Venture Bros: “O.S. I Love You” part 1

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Due to its shuffled-flashback structure and blitz-clever dialogue, “O.S. I Love You” seems like a much more complicated episode than it is. The plot is extremely simple: Brock Samson and a team of OSI guys capture Monstroso and Molotov Cocktease and bring them aboard the OSI heli-carrier. Soon after being captured, both Monstroso and Molotov escape. Monstroso vanishes (as far as OSI knows) and Molotov leads the agents on a merry chase that ends with Brock cornering her and shredding her in one of the heli-carrier’s engines (or so we think). Later, OSI higher-ups come to investigate the botched capture, which should have been routine for Samson and his crew. In a small b-story, the Venture gang – simultaneously and coincidentally – come to the OSI heli-carrier to get Sgt Hatred breast-reduction surgery: Hatred is apparently no longer so into being the “mom” of the family.

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The simultaneous interrogations by the OSI suits form the scaffolding upon which to hang all this incident. The inspiration seems to come from The Usual Suspects, complete with a discussion of the identity of a phantom crime lord and a last-second “twist” on who is who. In Suspects we find out that our harmless stool-pigeon has been playing his interrogators the entire time, in “O.S. I Love You” they flip that around and reveal that the interrogators are not who they appeared to be.

Our protagonist for the episode is Brock, whose chief goal, it seems to me, is to settle the score between himself and his long-term girlfriend/enemy Molotov. “Will They or Won’t They?” is a classic TV gambit, given surreal lighting here with things like Molotov’s chastity belt and heart-shaped eyepatch. It’s been five seasons now (and much longer in the show’s timeline) since Brock and Molotov first sparked to each other, it’s hard to imagine that the sex could possibly live up to the anticipation.

Molotov is Brock’s Achilles tendon, and new OSI team member Headshot doesn’t trust Brock’s compass on this mission. Brock’s relationship with Molotov is certainly twisted, but how is it compared to Headshot’s relationship with his willowy sidekick Amber Gold? Headshot is abusive, demanding and rude to her and she simply internalizes all his affronts. Molotov would never put up with that nonsense from Brock.

More important, the OSI is Brock’s new family. Shore Leave and the other, more colorful members of OSI are his brothers, and Hunter Gathers is his father. Looked at through the prism of family, the rat-a-tat interrogations fall away and the episode’s themes are thrown into bold relief.

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So: what does Brock want? Most of all, to nail Molotov. He’s obsessed with her. Upon a third viewing, knowing that she’s not, in fact, dead, and is, in fact, now working alongside Brock, the cigarette we see him smoking in the interrogation becomes important. It is an after-sex smoke? Did the big event happen while we weren’t looking? Or is the cigarette merely Brock relaxing, knowing that Molotov is now near and on his side, a sister now, or at least a half-sister, since everyone knows it’s okay to have sex with a half-sister? (Assuming OSI pays Molotov more than anyone else: she is, after all, still a mercenary.) Brock is an extremely competent, confident man, a good brother to his fellow OSI team members and a good son to Hunter. His family is his strength, Molotov is his weakness, and “O.S. I Love You” tests that confidence with an all-or-nothing Molotov spree.

(I note that Brock-plus-band-aids bears more than a passing resemblance to Frank Miller’s Marv from Sin Cityanother unstoppable bulldozer with wings.)

Three new OSI interna-affairs suits, Mr. Frost, Mr. Sample and Your Name (not yet a Mr.), come to sort out the Monstroso disaster. IA suits are part of OSI, but they are not family, which Hunter makes clear from the beginning: they are outside the circle of trust. Frost, Sample and Your Name turn out to be The Investors, the shadowy creeps who fund the Guild of Calamitous Intent, and the comparison is apt: both sets of authority figures drift above the daily goings-on of their respective armies. The Council of Thirteen seems like a group of bumbling clowns in comparison (and one is, indeed, a literal clown).

We learn that Brock’s other family, the Ventures, have come to the OSI for Hatred’s boobs – it was the OSI who gave Hatred the drugs that made him stop wanting to have sex with boys and instead made him grow breasts. I’m going to let that one go, I don’t know what there is to be gleaned from the idea that child-molestation makes one more of a man. Except, of course, to note that Hank’s dependence on “Destiny,” his strength-suit, have made him both stronger and more of a woman, which he seems perfectly fine with.

