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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Actual Cowboy Bebop Top 5 - Mushroom Samba


In my last article, I gave an introduction to Cowboy Bebop and my favorite episodes from the series, specifically my top 5.  I'm going to have to backtrack a little and remove "Asteroid Blues" from that list.  While it is a groundbreaking episode mainly because of what it is (first in the series that sets the tone of the show), I wouldn't say it's one of my favorites.  Important, yes.  Memorable, sure.  But not in my top 5.  If I'm going to through my actual top 5, I'm going to go with ones that I could watch over and over regardless of it's contribution to the show.

That's why of my actual top five, Mushroom Samba is in there.  I can't say it's really that important of an episode to the series.  Some might think it's actually pretty stupid.  The plot centers around the Bebop crew running out of food and crash landing on Io.  They send Ed to find some food, and she comes back with hallucinogenic mushrooms.  Hilarity ensues.  Kind of a silly plot compared to Bebop's usual serious faire.

However, comedy works pretty well with Bebop, and this is one of two episodes that's a straight up comedy story (the other being Cowboy Funk).  It's a nice change of pace from the darker episodes (like Sympathy For The Devil) or the heavy Vicious storyline that runs throughout the show.

What I enjoyed about the episode is Ed.  She makes this episode.  She hasn't really gotten an episode of her own other than Jamming with Edward, which was her introduction episode.  She's always been relegated to a support character as opposed to Jet and Faye, who gets entire episodes catered to them.  Most of the time, she's used as a convenient way for writers to move along the plot with her technical prowess.

However, other than Spike, she's probably the most interesting character of the crew.  She's the perfect comic relief compared to the rest of the Bebop crew whose storylines are heavy.  And the best thing is, the writers never "make it serious" with Ed.  There's no back story to weigh her down, every interaction the crew has with her pretty funny.  I kept waiting for there to be an episode where ED GETS SERIOUS, like a messed up back story or something, but that never happened.  And I was glad it never did.

That being said, there certainly are flaws, the obvious one being the over exaggerated caricatures of those on Ed's pursuit.  It's almost cringe worthy, but then again, you have to take it in for what it is.  But then again, everything is pretty over the top in this episodes, from the hallucinations to the bad guys.

The small things also make this episode great.  From Ed's first attempt at wearing socks to the way Ed tricks her crew members into eating the mushrooms.  Again, this isn't really an episode for everyone, but if you watch binge watch Cowboy Bebop, it's really a much needed break from the doom and gloom of humanity that the series sometimes focuses on.

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