Cowboy Bebop Episode 1 Recap and Ending, Explained

Based on the popular namesake TV anime (1998-1999) and the 2001 anime film ‘Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,’ ‘Cowboy Bebop’ is a sci-fi neo-noir actionadventure web series. Set in 2171, when a massive disaster has rendered Earth desolate and humanity has colonized all the terrestrial planets, natural satellites, and asteroids in the solar system, the story revolves around the bounty hunting crew or Cowboys of the spaceship Bebop.

In the season premiere, Spike Spiegel (John Cho) and Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir) garner the attention of the dreaded Syndicate. They meet Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda), a con artist and bounty hunter pursuing the girlfriend of Spike and Jet’s target. Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Cowboy Bebop’ episode 1. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Cowboy Bebop Episode 1 Recap

The pilot episode, titled ‘Cowboy Gospel,’ begins in the middle of a casino robbery. Tanaka, the leader of the robbers, gives a speech about how corporations have taken over everything and now squeeze every last drop of blood out of the “little guy,” while he goes around the casino, threatening and killing ordinary people. Suddenly, Spike and Jet appear and kill most of Tanaka’s lackeys even though they initially intended to take the criminals alive. Although they get Tanaka to the Inter Solar System Police (ISSP), the law enforcement agency in charge of keeping peace in the entire solar system, the money they receive is significantly lower than what either of them hoped for.

Meanwhile, in New Tijuana, a colony in the asteroid belt, Asimov, a former member of the Syndicate, and his seemingly pregnant partner Katerina walk into a bar hoping to sell about a hundred vials of a drug known as Red Eye. The Syndicate members soon arrive, but Asimov quickly kills them under the influence of the drug.

Jet is a former ISSP officer and doting father, who wants to buy his daughter a doll for her birthday, but the payment they receive for Tanaka isn’t enough to cover that. He learns from one of his former colleagues that a bounty will be soon issued for the capture of the perpetrator of what happened in New Tijuana. Although Spike has reservations about going back to New Tijuana because of past experiences and getting involved in the Syndicate’s business, Jet convinces his partner by reminding him that Bebop is his (Jet’s) ship and Spike owes him one for the mishap with Tanaka.

Cowboy Bebop Episode 1 Ending: Are Asimov and Katerina Dead? What Is Red Eye? Is Katerina Pregnant?

Yes, Asimov and Katerina are dead. After reaching New Tijuana, Spike and Jet begin searching for the lovers. While Jet visits the bar where the deaths occurred, Spike goes around the town asking about them. The latter discovers that Asimov is in a medical clinic getting treated for the injuries he received during his encounter with the Syndicate, while his partner waits for him by the car. Spike approaches Katerina and speaks to her. This is when he meets Faye Valentine, who puts a gun on the back of his head.

It is revealed that Faye isn’t there for the 2.5 million Woolongs (the currency of the solar system, symbolized by a W with a single line through it) on Asimov, but for Katerina, whose father, a wealthy man named Elis Montgomery, is looking for her. As Spike and Faye are busy with each other, Asimov and Katerina escape.

The Red Eye is a type of banned performance-enhancing drug taken through the eye. It enhances the user’s senses and physical abilities. Asimov thought that he could sell the Red Eye vials so that he and Katerina would have enough money to leave New Tijuana for Mars, which, in the absence of a habitable Earth, has come to be regarded as a paradise.

Ultimately, Asimov is killed during a fight between Asimov, the Syndicate, and Spike and the fledgling crew of the Bebop. Faye fatally shoots him when he tries to choke Jet to death under Red Eye’s influence. It is revealed that Katherina isn’t pregnant. The lump on her belly is actually made up of the Red Eye vials she and Asimov stole.

In desperation, Katerina boards a spaceship with Asimov and tries to leave for Mars. But Asimov soon succumbs to his injuries. Spike follows her into the space and urges her to return, knowing that she will be killed by the ISSP unit guarding the hyperspace gateway. But with Asimov dead and her dream of a happy ending on Mars shattered, Katerina’s will to live is all but gone. She drives straight to the gateway and is killed.

Who Is Fearless?

It seems that Fearless was Spike’s codename when he was part of the Syndicate. Something happened between him and Vicious (Alex Hassell), the leader of the Syndicate, most likely involving Vicious’ paramour, Julia (Elena Satine), which led to Spike faking his death and leaving the Syndicate. In the anime, Spike and Julia began an affair and unsuccessfully tried to leave the Syndicate together. It will be interesting to see how the Netflix series adapts this.

Either way, Spike sees the tragedy of his own life play out in the relationship between Asimov and Katerina. But their ending is even more morbid than what he and Julia got. However, now that Vicious is aware that he might be alive, those nearly forgotten chapters of his life are bound to come back to haunt him.

Read More: Best Sci-Fi Shows