Bebop Musings:The Fate of Spike Spiegel

As I watched the last few episodes of Cowboy Bebop I felt a serious dread. Maybe because I would never get to watch this show the same way once I knew the fate of the characters. My favorite character was Spike and from the beginning of The Real Folk Blues sessions I knew this would not end well. In all the other episodes you can say “Spike can’t die, there are blank number of sessions left.” But for every time Spike escaped death you knew his luck would eventually run out. And in the end our anti-hero met his fate.

Or did he?

At first I thought I was just in denial. Spike is dead. His star burned out. The tiger-striped cat story told us exactly what we knew this whole series. The one thing that can hurt the invincible Spike is love. Spike met his fate.

But if he is dead why tell us so many times? Why tell us over and over in just about every scene that Spike is doomed? Would the powers behind this series want to prepare us for the end? Where is the fun of knowing exactly what is going to happen? When Ed and Ein left I was completely caught off guard. If there were hints it would only be seen after re-watching. I’ve never thought off this series as obvious. The subtlety seemed to show a respect to the audience that made me an instant fan.

I’ve read from another submission about the Punch/Alfred scene. The interpretation was a good one implying that the mother is merely stating what Spike was feeling. I would like to view a more positive interpretation. In all the protesting at the end the mother left with Alfred feeling welcomed and finally belonging. I believe that paralleled Faye and Jet’s relationship more than a reference to Spike. No matter how many times Faye left it was Jet who wanted her back.

Another submission reference was the first episode which I agree could have been a sneak peek to the ending of CB but in my opinion mirrored the fate of Julia and Vicious not Julia and Spike. Julia chose to stay behind and become a fugitive much liked Asimov and his girlfriend. Asimov is obsessed much like Vicious which is what leads to his downfall and he takes the one he loves with him.

My rationale says that for all present purposes Spike is dead. But I still feel that the end was open for interpretation. I would never insult the series by implying a soap opera style sequel was a possibility. But the ending in all its finality still left a lot to the imagination. Couldn’t that burnt star belong to Vicious? Could the death of Spike just mean the death of his past? Remember that Spike told Faye that he was not going there to die but to know that he is alive. I have replayed the showdown between Spike and Vicious and never did I see how deep Spike’s wound was.

For now we must accept that our favorite anti-hero is gone. But I’d like to believe that Watanabe Shinichirou left the ending with the possibility that he could bring Spike back. Even if he never does maybe he just likes the thought of knowing that he can. And with that I can finally accept that Spike is gone.


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