| Asteroid Blues|
|Next Session|| Stray Dog Strut|
|Original Airdate||October 24, 1998|
"Asteroid Blues" is the first session, or episode, of Cowboy Bebop.
In order of appearance:
- Jet Black
- Spike Spiegel
- The Three Old Men (Antonio, Carlos and Jobim)
- Asimov Solensan
- Katerina Solensan
- Laughing Bull
The Bebop is traveling through hyperspace near Mars. Jet has cooked his specialty, bell peppers and beef, while Spike finishes martial arts practice and comments that dinner can’t be called bell peppers and beef since there is no beef. Knowing they are broke, Jet decides they should pursue a bounty placed on a gang member named Asimov Solensan on the asteroid, Tijuana (aka TJ).
Spike complains that he doesn't go after "small fries", judging by Asimov’s crime and bounty price, but Jet convinces him they need this bounty by reminding Spike that the "carnitas [on Tijuana] are out of this world!"
Solensan had stolen an entire supply of bloody eye (aka red eye) from the crime syndicate he was a member of, and is now being chased by his former crime partners.
On Tijuana he travels with his apparently pregnant girlfriend, Katerina Solensan, selling the red eye in discreet drug deals, to earn enough money to escape to Mars.
Red eye greatly increases the physical capabilities of whoever takes it, giving them the ability to perceive time at an extremely rapid rate, causing everything around them to appear to move in slow motion.
At the El Ray bar on Tijuana, Asimov finds a buyer who wants a demonstration. When Asimov shoots the drug into his eyes, some of his former gang members show up and get into a shootout with Solensan, but he simply dodges punches and bullets before killing them and destroying the bar.
When Spike lands on Tijuana he visits a Native American named Laughing Bull, whom he apparently has met before. Bull foresees Spike finding a red-eyed Coyote at the Zona Norte on the far side of town.
At a gas station Spike runs into Solensan and his girlfriend separately. He charms Katerina out of some food and a couple of laughs, then tells her know that he’s a bounty hunter and that she will get caught by someone, sooner or later. Asimov then sneaks up behind him and nearly chokes Spike to death before Katerina begs that they leave. Asimov lets go but not before Spike steals a vial of red eye from his jacket.
Spike then stages a fake drug deal with Asimov and destroys the stolen vial of red eye. They get into a hand-to-hand fight with Asimov still partially feeling the effects of the drug he took earlier, but Spike still overpowers him.
A carload of former gang members show up and interrupt the fight, causing Asimov and Katerina to run away and hijack a bystander’s zipcraft. Before Katerina boards, she is shot in the belly and her apparently pregnant stomach is revealed to actually be the stash of red eye vials.
Jet comes to Spike’s rescue in his Hammer Head and Spike retreats to his Swordfish II in order to continue chasing Asimov. By this time a blockade of ISSP Cruisers are stationed at the Astral Gate to leave Tijuana.
Spike catches up to Asimov and Katerina as they ascend the atmospheric dome of TJ, simulating a chase in outer space. Seeing Spike caught up with them and the blockade of ISSP Cruisers ahead of them, Katerina shoots Asimov dead and the police riddle her ship with bullets, killing her as Spike watches. Her dead body floats through space, with the red eye vials seen leaving her belly.
The episode ends as it began, on the Bebop with Spike and Jet eating bell peppers "and beef".
- Main article: Memorable Quotes from Cowboy Bebop#Asteroid_Blues
[Spike is eating a plate of stir-fried bell peppers that Jet made.]
- Spike: Uh, listen Jet. You said "bell peppers and beef." There's no beef in here. So you wouldn't really call it "bell peppers and beef," now would you?
- Jet: Yes, I would.
- Spike: Well, it's not!
- Jet: It is when you're broke!
[Antonio, Carlos and Jobin (aka The Three Old Men) are playing cards.]
- Antonio: This again, son of a bitch. Taking my money like that you cheating dogs! Why the only reason you can even live here is cause of what I’ve done. I busted my tail to dig that gate.
- Carlos: For criminy sakes you always say the same thing when your losing. We all dug that gate together and you know it.
- Jobin: That we did, we worked like there was no tomorrow.
[Spike smokes a pipe in Laughing Bull’s tent.]
- Spike: This is real mystic and all, but uh, do you have anything to eat here?
[Laughing Bull's stomach growls.]
- Spike: I see.
- Laughing Bull: The red-eyed Coyote will appear in the Zona Norte at the far end of town. That is what I see.
Themes and MotifsEdit
Being the first episode, Asteroid Blues establishes some key aspects of the series immediately:
- The very first shot of Jet is him cooking dinner. This theme carries throughout the series where Jet is often portrayed as a fatherly figure and maintainer of the Bebop and its crew.
- Jet says he is cooking "bell peppers and beef", yet it turns out its just bell peppers. The viewer is immediately clued in that Spike and Jet are poor and hard up for money. Money problems remain a common theme throughout the series (especially for Faye)
- Asimov is portrayed as being impossible to nab due to his red eye addiction, yet when he fights Spike, Spike wins handily. The fact that Spike is an excellent combatant is established here.
- Asimov is chased by the syndicate members, the police and both Spike and Jet. The idea that the Bebop crew aren't really "good" or "bad" is a common theme in the series. They are often found stuck between the law on one side and crime organizations on the other.
- Missed Bounty: Solensan is killed at the end of the episode, making retrieving the bounty impossible. Not actually getting the bounty reward is a common theme of the series as well; only on rare occasion do they actually collect one.
Homages and ReferencesEdit
- The scene at the El Ray is an homage to Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado. The bar is a replica of a bar in the movie, which itself was filmed in Acuña, a city in the Mexican state of Coahuila. Asimov has a striking resemblance to Antonio Banderas' portrayal of El Mariachi (long hair, dark skin, and dark-colored wardrobe) and travels with a beautiful Hispanic woman bearing a resemblance to Salma Hayek's character. Asimov is also able to single-handedly defeat a bar full of mercenaries hired to kill him just like the Mariachi character.
- Asimov is the surname of the famous science-fiction author, Isaac Asimov .
- The astroid colony of Tijuana is named after the present-day city in Mexico's Baja California, thus the Mexican cultural elements depicted in this session (such as the sombrero Spike wears). However, the astroid also seems to be very culturally diverse, with many street signs in English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Hindi in addition to Spanish. Zona Norte , mentioned by Laughing Bull as a section of the colony, is actually a red light district in present-day Tijuana, Mexico.
- Cowboy Bebop often depicts various different cultures in many settings. For example, the Martian city in next session "Stray Dog Strut" seems to be predominantly Chinese.
- Laughing Bull seems to be a Sioux Native American, since he makes a reference to Wakan Tanka, the “Great Spirit” in the Lakota Sioux way of life.
- Laughing Bull’s tent is filled with a clutter of junk including what appear to be a Sony PlayStation 1. (In the overhead shot of Spike and Laughing Bull, the PlayStation is next to Spike’s right arm at the top of the screen.)
- Memory - Plays in the opening preview; the montage of Spike's memories and the roses.
- Spokey Dokey - The part after the harmonica solo plays at the beginning & at the end of the episode. It also plays during the second appearance of the Three Old Geezers.
- Felt Tip Pen - Plays in the bar when Asimov, Katerina, and the Three Old Geezers first appear
- ELM - When Katerina realizes Spike is a bounty hunter, and Asimov begins to strangle him.
- Rush - Plays during the fight scene between Spike and Asimov
- Road to the West - Plays during the final chase scene where Spike chases Katerina and Asimov.