decides to let a witness called Brenda go. “No kids.” Spike says sternly, reinforcing the line they’re not willing to cross no matter what. Vicious though, bemoans his mercy.
The pair actually happen to be working at a club, serving as a bodyguard for a businessman named Stax. The Elders are in the middle of negotiating with the Neptune Cartel but it falls to Spike and Vicious to try and broker this through smoothly.
While at the bar, Spike runs into Ana and he begins flirting with her. He’s determined to try and win the woman over but she plays hard to get. Backstage, the star act ends up vomiting everywhere so it falls to Julia to step up and sing for the club.
Her words capture everyone in attendance, especially Vicious who applauds loudly, not taking his eyes off her. In fact, he even sends over a bottle of champagne backstage to celebrate. Ana warns her against getting mixed up with Syndicate business but Julia dates Vicious all the same. She keeps this a secret from Ana but also gains a promotion as the new star performer for the club.
Stax briefs the boys on their Neptune deal as the time arrives for them to try and negotiate. Inevitably, Vicious messes everything up. While striking a deal, Vicious tries to cut the man’s hand off after he insulted the Syndicate. The Elders will now need to clean up the mess that Vicious has caused. Spike is caught in the middle, telling his brother soberly that “whatever happens, happens.”
When Julia shows up, happy about her big promotion, she grows closer to Spike. While they dance together, Vicious winds up drinking in the corner. The pair almost kiss (their photo is snapped at this precise moment) while Spike reveals his ties to Vicious. It turns out he grew up on the streets and Vicious took him in, solidifying the pair’s ties from that day forward.
Spike is determined to do right by Vicious, and they decide to travel up to a club in Tharsis. Only, as they arrive outside Vicious notices one of the Nepture negotiators, Ka-Ching. He immediately sees red and knocks him down, going on to beat the guy down in thee street.
While Vicious tortures Ka-Ching, Julia and Spike wind up making love. If that betrayal wasn’t bad enough, the Neptune Cartel want Vicious dead and if not, then it’s going to come down to the last man standing. Ironically, Caliban – Vicious’s father who’s on the Council – actually sanctions this. He also tasks Spike with being the one to kill Vicious and end this bloodshed before it spirals out of control.
Spike shows up with his knife, but thinks twice about killing his brother. Instead, he shoots up the entire Neptune Cartel and decides to leave. Just before he does, Spike tries to convince Julia to come with him, telling her he’s in love with her.
Caliban shows up before his son and reveals that the whole cartel have been wiped out. He also unveils Spike’s betrayal to Vicious, how he’s running away with Julia and how the pair have been sleeping with one another behind his back.
Having adequately poked the hornet’s nest, Vicious arrives before Ana and forces her to reveal where Julia and Spike are. Just before Julia leaves, she’s intercepted by guards who show and take her to Vicious.
Spike though is left standing outside with a rose, waiting for Julia. Vicious shows up in Julia’s place though and confronts his brother. Spike does his best to hold his own but he’s shot numerous times and ultimately falls to his presumed death in the water.
The Episode Review
The penultimate episode for Cowboy Bebop takes us back in time as we see how Julia, Spike, Vicious and the Elders have all reached this big crescendo at the end of episode 8. Seeing Spike and Vicious together, and seeing how their relationship has soured over time, is a nice way of contrasting the current events and giving more context over what’s happened between them.
It’s your classic case of forbidden love and betrayal, wrapped up in a heady visual cocktail of gun-fighting and action. In fact, that big fight at the Neptune Cartel is easily the most stylish and best shot action sequence of the entire show so far, matching the grandiose brilliance of the opening sequence in episode 1.
Of course, given this is still technically a live action anime, there’s only so much that can be done here compared to the original but there’s enough originality and visual flair to make it an enjoyable watch all the same. With the past fleshed out enough to understand the character motivations fully, all roads now lead to a very dramatic and action-packed finale.