| "Bohemian Rhapsody"
|Previous Session|| Jupiter Jazz (Part 2)|
|Next Session|| My Funny Valentine|
|Original Airdate||January 23, 1999|
"Bohemian Rhapsody" is the fourteenth session, or episode, of Cowboy Bebop.
- Spike Spiegel
- Faye Valentine
- Jet Black
- Chessmaster Hex
- Gate Corporation CEO
- Gate Corporation Lackey
- The Three Old Men (Antonio, Carlos and Jobim)
Spike, Faye and Jet capture the twenty thugs from an Astral Gate hijack but cannot collect the bounty unless they capture the mastermind behind the robberies. The only clues they obtained were three identical king chess pieces.
Meanwhile the Gate Corporation is being flooded with complaints from people who lost their savings in the gate robberies. The Gate Corporation put out a 12 million Woolong bounty on capturing the mastermind.
Faye, who originally wanted to work separately and collect all the money for herself, decided that she, Spike and Jet should pool their resources and work together to find the mastermind. Jet found out that all twenty hijacks were done the same way. Everyone infiltrated the toll booth and attached a hacking unit that stole a passing ship’s balance when it paid a gate toll. The unit immediately sent the cash credits over a secure link to a bank on Europa. There the money was electronically laundered that can’t be traced in any way. All of the hijackers were caught in the act but none of them had anything in common.
Faye found out that one of the hijackers was following the instructions from a manual he found on a website that’s no longer around. Spike learned that the hacking units were designed by a Piker who knew precisely how the gate system worked. Spike thought the Gate Corporation knew what was going on but didn't want to talk about it.
Jet goes to the Gate Corporation HQ and meets Jonathan, an old friend and possible bounty hunter. Jet lights a cigarette in the CEO’s office and is told to put it out. Jet throws a chess piece at the CEO and says he knows the Gate Corporation knows who the mastermind is and that these attacks were planned in advance. After being escorted out of the building, Jet turns on a listening device that connects to the microphone cigarette he put out at the CEO’s office. He learns that the mastermind is named Chessmaster Hex.
Spike and Faye analyze the chess piece and only find chess data. Jet radios in with info on the mastermind. Ed continues to play with Hex, at one point thinking she has a checkmate, and instead takes Hex’s rook, much to Hex’s delight.
Spike reads off the bio on Chessmaster Hex:
- “Chessmaster Hex. Estimated to be 98 years old. A programmer that had been dubbed a genius from his teens. In the CosmoNet Chess tournaments he held the Champions Seat for decades. He applied his intellect to the Hyperspace Gate Project, joining the program at 30 years of age. He eventually developed the Central Control System that all gates use to this day. But after that he started to have doubts. He said the design had defects and the gates shouldn’t be built yet—he wanted to run more tests. So they fired him and built the gates anyway. He’s been missing for the last 50 years.”
- — Spike Spiegel
Ed tells Spike and Faye that she is playing with Chessmaster Hex in her e-chess game. Jet tracks Hex through Ed’s game while Jonathan follows behind the Bebop. Spike and Faye suit up and take their ships into an area of space that’s full of wrecked ships and spare parts from Astral Gates. Spike and Faye walk into a large area shielded off from space with a supply of oxygen.
Jonathan video links to Jet and tells him that he’s got a score to settle with Hex. Jonathan proceeds to blast the Bebop and flies off towards the Bohemian Junkheap.
Spike and Faye use locating devices to track the signal of Hex’s e-chess connection. They find a cat, dogs, plants and flowers, sleeping bums, a flock of birds, and a community of bohemians living among the wreckage. Spike and Faye blast their way into Hex’s room and confront him only to learn that he is senile. Jonathan points a grenade gun at Hex and demands for the money he lost in the Astral Gate Hijack. The Three Old Men, Antonio, Carlos and Jobim, jump down from the ceiling and talk with Hex as an old man. Hex is impressed by Ed’s chess playing ability while they seem to ignore Spike, Faye and Jonathan. Hex wants to have lunch but the Three Old Men tell them he just had lunch. Jonathan is at first sad over the money he lost, then gets angry and starts blasting away with his grenade gun like a madman.
Faye wonders what to do about Hex. Spike says Hex is no longer there. He’s just an old man who likes to play games. Back at the Gate Corporation Jet tells the entire story to the CEO.
Jet explains the story to the CEO:
- “Hex was furious. He wanted revenge and this is how he got it. He set up the sting to kick in fifty years later when the gate was pre-scheduled for its first automatic tech upgrade. It was all planned out. He even arranged for his operatives to carry chess pieces to let you know he had finally gotten back at you. But fifty years is a long time; Hex got old, then he got senile. He completely forgot about the traps that he himself had set.”
- — Jet Black
Jet says that they won’t go public with the events and the gate defects on the condition that they leave Hex alone and call off the bounty hunters. He says Ed would be unhappy if she lost her favorite chess partner. Meanwhile, Ed is still playing the same game with Hex after a week.
Back at the Bohemian Juckheap, Jonathan is seen smoking and accepting the bohemian lifestyle while The Three Old Men, Antonio, Carlos and Jobim float by and greet him as a friend.
Ed finally loses her chess game to the chess master and Hex closes his eyes-implying that he has died of old age-as his pet bird flies away and drops a feather next to a chess piece.
- “Right. "Hey kids if you’re a fashion-conscious young hood, remember that cute girl won’t even look your way unless you knock over an Astral Gate. Do it today!" You mean like that?”
- — Faye Valentine
- “You suits are using us bounty hunters like pawns, and I don’t appreciate it.”
- — Jet Black
[Jet warning about how the mastermind is seemingly leading them to him]
- “Remember, this could be a trap; a continuation of the game.”
- — Jet Black
- “Whatever happens, happens.”
- — Spike Spiegel
Themes and MotifsEdit
- Cigarettes: At the Gate Corporation CEO's Office Jet is asked to put out his cigarette. Again at the Gate Corporation's parking garage, Jet is seen smoking in a non-smoking area.
Homages and ReferencesEdit
- The Chess matches portrayed in this episode are famous matches from history:*
- Bohemian Rhapsody is a song by the English rock band Queen from their 1975 album A Night at the Opera.
- Bohemianism was first introduced in France in the nineteenth century as a term to describe the nontraditional lifestyles of poor artists, writers, musicians and actors in the low-rent Romani neighborhoods of major European cities. Bohemianism is comparable to the Beat generation of the 1950’s and the hippie counterculture of the 1960’s in the United States.
- Antonio, Carlos, and Jobim are references to the Brazilian bossa nova composer and musician Antônio Carlos Jobim.
Soundtrack List Edit
- Tank! (Opening Credits)
- Doggy Dog (SESSION TITLE)
- American Money (BIG SHOT)
- Pot City (when bebop crew is searching for clues)
- Piano Black (Chessmaster Hex... & when the Bebop heads for the space junkyard)
- Kabutogani Kodai no Sakana (when Spike & Faye are searching for Hex)
- Waltz for ZiZi (Chessmaster Hex wins...)
- The Real Folk Blues (Ending Credits)