[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Cowboy Bebop Season 1, Episode 4, “Callisto Soul.”]
The villains of Space Warriors give a whole new meaning to “rooting” in the fourth installment of Netflix’s live-action adaptation, which is loosely based on the original’s “Gateway Shuffle”. Again, there are some similarities and differences, but the Space Warriors translate better on screen than any of the previous antagonists – mainly because the series keeps the intriguing family dynamic among eco-terrorists alive.
Like the previous installments, “Callisto Soul” involves Criminals, a Bounty, and a Quest to capture Villains for a few Woolongs. But the way the show arrives at this plot is different this time around. Hunter Faye Valetine (Daniella Pineda) follows a doctor to a fancy gala, where she demands that he get her her “Identikit”, which contains her personal belongings before it is cryogenic freezing. Faye woke up from a cryosleep with no memory of who she was before she was submissive, and the woman who claimed to be her mother was only using her to steal her money. It’s a tragic story that lands better in the original, mainly because it’s not delivered through the exhibit. But the adaptation makes a valiant effort, and Pineda makes it work.
As she blackmails the man to call his mother, Whitney Haggis Matsumoto, a group of bad guys storm the scene. They carry the leader of a construction group onto the stage and boast about how she destroys forests without caring about the life in them, and they wield a grenade that is supposed to be used as a threat to entice her to come back to her. employers and get them to quit construction. Except that the grenade explodes and the woman is transformed into a tree. (Branches shoot out of her like the shine of the chest in Extraterrestrial. It’s pretty graphic.) It’s the series version of the Space Warriors serum, which in the original turned people into apes.
In the chaos, the scientist is captured and Faye has no way to get her Identikit. Luckily, the Bebop boys – Spike Spiegel (John Cho) and Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir) – were in the area, and she talks to them about teaming up with her to bring in Space Warriors leader Maria Murdock – as long as he there is a 60-40 split, ranging [her] way, of course. But, Faye betrays them on the first chance she gets, stealing Spike’s ship (and Corgi Ein) to get to the planet where the Warriors were hiding. Once there, she finds out that they used their gas on the Scientist and he’s now a tree, so her chances of getting the Identikit are even slimmer.
Spike and Jet follow her, and after that, they team up for real. They pursue the Space Warriors and find themselves on another planet, where their main objective, as in the original, is to stop the missiles the Warriors plan to launch. This leads to a long space chase streak where Faye both attacks the Warriors and steals the Scientist’s radio from them. She tries to contact Whitney by radio in hopes of getting her Identikit (it doesn’t work). They stop all the missiles except one, which Maria launches manually; Faye makes a gesture of self-sacrifice to prevent it from hitting the planet.
Meanwhile, the plot of Vicious (Alex Hassell) and Julia (Elena Satine) continues to advance. Vicious, as in the anime, wants to take down the Ancients and become the leader of the Syndicate. But Julia suggests a coup rather than a total attack, convincing Mao (Rachel House) and the Eunuch to join him, which he accepts. Julia asks club owner Ana (Tamara Tunie) to arrange a meeting between Vicious and the others. Ana worries that Julia is getting too involved in Union affairs, but Julia maintains that this is her way out of the Syndicate.
At the end of the episode, Maria ends up being killed by her daughter as she uses a human tree serum grenade on them both (so no bounty for capturing Maria, then). And Faye is doing really well, thanks to Jet and Spike – she’s officially a part of the Bebop team.
Cowboy Bebop, Season 1, Streaming Now, Netflix