Because it's near impossible for me to say any episode of this show is not worth watching, I made the above teirlist based on which episodes I personally enjoy the most. What follows is my reasoning behind my teirlist choices, and some byte-size analysis on them.
Session 1: Asteroid Blues
This episode is a stellar introduction to Jet, Spike, and Spike's hidden backstory. While the parallels between Katerina and Asimov's story and Julia and Spike's are obvious, right down to their ultimate demise, we have no insight into any of that yet. And I absolutely love when a story does that. We might be able to piece together that Spike has a reason for being so invested in what happens to the couple, but it takes the whole series to discover just how similar they'll become.
Session 2: Stray Dog Strut
Another solid episode, Stray Dog Strut gives us Ein, and in doing so shows us Jets soft side! I enjoy this one a lot for the chase sequence with Want it All Back by Mai Yamane, the goofs surrounding the rare pet dealer (I think this character would make a hilarious cosplay), the goofs surrounding the scientists turned dog catchers, and of course Spike showing that he does care about Ein by jumping into the canal to save him.
Session 3: Honky Tonk Women
Session 4: Gateway Shuffle
Session 5: Ballad of Fallen Angels
This has to be one of the most beautiful episodes, and I could probably watch it over and over again. I have a huge love for TV and film thats well scored, and while all of Bebop has excelent music, the scenes with Rain and Green Bird are among my favorites. After my most recent watchthrough, I'm surprised to look back and see that this episode comes so soon. It feels like a pretty big reveal, but it also prompts me to wonder what Spike's mentallity is going through the next six episodes.
Session 6: Sympathy For The Devil
I just don't enjoy this episode at all. I think the whole unaging curse reversed with a special bullet thing felt a little too fantastical to me even for the scientific explanation they tried to give it. Which is weird considering how much I enjoy Pierrot Le Fou, which is also very fantastical.
Session 7: Heavy Metal Queen
First of all, VT is one of the best characters in this entire series. I also love the concept of space truckers! Because of course space truckers would exist!
Session 8: Waltz For Venus
Session 9: Jamming With Edward
I love the concept behind this and I often wonder if it had any hand in inspiring Jon Bois' 17776. The glimpses of life on Earth are really neat to me, and it reminds me of one of my biggest reasons to love the show: its world building. Each character we see on Earth appears to have a fully fleshed out life and personality as shown by their environment, dress, and attitude towards Ed.
Session 10: Ganymede Elegy
While I do enjoy getting some Jet backstory, this episode just doesn't grab my attention like most of the others. There are two things that I really enjoy about it however, the first being that we learn Jet was somewhat of a controlling partner. In the podcast "The Bebop Beat" the two cohosts like to mention that Jet can be an unreliable narrator. I think this moment not only exemplifies that perfectly, but also demonstrates that Jet isn't an unreliable narrator because he's lying, but because he genuinely believes he's in the right. It gives his character a nuance that I really appreciate. I also really enjoy the use of ELM as the soundtrack to the chase scene. It's such a desperate moment for Alisa and Rhint, and using a slow song really emphasizes that.
Session 11: Toys in the Attic
Supposedly Toys in the Attic is the most devisive episode because people are equally split on whether its awesome or it sucks. While I'm not a fan, I think the episode is objectively good. The reason I don't enjoy it is that I like episodes that further the story as a whole and offer lots of detail about the world and the characters.
Session 12: Jupiter Jazz part 1
Session 13: Jupiter Jazz part 2
Out of all 26 episodes, I'm fairly confident this is my favorite- which is not that confident, but Cowboy Bebop is so good it's hard to decide!
Session 14: Bohemian Rhapsody
Session 15: My Funny Valentine
As much as I like the first portion of this episode where we see Faye's backstory, I find the rest of the episode so impossibly frustrating that it's hard to enjoy!
Session 16: Black Dog Serenade
I genuinely wish that I enjoyed this episode more. I love Jet's backstory on the whole, but the last time I watched this episode it just didn't grab my attention like other episodes do.
Session 17: Mushroom Samba
Session 18: Speak Like a Child
Session 19: Wild Horses
Session 20: Pierrot Le Fou
Session 21: Boogie Woogie Feng Shui
Session 22: Cowboy Funk
Spike and I are the same in that Andy really drives us up the wall. I can appreciate the point of his character, but I find this episode more frustrating than anything. Just let the poor criminal speak you guys! Jet's hippy costume and the actual Teddy Bomber plotline do make up for this however, which is why the episode still manages an "alright" ranking.
Session 23: Brain Scratch
This episode scratches the same bizzaro future tech and environments itch as Pierrot Le Fou. The concept of a "migrate to electronics" cult fascinates me and I love what it does for the world building, as well as the reveal in the end that Londes is just some kid. I also think this episode serves as a really good "beginning of the end." We learn that Big Shot has been canceled and, although her motive for seeking out Scratch is the bounty on Londes, Faye has clearly been affected by the cult in a way that I believe motivates her actions in the next episode.
Session 24: Hard Luck Woman
The whole 'you can never go back' trope is one of my favorites and in my opinion Faye's story does it best of all. She spends her adult life looking for something to go back to only to find that it literally does not exist. One of the most interesting parts of this episode to me is that Faye is given the opportunity to ask someone about her past when she meets her old friend, and she seemingly chooses not to. I like to hypothosize that in this moment she's not sure if she really wants to remember her old life.
Session 25: The Real Folk Blues part 1
I have this weird little quirk where once I find a series I enjoy, I'll re-watch, re-read, or re-listen over and over again without allowing myself to get to the end. So while I've watched Cowboy Bebop at least 4 times, I've only seen these last two episodes twice.
Session 26: The Real Folk Blues part 2