Mark Watches ‘Cowboy Bebop’: Session 21 – Boogie Woogie Feng Shui

In the twenty-first session of Cowboy Bebop, Jet meets up with the daughter of an old partner of his in order to help her find a lost stone. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Cowboy Bebop.

I’m willing to admit that this show is paced oddly, that its constant efforts to be non-serialized can be jarring. Only a few things ever carry over from one episode to another. It’s both this show’s charm and its one main weakness. Like “Wild Horses,” this episode suffers from placement. Especially since we’re so close to the end of the show, I unfortunately had higher expectations for what I was going to experience from “Boogie Woogie Feng Shui.” At the same time, I acknowledge that this perception isn’t necessarily something that should matter, you know? Standing on its own, this is actually a solid episode of Cowboy Bebop, if underdeveloped at times. Y’all know I’m a sucker for noir, and Jet’s narration was a pleasant addition to the episode. I wish there was more of it, but I appreciated that the writers were able to nail down the style so well.

This episode focuses on Jet’s past again, but isn’t quite as revealing as I expected. Instead, the writers chose to give us a heartbreaking tale of a missing father. In Meifa, we see how a daughter is drawn to her father, seven years after he disappeared on her and her mother. For someone who holds a lot of anger towards her father, Meifa initially comes over as an excitable, optimistic young girl. That’s not a contradiction, though; she is excited to try and locate her dad, though she comes into this story believing her father left something behind for her. I saw “Boogie Woogie Feng Shui” as a study of what Meifa wanted. Was it closure? Did she want a sign that her father loved her? Or did she want to believe that she played a bigger part in her father’s life than she played in hers?

Honestly, I think it was probably a combination of all three. And stuck in the midst of this is Jet, who has to struggle with telling Meifa what her dad really did. He’s concerned about crushing whatever image this woman had of her father, and it’s why he waits so long to tell her the truth. Plus, what role does he play here? Is he the big brother, the father figure, or the romantic ideal? I was actually impressed that this entire topic was brought up explicitly by multiple characters, especially since awkward sexualization is kind of a thing in noir films, you know? But my absolute favorite part of this episode? The HILARIOUS gossip provided by Faye, Spike, and Edward about what Jet was doing. Bless them, y’all. They are so entertaining!

And the oddly emotional climax in “Boogie Woogie Feng Shui” was mesmerizing. Using the sun stone to blast a dimensional force field in between gates was incredible, both as a plot and as a visual spectacle. The thing is, I expected yet another cynical, wholly negative ending to Meifa’s story. It’s just what Cowboy Bebop does! But as sparse and brief as Meifa’s story is with her father, she does get closure. She knows that her father’s ties to the synidicate are what caused him to go into hiding, and she knows that her father wanted Jet to bring her to him. I think she expected to do nothing but rage at him, but when she was faced with the last image of her father that she’d ever see, she found that she couldn’t be angry at him anymore.

It’s kind of a touching episode that I wish was earlier in the show’s run. We’ve only got five episodes left (HOW?!?!?!), and this episode really shouldn’t be judged up against the stories that surround it. Still, I’m curious how this show is going to end. I don’t feel like I have any real indication of this! Oh, butts, I’m unprepared.

The video commission for this episode is now archived on MarkDoesStuff.com for just $0.99!

Mark Links Stuff

 I am now on tour!!! I have 26 events spread out across the eastern HALF of the U.S. and Canada. They are all free and all-ages. Come see me speak about the Mark Does Stuff Universe and read terrible fanfiction live!
– Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now published and available for purchase! It’s available in ebook AND physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buying the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $25 for 7 BOOKS!!!
– Commissions are still open while I am on tour! There may be a day or two delay to get them done, but I am accepting them graciously to help fund my tour!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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