Cowboy Bebop Wiki

"Honky Tonk Women" is the third session, or episode, of Cowboy Bebop.


Written by:

  • Ryota Yamaguchi


Cast (uncredited):

Animation Director

  • Hideyuki Motohashi

Mechanical Animation Director

  • Masami Goto



Faye Valentine walks into a shop on Mars and is tracked down by a group of thugs. She shoots at them first with her Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun but they outnumber her and capture her. She is brought to the ship of Gordon, a criminal casino owner, who believes that Faye is the reincarnation of Poker Alice, a famous gambler from the Wild West. Faye doesn't confirm it, but when he offers to pay for her accrued debts, she decides to help him in an elaborately staged illegal business transaction that involves Faye's talent as a gambler and cheater.

Spike and Jet, meanwhile, enter Gordon's casino, Spiders From Mars, to get some quick cash since they are down to their last 5 thousand Woolongs. Jet comments that Spike's eyes are too good and he'll get thrown out if he wins too much.

Spike sits down at a blackjack table where Faye is the dealer. She was told earlier that a man with Spike's appearance will sit down at her table, lose all of his money, and give his last chip to her as a tip. Gordon wants Faye to deliver the chip to him and her debt will go away. However, when Spike comes down to his last chip, he decides to keep it and walk away. On his way out, he collides with his look-a-like and accidentally ends up with the other man's chip-the one that Gordon wanted. After the man hurriedly picks up what he believes was his chip, Faye catches up to Spike and demands the chip. Spike, not aware of the plan, loudly announces he knew Faye was cheating but didn't say anything. Looking around, she runs off when a couple of casino thugs approach Spike and ask him to come with them. They start a fight with Spike and it takes a large group of men to take him down.

Meanwhile, Jet has hit a jackpot of playing slots with a total winning of over 200,000 Woolongs. Faye uses her bracelet to remotely fly her zipcraft, the Red Tail, to her for an escape, shooting out the wall of the casino. Spike and Jet escape from the casino thugs without Jet's winnings and catch onto Faye's ship before she escapes the casino, startling her.

Gordon has the man brought to him, and he is disappointed to find that the chip he has on him is fake. After yelling at the man that the whole situation was planned carefully, he kills him.


Back on the Bebop, Faye is handcuffed on the toilet and confronted. As Ein seems interested in Faye's smell, Spike says they plan to sell her ship to cover Jet's lost winnings. She suggests to give the chip to Gordon and he'll pay for it handsomely. They don't believe her and they leave. She secretly contacts Gordon and tells her where she is.

Later, Jet and Spike learn from watching Big Shot that Faye is worth 6 million Woolongs and they decide to turn her over to the police. Jet inspects the poker chip that Spike picked up and learns that there is a computer chip inside. When Faye learns of the bounty, she is initially disappointed in the amount, expecting more, but then pleads for them not to turn her in. They ignore her. Soon, however, the ship is rocked by collision with Gordon's ship, who promptly demands the chip. Spike refuses, and Jet then explains that they know about the chip. Three years prior, a group at SIT created a master decryption program called "Crypt Breaker" which can decrypt almost any security code. Shortly after its completion, the programmer turns up dead and the program disappears. The catch is, the program itself is encoded, and the computer chip is the key to unlock it. ISSP has been searching everywhere for it, but couldn't find it due to it being hidden in a casino chip. This is where Jet intimates a past involvement with the ISSP. Gordon offers to pay, and they settle on 30 million Woolongs.

Spike takes his space suit out and jumps toward Gordon's ship. A man appears and, after Spike throws the chip, the man, while not initially armed, pulls out a gun from behind the suitcase of Woolongs and they have an old-fashioned standoff on the hull of Gordon's ship. Spike ducks behind a rotating turbine and sails into the air, then hurtling toward the thug, knocking the gun away, turning off the man's boots, and throwing him out into space. Then, he catches the chip he tossed.

Faye, meanwhile, managed to escape her handcuffs using a hairpin, eat some of their food, and get to her ship, despite being intercepted by Ein. She blasts through the Bebop's hanger, and, after a brief exchange with Spike, takes off with the suitcase before he can reach it. Gordon's ship retaliates by firing gunshots and rockets at the Red Tail, but Faye is able to reverse the polarity of the rockets and send them back to Gordon's ship, blasting the flight deck away.

Spike reaches the Bebop with only the poker chip, but to him and Jet it's worthless, so they spend it at another casino.


You know the first rule of combat? Shoot them before they shoot you.
— Faye, talking to a shopkeeper in a shootout

You don’t know anything, do you? Romani are Gypsies. And you know what we call someone like you? A gadjo, that means a bumpkin that doesn't know which way is up.
— Faye Valentine, after Spike captures and handcuffs her.
Gadjo. I like that.
— Spike Spiegel

It’s just like Charlie said in my dream. If you want to receive you have to give. See Spike, you got to listen to your dreams, that’s how you find your dream girl.
— Jet Black



Themes and Motifs[]

  • No Smoking Allowed: During the elevator scene Spike attempts to smoke a cigarette but Jet points out that there is "No Smoking Allowed". Spike smoking in non-smoking areas is a recurring theme in Cowboy Bebop.
  • Handcuffs: Twice in this episode Faye is handcuffed. First she is captured and handcuffed by the criminal casino owner, Gordon, and later on she is captured and handcuffed by Spike and Jet. She will be handcuffed once again in Gateway Shuffle.
  • Three Old Men: Antonio, Carlos, and Jobim make another appearance in this episode. They are sitting at a baccarat table and Spike taps their facedown card for good luck. The card comes out a natural nine, winning them a large pot as Spike helps himself to a few chips. Spike otherwise doesn't recognize the three old men from "Asteroid Blues".
  • Missed Bounty: Spike and Jet learn that Faye has a 6 million Woolong bounty on her head and attempt to collect by turning her over to the police. They fail to do so and throughout the series they are often unsuccessful at collecting on bounties.

Homages and References[]

  • Poker Alice was a 19th-century professional gambler and card dealer that was skilled in counting cards. Her fame grew in Sturgis and Deadwood, South Dakota around the same time as notable Wild West figures as Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Like Faye, she smoked cigars, carried a gun and was a felon.
  • Charlie Parker was a 20th-century American jazz saxophonist and composer, and is considered one of the most influential jazz musicians. He is considered one of the primary musicians of the bebop form of jazz that is faster and relies more on improvisation with harmony.
  • When Spike and Jet are in the lift, the lift has a screen that says "Welcome to Spaiders [sic] from Mars". The Spiders from Mars was one of David Bowie's conceptual creations, the backup band of his character and alter ego Ziggy Stardust. "Spiders from Mars" (properly spelled later in the anime) is likely to be the name of the casino.
  • Spike's spacesuit is similar to the spacesuit worn by Dr. David Bowman, a central character in Stanley Kubrick's 1968 science fiction film, 2001 A Space Odyssey.
  • Spike swallowing and then regurgitating his cigarette is possibly a reference to Tom Mullica, a magician whose signature act was cigarette regurgitation.


  • A honky tonk is a name given to bars in the Southwest and Deep South United States, often featuring piano or live band entertainment, typically cater to a rougher clientèle, and may be centers of prostitution. The history of this term can be traced back to as early as 1894.