Ah-ha! So that’s who the young girl in the cover is. Edward’s an odd name for a girl but this show - - hell, this episode specifically - - is full of strange names. I really didn’t get what the joke was about her naming the evil AI “MPU” - - other than it just being a flight of her girlish fancy. Spike’s comment about her completing the trifecta of things he should never have on his crew was a brilliant button line (and great complement to that sight gag showing the smiley face they carved into the world.) I’m kind-of surprised that it’s taken nine whole episodes for COWBOY BEBOP to get its primary cast together. Most shows would have most everybody together in the pilot. I suppose they were just biding their time… because this girl’s definitely going to be good foil for everybody in the crew.
Continuing the movie referencing, I’d say that this episode was pretty much spot-on in the style of every pre-MATRIX cyberpunk movie. I’m talking about HACKERS, JOHNNY MNEMONIC, LAWNMOWER MAN, THE NET, and so on.
Back when the internet was such a wonder to the average citizen, they could buy it being represented in literal “cyberspace” interfaces that would’ve actually made any contemporary computer cough up blood. This might actually be the first time I can identify anything produced in the 90s as having a “retro-futurist” aesthetic, because it’s abundantly apparent that this is a cyberpunk space opera circa ‘96’s imagination. The treatment of the internet here’s pretty evident of that, as well as the blocky cell phones and even the style of the airplane cabin in the previous episode. I’ve been flying all my life, so take it from me… I haven’t seen a plane with one giant movie screen for everybody to share in at least ten years.
But I digress…
This was a fun episode, all-in-all. You get a plucky addition to the cast, some epicly-scoped black comedy with MPU’s global graffiti and even some straight-up, BUCK ROGERS-style space combat with Spike and Jet’s assault on the satellite. I’m looking forward to seeing what “Ed” brings to the show.