Mark Re-Watches ‘Cowboy Bebop’: Sympathy For The Devil

Thanks again to Ryan for commissioning this! I mostly spent the whole twenty-some minutes shrieking at my laptop, but is that any different than what I normally do?

The video file for my re-watch of “Sympathy for the Devil” is available for download here, and all Mark Watches videos are indexed in my Dropbox folder.

  • So, maybe this isn’t THE most critical episode for me to watch out of the whole Cowboy Bebop canon, but I’m pleased Ryan chose this one. God, it’s such a fantastic, haunting story, one that actually has a lot of common themes we’ll see throughout the show. It’s about one desperate man, forever altered by his traumatic past, trying to escape the inevitability of death. Sound familiar? Perhaps Wen and Spike have more in common than they think.
  • There are a lot of fucked up things in Cowboy Bebop. That thing in “Toys in the Attic.”  The end sequence of “Speak Like a Child.” ALL OF “PIERROT LE FOU.” OH MY GOD, THAT EPISODE WILL ALWAYS HAUNT ME. And then there’s this, a story about a murderous man child who essentially kidnaps and blackmails people to hide behind, disposing them when he’s done using them, who rapidly ages and dies when Spike shoots him with a modified bullet. YEAH, NIGHTMARE FUEL.
  • Plus, the writers still manage to keep Wen somewhat sympathetic. The whole flashback sequence that explains how he was able to not age is so sad, y’all. It is! But I didn’t really realize at the time how much it also explained the Cowboy Bebop universe, either. The destruction of Earth is a big deal, something I’ll see come up in later episodes.
  • I had a few people on tour ask me if they should watch Cowboy Bebop. While I told them all YES YES YES, I qualified that information. This show is serialized in strange ways. It’s a collection of visual, poetic vignettes that are sometimes connected by just a single image or sentence. It’s about experiencing this fictional world. You have to let yourself fall into this space opera and just accept what happens around you. It’s surreal, sparse, violent, and often frustrating. But that’s precisely why I love it. There’s nothing like it.

Thanks again, Ryan! Tomorrow, we’ve got an awesome Avatar: The Last Airbender re-watch!!!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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