We flash back to Brock’s first meeting with Molotov, at the Goodwill Games in 1988. It goes by fast, but what we learn is that, due to Brock’s attraction to Molotov, one of his OSI brothers is killed, which causes Brock to kill Molotov’s father (who is also her gymnastics coach). Mr. Frost tells Brock that Molotov has been “screwing up his noodle since the first time he laid eyes on her,” but doesn’t mention that Molotov’s first meeting with Brock is when he killed her father in front of her, in public, during a gymnastics event.

Brock denies having had sex with Molotov, and I have no reason to doubt him, but two things occur to me. One, he’s talking to an IA guy, which means he’s not bound to tell the truth, and two, what he says is “Listen to me very carefully, I did not have sex with that woman.” For the benefit of the young, those are almost the exact words president Bill Clinton used when caught in an affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton was lying (or at least egregiously stretching the truth to absurd proportions), is Brock? We don’t see them have sex, but we do see the highly sexualized process both Molotov and Monstroso are put through after their capture: Monstroso is stripped nude and cavity-searched and Molotov is hung up by her wrists in bra and panties and scanned by the Nozzle. If Brock hasn’t had sex with Molotov, his agency certainly has.



8 Responses to “Venture Bros: “O.S. I Love You” part 1”
  1. lungbarrow says:

    I don’t think Sgt. Hatred’s breasts are symbolic. Male breasts or Gynecomastia is a common side-effect of certain anti-libido hormone treatment. The same thing happened to people like Alan Turing when homosexuality was illegal in England. They were given basically synthetic estrogen to curb urges. I figured when Hatred developed breasts in the season premiere due to the ‘nomolestol’.

    P.S. I am in no way comparing homosexuality to pedophila.

    • Ryan says:

      They might be a common side effect, but they definitely weren’t included in the show purely for the sake of realism.

  2. Sannom says:

    I really don’t think that Brock would have done anything with Molotov. I’m not even sure that he is fine with that turn of even : Molotov may be on his side now, but what he told her in Operation P.R.O.M. still stands : she’s still a cold-hearted, mercenary bitch, who works for the highest bidder and still assassinates people for a living. The agents she killed may have been (and really, how can he be sure?) double-agents, but maybe Brock would have preferred to see them tried or at least interrogated.

  3. N.A. says:

    I don’t think Publick and Hammer are trying to associate manliness with pedophilia. I think they’re offering a dark commentary on the trope that when Golden Age superheroes got their powers, they almost immediately began hanging out with young boys in unsettlingly close ways. Publick and Hammer may just be suggesting causation, not just correlation, between the two.

    Also, chain-smoking is Brock’s go-to outlet for pent-up sexual frustration. Back in Season One, after his first tete-a-tete with Mol (“I thought the Cold War was over!”), he immediately lights and smokes two cigarettes simultaneously. I’m guessing his copious cigarette use here is a callback to that.

    — N.A.

  4. FDSY says:

    Is OSI still his family if they hire Moltov, his enemy? Isn’t that a betrayal?

  5. I may be way off, but I thought Hatred’s pedophilia was a side-effect of the super-soldier whathaveyou.

    • Jordan says:

      That’s right. We saw that in Venture Libre earlier this season.

      That’s why I think:

      “I’m going to let that one go, I don’t know what there is to be gleaned from the idea that child-molestation makes one more of a man.”

      is missing part of the point, leaving a step out of the equation. I don’t think they’re saying that having the child-molesting aspect of his personality removed makes him less of a man, but more-so that having his body and mind constantly messed around with by others (always the O.S.I., I might add) has unintended consequences.

  6. F.W. says:

    Following the twisted gender logic of Venture Brothers, I found it interesting that Hatred’s exposed breasts, that would look scrumptious and not out of place when on a female figure, were uncensored on TV. That is, even if they look exactly like huge female breasts, they are on a man, so something different. Even when the doctor is cupping them appreciatively in observation. The same exact drawing template on a female figure, would definitely be censored on US tv at least.