The introduction reveals the card for this episode to be La Giustizia / Justice as the Crusade heads for Palas, the capitol of Asturia.
This episode sees the introduction of Princess Millerna who is one of the more interesting minor characters in the series. Whilst Millerna can play the part of the spoiled, shallow, noblewoman (and largely does so in this episode), there is lot more to Millerna than meets the eye.
But before that the episode opens with a bit of angst: Hitomi is still worried about how Allen is reacting to her reading of his cards, Van is worrying about Folken.
Millerna's arrival hints at the depths as she is not riding sidesaddle or dressed "appropriately". Allen's arrival has much to do with this, but Allen is careful to maintain the proprieties (somewhat to Millerna's disappointment).
Of course then Millerna promptly sticks her foot in her mouth by fondly remembering Folken from a previous visit to Fanelia, and mistaking Hitomi for a servant based on her clothing. Merle is greatly amused by this and her reaction does prompt a funny line in the dub from Hitomi: "Bad Kitty!" :)
Allen's report of recent events to King Aston does not go as planned. Folken is already on the scene with an alternative story, and it is apparent that the corruption runs deep in Asturia. This episode raises another parallel to Record of Lodoss War with the willingness of the central king to write off an outlying fortress in the face of a more powerful player.
Millerna meanwhile is upgrading Hitomi's wardrobe with a formal dress and taking the opportunity to get more than few digs in at Hitomi's expense. A message from Allen leads to Millerna taking Van, Hitomi, and Merle down to the markets
Back at the Crusade the Royal Guard are collecting Escaflowne.
Down in the markets of Palas (clearly modelled on Venice), Van sees Folken and runs off as Hitomi finds a CD that still plays. Cue the inevitable vision as Hitomi gives chase. There is a nice comment from Merle that Hitomi's visions are not funny any more.
Van catches up to Folken on a bridge for an interesting chat. Meanwhile Dilandau is not handling the wound from the previous episode at all well.
The discussion with Folken reveals much about Zaibach's motivation: the war to end war. Van is sceptical.
Dilandau has been ordered not to leave the fortress but holds to the letter of the orders by overloading the liquid metal weapon into a single long range shot.
As her desperation level rises Hitomi shortens the dress so she can run and catches up to Van just as the shot would have hit.
Dilandau's guymelef does not survive the shot, but it's sensors do last long enough for Dilandau to see Hitomi knock Van out of the way. Naturally this ruins any chance of Folken persuading Van.
Van is then invited by the Royal Guard to a guymelef duel in the Palas colosseum as the sun begins to set. Hitomi is still worried, and Millerna is somewhat clueless at this point.
Well, calling it a duel is stretching it: Van is outnumbered three to one as the end credits roll. It is also clear that this is a test of Escaflowne's worth, and it is clear that the merchants of Asturia have no idea that Escaflowne reacts badly to unathorised usage.
This episode is a nice change of pace from the action of the previous episodes. The sudden shift from the frontier to a more "civilised" setting puts Hitomi off balance, and why Allen was off at the frontier despite his courtly appearance is starting to become clear (he is inconveniently honest). The infodumps in the episode are well handled through conversation.
The only real complaint is the Planet of Hats effect that is starting to emerge - Fanelia as the proud warrior kingdom, Zaibach are the technnocrats, Asturia are the cowardly merchants - and unfortunately this aspect is only going to get worse. However overall it is a relatively minor flaw in the world building.
There is precious little Justice in this episode so I suspect that this is an example of the reversed card being selected.
Day 1 - Fateful Confession / The Tower
Day 2 - The Girl From the Mystic Moon / The Ace of Serpents
Day 3 - The Gallant Swordsman / Death
Day 4 - The Diabolical Adonis / The Hanged Man
Day 5 - The Seal of the Brothers / Judgement
Day 6 - Capitol of Intrigue / Justice
Day 7 - Unexpected Partings
Day 8 - ???
Day 9 - The Day the Angel Flew
Day 10 - Memories of a Feather
Day 11 - The Blue-Eyed Prince
Day 12 - Prophecy of Death
Day 13 - The Secret Door
Day 14 - Red Destiny
Day 15 - ???
Day 16 - Dangerous Wounds
Day 17 - Lost Paradise
Day 18 - The Guided Ones
Day 19 - The Edge of the World
Day 20 - The Gravity of Destiny
Day 21 - Operation Golden Rule of Love
Day 22 - False Vows
Day 23 - ???
Day 24 - Reaction of Fortune
Day 25 - The Black Winged Angel
Day 26 - Storm Premonition
Day 27 - Fateful Decision
Day 28 - Zone of Absolute Fortune
Day 29 - Eternal Love
Day 30 - Looking Back at The Vision of Escaflowne