| Brain Scratch
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Brain Scratch is the 23rd episode or "session" of Cowboy Bebop.
In order of appearance:
SCRATCH, the migrate to electronics movement, has gained minor popularity with its teachings on the destiny of humanity, which the group believes will be to leave their bodies and join the "infinite sea of electrons". Spike is watching a CBC Action News profile on the group in a piece which tells of their radical views and their leader, Dr. Londes and efforts by the ISSP and the Solar System Police to investigate the group. On another channel, Samantha Copeland introduces a piece called "Insane Order!: SCRATCH" which attempts to evaluate the rapid growth of the group, and on even another channel, News Close Up, a news anchor explains that SCRATCH use brain wave control devices from the video game, Brain Dream, to analyze their own brain waves and copy their consciousness into a digital form, which Dr. Londes believes allows his followers to exist outside their own bodies. Dr. David Levinsonn, a professor from Mars University School of Medicine as part of the Department of Neurosurgery doubts Dr. Londes' methods, dismissing it as pure science fiction. Before shutting off the TV, Spike sees Faye on a talk show discussing SCRATCH and saying that she has joined the group as a last-ditch effort to escape her debt, since without a body she will have no need for money.
After informing Jet that Faye has joined a cult, the two investigate and discover that the leader of SCRATCH, Dr. Londes, has a bounty of 38 million woolongs due to a charge of murder. They also discover that of the 20,000 followers of SCRATCH, about 100 members have committed suicide. On Mars, Faye has not actually joined the cult but is actually attempting to claim the bounty on Dr. Londes for herself. Edward tries to hack Londes' whereabouts while Jet and Spike go door to door to search for the man. However, all four come up dry as the SCRATCH members all claim that Londes has left his physical form. Faye contacts The Bebop but appears disoriented, babbling about getting rid of her debts. Jet orders Spike to track down Faye while he goes to buy a Brain Dream device as a last ditch effort to locate Londes. Jet accesses the SCRATCH website through the Brain Dream device, but it won't allow him to delve any further unless he joins the group. Edward fabricates an identity of "Marshall Banana" for Jet, and he enters the inner workings of the website. As the website plays a video of Dr. Londes elaborating on the beliefs of SCRATCH, Ein becomes restless, barking at the video, and Jet begins to fall unconscious. Before Jet completely collapses, he is bitten by Ein, causing him to remove the Brain Dream device and stop the upload of his consciousness.
After testing himself, Jet discovers that the SCRATCH program uses a high-frequency pulse to paralyze the sympathetic nervous system for some unknown purpose. Still intent on using the SCRATCH website to locate Londes, Ed and Jet try to access the system again, this time using Ein as the test subject. Ein uses the false name, "Gina Szanboti", and the program starts over again. This time, they are able to hack into the website only to discover that Dr. Londes is not actually a real person. All of his background information and history were entirely fabricated. The origin of the false identity points to Alles Valley Hospice on Mars. Jet and Ed disguise themselves as father and daughter and bluff their way into the building. Meanwhile, Spike takes the Swordfish II to the surface to locate Faye where he discovers her unconscious in an abandoned building filled with television screens playing white static. The disembodied voice of Dr. Londes addresses Spike, claiming that he just put Faye into a deep sleep, his preferred method for warding off bounty hunters. Spike tells Londes to reveal himself, but the voice reveals that he is just a character invented as a way to control people. As Londes tells Spike about the dangers of television, and its ability to influence and control the population, Spike begins to grow tired. He tries to stave off the effects of the voice by shooting out the television screens, but there are too many and he collapses.
In the hospice, Ed and Jet discover a young boy on life support who is controlling the "Dr. Londes" voice and is the creator of the program. Ed accesses the program and begins to shut it down to the distress of boy on life support. Spike realizes the nature of Londes and accuses the voice of simply being a kid with a toy, irritating "Dr. Londes" who replies that Spike doesn't know anything about him. As the program begins to shut down, "Londes" says that he just wanted everyone else to experience the same existence as he was experiencing, a disembodied soul with no control over his body. Once the "Londes" program has been shut down, Jet discover the true identity of "Londes", Rosny Spanngen, a young hacker that had fallen into a vegetative state due to a medical accident two years ago at the age of 13. Jet arrests Spanngen, placing handcuffs on his comatose body. Faye wakes up alongside Spike, curious as to where she is. Jet and Ed leave the hospice, having decided not to turn Spanngen in. Jet surmises that since all Spanngen could do was dream, his dreams eventually turned dark. Edward looks back at the building and wishes for Spanngen to only have sweet dreams from now on.
- Main article: Memorable Quotes from Cowboy Bebop#Brain Scratch
Hanashi (Session #23)
Real World ReferencesEdit
- Heaven's Gate was a cult whose members committed mass suicide in 1997 during the appearance of the Comet Hale-Bopp. S.C.R.A.T.C.H draws comparisons to this cult in that both groups sought to prematurely end their lives in order to begin a new life promised to them by their leader.
- "Sea of electrons" is a chemistry term, used to describe the behavior of electrons in metallic bonding. Metallic bonding is the way atoms of the transition metals bond, as opposed to ionic bonding and covalent bonding, the bonding types of ions and molecules, respectively.
- There is an ad for a Tomb Raider-like game in the video game shop with a cut out of series protagonist, Lara Croft.
- The consequence of having your mind to live on the internet and use it for damage is similar to the puppet master inGhost in the Shell.
- The controllers in the brain dream commerical are the Famicom, Super Famicom, Sega Mega Drive and PlayStation 1 controllers.