Cowboy Bebop Wiki

“Whatever happens... happens.” — Spike Spiegel

"Wild Horses" is the nineteenth session of Cowboy Bebop.


Written by:

  • Akihiko Inari

Co-Written by:


Animation Director

  • Hiroshi Osaka

Mechanical Animation Director

  • Masami Goto


Red Tail passing Earth's moon

Spike, in the Swordfish II, has broken down while on his way to overhaul his ship while Jet and Faye are "fishing" for a group of pirates by the names of George, Herman, and Ruth. Jet in the Bebop and Faye in the Red Tail, "broken down" as bait. She is, of course, complaining that it's not her style to wait around, and Jet talks back to her until Ein cuts off communications.

Spike finally encounters another soul, but it's not Doohan, who he was expecting, but rather Miles, Doohan's assistant. Spike braces himself for Miles' obviously excessive excited and enthusiastic personality, and gets his ship on Miles' truck. Eventually, they make it to Doohan's compound. Doohan doesn't acknowledge Spike, rather, gets right to work evaluating the Swordfish and barking orders at Miles for the (surprisingly rare) parts it needs.

Faye's console infected

Faye and Jet find their pirates, who start the process of capturing a trucking ship using a grappling hook that immobilizes it. Faye immediately comes up in front of them, guns ready, but as quickly as they can, the pirates shoot their grappling hook again and the virus makes her ship go crazy, shooting in wild directions, including at the Hammer Head, in which Jet is yelling at Faye. The Bebop comes near, too, and another grappling hook hits it. Even with Ed at the controls, she finds the ship goes crazy before she can do anything.

Doohan and Miles working on Swordfish

As Spike waits for the repairs, he looks around at the familiar surroundings. Meanwhile, Miles is pointing out various things about the ship that are deprecated, annoying Doohan, who knows all that, to the point he demands Miles leave. Spike arrives with coffee and starts conversation, saying he hasn't changed. Doohan says that, like the Swordfish, he's just trying to make a point.

Just then, the rare parts arrive, so Spike turns to calling the Bebop to get filled in. As Faye describes the truck they were after, and Doohan haggles with Reggie, it seems the part came from the same truck – with a purple penguin on it.


The crew piece together the information they have, and Jet incentivizes Spike with Doohan's invoice for the repairs. Jet, even more determined to get them as they insulted the Bebop, has a plan: guessing they don't have an anti-virus, he decides to use an old satellite system to bypass the MONO computer on any of their ships, giving them an edge.

Red Tail and Swordfish intercept delivery trucks

They arrive at the likely spot, the Orbit Drive-In, only to find two trucks with the same purple penguin the pirates had on them, apparently since the truck was stolen from a legitimate trucking service, Moving Your Life. Deciding to shoot to see which one runs, Spike and Faye open fire. Faye goes after one, only to see they are not the pirates. Spike finds he has the pirates. Pursuing them toward Earth, he distracts them as bait and is eventually hit with the virus. He shuts down the MONO computer and has trouble with manual operation while Jet shoots their own cable at the pirates, immobilizing it. Spike takes his chances with manual flight and the Bebop arrives near, but the pirates' ship explodes, and Jet is hit with the virus. Spike takes a few more grappling hooks to protect it further.

Meanwhile, Miles finds he is overhearing the crew's communications on the radio, and gets Doohan's attention, as it sounds pretty bad. Doohan decides it's time to take out his project, a remodeling of NASA's Columbia space shuttle, to Miles' astonishment.

Swordfish entering Earth's atmosphere

Jet realizes he only has so many paths to take to rendezvous with Spike, meaning it'll be several hours. As the Swordfish starts to burn up by being too close to Earth, Spike just then sees he ran out of fuel, and morbidly tells Jet there's whiskey behind the fridge. He lights up a cigarette when Doohan gets on the radio and tells Spike he is coming, requesting his coordinates and claiming the whiskey for payment. Spike is shocked. Doohan and Miles then make a dramatic exit from the hangar in the Columbia, the first it has seen in years.


Doohan starts giving Spike directions to gain a bit of acceleration before he gets there. Spike isn't sure he can do the delicate work needed, but Doohan reassures him. As Spike gets to work, Doohan and Miles take off with determination and are successful. As Spike struggles with the calculations and his ship buckles anyway, he sees the Columbia and, despite all odds, gets the Swordfish center pod inside. The Columbia itself has some trouble, but, fortunately, it crash-lands with everyone surviving.


"Whatever happens... happens."
―Spike Spiegel[src]
"Do you want to control the machine or do you want the machine to control you?"



Homages and References[]

  • NASA's Space Shuttle Columbia, incidentally was destroyed on re-entry on February 1, 2003, two years after the episode aired in America.
  • Aircraft in Doohan's scrapyard include a B-25 Mitchell, a Mil Mi-24, an F-22 Raptor, F-86 Sabre and an F-16 Fighting Falcon. The tank which his assistant drives is an M4 Sherman.
  • "Wild Horses" is a song by the band The Rolling Stones off their 1971 album Sticky Fingers.
  • Baseball is referenced throughout the episode, most notably by Miles. Additionally the pirates names are George, Herman and Ruth - a play on George Herman "Babe" Ruth, a famous American baseballer. The trio is also inspired by the anime Macross for its method of using 3 different characters to communicate a parody; in this case, George Herman Ruth.
  • Spike's marks on the glass of his ship window to keep the Swordfish at a certain angle to avoid burning up in the atmosphere are based on the last flight of the Mercury program, when pilot Gordon Cooper had to do the same thing during reentry.
  • The sound effects used for both of the trajectory computers for the Bebop and Doohan's ship are sections of the boot-up sequence of the computer, MOTHER, from Ridley Scott's 1979 science fiction film Alien.
  • The starship mechanic in this episode is named Doohan. This is a reference to James Doohan, the actor who portrayed Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, the engineer in the original Star Trek series.
  • Miles's name could also be in reference to a character in a later series of Star Trek - specifically The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine as there is an engineer named Miles O'Brien