Mark Watches ‘Cowboy Bebop’: Session 24 – Hard Luck Woman

In the twenty-fourth session of Cowboy Bebop, Edward and Faye team up to find out more about their own respective pasts. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Cowboy Bebop.

On the surface, Faye and Edward don’t seem like they’d make a good pair, but I think “Hard Luck Woman” shows us that this isn’t the case. They’re very different from one another, sure. Faye largely acted annoyed towards Ed throughout the show, but the truth is, these two had a lot more in common than they suspected. “Hard Luck Woman” really is about the bad luck that both Ed and Faye have been dealt and how they cope with it. In combining their backstories, the writers are able to parallel the fact that both women were abandoned by the people they love and how they ran away from those memories, whether intentionally or by accident.

Drawn by flashes of a memory triggered by the Betamax tape that she got in “Speak Like a Child,” Faye teams up with Edward in the hope of locating exactly where she came from. At this point, I was certain that this would be a Faye-centric story, so I was completely surprised when a couple kids at the dump Edward took Faye to recognized Ed. They knew her by name! Not only that, but they acted just like her. See, I never really thought about Edward’s past. I was so certain that it didn’t matter (since it was rarely brought up at all) that I never expected to get anything more about it. Initially, I didn’t get that much information. The nun (OH GOD, NUNS) who had watched over Ed for a couple years only knew that Ed had showed up one day, and then disappeared three years prior to this current meeting. I certainly did want to know more about this nun and what she did, but sadly, this appears to be the only scene she’ll be in. That being said, the nun sure did drop a huge twist into our laps: the man we saw in an earlier scene examining craters is Edward’s father. Like Spike, my reaction to this was EDWARD HAS A FATHER? I guess I never thought about that, either!

I should have learned at this point that trying to guess what was going to happen was a bad idea. Faye clearly wanted to go off on her own, so I thought Edward would stick around with the nun for a while before locating her father. But Ed followed Faye to meet with an old friend of Faye’s. God, that whole scene is so haunting to me. It’s weird enough that Sally had aged and Faye appeared exactly the same to her. You could tell this was off-putting to Faye, but she still needed to find out who she once was and what happened to her. I think it all became too much for her when Sally tried to introduce her granddaughter to Faye. Two entire generations passed before Faye woke up. How does she have a place in a world where life went on without her? So she turns away from Sally after remarking that she is a ghost, referencing Sally’s confusion from earlier. (Oh god, what a brilliant crossover with tomorrow’s Blackout review. GHOSTS.) I think it’s indicative of the dissonance that Faye feels. Is she really here? Or is she just haunting the places she used to come to?

That’s what torments Faye that night. Parallel to this, Ed is also haunted by the day’s events. Does she really want to make contact with her father? I totally missed the fact that she CLEARLY was creating that fake bounty so that Spike and Jet would find him, so WHOOPS. I swear, I do pay attention sometimes! I enjoyed the fact that both Ed and Faye were putting their futures in motion during this sequence, though. As Ed was trying to find her father, Faye’s memory was finally triggered during a shower, where she recalls THE SPACE SHUTTLE SHE WAS IN RIPPING APART. Oh my god, OH MY GOD!!! When you watch the video for this episode, I didn’t really react to the flashes of the space shuttle memory, especially the very odd image of the moon cracking into three pieces. It is horrifying to see the full context of that, especially once you let your imagination wander. Faye must have been the only person to survive accident, and she must have been in such terrible condition that cryostasis was the only option left. Oh my god, how? How did Faye even survive that? Actually, I’m glad I don’t find this out. It’s too gruesome, first of all, and leaving it to my imagination gives it a more unsettling allure.

It’s this recollection that inspires Faye to return home, to go find where she lived because she finally remembers. And as Faye goes off to find where she belongs, I was struck by how hopeful she was. Faye hasn’t had a place to belong in a long time, and the very thought that she might brings out a positivity in her we’ve never seen. Even Ed is a bit shocked at this display, but she’s got her own mission to go on. Initially, Edward’s reunion with her father turns out surprisingly positive, too! I thought that her father’s inability to remember her name or gender was a quirk and nothing more. They both seemed so happy with one another! God, that image of Ed smiling ear-to-ear while hanging off the top of the Bebop is so grand and uplifting!

But I should have thought about what show I was watching. Things are not this easy. They aren’t this joyous. As another meteor plunges to earth, Ed’s father and MacIntire chase after it to continue their geological mapping project. And they leave Ed behind. In that one scene, I understood: Ed’s father really didn’t care for Ed. And it’s not that it was a malicious thing, either, which almost makes this worse. He is so consumed with his job and the excitement that it brings that he forgets her. Her world just left her behind.

It’s fitting in the most tragically poetic way imaginable that Ed’s heartbreak is followed by Faye’s. Faye expectantly chases down a memory of herself going home, only to discover that even this part of her past has been obliterated. She draws a line in the dirt and rubble, right about where her bed once was, and she lays down. Belonging might be the very best thing, and Faye discovers that the last place she might have belonged to isn’t even there anymore.

It’s heartwrenching, y’all. And given how bleak this was, I shouldn’t have been surprised that Edward would finally move on as well. Like, even typing these words, I hate it, despite that it’s a necessary bit of character development. Whether Ed is going to chase after her father or find her own place is left up to us, and it makes sense. All she leaves behind is a pinwheel and a message scrawled on the floor. “Bye Bye.” Her hacker signature face. That’s it. Ed is gone, and Ein went with her. I’m glad Ein stuck with Ed, but my god. I am so sad. I don’t want them to leave. I don’t want Faye to feel so listless and alone.

I couldn’t quite read the expressions on Spike’s and Jet’s faces as they ate Ed’s father’s eggs. Were they mad that they lost their entire crew in one day? Were they thankful they had more to eat? Did they even care at all? I don’t know. But as we head into these last two episodes, I worry that we won’t see Ed, Ein, or Faye again. It’ll just be Spike and Jet up against whatever conflict they have next. At the same time, that is how this show started. These two are back with just each other again.

Lord, I am unprepared for the end of this show.

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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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