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Ballad of Fallen Angels

堕天使たちのバラッド
(Datenshi-tachi no Baraddo)

5 Title
Session 5
Previous Session Gateway Shuffle
Next Session Sympathy for the Devil
Original Airdate November 21, 1998

"Ballad of Fallen Angels" is the fifth session, or episode, of Cowboy Bebop.

CastEdit

In order of appearance:

PlotEdit

Mao Yenrai, Capo of the Red Dragon crime syndicate, and Carlos of the White Tiger crime syndicate meet at Mao's high rise to sign a truce agreement. They are both tired of the bloodshed that has affected their rival organizations. Vicious, a member of the Red Dragon syndicate, and his henchmen kill Carlos in his ship by causing it to explode as he leaves the meeting. Vicious then uses a sword, his weapon of choice, to kill Mao Yenrai who intimates that Spike could have prevented this.

Jet and Spike find a new 28 million Woolong bounty is placed on Mao Yenrai for an unknown crime. Spike is ready to go after a lead they have but Jet is worried about the bounty and thinks Spike is hiding something he knows about Mao. Spike asks Jet how he lost his arm and Jet asks what that has to do with their conversation.

Faye arrives from shopping and tries to join the conversation but is told to stay out of their business. Spike leaves in his Swordfish II. Jet leaves the room as a video signal comes into the computer with a new lead on the bounty, and Faye answers the call.

The lead takes Faye to an opera house where she can find Mao Yenrai at his box seat. She is dressed for the formal occasion, in one of the few times she ever has a change of clothes.

Spike goes to see Annie, his lead, who was a close friend to Mao back when Spike was a member of the Red Dragon himself. She is taken aback because she felt Spike had died 3 years ago. There is a picture on the store counter of a younger Annie and Mao Yenrai looking like friends.

Faye is invited into Mao Yenrai's opera box at gunpoint by Vicious' henchmen. They know her name and tell her to sit through the opera performance next to Mao's body that has been propped up in a seat.

Annie gives Spike a gun and bullets but asks him not to get tangled up with Vicious again. She regrets that Spike is a show-off and never listens to anyone. Back on the Bebop, Spike retrieves grenades and more guns. Jet tells Spike that he's walking into a trap – that Mao is already dead – and Spike says he already knows, but he has a debt to pay off.

Faye calls in to the computer's video phone to ask them to rescue her from Vicious. Spike goes, but says it's not for her. At the meeting place, a Cathedral, Spike meets Vicious and kills the henchman holding Faye at gunpoint. A mob of henchmen appear from hiding places and start to fire. Spike kills several people and races upstairs towards Vicious.

On a balcony next to a large stained-glass window Spike and Vicious duel with gun and sword respectively. They both draw blood and Vicious manages to grab Spike by the face and throw him through the window. Spike falls to the ground, not before deftly tossing a grenade into the room, and a montage of his former life flashes before his eyes.

The images speak without context but show Spike fighting alongside Vicious; Vicious in bed with Julia, and Spike walking underneath Julia's window with a bouquet of red roses. The image of a red rose laying in a puddle in the rain is shown in both this flashback and the closing credits.

Spike then recalls a memory where he is recovering from injuries at Julia's place, and she is humming. Spike is awoken from the memory, injured and back on the Bebop, by Faye humming. He says she is off-key, prompting Faye to smack him with a pillow.

QuotesEdit

When angels are forced out of heaven, they become devils. You agree, don’t you Spike?
— Vicious
I'm just watching a bad dream I never wake up from.
— Spike Spiegel
I’ll wake you up right now.
— Vicious

Spike, do you know what your face looks like right now?
— Vicious
What?
— Spike Spiegel
A ravenous beast. The same blood runs in you and me. The blood of a beast who wanders, desiring the blood of others.
— Vicious
I've bled all of that blood away.
— Spike Spiegel
Then why are you still alive!?
— Vicious

Songs UsedEdit

  • Slipper Sleaze - Faye arrives at the opera house
  • Ave Maria – Opera house (7 minutes)
  • Waltz for Zizi – Annie’s store (11 minutes, 50 seconds)
  • Rain – Cathedral (14 minutes)
  • Green Bird - Gabriela Robin-Yoko Kanno

Themes and Motifs Edit

  • Spike's Past: This Session plays heavily on Spike's unknown past and involvement with the Red Dragon crime syndicate. It is established that he once worked for Mao Yenrai, alongside Vicious and Julia, and possibly Annie. It is implied that Julia, Vicious and Spike were in a love triangle. It is not revealed in this session why Spike left the syndicate.
  • Jet's Past: Jet tells Spike that he got his cybernetic arm for being too gung-ho and running ahead of the game. The history of Jet's arm is revealed in "Black Dog Serenade".
  • Missed Bounty: Not collecting on Mao Yenrai's bounty is an example of the Bebop's crew missing bounties. Throughout the series they often either decide not to collect on a bounty or fail to collect.

Homages and ReferencesEdit

  • Pippu cola is a soft drink modeled after Pepsi-Cola. Jet is seen drinking a can of it on the Bebop.
  • The opera scene is reminiscent of the 1976 film Marathon Man, in which Roy Scheider's character enters a private opera box to find his contact propped up in a chair with his throat slit.
  • The climatic shootout at the cathedral is a homage to a similar scene from John Woo's 1989 film The Killer.
  • It is also inspired by the final shootout in the church in the crow and it is also visually similar to the film as well
  • At the end of the episode, when both Julia and Faye are humming, they hum a tune that might be homage to singer Sam Cooke humming "What Soul Represents".
  • In the signature scene in which Spike and Vicious exchange weapons, this references to a similar scene in the movie “A Better Tomorrow 2” by John Woo.
  • The Cathedral is visually inspired by the Notre Dame in Paris.

Gallery Edit

Sessions Edit

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