EPISODE 11: Escape from Pain

    Hmm, this is mainly a Wolfwood/Milly episode, and as such doesn't feature much Vash (come to think of it, there's a few episodes around here that also don't feature much Vash, but whatever ^_^). However, the Vash stuff that is in it is... o_O;
    Okay, the episode opens with a caravan stuck in the desert due to some dangerous geiser-type things called the Demislad spray. In the caravan, Wolfwood is losing spectacularly at a game of chess. He's thinking of possibly taking the guy out, but then both of the men are distracted by Milly at the bar demanding pudding. She notices Wolfwood, who talks to her for a minute, then tries to cheat while his opponent's distracted by her. Kuroneko stops him by grabbing his hand, and Wolfwood makes some desperate excuse :p Milly then sees the board and moves a piece for him, and he proceeds to yell at her until his opponent gives up and leaves. Then he is VERY happy. The scene switches to the two of them outside walking, Milly holding two GIANT bags of pudding. Wolfwood bought them for her because he had his fare riding on the game of chess that she won for him. She says that she's probably good at chess since her big brother always made her play it with him. Wolfwood asks if she has any siblings, and Milly says no, but she has 10 brothers and sisters, dropping the bags to indicate the numbers with her fingers. Wolfwood assumes correctly that she's the youngest. Just then, a girl runs up to them, and Wolfwood recognizes her as the girl that was dancing on stage while he played chess. There are some men after her, so Wolfwood and Milly hide her. When the men come up to Wolfwood and Milly and ask about the girl, Wolfwood tells them that she's hiding behind him, then asks why they want her since he answered their question. The men blow him off and start to go for the girl, but one accidentally steps on the pudding that was laying on the ground, and Milly takes them all out with her stun gun :p The girl thanks them and starts to go on her way, but then the three of them hear the yells of more of the men who are after her, so Milly decided to help her out again. So Milly makes the girl ride around her middle underneath her giant overcoat, which makes her look massively pregnanent, and she walks down the streets of the caravan arm and arm with a disgruntled Wolfwood, who is extremely unhappy. Milly's having a jolly old time playing the wife though, saying things like "Don't smoke honey, it's bad for the baby!" while taking his cigarette ^_^ The girl apologizes profusely from underneath Milly's overcoat. The scene switches to Meryl, who's been waiting for Milly all this time and is getting a little worried ^_^; Some men run into the tent suddenly (it looks kinda like a makeshift restaurant, so it's a public area :p) and to the back wall, where Vash is leaning in a chair, wearing his sunglasses and looking rather tough. They wish to know if he's really Vash the Stampede. Vash doesn't answer. The scene then switches back to Milly, Wolfwood, and the girl. When the reach the outskirts of the caravan, the girl thanks them again and starts to go on her way, but Wolfwood stops her and asks why she's running. Just then the three are shot at from the desert by an angry-looking blonde man who tells them to get away from Moore. Moore (the girl), yells up at him (Julius) to stop since the two helped her. The two then run up to each other and embrace. It turns out that the two have been friends since childhood, Julius is the son of the man who runs the caravan and Moore is just a "simple dancing girl." Wolfwood still asks insistently why the men were after Moore. Julius answers that it's Fondreik. The scene switches to a large man in a white coat who says that trade to Fondreik is left soley to his caravan. He says though that security in Fondreik is so tight that he can't get in without a pass. This man is talking to Vash, who then asks him if he's looking for his pass. The man says no, he's looking for his son... who's not really his son. The scene switches back to Julius, who says that his father is the mayor of Fondreik as well as the owner of the transpot company, and that they're looking for him since he's got this tattoo that is the pass into Fondreik. Wolfwood asks then if they're looking for Julius and not Moore, and says that running away isn't the answer to their problems. Julius answers that he ran away because he found out that the caravan also trades women. Wolfwood asks if Moore is the next girl to trade, and they answer in the affirmative and asks for his help. The scene switches to Vash, who's still with the caravan owner. The caravan owner has finished telling his story, and Vash says that his price is twenty million double dollars, and that it wasn't up for negotiation. The caravan owner agrees reluctantly, but says that he must ask him for something else. The scene switches back to Julius and Moore, who say that they're going to make their escape through the demislad spray, since it's the only place where the caravan people wouldn't follow him. Milly objects because of danger, but wolfwood objects because a lot of people will die as a result of Julius leaving and trade into Fondreik stopping, the caravan going belly-up, etc. Julius says that it's none of Wolfwood's business and that he should butt out, and Wolfwood agrees, but he says that someone will have to die as a result of Julius's leaving. He unwraps his cross and takes out a gun and points it at the pair, saying that it would be the smallest sacrifice, but then he points it at his head and asks if they'd be able to leave while walking over his dead body. Julius grabs Moore and walks past Wolfwood, and Wolfwood pulls the trigger. Julius, Moore, and Milly all flinch and cry out, and Julius thanks him. Wolfwood tries to stop him again, but Julius simply leaves. Milly follows them into the desert, telling Wolfwood that her big brother said that she should always try to help people no matter what. Wolfwood just watches the three of them go. Wolfwood smokes a cigarette while men look for Julius and Moore are running around in the background behind him. The scene switches to Vash and