Hard Luck Woman is the 24th episode or "session" of Cowboy Bebop.
- Michiko Yokote
- Hiroki Kanno
Mechanical Animation Director:
- Masami Goto
As the Bebop travels through hyperspace on its way to Mars, Faye watches her old Betamax tape further, reminiscing on what memories she can still recall and searching for clues on where she can find more relics from her past. She eventually realizes Edward is right next to her, who was watching all along. Faye asks if Ed knows anything about the locations on the video, and Ed hints at it, but quickly falls asleep before she can reveal any information. Faye blows air into Ed's mouth so she could wake up
In the morning, the Bebop finds itself on Earth, much to the chagrin of Jet, since they're now losing time in catching a bounty head. Spike, brushing his teeth, plays it cool while Jet freaks out, simply saying, "the girls are gone."
Convinced Ed knows something, Faye has "secured" Ed to the top of the ship and promises "something good" if she helps her.
Meanwhile, a rover-type vehicle bounds through the massive craters on the surface. Two men exit the rover and explore, discussing their surveying work.
Faye lands and the two dig through garbage at the site of a massive landfill, when they gradually find themselves surrounded by young children. A nun, Sister Clara, gathers the children and turns a hose on Faye, thinking she may be an attacker. However, she recognizes Ed, surprising Faye. They are taken to an old orphanage, and Clara reveals Ed was there for a few years. At a meal, Faye gets up to leave when Ed reveals that this was part of her plan, and that she just wanted to return because the food was good. Clara reveals that there is a surprise for Ed, and she reacts in her usual hyper, eccentric manner. The surprise turns out to be: a holographic image of her father (and also one of the men from the rover earlier). Clara informs Ed that her father came by recently looking for her. Though the nun offers shelter, Ed and Faye choose to leave to search for more clues of Faye's past life.
Faye finally finds a familiar landmark, and soon she encounters Sally Yung, a friend from her school days. As several decades have passed since those days, Sally is visibly aged and in a wheelchair, but Sally nonetheless recognizes Faye and calls her by her name. Faye has a flashback, remembering Sally as she used to be, as well as a bit of the space shuttle accident. Sally tells Faye that she was put into cryostasis after the accident, but Faye can't remember. Yung's granddaughter comes up and Yung attempts to continue explaining, but Faye decides to leave.
Faye returns sadly to the Bebop, ignoring everyone and dejectedly lays down on her bed. Ein seems interested in the hologram of Ed's father.
Jet and Spike then get news of a nearby bounty head Appledelhi Siniz Hesap Lütfen, Ed's father. He appears to have a 50 million Woolong bounty on his head for robbing a bank.
Appledelhi, meanwhile, eats chicken eggs raw as the sun rises and asks his assistant, Macintire, if he would like one, saying his name wrong as a new meteor strike occurs. The men continue to chase after it, the former consistently mis-remembering the name of the latter.
Faye continues to remember more about her past life, and emerges from the shower determined to find more evidence of her existence before cryostasis, colliding with Spike as she rushes out of the bathroom still wet and in a robe. An agitated Spike berates her for running into him, but she uncharacteristically apologizes with a soft voice and wide, almost wounded eyes, surprising Spike with her sudden vulnerability as she turns and continues running, explaining that she needs to go somewhere. Her departure is blocked by Ed. Faye remarks that Ed has someone waiting for her too, and that she should go find him, as "belonging is the very best thing there is." Ed contemplates Faye's words as the Red Tail flies away.
Spike and Jet locate Appledelhi near an inland lake, and promptly hold him at gunpoint. Appledelhi explains that he and his assistant are traveling Earth, making maps of the changed terrain. Bemused, Jet and Spike explain that new meteor strikes happen so frequently that to try and mark the constantly changing terrain would be an impossible task, before pointing their guns at him and demanding he come with them for the bounty. He holds them off suddenly by throwing eggs, gumming up their pistols, and then blocks Spike's hand-to-hand combat with deft ease until the Bebop suddenly crashes ashore, piloted by Ed with her remote control. Appledelhi looks up and recognizes her, calling her "Françoise" and they greet each other with excitement. He then thanks the Bebop crew for looking out for his son (or was that his daughter?) and pays them with a basket of eggs from his chickens. Jet re-checks the bounty and discovers it was actually only 50 Woolongs, and that the bounty wasn't real. Appledelhi offers Ed the chance to come with him, but before she can answer another massive meteor crashes nearby. Appledelhi and Macintire rush off again.
