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In yesterday’s review of Dog Star Swing, I included the following footnote: “I am hoping that they kept Faye’s story and will do it justice.”

The very next episode, Callisto Soul, delivers the first installment of that, and does so really well.

This is the first episode of the live action[1] where the story has been taken from two of the anime episodes in almost equal measure. The first of these is My Funny Valentine which introduces Faye’s history, and her desperate desire to find out who she is. The second is Gateway Shuffle which featured the ecoterrorist Maria Murdoch and her buffoonish sidekicks/family.

The two are blended really well, and the episode also serves as a really good character piece for getting Faye on board the Bebop as a member of the crew. The combination is also a reminder that this season is only 10 episodes long: they don’t have a lot of room to play with[2] so they have to get on with things quickly[3].

They start with deep distrust[4] and a double cross or two[5] that leads to trust born of desperation as the stakes rise. Plus a shared sense of misfortune as Jet and Spike give up on their bounties, and Faye is forced to give up, well, pretty much everything she had left.

Of interest is that the ship Faye starts with in this episode is not the iconic ship she flies in the anime… or that has been seen in the new OP. I suspect that getting that will be a future plot point, and one that I’m looking forward to.

There’s also a running gag about comparing Faye to some dude called the Cosmonaut. I’m kind of wondering if he’ll turn up at some point as well.

Towards the end of the episode I liked Jet being a better judge of Faye’s character and Spike being a better judge of her piloting. It’s subtle, but it shows the differences in their backgrounds.

I also mentioned yesterday that I thought that Faye had the best back story in the original, one that really paid off in episode 24 Hard Luck Woman where she was forced to face the loss of her past. It’s possible I was reading that recent rewatch into Callisto Soul, but I don’t think so.

I really think Daniella Pineda sold that aspect of Faye’s character in Callisto Soul, and I think that she’s an actor I’m going to have to keep an eye on in future.

Finally, Callisto Soul feels confident. It feels like an episode where the makers have worked out what sort of show their Cowboy Bebop is, and Callisto Soul is all the better for it. This is very much a character episode – yes there’s some spectacular action going on, but it’s the “why” for Faye, Jet, and Spike that matters. And that’s good television.

Stay tuned next week for Darkside Tango

Question of the Post: What are your thoughts on Callisto Soul?

[1] Or at least the first time I’ve noticed it so blatantly.

[2] Although I think the individual episodes are significantly longer than anime TV episodes

[3] There is, inevitably, a minor scene with Vicious and Julia. Julia shows increasing agency in this vignette, but it really is a sideshow to the main event.

[4] Which, frankly, is more than somewhat justified after Cowboy Gospel. On all sides.

[5] Some of which are happening in the same scene, which I thought was hilarious.