One of the Gung-Ho-Guns, Grey the Ninelives, roams the ship while gunning down everything in sight. Meanwhile, another Gung-Ho-Gun, Hoppered the Gauntlet, is doing the same thing. In addition to these two, there are still more of the Puppetmaster’s minions wandering about. Sensei reports the location of the first two to Vash, but Nicholas decides to head off on his own. Vash tells Brad and Jessica to report to Sensei immediately. Nicholas is surrounded by puppets who reappear seconds after he guns them down. Vash hears a scream and finds a man surrounded by puppets. His regular gun isn’t enough to finish them off, so he uses his new arm cannon. To his surprise, the recoil is much greater than his old one, which affects his aim. Brad decides to help out and finishes the last puppet for him. Sensei discovers the villains are targeting the two plants powering the ship. Nicholas stands in Grey’s way, but his shots all bounce off. He decides his only option is his missile launcher. Vash and Brad receive a report that the second plant is under attack. Vash decides the fastest way is through the ground and beings shooting through the floor until he reaches the 6th level. Upon finding the dead crew members, he breaks down in tears. Hoppered taunts Vash by remarking that this is even better than July and Augusta. Meanwhile, Grey is unfazed by Nicholas’ missile attack, and counters with a hail of bombs that blow up the floor, sending the two into one of the plant rooms. Vash is having no luck fighting Hoppered, as every attack bounces off. At the same time, Nicholas is injured by one of Grey’s shots, and shoots wildly at the ceiling in desperation. He hits a pipe containing acid, which melts Grey’s skin, revealing him to be a robot.
Hoppered is pumping bullets into the plant as an injured Vash leans back and watches. When the attack turns back to him, Vash sees his chance. He ties the trigger of his gun to a clear wire and jumps to the other side of the room to draw Hoppered’s attention. When he fires, a bullet hits between the shield and throws Hoppered into a circuit breaker. Nicholas blows half of Grey’s body apart with another missile, but the lower half still has life in it. Now out of bullets, he has no way to stop him. Grey fires a missile which destroys one of the plants. From the ground below, Meryl and Milly can see the ship slowly sinking through the clouds. With the second plant failing, Vash tells Brad not to give up until the very end. He climbs the stairs leading to the plant and places his hands on it in deep concentration. A woman can be seen looking back at Vash from inside. The energy levels begin to rise back to normal as the plant beings healing. Hoppered comes flying out of nowhere and crashes right into the plant, shattering it. After the ship crashes to the ground, Nicholas finds Jessica tied up in the rubble. As Vash hobbles out with Brad helping him stand, the crew hurls insults at him. They blame him for being stranded in the desert. Brad shouts back that Vash tried all he could to save the ship, while the rest stood back and did nothing. Jessica runs up to Vash and hugs him. Vash replies back that her gift of the new red coat fits perfectly. Nicholas, with the real Jessica, tries to warn Vash down below. Suddenly, the Jessica puppet pulls out a gun and fires at Vash. Brad blocks her fire and falls to the floor. Nicholas finally locates the Puppetmaster and blows him to bits. The episode closes with Brad dying in Vash’s arms as Jessica watches.
What a dramatic episode! The suspense help me captive as I waited to see if the ship would crash. With three Gung-Ho-Guns to deal with, this was clearly the toughest challenge Vash has faced yet. While he survived, the villains clearly won. This gave the episode a dark ending, which was coldly capped off with the unexpected twist at the end with Jessica. Brad had done a 180 in personality after spending time with Vash, which made his death all the more saddening. A few interesting bits of dialogue revealed more about Vash. Brad referred to him under his breath as a being who cannot age. Vash also referred to the figure in the plant as his kin. I can only hope the remainder of the series lives up to this stellar two parter.