[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Cowboy Bebop Season 1 Episode 7, “Galileo Hustle.”]
One episode tends to appear on almost everyone’s “Best of Cowboy Bebop” lists, and it’s “Speak Like a Child”. The episode itself is pretty straightforward: Faye receives a mysterious Betamax tape from an unknown source, and Spike and Jet must hunt down a player so they can see what’s on it. But the last five or so minutes or so are truly heartbreaking: the team discovers the tape is Faye’s as a child, addressing themselves to an older self. “Do you like who you are?” She asks Faye, much older, dejected and amnesiac. There is something about the innocence of the question and the hope of youth juxtaposed with the tragedy of Faye’s life (she doesn’t even remember recording that footage) that takes your breath away.
Netflix’s adaptation of the story is… patchy, much like the rest of the series. The plot of the Betamax gang has disappeared, replaced by Faye’s “mother” (Daniella Pineda) suddenly resurfacing and demanding a move to Santo City; in this way, the episode also borrows from “My Funny Valentine”. Whitney blackmails Faye to help her, and as long as Faye gets her Identikit, she accepts. There is only one problem: her mother is being hunted down by a group of arms traffickers because she was married to their leader. Apparently the relationship didn’t end well and the guy is willing to use deadly force to get her back.
Throughout the episode, the mother-daughter relationship is explored. We see that Faye and her “mother” are quite similar in that they are able to swindle people quickly and easily, and they don’t hesitate to put themselves first. But as they are, Faye resents her “mother” for waking her from her cryogenic sleep and taking all of her assets, then leaving her out in the cold.
Surprisingly, her mother says that’s not what happened – she was prevented from returning to Faye, and once she did, Faye was gone. Ultimately, they reconcile and Faye gets her Identikit, which only has one videotape (you can see where this is going). The arms dealer? Yep, not really an arms dealer at all: As Faye realizes, the “rush to Santo City” was really just an elaborate role-playing game, and the marriage is stronger than ever. (Too bad for the henchmen Spike (John Cho) and Jet (Mustafa Shakir) killed, though…?)
Meanwhile, Julia (Elena Satine) is angry with Ana for not telling her that Spike is alive. She plans to run away to find him, but she knows Vicious (Alex Hassell) would kill her; then again, as she says, there’s a chance Vicious will kill her anyway. And by talking about her husband, he gets the “eunuch” and Mao to agree to his plan, which is as follows: they bring him in front of the Elders and claim that they caught him plotting to overthrow them. When they demand that Mao execute him with his own sword, she will set him free and they will kill the Ancients together. Except… Julia makes a totally different deal with Mao to kill Vicious, then Julia will give Mao “the whole throne”. What could possibly be going on there?
At the end of the episode, we get the adaptation of Faye’s post to her future self, and it’s more or less accurately translated from the anime … with one crucial difference. At the end of the message, a voice is heard: that of his real mother. Granted, it’s been 200 years, so it’s unlikely that her mother is still around. But the inclusion of the voice serves to further delve into the mystery surrounding Faye’s past, and one can’t help but wonder if Bebop is getting a second season, if that voice would have a role to play.
Cowboy Bebop, all episodes streaming, Netflix