I can't believe it's been more than six months since I've last added to this list. I mean, I knew it would take time to write these posts, but Jesus Christ.... I'm sorry readers. I guess that means I've had six months to decide my all time favorite Cowboy Bebop episodes.
AS USUAL, SPOILERS AHEAD.
Not like it's any surprise as to what's number 1. Real Folk Blues is a true finale for Cowboy Bebop. Even for a series that has so many stand alone episodes, Real Folk Blues nicely ties everything up. There are a lot of cool moments sprung throughout the last two episodes. Sadly, Ed's arc is done, but seeing Faye cruise around with Julia was pretty cool. And watching Jet was the Bebop in darkness was touching.
In the end, this episode was about Spike. It's always been about Spike. I'm writing this from the stance that I assume you've already watched it, so I won't get into details of the episode. However, my thoughts are it's the perfect Spike episode. If the first episode tells you who Spike is, then this episodes tells you what Spike is all about. At his core, he is a romantic. Despite what he answers to Jet, it's always been about the girl.
There's some ambiguity to whether Spike is truly dead. I think the answer is pretty obvious though, even if that means it kills any chance for more episodes. Spike is dead. He was dead long before his final battle and raid on Vicious. He died the moment Julia died. Steven Blum plays Spike so well in this episode, because the moment Julia dies, you can hear it in Spike's voice that he's dead as well.
It's the subtle changes in his voice that make me think this. Spike was already a wanderer before, going about life so carelessly, but those scenes after Julia's death, it's as if his soul is gone. He has a light hearted story with Jet and shares some secrets with Faye. These are sad times as the characters know that Spike's fate leads to one road, but they let him go that way because they know deep down inside, there's nothing left for Spike to live for.
When Spike died, I was sad. Spike was the epitome of cool, and to see a character you've attached yourself to die in such a way, it was like a gut punch even though you saw it coming. Yet in the end, I knew it made sense. But that's what a great series can do to you. It makes you accept the tragic even if it's not what you want because it makes sense. And for a series that dealt far into the imagination of sci fi, where stories could be farfetched and odd, it made sense.
So until then...