Cowboy Bebop season 1, episode 5 recap – “Darkside Tango”

November 19, 2021
M.N. Miller 0
Netflix, Streaming Service, TV Recaps


Cowboy Bebop’s “Darkside Tango” is a satisfying hard-boiled noir that offers Jet Black closure and a revelation for Julia.

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Cowboy Bebop’s “Darkside Tango” is a satisfying hard-boiled noir that offers Jet Black closure and a revelation for Julia.

This recap of Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop season 1, episode 5, “Darkside Tango,” contains spoilers.

Read the review of season 1.

Cowboy Bebop season 1, episode 5 recap

The episode starts with a cop Noire flashback of Jet Black when he was a cop with his partner trying to find out who the dirty cop is in the precinct. They approach a suspect’s building named Udai Taxim, who knows who that man is. Dressed in trench coats and wearing sharp fedoras on their head, they knock on the door when Taxim steps out for the stairwell holding groceries. He sees them, pulls out his pistol, and opens fire. Jet’s partner is nicked from shards of glass but tells him to go on without him. When Jet finally reaches Taxin in a back alley, he asks him who the dirty cop is. He follows his eyes as they look over at a car that suddenly turns on its bright lights. Jet cannot see a thing, but he can feel the bullets that blast through his body.

By the way, it has to be Chalmers (Geoff Stults), right?

The Leaderboard

So, when the weekly leaderboard comes out on television, it’s a chicken shoot. About ten bounties, all over $25 million, and one of them is Udai Taxim. It’s like a reality show for the top bounty hunters versus the best criminals. But Jet has other ideas. He tells Spike and Faye to work together and grab some bounties, but he has some s**t to do. He pulls out his old case file with clippings of his arrest and his wrongly being convicted of being the dirty cop. He grabs his uniform, the suit, coat, and hat we talked about, and meets his old partner, Fad.

They begin to look for Taxim so they can prove it was Chalmers who was the dirty cop. They beat up anyone in their way, including taking out a man’s false teeth and breaking them in half. I mean, this is a hard-boiled Noire section of the show, after all. They go to the docks to go through shipping containers and find Taxim hiding, as Jet chases him from container to container. He corners him, and he demands to know if Chalmers was the dirty cop who shot him. Of course, here comes the twist.

Taxim is shot and killed as a bullet goes over Jet’s soldier. It came from his partner’s gun, Fad. And here comes the defacto explanation. Fad explains that he worked for the Syndicate. Because he needed the money. The story is done, so Fad apologizes for having to put Jet down. He fires a bullet, and Jet blocks it with his fake, metal arm. He then returns one shot, and it goes straight into Fad’s chest. He died instantly.

But here is the rub — Chalmers was tracking Fad and Taxim for months. He tells Jet if he had gotten to Taxim first, he would have given up Fad. It’s too lousy Jet killed the only man that could have cleared his name, huh?

Foot. Cockroach, Atomic Bomb

Faye and Spike can’t seem to figure out which bounty to go for. So, they play a game of Foot, Cockroach, and Atomic Bomb because Faye feels Paper Rock, Scissors is for older people. Finally, they settle with the old way, and she beats her with rock over scissors (young people are so predictable). But, with all their bickering, most of the good bounties disappear. Though, we know that arguing leads to sexual tension. They have a Lethal Weapon 3 moment, as they both strip down to their underwear to compare scars and wounds.  

This, though, didn’t lead to any physical affection. To my surprise, all it led to was talking about the revolutionary “shower, bath, shower” method and trying to locate a loofa on a stick.

Vicious and Julie

Last time, to earn some points for his wife, Vicious said he would kill the entire Syndicate elders because of what they did to his wife. However, Julie convinces him to overthrow them and become the head of the Syndicate instead. This isn’t because Julia is greedy. Because she is a pragmatist — this is the only way she can stay safe if he is at the top and won’t be viewed as an expendable pawn.

So, Vicious finds Mao (Rachel House). They found her through Julie, who was given the information from Ana. She is the “White Tiger’s” family who Vicious is trying to sway to his side. He wants Mao and Santiago, who use grape pruning knives to torture his enemies for days. “You’ll never know true power until you tasted the two testicles of the man who has wronged you” is part of the Santiago lore. To help smooth things over, Vicious makes an offer she can accept and take to Mr. Grape Nuts. He offers two percent of his net and the Ganymede territories.

Surprisingly, Mao says no. But she will change her mind if Julie will sing for her (I mean, this is an Indecent Proposal situation, go for it, Jules). Mao knows how to push his buttons, and she brings up Fearless that pisses off Vicious to no end. As he walks away, she starts to sing, to Mao’s delight and Vicious’s sorrow — he is just being emasculated at every turn. Too late, Julie happily takes the bait because it’s in her best interests. This sets the stage to help take down the elders to make more money selling whatever drug they come up with.

The ending

When they get home, Vicious whines how Julia embarrassed him, yet he doesn’t seem to get they had to, or Mao would run to the elders. As Vicious walks away to pout, she puts what Mao said about Vicious and Ana reminiscing about old times with a favorite drink of Fearless.

He must be alive.

What did you think of Cowboy Bebop season 1, episode 5, “Darkside Tango”? Let us know in the comments below!

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