This is hands-down my favorite episode of STAMPEDE so far, despite also being the episode where Vash received the least amount of focus. Instead, the spotlight is on Wolfwood, where he came from, and how he’s going to tackle the moral dilemma of potentially putting down someone that he considered a brother. Last episode established that Wolfwood’s views on things are harsher, yet more practical and realistic compared to Vash, who wants to try to save everybody. This episode gives us a better look inside Wolfwood’s head through some beautifully drawn and quiet flashback sequences that act as a great contrast to the action in the present day.
Wolfwood was raised in an orphanage that seems to be connected to the professor who works under Knives. During that time, he met a new kid that he basically adopted as a brother. But then Wolfwood was taken away, experimented on for months, and seems to be forced to carry out hits for this organization so that other kids don’t suffer the same fate. It definitely paints a different light on Woolwood’s actions in the previous episode as it implied that he knew the child that Vash was trying to save, and lends a bit more weight to his statement that he killed that kid out of mercy.
I also like the implication that Wolfwood isn’t a natural adult, but that all the experiments he’d undergone have accelerated his aging. This means that a lot of his actions are still arguably from the perspective of a child. Probably a child more jaded and mature than most given what he’s been through, but still a child nonetheless, and considering that the effects of that experimental drug he keeps taking are being kept intentionally vague, I’m curious to know what STAMPEDE is planning on doing with Wolfwood in the long run. It would also be great to see how exactly that background clashes or aligns with Vash’s if the show ever wants to get to that point.