cowboy bebop 30 day challenge, day 23: in which there is a best episode …

It’s always just a little bit of a tough decision when you have to narrow something down to its best iteration, especially one as consistently amazing as Cowboy Bebop, and I’ve been going back and forth on it for a little while … actually a little thankful that I waited until near the end of the challenge to address it. But I was able to figure out the king of this creative mountain – what I believe is one of the best character-building episodes of all time: “Speak Like a Child.”

While Faye isn’t necessarily my favorite character, her backstory is intriguing, and her development from this episode on brings us to see her cocky commitment-phobic attitude in a much different light. Every single criminal or villain or antihero began as a child, full of dreams and hopes, but at some point in their lives, they simply give up on … well, themselves. Hell, regular people do that, too – I’ve been personally struggling with something similar and watching this ep just got me all introspective about literally everything. I’m reexamining my life, choices, goals, and plans, and this ep reinforced the importance of looking inward in order to move forward.

Not much happens story-wise, as Spike and Jet go on a rather amusing hunt for a betamax player (of all fucking things), and Faye pretty much just spends money betting on horses (it’s Faye, y’all, what do you expect?), but the present is beautifully interspersed between bits of footage from the beta tape. I was engrossed in the very beginning of the episode, almost despite its more subdued approach. It ends on a bittersweet note, and it’s not really resolved until a several episodes later (“Hard Luck Woman”), but like with “Stray Dog Strut,” that is not to the detriment of the story being told. “Speak Like a Child” is a love letter character study, poignant in its presentation, especially now that I’m older.

If I had made a message to my older self like Faye did, what would I have said? Would I have felt punched in the gut like Faye as she saw a younger version of herself, cheering her on and encouraging her? Or would I have felt that little girl was justified in her belief that I would be what she expected?

Fuck, this is getting deep.

Just go watch the episode. Prepare to want to cuddle.

Art Credit: PennLive

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