Mark Watches ‘Cowboy Bebop’: Session 25: The Real Folk Blues Part 1

In the twenty-fifth session of Cowboy Bebop, Spike must choose to move forward or embrace the past. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Cowboy Bebop.

GOOD LORD, THIS IS TOO MUCH. How am I going to cope with both this show and Princess Tutu ending at the same time? WITH LISTS. THAT’S HOW. Listing for emotional comfort from fiction. I need to start that support group.

Okay, onwards!

  • I really don’t think Cowboy Bebop could be pulled off like this in another medium. I’ve said before that the show is sparse, but that’s not precisely true. Sure, the storytelling might be, but that would be ignoring the visual component, which is rich, detailed, and crucial to the whole package. It’s what adds mystery, suspense, and tone to Cowboy Bebop that I don’t think could be executed as well in the form of a book or even live-action. (Thank the gods that the Keanu Reeves version of this got canned.)
  • So much of “The Real Folk Blues Part 1” is conveyed to us through images: Vicious hiding in the shadows. The Bebop floating above the reddish surface of Mars. The crimson tears. The emotional weight in the flashbacks. I don’t think I’d want to experience Cowboy Bebop any other way.
  • This show has show us how four people come in contact with manifestations of their past, and then shows us the aftermath. Ed met her father, and she left the Bebop. Jet met the man who was responsible for him losing his arm, and he ends up shooting him. Faye seeks out her home and comes up empty. But you could say that all three of them ultimately chose to move on, to give up on repairing the past or replacing it with something more pleasant. They accepted what they lived. Spike, however, has refused to do this multiple times. He’s always chasing after the dream of Julia, and he’s getting hurt in the process. So much of this episode hinges on Spike’s decision: Will he chase the past or let it go?
  • (Let’s not kid ourselves, here. Of course he’s going to go after his past L O L)
  • This episode is also particularly violent and gory, and Vicious’s escape/coup sequence is just unmatched during this show’s run. I find that I don’t care much about Vicious as a character. He’s a violent, controlling, jealous asshole with no real depth. Ultimately, I’m actually okay with that! He represents chaotic evil, a force that’s antagonistic for the sake of it within this fictional universe. He is the moral end of Bebop‘s existential cynicism, an extreme on one side of the spectrum, a manifestation of the life that Spike left behind. His one-dimensional characterization works as a villain because he represents so much for Spike’s character.
  • Spike and Jet think that all their bounty problems were due to Ed and Faye. LOL. OH, YOU TWO. Y’all didn’t even catch a bounty until they showed up, so shush.
  • Oh god, I thought Shin was Lin as well. WHOOPS. I wonder if we’ll see Shin again. He came out of nowhere to save Jet and Spike, and then… what happened to him? Is he going to regret helping them? Spike warns Shin that as soon as he does this, he’ll be an enemy of the syndicate forever.
  • We finally find out that Julia is indeed alive, having gone into hiding for the past few years. Is it Shin who warns her to leave town? Regardless, we find out exactly what role she played all those years ago. Spike was in love with her, but she refused to leave town with him. When Vicious confronted her about this, he gave her a choice: She could kill Spike herself, or he would kill both of them. Clearly, she chose neither option, since they’re both alive. So I’m curious if the final episode will give us the piece of this puzzle that we’re missing.
  • GOD, OKAY, Y’ALL: I NEED A JULIA/FAYE SPIN-OFF SERIES. I don’t even know Julia that well, and the one scene these two had together was enough to convince that I’d watch a Cowboy Bebop 2 if it was just about them. Well, and Edward. Julia has this whole femme fatale air to her, and I love it. Can they just travel around the galaxy, besting men all around them while looking absolutely fabulous?
  • I miss Edward a lot.
  • I kind of feel like I can’t comment on much of this because… well, there’s so much more I need to see! Why did Julia pull a gun on Spike? She’s not going to go through with Vicious’s offer, is she? How is Vicious going to play into this all? What about Faye and Jet? What’s going to happen to them? Will I ever get over Edward leaving? Wait, I can answer that last one: NEVER.
  • If you didn’t watch the promo clip after the credits, go back and watch this one. It’s great.

I can’t believe there’s only one episode and a film left. That went by fast.

The video commission for this episode is now archived on 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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