The card for this episode is The Magician. A card of conscious action, of power and awareness.
And Van has plenty of that, even if he doesn't use the power wisely.
Dangerous Wounds opens where Red Destiny left off: Blood dripping from Escaflowne's cockpit as a panicked Merle, and then Hitomi calls for Van to wake up.
The energist flares, and a heavily wounded Van is ejected. Allen notices that the cockpit is undamaged and wonders where the wounds came from. Feathers everywhere as The Magician is finally revealed.
Van staggers to his feet mutters about being able to fight, reveals his wings, and promptly collapses unconscious as the wings retract.
Van lies wounded in the cabin and Millerna is helpless in the face of wounds that opened from the inside. Hitomi runs back to the hangar and compares the Escaflowne's damage to Van's wounds.
You guessed it: identical. Things do not look good.
At this point, conveniently, an Asturian convoy carrying Dryden of Asturia comes into view. Dryden is the son of Meiden (who tried to sell Hitomi off in Unexpected Partings),and is also betrothed to Millerna (who, if you recall, is hopelessly in love with Allen).
There's no potential here for romantic conflict here at all. Honest. You in the back: stop sniggering. :)
In addition to being a wealthy merchant, Dryden is also a well educated bishounen. Like Millerna, Dryden is an interesting character who should not be judged by his misfortune in parents, as demonstrated by his actions later.
Meanwhile Zaibach is opening the powerspot in Freid as Dilandau flies in pursuit of Van.
Dryden sees the Escaflowne and has a minor geekgasm before sharing the legends of Ispano guymelefs. It isn't a pretty story, but Dryden also knows how to summon the Ispano.
But before that Hitomi has a moment of guilt over showing Van how to synchonise so completely with Escaflowne.
The arrival of the Ispano is a real "oh my god" moment: that factory is BIG. The Ispano can repair the Escaflowne but at a ruinous cost of his entire convoy that Dryden chooses to pay without blinking.
As for the repair job: for Van it feels like surgery without anaesthetic. Merle and Hitomi find this very hard to watch - watching Hitomi try to reassure Merle is the touch that really drives how horrible this scene is: she is utterly unconvincing, and clearly trying to convince herself more than Merle.
As it turns out Van does survive and is completely healed. Hitomi tries to warn Van off piloting Escaflowne but he's being a stubbon male.
As Dilandau arrives the Ispano leave with a warning that Van's draconian blood voids the warranty.
Hitomi and Merle try to keep Van out of Escaflowne but he throws them to the floor and heads out anyway.
What follows when he lands is one of, if not the, most one sided curb stomp battles I've ever seen.
[Aside: The TV Tropes comment that is "starts out cathartic and ends up terrifying" is spot on.]
As Van enters into a berserker rage combined with Hitomi's ability to see through the stealth cloak, he utterly destroys Dilandau's Dragonslayers, and in the doing completely breaks Dilandau mind.
Dilandau is basically standing there in a complete and utter panic.
Based on the next scene it is 15 guymelefs and their pilots. Van has gone berserk before but this is the first time he has killed so many so quickly, and there is a price to be paid for that.
As Van moves to kill Dilandau "For Fanelia!", the ghosts of the Dragonslayers intervene to prevent this. Dilandau was their patron, and even in death they will protect him.
Van panics, screams as the 15 ghosts swarm around him, and collapses.
Dangerous Wounds ends with the previously shiny white Escaflowne turning black and toppling backwards.
It occurs to me that in this episode the card refers to both Dryden and Van.
Dryden is an example of power (wealth in this instance) tempered by wisdom, whereas Van simply exercises the power (Hitomi's visions and his synchronisation with Escaflowne) without wisdom and is clearly paying a price for it.
This is an episode where the cry of "Nooooo!" rings out when the end credits roll. The pacing is spot on and the cliffhanger hints at some seriously weird stuff to come.
Day 1 - Fateful Confession / The Tower
Day 2 - The Girl From the Mystic Moon / 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 / The Chariot
Day 8 - Sub vs Dub
Day 9 - The Day the Angel Flew / Temperance
Day 10 - Memories of a Feather / Ace of Birds
Day 11 - The Blue-Eyed Prince / Knight of Beasts
Day 12 - Prophecy of Death / The Devil
Day 13 - The Secret Door / High Priestess
Day 14 - Red Destiny / The Emperor
Day 15 - The Gender of Escaflowne
Day 16 - Dangerous Wounds / The Magician
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 - Reaction of Fortune
Day 24 - ???
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