Faye lands near a steep path, where she has a flashback of herself as a young girl, running towards her home, as well as finally remembering the space shuttle accident of which she was the only survivor. Following the path, the flashback comes to an end, and Faye sees the foundation of her former home...all that is left of it.
On the Bebop, Ed hands a gloomy Spike a pinwheel. (It's later revealed in the episode guide made by "Tokyo Pop" that the children at the orphanage were taught to leave the pinwheels to mark places that they have visited.) Ed heads off into the sunset, her computer resting on her head as she walks. Ein realizes she left and follows her, leaving Jet to peel hard-boiled eggs.
Jet solemnly cooks all of Appledelhi's chicken eggs for dinner, his expression indicating he was annoyed that the bounty was a sham but grateful that they at least have something to eat as a small reward. When he calls out that dinner is ready and notices that no one is in the lounge area, he discovers Spike smoking a cigarette while contemplatively looking out onto the landing deck, where the words "Bye Bye", along with Ed's signature hacking smiley, are drawn in orange paint.
At the remains of her home, Faye draws a box in the dirt with a stick as the sun sets. As though it were her bed, she lays down and looks at the sky while the wind gently whispers by her.
Spike and Jet eat the eggs in silence, although their mutual emotions at Ed and Ein's departure are made apparent by their increasingly aggressive eating, shoving egg after egg into their mouths as fast as they will go down.
Ein finally catches up with Ed, barking and whimpering for Ed not to leave without him. Ed tells Ein that she is going some place far away, and that Ein should go back to the ship. She has a change of heart, though, asking Ein if he would like to come with her. Ein barks excitedly, and they run off into the sunset as meteors flash overhead. One last look at the Bebop reveals that Ed's pinwheel is taped to the ship's upper deck, spinning slowly as the light disappears.
"See you cowgirl, someday, somewhere!"
- Main article: Memorable Quotes from Cowboy Bebop#Hard Luck Woman
- Tank! (TV Edit) – Opening titles
- Piano Bar II – Session title card
- PAPA Plastic – Montage of Appledelhi and Macintire
- Waltz for Zizi – Ed returns to her old orphanage; Sister Clara explains her backstory to Faye
- Wo Qui Non Coin (Short Sad Version) – After revelations about their past, Faye and Ed fly back to the Bebop
- Pitiful Faye (Lip Cream) – Faye's past comes into quiet focus as she daydreams in the shower room of the Bebop
- Don't Bother None (Long Version) – Spike tries to arrest, and gets into a fight with, Appledelhi, which Ed gate-crashes
- Call Me Call Me – Jet and Spike finally get some protein, but Faye, Ed and Ein have had epiphanies; Ed and Ein decide to leave the Bebop for good
- The Real Folk Blues – Closing titles
- Waltz for Zizi – Preview for The Real Folk Blues (Part 1)
Homages and References
- Hard Luck Woman is a 1976 lead single by American hard rock band KISS from their album Rock and Roll Over.
- Walking on the Moon, the title of a book Spike is seen reading, shares its name with the 1979 hit single by the English new wave band The Police.
- Merlion is a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, and is a national symbol of Singapore. The landmark Faye recognizes resembles that of the merlion statue found in Singapore.
- Macintyre and Appledehli are references to Apple and Mac computers.
- Spike and Jet’s dinner of hard-boiled eggs is a reference to a scene from the film Cool Hand Luke, in which the protagonist Luke is challenged to eat 50 hard-boiled eggs in one hour.