Warning: Spoilers for Trigun Stampede, Episode 9With only three episodes of Trigun Stampede remaining, the stage seems to be set for its big season finale, but if fan expectations are right, then Vash's darkest moments still lie ahead of him.
Episode 9 of Trigun Stampede saw the flashbacks to Vash's past in Trigun continue, as well as running into some of those figures from his past once again in the present. A major element of the episode saw an explanation for Vash's mechanical arm, as his biological arm was removed by Knives when it generated a gate (in other words, a black hole) that was at risk of going out of control. That's one scene that played out very differently from how it did in the manga, but it's setting the stage for another, much bigger scene that's increasingly looking like it will be the subject of Trigun Stampede's season finale.
JuLai Will Be at the Center of Trigun Stampede's Finale
The episode ends with Roberto and Meryl having been taken to the city of JuLai by Zazie the Beast, one of the Gung-Ho Guns in service of Knives. In the original anime and in the manga, JuLai (there simply called "July," after the month) is a major city that was destroyed before the series began. In the anime, it was destroyed without a single life being lost, while in the manga, the entire population of the city died along with it... and in both cases, the destruction of July was the fault of Vash the Stampede himself.
There have been a number of clues that Trigun Stampede is set earlier than its counterparts--the existence of Roberto, for example, with Meryl in the inexperienced junior role, or Vash's bounty being only 6 million instead of 60 million. Now that Roberto and Meryl are standing in an intact JuLai, though, there's no question that the events of Stampede are set earlier. That means that the loss of JuLai still lays ahead of Vash, and is almost certainly going to be the focus of the season finale. The flashback to Vash's Angel Arm manifesting that black hole is a warning of what he's capable of, even if he doesn't intend to destroy anything. If it were to activate again, in a big city, where he experienced some emotions even stronger than he did when he saw Knives trying to kill Luida... like, perhaps, that caused by the death of a certain companion who doesn't appear in the rest of the franchise... well, there's no telling what kind of destructive force would be unlocked.
While none of this has yet happened, all the pieces are in place, and with only three episodes of Trigun Stampede left to go, that dark future is just waiting to strike. If events play out this way, Trigun Stampede may well end up having one of the darkest season finales of all time.
More: Vash's Powers In Trigun Stampede Explained
Trigun Stampede debuts new episodes on Saturdays via Crunchyroll.