This posting contains spoilers of epic proportions.
Is this enough spoiler space?
I’m probably being ridiculous about it.
Do not read if you haven’t seen the entire series unless you don’t mind being SPOILED. 😀
That should do it. Ahem.
There is a fourth possibility for the end of Cowboy Bebop that has been kicking around in my brain but just now sort of gelled and I want to run it past whoever has seen the show and may have thoughs on the subject. I think it looks possible, but there are a few potential issues with it. Note up front – I’m not trying to make a case for this idea, it’s just something I noticed and felt the need to share. In fact, I know I posted about this on imdb.com’s Cowboy Bebop message board in the past, but didn’t have any detail behind the idea. Frankly, it doesn’t get a lot of traction with me, but hey, see what others think, right?
To recap – The three best-known perceptions of the end of Cowboy Bebop are:
1. He died – people believe he was slashed across the abdomen then collapsed and died on the stairs.
2. He lived – people believe he was (or was NOT) slashed across the abdomen then collapsed on the stairs out of exhaustion.
3. The ending is deliberately ambiguous, a la Shane.
These three have been discussed ad nauseum already both here and elsewhere so I won’t bore everyone with rehashing the arguments pro and con for these three positions. Plus I don’t really feel like going through that again (I don’t have anything to say at this point that I haven’t already said and I’m beyond tired of repeating myself).
The FOURTH, I think, is an interesting possibility, and that is that Spike DID actually die three years previous, that what we saw in the prolog was Spike moments before his actual death. Cut to three years later, he’s on the Bebop working out. I’m thinking this could possibly be an homage to Alex Proyas’ “The Crow,” about a rock musician named Eric Draven who is murdered along with his fiancee and is brought back to life by a crow who guides him along the path of revenge. He returns to the grave at the end. I think a Crow homage is possible because the main character was a rock musician and if I remember correctly, the music in the movie was pretty darned cool.
Here are where I’m getting this idea:
1. Already mentioned – what we saw in the prolog was possibly Spike moments before his death. Cut to three years later, he’s on the Bebop working out.
2. Asteroid Blues – Spike tells Bull that he’s already died once (referenced again in Real Folk Blues).
3. Ballad of Fallen Angels – Spike falling backwards out of that cathedral window with no visible means of surviving. Problem with this to follow.
4. Jupiter Jazz – Lin shoots Spike point blank and Spike survives, waking up surrounded by crows and crow feathers, one crow even sitting on his chest looking him in the face (homage to The Crow and possibly a hint?). Spike comes to and says that it must have been a tranquilizer bullet, “they’re mocking me.” Problem with this to follow.
5. Spike’s thinking he’s in a dream, like he’s not entirely sure of reality. This could be consistent with someone who thinks or knows that he’s dead, but is still walking around, getting hungry, hurt, etc.
6. “Bang.” Drop. ’nuff said.
With me so far? Ok, good.
Some of the problems I’m seeing with this:
Problem with 3: Jet was seen rushing out of his quarters after hanging up on Faye, “Not my problem!” Presumably he’s rushing to the Hammerhead and made it in time to catch Spike before he hit the pavement, much like Spike caught Ein and Giraffe with the Swordfish. So there IS an explanation for how Spike could have survived – they just didn’t show Jet catching him. If that’s what happened, of course. Maybe it’s supposed to be ambiguous. Or not. Just sayin’.
Problem with 4: Vicious doesn’t seem particularly surprised to see Spike walking around (ok, technically he was flying the Swordfish) after he was shot… unless he thinks Spike was wearing a bullet-proof vest. My question with that is, is that something Spike and Vicious (or any of the Red Dragon) did as a matter of course? Wear bullet proof vests? Sure didn’t look like it from the shootouts they showed us in the prolog, Ballad of Fallen Angels OR Real Folk Blues, so I’m not sure Vicious would assume that unless he thought it was the only possible explanation. I think I would still expect a bit of surprise from him to see Spike still among them. UNLESS… Vicious was just busy dealing with Gren, then Spike in the Swordfish to register surprise. Can you tell I don’t really know what I think about this? 😀
I don’t know if I ever bought the ‘tranquilizer bullet’ story. Would the syndicate USE those things? They didn’t know Spike would be there, had no reason to think he’d be there, so Lin wouldn’t have loaded tranqs just in case he met Spike. Unless he habitually carried two weapons, one with real bullets and one with knockout drops which he would use if he didn’t want to kill someone. I think this is assuming too much that has no basis in what they showed us here or in other sessions. This could be a plot hole (or something not explained or hinted at in the series). Seriously, this is something I’ve been having questions about since the first time I saw Jupiter Jazz. In short, not sure what to think.
Another potential problem with the Fourth Possibility is the fact that there were crows present in the scene where Julia was killed, but none where Spike was supposed to have been killed/returned to the grave at the end. That kind of blows a bit of a hole in the whole Crow homage idea too, because if Spike WAS supposed to be an homage to Eric Draven, I would expect to see crows at his alleged ‘death’ as well.
What do you guys think? Any more possible “hints” that Spike is influenced by or an homage to Eric Draven? Or are there holes in this idea that I’m missing or forgetting? I’m stacking these cards, please shoot them down (or add more cards). 😀