Ganymede Elegy

They say taking naps helps you get better sleep at night. So lately, that’s what I usually do after lunch. Power nap. While listening to songs on YouTube. But then there are things that are better than taking power naps. One of them is re-watching episodes of Cowboy Bebop. Because they’re gold. And they’re only 24-minute long, on average. The other day, I watched Ganymede Elegy. Episode 10 — or, Session 10, as the show calls them. IMDB synopsis goes, “Jet confronts his past on Ganymede where a woman he loved, Alisa, had left him without saying goodbye. Spike learns of a new bounty that has a connection to Alisa.”

So, the Bebop crew lands on Jupiter’s largest moon and not much really happens. And I mean that in the most positive way — see, a crowded plot isn’t always a good thing. Spike and Faye deliver the bounty head named Baker Panchorero and get their fistful of woolongs, while Jet visits a bar called “La Fin,” which is owned by his ex-girlfriend Alisa. Then, Faye strips to her super-conservative two-piece and lie in the sun all day. Warning: massive spoilers ahead!

Yes, that’s what Faye does for the rest of the episode — get a tan. And note she’s already tanned by the end of the show (with obviously hidden tan lines of course), which signifies “the passing of time” — a subtext in this episode. Edward on the other hand, goes fishing, and catches a fish that actually looks like a Pokemon. It’s probably a Pokemon. I dunno, I didn’t watch that show. Also, this in Ganymede. So, 99% it’s a Pokemon.

Fun trivia: The signage on police headquarters in Ganymede reads “THERIOT POLICE.”

So Jet goes back to Alisa maybe hoping to rekindle the fire. Given how he spaced out when they were about to enter the gateway, reminiscing how she left her without saying goodbye, without proper breakup, just the word “Farewell” written on a piece of paper. And with Jet taking out a broken pocket watch probably means that time has stopped for Jet after she left. Or maybe he’s thinking along the lines, “I’m timeless like a broken watch, I make money like Fred Astaire.” Although Paul Banks hasn’t written that song yet at this specific time and space.

One thing about the series being more episodic rather than serialized is that, each episode could stand on their own. You can go without watching the other episodes and still appreciate the story and the storytelling. While most of the stories are deeply rooted in genre conventions, the show always put a fresh spin on them that they don’t come about as cheap copy of something. They are derivative for sure — as almost all things are — but they don’t look or feel that way. And “derivative” here should be read not in the negative sense of the word.

I love how the chase scene — due to the music — stops being about the ‘action’ but about the emotional state of Jet and Alisa, the conflict, both internal and external. With Jet aggressively pursuing Alisa and her boyfriend Rhint (who has a bounty on him) on a speedboat, and Alisa, in a surprising turn, firing a gun at Jet, her ex. (This is surprising because the story is told mainly from Jet’s point of view.)

Did the hero (Jet) get the girl in the end? No, even though Rhint (the new BF) ended up with the police. Did he learn something new or change by the end of the story? Well, yes. He finally learned why Alisa left him (i.e. it was him, not her). He also threw the pocket watch to the sea just before the end credits roll. I think that means he’ll finally try to move on.

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