Cowboy Bebop: ‘Speak Like a Child’ Gets the Live-Action Treatment (RECAP)

Spoiler Alert

[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Cowboy Bebop Season 1 Episode 7, “Galileo Hustle.”]

One episode tends to show up on pretty much everyone’s “Best of Cowboy Bebop” lists—and that’s “Speak Like a Child.” The episode itself is rather straightforward: Faye receives a mysterious Betamax tape from an unknown source, and Spike and Jet have to hunt down a player so they can see what’s on it. But the final five or so minutes are truly tearjerking: The crew discovers that the tape is of Faye as a child, addressing her older self. “Do you like who you are?” she asks the much-older, despondent, amnesiac Faye. There’s something about the innocence of the question and hopefulness of youth juxtaposed with the tragedy of Faye’s life (she can’t even remember recording that footage) that knocks the wind out of you.

John Cho as Spike, Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black, Daniella Pineda as Faye in Cowboy Bebop

Netflix’s adaptation of the story is… uneven, much like the rest of the show. The Betamax tape plot is gone, replaced by Faye’s (Daniella Pineda) “mother” resurfacing out of the blue and asking for passage to Santo City; in that way, the episode borrows from “My Funny Valentine” as well. Whitney blackmails Faye into helping her, and as long as Faye gets her Identikit, she agrees. There’s just one problem—her mother is being tracked by a group of arms dealers, since she was married to their leader. Apparently, the relationship didn’t end well, and the guy is willing to use deadly force to get her back.

Throughout the episode, the mother-daughter relationship is explored. We see that Faye and her “mother” are quite similar in that they’re able to con people quickly and easily, and they don’t think twice about putting themselves first. But mirrored as they are, Faye resents her “mother” for waking her from cryosleep and taking all of her assets, then leaving her in the cold.

Surprisingly, her mother says that’s not what happened—she was prevented from getting back to Faye, and once she did, Faye was gone. In the end, they do make up and Faye gets her Identikit, which has but one video tape (you can see where this is going). The arms dealer? Yeah, not really an arms dealer at all: As Faye realizes, the “hurried passage to Santo City” was really just an elaborate role play type of thing, and the marriage is as strong as ever. (Too bad for the henchmen Spike (John Cho) and Jet (Mustafa Shakir) killed, though…?)



Meanwhile, Julia’s (Elena Satine) angry with Ana for not telling her Spike was alive. She considers running away to find him, but she knows Vicious (Alex Hassell) would kill her; then again, as she says, there’s a chance Vicious will kill her anyway. And speaking of her husband, he gets “The Eunuch” and Mao to agree to his plan, which is this—they bring him before the Elders and claim they caught him plotting to overthrow them. When they demand Mao executes him with his own sword, she’ll free him, and they’ll kill the Elders together. Except… Julia makes an entirely different deal with Mao for her to kill Vicious, and then Julia will give Mao “the entire throne.” What could possibly go wrong there?

As the episode ends, we get the adaptation of Faye’s message to her future self, and it is more or less exactly translated from the anime… with one crucial difference. As the message ends, a voice is heard: Her real mother’s. Granted, it’s been 200 years, so it’s unlikely her mother is still around. But the inclusion of the voice serves to further deepen the mystery surrounding Faye’s past, and one can’t help wondering if Bebop gets a second season, whether that voice would have a part to play.

Cowboy Bebop, all episodes now streaming, Netflix