Cowboy Bebop (1998): Cowboy Bebop: Wild Horses   Rewatch 
November 30, 2014 2:06 PM - Season 1, Episode 19 - Subscribe

While Spike is having the Swordfish II repaired, Jet and Faye try to get a bounty on a group of pirates who use computer viruses to terrorize interplanetary shipping.
posted by filthy light thief (3 comments total)
This is one of my favorite episodes, since it features one of my favorite 'Characters' in the series, the Swordfish II. The ship and the man that flies it are so similar in many ways, relics of the past still existing for a purpose they don't quite understand.

Also, it's rather unfortunate that the space shuttle depicted here is the Columbia. Maybe Doohan is an even better mechanic than the writers originally intended?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:55 PM on December 1, 2014

The Bebop Wikia tells me that this episode aired two years before the Columbia disaster, so it's only poignant in retrospect.

The ship and the man that flies it are so similar in many ways, relics of the past still existing for a purpose they don't quite understand.

I don't think they're looking for a purpose. He understands what it takes to be a bounty hunter (which is tied back to the wild west, with the kitschy Big Shot show), but also accepts a world of mystery and uncertainty, which A.V. Club notes is a key part of this episode. He wrecks the Swordfish II shortly after getting it repaired, but he doesn't stress out about it.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:06 AM on December 5, 2014

Catching up...

Another really great episode from the back half of CB. It's interesting that this is our second episode in a row (after "Speak Like a Child") where the plot hinges around a piece of "lost" 20th century tech (specifically mid-to-late '70s tech -- coincidentally the same time that Watanabe and most of the CB creative staff came of age) that saves the day. In their own way, both the Betamax cassette and the NASA space shuttle are signature achievements of Eastern and Western engineering; whereas America was focused on breaking through to the next spatial frontier, Japan was concerned with simulation and the encapsulation of experience into physical objects. This episode gives us a little bit of both in the form of aerospace nostalgia.

I'd be interested to know if there are any MeFite engineers who can speak to the feasibility of Doohan's jury-rigged horizontal-takeoff shuttle launch system, with the jump-jets on the nose, etc. Assuming that Doohan modified Columbia's drive and fuel systems to use whatever future tech is available in CB's era (specifically increasing power and shrinking fuel weight) it seems vaguely possible, but I am not an engineer.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:47 AM on December 21, 2014

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