Meryl in a car. Vash is still wearing his sunglasses and looking tough, and neither of the two are speaking to each other. Meryl tries to get him to tell her what he's doing, but Vash remains silent and surly. She tries to reach for the key to shut the car off, but he smacks her hand away. He then tells her that the Caravan owner asked him for a kill, and he accepted. Meryl is a little surprised, but says she must execute risk management and puts a gun to his head. The scene switches back to Milly, Julius, and Moore who are still fleeing through the desert, but Julius is having second thoughts. He says that he loves his father, but he wants the disgusting activities to stop. The three then run into some trouble with men from the caravan who have caught up with them. Milly tries to shoot them with her stun gun, but her back hurts suddenly and the men take her out. They also grab Julius and Moore. When things look their darkest, Wolfwood shows up and kicks some caravan-guy butt by throwing his cross around to knock them out, as well as some old-fashioned hand-to-hand combat. Wolfwood isn't sure what he's doing there since he doesn't agree with Julius, but Milly is overjoyed. Just then, they notice a ring of Caravan men with guns up on the ridge above them. Wolfwood yells up at them that he'll give them a fight and unwraps his cross, and while he's waiting for shots to be fired from the ridge, Vash steps out through the sandy mist. The four fugitives look a little shocked, and the men on the ridge beg for his help for the future of the caravan. Vash fires his gun to the protests of Wolfwood, and he hits Julius and Moore, who fall to the ground just as one of the geysers goes off. Milly breaks down in tears. The men on the ridge start to protest, since Vash also shot Julius, but Vash kinda gets tough on them and asks for his money. The men leave the money and run away. Milly walks up the ridge to Vash, slugs him hard across the face, yells at him, then runs crying to Meryl. Wolfwood also tries to get a shot in at Vash, but then grabs his gun and discovers that Vash only used rubber bullets to shoot the two, and then turns and fires one at Vash, who goes all SD and says that that stung. It pans across the desert to where Julius and Moore are safe. The scene switches to a big farewell deal where Meryl explains that the two were free to go, and they try to give the pair money, but they refuse and say that they're going to live on their own. Wolfwood and Vash are higher up on a ridge talking about what a good girl Milly was and how everything ended happily. The scene switches back to the caravan, which is moving, and Milly asking Meryl if Wolfwood was really gone. Apparently he's parted ways with them again, and Vash ponders him while holding ice to his cheek. Meanwhile, Wolfwood is riding away on a motorcycle, pondering how he thought the situation called for a sacrifice, but he overlooked the other solution: Vash the Stampede.
    So yea, mostly Wolfwood and Milly, but there's at least a little Vash to talk about. CREEPY Vash. Vash was kinda emotionless. He LOOKED the part of the assassin brand that goes along with his name. My heart about stopped when I first saw this episode, because I thought he really HAD turned to the dark side, or was just showing another side of his personality. I mean, he was REALLY scary. Up to this point, sure, he was serious sometimes, but he was always first and foremost silly, then sometimes serious when he was beating people at their own game. But... MAN. He was more than serious here. I really don't know how to describe it. He was Vash the Stampede to the people, but not to us, which is kind of interesting when you think about it. Vash has a reputation to the people he doesn't uphold, but it's solid for the viewer. But in this episode, he keeps the reputation for the people on the show, but not the viewer. That's just really... weird. This activity only lasts until he actually pulls off the save for the day, when he reverts back to his old self... but in a way, this is a precursor to things to come. The next episode is my second favorite, but this one kind of hints at it, the way Vash will act in it. That may take the fun out of it in some ways, but in others... it's pretty cool to see Vash in a surly mode :p As for the save of the day... it's very typically Vash, of course. He actually does surprise everyone when he ends up with the save after having the strange attitude, which is sorta his way I suppose. He even had Wolfwood fooled ^_^ The rubber bullets thing was really pretty cool, actually. Veeery smooth, since he needed to fool the caravan people into thinking he'd killed them both, then scare them off in such a way that they'd give him the money he was promised. Vash would be a very rich man if he did this frequently. It would be pretty cool if he turned into a fraud, when you think about it. Hehehehe... ANYway, there's more professed admiration from Wolfwood about the way Vash handles things. Wolfwood always seems to be in awe, but maybe it's downplayed a bit in this episode in comparison with the last two. It's more obvious perhaps in the first Wolfwood episode. Ah, but the episode DOES end with Wolfwood singing his praises... the last words are "Vash the Stampede." Wolfwood is awed :p Vash is also very much in awe of Wolfwood as well, since he's also pondering Wolfwood and such. The two are equals in a way, but they always seem to view the other as better than themselves. They're equal, but fundamentally different, as can be seen in later episodes. Oh... but now I'm all sad thinking about Wolfwood ;_; Yes... creepy Vash though. Important for this episode, which obviously isn't one of my favorites, but even more important when looked at as buildup for the next episode.

So we get our first really good look at serious, scary Vash. Even though it's kinda fake, because we were led to believe he'd kill someone, it's still a look at how truly frightening Vash has the potential of being. Kinda a rude awakening, in a sense. Ah, but it ended well, as most things do. Next episode: One of my two absolute FAVORITES IN THE ENTIRE SERIES BECAUSE OF SCARY VASH. HOORAY FOR DIABLO!