"Heavy Metal Queen" is the seventh session, or episode, of Cowboy Bebop.
- Michiko Yokote
- Hideyuki Motohashi
Mechanical Animation Director:
- Masami Goto
An interstellar trucker known as VT offloads a shipment and is met by a fellow trucker known as Otto who tries to claim a longstanding bet on guessing VT's real name. He fails by guessing "Val Tomiana" and VT collects his money. She heads to Mac's Diner with her cat Zeros to grab a meal and remarks that the place is unusually full of people. The bartender tells VT that the occupants are bounty hunters waiting on a man named Decker who is supposed to arrive soon. In the bathroom, Spike expresses his skepticism about their chances with Faye, complaining that the tip about Decker was supposed to be exclusive, but now many bounty hunters are present. Additionally, the only real information on Decker is that he has a dragon tattoo. Since he's hung over, he decides to make a prairie oyster at the bar. While he does so, a waitress named Muriel gets harassed by some waiting aggressive bounty hunters, the Memphis brothers. VT defends her, sparking a brawl which draws in Spike when he gets bumped while making his drink. He helps VT kick the guys out of the diner, and in return, she offers to get him a drink. She also expresses her disapproving opinion of bounty hunters, but Spike lets it go.
Meanwhile, Faye is staking out a nearby children's themed restaurant named Woody's in case Decker arrives there instead. Although she is skeptical that a lucrative bounty like Decker would show up in a place like Woody's, a large man enters with what appears to be a dragon tattoo on his chest. She approaches and successfully detains him, however, she inadvertently reveals to the real Decker seated nearby that bounty hunters are hot on his trail. The real Decker runs out the door, and Faye sees him and tears open the fake Decker's shirt to reveal that his chest tattoo is actually an eel. She chases him in the Red Tail, however, Decker throws an explosive in her path, wrecking her craft and allowing him to escape. Back on The Bebop, Jet is trying unsuccessfully to feed Ein bean sprouts when Faye calls to inform him about losing the bounty.
Spike finishes his drink which VT recognizes, saying she has only seen one other person drink, her husband. Just then, Three Old Men enter the diner and attempt to collect on her bet, but their guess of "Adrian" fails. Just as Spike attempts to collect on the bet, he is contacted by Jet, who tells him to chase down Decker. Now revealed as a bounty hunter to VT, she throws the bill at him, rescinding her earlier offer, since she hates bounty hunters. Spike accepts it, and leaves. He soon realizes that the Swordfish II has been wrecked by the three bounty hunters he helped beat up. VT eventually leaves as well to find Spike hitchhiking and, when Zeros climbs on Spike's head, reluctantly agrees to give him a lift. He negotiates for her to take Faye as well, and they load Red Tail and Swordfish II onto VT's freighter. Faye tries to tell Spike about the bounty head, but VT has her heavy metal music blaring.
After offloading Spike, Faye, and their damaged craft, VT gets a call from Otto who tells her that a crazy driver had smashed into his rig and he requests help to track down the guy so he will pay for repairs. When he mentions the painting of Saraswati on the guy's truck, VT recognizes it as Decker's ship and sends out a call to the other interstellar truckers to be on the lookout for Decker's ship. She gets a couple of responses from Love Machine and Sneaky Snake, but then Spider Mike, and his rig, Black Panther of Jupiter chimes in that he saw the ship near the old Linus Mine. She runs him down and he attempts to lose her by diving into the tunnels of the Mines.
She then contacts Spike. He immediately warns her to be careful, since Decker is carrying explosives, but the call gets broken. Spike and Faye rush to leave The Bebop in their partially repaired craft, since Jet has had only minimal time to repair them. Decker decides to try dropping explosives behind him, but it fails to stop her, instead inadvertently starting a chain reaction which destroys the tunnel they are in and kills himself. VT escaped the wreckage by punching it and getting ahead of him. She gets knocked out, but OK. She wakes up to Faye and Spike arriving, lamenting that Decker is dead but also that Decker was carrying enough explosives to blow up the whole asteroid.
They have to get Decker's ship out of the asteroid, since it is filled with enhanced nitro and the mine is starting to collapse. VT connects Decker's ship to hers and they head back through a different mining tunnel. However, the tunnel they are in collapses, trapping them inside. To clear the blockage, VT suggests using some of the explosive. They have Faye use uncharacteristic delicateness to take one of the containers. Spike, without consultation of either of them, plans to use his ship's pod to drive it to the end of the tunnel, setting it to automatically go. Faye objects and asks how he'll get out of there, to which he simply plugs his ears, opens his pod and jumps toward VT's ship. As Faye hurriedly gets the explosive into the pod and VT quickly opens her ship to receive Spike, Spike doesn't quite make it and is forced to use his gun to propel himself back inside. After another jump, he reaches VT's hand just as the pod fires into the end of the tunnel. It's successful, and all of them make it out.
As they leave the collapsing mine, Spike catches his breath and sees one of VT's belongings, a pendant. He then thanks her, this time by her full name, Victoria Terpischore. He reveals he figured it out through her husband, the legendary bounty hunter Ural Terpsichore, whose picture is on the pendant. VT reveals that Ural died sometime ago and is doing his bounty hunting up in heaven now. She attempts to honor the bet and give Spike the money, but he only takes one bill, saying that the rest is for Ural, since he's sure that he could use a drink up in heaven.
- “I got a thing for eels.”
- — Fake Decker
Homages and References Edit
- When Faye tries to capture Decker by staking out a restaurant, she mistakenly identifies him for another man. This man has a tattoo that looks like Decker's dragon tattoo but is in fact an eel. When Faye points a gun at the man with the eel tattoo, Decker freaks out and runs away. Decker looks strikingly like Woody Allen, and since the restaurant where he is first introduced is called Woody's it is probable that this is an homage. He is also named after Rick Deckard in Blade Runner.
- V.T. are also the initials for the first woman to ever step foot in space, Valentina Tereshkova.
- VT speaks with several truckers whose CB handles are Love Machine, Sneaky Snake, and Spider Mike. These are a reference to the C.W. McCall song "Convoy", as well as the feature film based on the song, as is V.T.'s use of the call sign "breaker one-nine".
- In the episode "Heavy Metal Queen," the character Otto was modeled after the character portrayed by Bunta Suguhara in Trucker Yarō ("Trucker Guys"), a series of ten films from 1975-1979 directed by Noribumi Suzuki.
- One of the bounty hunters in the bar tells VT, "I'm tired of you, Blondie." as a reference to The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
- The entire episode is a general reference to the Deep Purple song "Space Truckin'".
- The name of the legendary bounty hunter mentioned in this episode, Terpsichore, is a reference to the Muses. Terpsichore was the muse of dancing.
- After Spike leaves VT at the bar, you can see a bottle of "Boofeater"-s pin on the popular "Beefeater" gin.
- One of the brief images seen in the background of the Heavy Metal Queen's cab is Satyr from Satyricon.
- Written on the door to the bathroom stall that Spike is using while talking to Faye, it reads: "I wrote a letter to Heinlein once, asking him if I could use his ideas - I don't remember which song or which book now - but he wrote back to me and he said "Oh, my God, you're the first person, out of thousands who've stolen my ideas, who's written and asked". The quote is from Heavy Metal Magazine, August 1984 issue, from an interview with Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane.
- Decker's truck has a depiction of Saraswati