Although it’s called “Hard Luck Woman,” this session could very well have been called “Hard Luck Women.” Shinhiroō Watanabe and his crew at Sunrise examine both Faye and Ed in this quiet session before the grand finale. Be warned: there are SPOILERS for this session and potentially previous sessions as well.
1. Two Women
This session, this penultimate session, certainly bites off a lot. In part, we see the resolution of Faye’s story arc with the mysterious Beta tape. But then we also get a crash course on Ed’s past, family, and history. This is a quiet, somber session. A way of providing some answers before the big finale, wrap up those last lingering threads. The moment the nun shows Ed the card from her father, we know she’s probably not going to be sticking around with the Bebop crew for much longer.
But how do the two plots echo each other? Watanabe and crew are obviously trying to draw parallels between the stories. We learn the bounty the crew has been chasing was put by Ed herself to try to find her dad. Faye’s been pouring over that Betamax video for hours, desperate to pick up any clue. Yet, while the desire to want to know about her past dominates her, Ed’s far more carefree. She ends up back at the orphanage mostly because there’s a lot of good things to eat. She doesn’t question everything, but merely adapts.
All this comes out when Ed and Faye meet the people in their pasts. While standing on a pier, an old woman approaches Faye, unable to believe her eyes. Just as the old woman is about the start on a story about why Faye went into cryogenesis, Faye abruptly runs off. But for Ed, when she finally comes across her father, she turns and goes. Part of this is obviously structural: Watanabe and crew didn’t want a pre-pubescent girl wrapped up in all the danger and violence of the finale (which is, you know, brutal, as opposed to the cartoon violence of “Mushroom Samba“), but I also think it speaks to their characteristics. Faye, when faced with something life-altering, decides to run away. Ed, on the other hand, dives in without barely a thought.
2. Dear Old Dad
After only a couple seconds with Ed’s father, Appledairy, we can all understand how Ed turned out so . . . Ed. An asteroid chaser, he races across the remains of Earths, launching seismic charges and diving into danger. He also forgot he left Ed at a day care center and proceeded to search the whole system for her. Despite this, he shows Ed an honest and open love that Spike, Jet, and Faye never do. (Even though he’s not sure if she’s his son or daughter, but I think that’s a joke about people unable to comprehend Ed’s a girl.) Also, despite his crazy lifestyle, he works to try to bring order to chaos through maps.
3. A-Plus Child Rearing
Just take a moment to appreciate how Faye transports Ed around. As she goes searching for that mysterious waterfall, she literally ties Ed to the hull of her ship. Ed, of course, is just delighted by the whole thing.
A scene later we meet the nun running the orphanage Ed used to live at, and the way she manages to calm all the kids down as they bombard Faye is by spraying everyone with a hose. “Sorry about that,” she says. “It’s the only way I can get their attention sometimes.”
4. All’s Revealed
Although she ran away, eventually all of Faye’s memories come flooding back to her. She was leaving Earth when her spaceship malfunctioned. I really love how Watanabe and crew deliver this scene, especially the shot when the Earth cracks, we pull back and realize it’s the spaceship window. It’s a fantastic image, one of those lingering moments that made Cowboy Bebop so special.
5. Exit the Es
And with that, Ed and Ein leave the Bebop. Watanabe gives them a John Ford send-off, complete with the orange-yellow sunset. They’re off on new adventures, and, I don’t know, it’s bittersweet to see them go. Ed’s my favorite character of this series.Continued below
That’s it not for now, space cowboys. It all ends next week with “The Real Folk Blues.” See you then.