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premiere air date: December 16, 2001
summary: Several of the episodes in the series begin the way this one does - with a juxtaposition of past and present, so that you don't at first know which one is the now. The story begins as Spike wakes from a bizarre dream (flashback?) in a blues club, where a genius child harmonica player (Wen) is performing. This time the boys are hunting a bounty head named "Giraffe", who seemingly has a grudge against Wen's guardian, "Zebra." Unfortunately just as Spike is about the capture him, Giraffe dies leaving behind a puzzling message and a ring. Spike, being the upstanding guy he is, spends the rest of the episode trying to carry out Giraffe's dying wish, with some unexpected results. "Sympathy" is a particularly dark, poignant episode, and while not one of my favorites it has its moments. One theme brought up during this episode is a recurring one throughout the series: the nature of comraderie and loyalty. As almost an aside, Faye settles in a little bit more to life on the Bebop; although Spike and Jet still act as though they dislike her, they are getting comfortable with her being there. She's becoming a comrade. Another side bit to this episode: Jet is bandaging Spike, nagging him up and down about the way he always gets hurt, and Spike, like a wayward son, just says "I'm sorry." That scene, short as it is, is a microcosm of the whole Spike/Jet relationship throughout the series. I find the real affection between these two touching.
rating: B++

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