| 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
In the past, Spike Spiegel, under the sound of church bells, carries a bouquet of flowers down a street. The bouquet also has a gun inside, and he kills several men. When he runs out of bullets, he takes out a grenade and smiles.
In the present day, The Bebop is traveling through hyperspace near Mars. Jet has cooked his specialty, bell peppers and beef, while Spike finishes martial arts practice. During, Jet briefs Spike about their next target, Asimov Solensan, part of a syndicate who killed his own men to escape a confrontation between his group and an enemy syndicate. Spike isn't interested, and, instead, comments that dinner can’t be called bell peppers and beef since there is no beef. Spike complains that they should have plenty of money from their last bounty, but Jet responds bluntly that Spike ran up a bill that cost them the whole amount. Jet continues, noting the rumor that Solensan fled to an asteroid, Tijuana (aka TJ). Spike complains that he doesn't go after "small fries", judging by Asimov’s crime and bounty price (2.5 million Woolongs, but Jet convinces him they need this bounty by reminding Spike that the "carnitas [on Tijuana] are out of this world!"
On Tijuana, Solensan enters the El Ray bar with his apparently pregnant girlfriend, Katerina Solensan, as three old men play cards. Solensan sits down and makes an order for vodka and tomato juice, but the bartender says there isn't any. It's a signal to go into the back for a transaction of bloody eye. As the bartender requests a demonstration of bloody eye on Solensan, the syndicate men surround the bar and start shooting. The bartender is killed, but Solensan, under the influence of bloody eye, shows the results of his greatly increased physical capabilities. Seeing his environment in slow motion, he easily bests the attackers, dodging punches and bullets before killing them and destroying the bar.
Eventually, Spike has spent quite a bit of time with Bull, and his impending hunger makes his stomach growl. Bull, with his hands outstretched pouring sand on the floor, foresees Spike finding a "red-eyed Coyote" at the north end of the town. He also says Spike will be targeted by a woman and death will result. Spike isn't concerned, saying he's already died, due to a woman. Bull warns Spike to take it seriously, but Spike bids him farewell. After he leaves, Bull asks that he be blessed by Wakan Tanka.
Jet arrives at the destroyed bar, having a drink on the house, when two other syndicate men arrive. He hides to hear what they have to say, which is that they need the bloody eye back, and don't like the thought of fighting him if he's taking it himself. Jet knocks one of them out and gets more of the story from the other. Asimov stole bloody eye his syndicate makes and escaped, hoping to profit on it.
On his way back from Bull, Spike stops at a gas station and, in the bathroom, encounters Solensan. Solensan, coming down off of the bloody eye, gets nervous and is ready to grab his gun, but Spike doesn't appear to recognize him, making a small comment about not clogging the drain and leaving.
Walking back to his ship, he encounters Katerina, charming her out of some food and having a couple of laughs. Observed by Asimov from afar, they walk to Spike's ship and he tells her about it. She appears to like talking to him and asks him if he's been to Mars, as she wants to go there thinking it to be very nice. Spike says only the rich are happy, of which Katerina counts herself. The conversation turns south as he reveals he’s a bounty hunter, and that he saw Asimov sick earlier. He dismisses him as a "weak nobody," and is promptly strangled by Asimov, who was hiding behind him. Katerina begs him to let Spike go, and he does, but not before Spike discretely steals a vial of red eye from his jacket as he drops. The two get in their vehicle and leave.
In the car, Asimov confronts Katerina about her liking Spike, begging him not to kill him earlier. Katerina dismisses it and talks about the new life she wants on Mars. He doesn't respond.
Spike lies on the ground for awhile and eventually Jet arrives. He gives Spike the whole story about Asimov, and recommends giving up, as he's too difficult to catch due to the bloody eye. Spike gets up, stretches, and happily reveals he knows where they're going and that he got one of the vials, having encountered him. With Bull's phrasing, Spike says Solensan will be at the Zona Norte on the far side of town.
While the ISSP is now actively searching for Asimov, as well as the syndicate men, Spike then stages a fake drug deal with Asimov at the Denis bar. He reveals he took the vial from Asimov destroys it in front of him. They get into a hand-to-hand fight, but with Asimov only partially feeling the effects of the drug he took earlier, Spike overpowers him. Katerina almost shoots Spike, but the 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, however, she is shot in the belly and her apparently pregnant stomach is revealed to actually be the stash of red eye vials. Asimov yells at her, shocking her.
Jet comes to Spike’s rescue in the Hammer Head allowing Spike to retreat to his ship in order to continue chasing Asimov. Asimov takes another bloody eye to gain his edge back, while Katerina, seeing his aggressive behavior toward her, Spike on their tail, and the blockade of ISSP Cruisers waiting for them at the Astral Gate to leave Tijuana, increasingly realizes she won't get to Mars. Spike suddenly realizes Katerina has shot Asimov and, as they share a glance, the cruisers open fire on the zipcraft. Katerina is blown out into space, surrounded by the bloody eye vials above the atmospheric dome of TJ.
Back on the Bebop, Spike practices his martial arts and contemplates Katerina's situation as Jet throws him a cigarette and announces dinner – 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 bears 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 in the film. 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 .
- Asimov and Katerina's death is highly inspired by the Arthur Penn film Bonnie and Clyde which both met their demise by a hail of bullets from the police
- The poncho that Spike wears is a reference to Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy. Specifically, the attire worn by lead actor Clint Eastwood in his portrayal of the trilogies protagonist, The Man with No Name.
- 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.