| Pierrot Le Fou (Requiem for a Clown)
"Dōkeshi no Chinkonka" (道化師の鎮魂歌)
|Previous Session|| Wild Horses|
|Next Session|| Boogie Woogie Feng Shui|
|Original Airdate||March 13, 1999|
"Pierrot Le Fou" is the twentieth session of Cowboy Bebop.
In order of appearance:
Looming in the city's night sky, a mysterious figure descends upon a group of unsuspecting men to claim their lives.
After coming out of a bar, Spike accidentally came upon the scene of a brutal shootout in a dark alley. A mysterious man at the scene had apparently gunned down several men. Being aware of Spike's presence at the scene, the mysterious man proceeded to fire several shots at Spike with his gun which resembled a cane. Spike, reacting quickly, managed to dodge the shots, hide behind some garbage nearby and return fire from his handgun. However, he found that his bullets had no effect on the mysterious man as the bullet seemed to stop several feet short of its target by some unknown force surrounding the mysterious man. The man then floated toward Spike and began engaging with him in hand-to-hand combat. The man bested Spike in the engagement with a series of flying kicks and had him knocked down at gunpoint. Luckily for Spike, a cat nearby frightened the man causing him to shoot furiously at the cat instead. During this minor distraction, Spike managed to blow up a propane tank right in front of the man causing a huge explosion that he himself barely escaped from. However, to Spike's surprise, the man has somehow came out of the explosion seemingly untouched then proceeding to wound Spike's arm with a throwing knife. The man then proceeded to display his collection of weapons underneath his coat. Finding himself outmatched, Spike began to make an escape towards the river, but not before being blown into the water by the man's grenade launcher. Afterward, with Spike nowhere in sight, the mysterious man disappeared into the night from which he came from.
The next day Jet and his friend Bob discuss the incident on how Spike was lucky enough to get away with his life, Bob tells him that the man he encountered is called "Mad Pierrot", Spike is seen the next morning on the couch covered in bandages, Faye calls him the living mummy and they discuss the strange man he encountered and how Spike always gets into situations like this, Bob explains that Mad Pierrot was the seventh person to be conducted in experiments in order to create the ultimate killing machine and they say they that Spike is the only known person to survive an encounter with him and that he enters and leaves a scene with a smile and that Mad Pierrot's real name is Tongpu.
Meanwhile Ed receives an email saying that Spike has been invited to a party and that it's being held in the theme park Space Land. Spike tells Faye that if he gets into trouble that she will come to his rescue and Faye calls him an idiot for saying that. As soon as Spike leaves Jet arrives and tells Ed to do him a favor. Spike arrives at Space Land where he encounters Tongpu who tells him to party while exchanging gun fire at him leading Spike on a mad chase. During the chase Spike encounters many of the amusement park's mascots that tell him how dangerous the fun house; he is entering is. Tongpu arrives on a penguin car and fires a rocket at Spike, meanwhile Jet tells Ed to hack the website of the ISSP the company that created Mad Pierrot. When the company deemed him insane, Tongpu killed the officials and doctors involved in the experiment.
Meanwhile, Spike is being chased by Tongpu and shoots at him forgetting that the vest is bullet proof. Along the way Spike encounters another mascot, which resembles a mix between Goofy and Pluto of the Disney company, that greets him. He tells it to shut up and beats it up, he then accidentally steps on a mine field which propels him into the air. Tongpu catches him by the leg with a whip and tosses him onto a rollercoaster. He then throws a bomb at him in the cart and Spike falls from the rollercoaster into the river below. Meanwhile Ed has managed to hack into the website where she finds a recording of the experiments performed on Tongpu. While a scientist strokes a cat, the audience discovers that Tongpu escapes and murders the staff, Jet reads that the experiments caused him to regress in personality to a child, a child that likes to kill, and he remarks that there is nothing as innocent and yet so cruel as a child.
Spike has managed to swim to shore where he is greeted by Tongpu who tells him "it's showtime" and shoots at him with a rocket, Spike manages to escape when a couple of rockets strike near Tongpu which reveals Faye piloting the Red Tail cruiser, Tongpu dodges the rockets and shoots down the cruiser. The explosion sends Spike crashing into a gift shop while Faye lands safely but is rendered unconscious.
Tongpu approaches Spike and tells him "prepare to die" when suddenly a toy cat falls from a shelf and starts meowing freaking out Tongpu who shoots the toy to pieces. Using this diversion, Spike escapes and fires at Tongpu who then shoots Spike's gun out of his hands. A parade of mascots begins. Spike slowly reaches for a small dagger, tucked away behind him on his belt. As the lights flash, they strike Spike's eyes in such a way that Tongpu remembers the eyes of the cat from the laboratory. In a scream of fear he fires and the bullet pierces Spike's shoulder. Spike throws the dagger at Tongpu, hitting him in the leg. This one wound reduces Tongpu to tears, causing him to fall down onto the ground crying out for his mother. As he is lying there the parade of robots pass over him with the largest one stepping on Tongpu, killing him.
Jet contacts Spike with information on Tongpu, but Spike interrupts, saying that he no longer needs the information. He then quips how he hates amusement parks.
"Hello, gentlemen. I have come to take your lives."
—Mad Pierrot Edit
"Really... There is nothing as pure and cruel as children."
Themes and MotifsEdit
- The image of unchanging faces (like masks) is constant, both in the animatronics in Space World, and in the Mad Pierrot's own face, and acts as a foil to Spike's constantly relaxed demeanor, and raises questions as to what Spike is hiding under this "mask".
Real World ReferencesEdit
- Pierrot Le Fou is a 1965 postmodern film directed by the French and Swiss filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, who was one of the founding members of the French New Wave in cinema. The name Pierrot Le Fou, or Pierrot the Sad Clown, originated with a stock character in 16th-century commedia dell'arte.
- Tongpu's character seems to be based off a mixture of three of Batman's nemeses: The Penguin (in attire) , The Joker (in certain mannerisms) and the less popular villain Tally Man (in personality, weaponry, and design) who is also an assassin, first appears massacring a group of criminals, has the seeming ability to fly, a cruel almost permanent grin, and a disturbed childlike personality.
- Tongpu's character also resembles "V" from Alan Moore's "V for Vendetta" comic book. He is a victim of an experiment and killed important members of the organization responsible for it. Also, he is quite theatrical and wears a top hat.
- Spaceland seems to be a clear nod to Disneyland with many characters in the park resembling Disney characters such as the Donald Duck statue in the background, a Goofy animatronic wearing a sailor uniform, a Pluto roller coaster and others more who could be a reference to other cartoons such as Loony Tunes.
- The motif of inviting the protagonist to a theme park is also used in "The Killing Joke" - a graphic novel in which Joker lures Batman into a deserted amusement park.
- The scene with Tengpu's ISSP testing flashback based on "Project MKUltra" - sometimes referred to as the CIA's mind control program.
- The episode is visually inspired by Batman the Animated Series. Worthy of note is that Bebop's production company Sunrise had actually done work on the series.