Venture Bros: The Family that Slays Together, Stays Together, Part Two

One thing is certain: no one in this episode knows who is doing what to who why.free stats

General Treister and agents Doe and Cardholder don’t know why Brock has been killing OSI agents, although we think they do(it’s nice to know that Doe and Cardholder are OSI, I had my doubts earlier). Detectives Heat and Collar not only don’t know why Brock killed La Tueur, they don’t have La Tueur’s body any more. The counselor interviewing Hank and Dean thinks they’ve been kidnapped by the thug with the skinny guy in the other interrogation room. The Cleaner probably doesn’t know anything and probably prefers it that way. The Monarch doesn’t know any of the above has happened and pays no attention the clues offered him — he charges forward blindly, pursuing his single-minded agenda of revenge and suffers catastrophic losses for his hubris (sounds like someone I know). Molotov, Hunter and the Blackhearts know why Brock killed the OSI assassins, but even they have no notion of Treister’s involvement, or the Monarch’s: their agenda was fulifilled by the end of Part 1.

(The counselor thinks that Brock is a figment of Hank and Dean’s imaginations. And, in a way, we will find out he is.)

Identity, typically, asserts itself as a theme. Most importantly, Brock, the “tool” of “Viva Los Muertes!” gets smart and starts to think above his pay cut. Specifically, he stops being the brutal assassin of Part 1 and starts thinking in the manner of his superiors at the OSI. He plots, pretends to be the chess-master, thinking he’s pretty clever as he sits back, lights a cigarette and lets the OSI wipe out the Monarch’s henchmen (presumably the OSI also suffers casualties, but the numbers look pretty grim from where I’m sitting). What Brock does not count on is Hank, who has always taken after him, “opening his Christmas present” and demonstrating a flair for bloodshed himself.

(Exposing children to horror is also a theme here: the counselor at the police station thinks Hank and Dean have been tortured and abused, ironically just as Helper is being tortured and abused, Rusty and Hatred trade stories of childhood abuse, Hatred is, himself, a child molester, The Monarch sends all his “children” into battle, Rusty sends his “backup” children into battle as well — strangely, he shows affection for Hank, a desire to protect him from the harshness of the world that none of the other father-figures of the show seem to posess — with the exception of Gen. Treister, who, we learn, has only fatherly affection for Brock. Hank seems too stupid to understand the horror he’s being shown, but Dean, in the panic room at least, shows signs of a full-scale breakdown. Not that anyone would care about that.)

As Brock tries to adjust his identity upward and fails, Sgt Hatred tries to downscale his and also fails. He tries to live the role of a love-struck victim, but comes to the realization that he’s a killer through and through — a realization that allows him to march a platoon of naked teenaged boy-clones (in their Sting-from-Dune metal jockstraps) into the valley of death. What will become of Hatred now? Has he regained his killer instinct, after his suburbanization by the guild and his humiliation at the hands of his wife? At the end of the episode, he asks General Treister if he can have a job — does he mean a job with OSI (which indicates that the barrier between OSI and the Guild is semi-permeable at best and nonexistent at worst) or does he mean, literally, Brock’s job (which involves being the “bodyguard” of a pair of teenaged boys)?

Like Syriana, this episode links governmental actions to familial actions. The Venture Bros is often about father figures, and the government is, after all, the ultimate father figure (at least here on Earth anyway — God, to my memory, hasn’t made it into the show as a character yet). Brock has been trained not to trust his father figure, and who can blame him? Not only does he think the OSI is trying to kill him, the nearest father-figure to hand is Rusty — why would he think a father has his son’s best interests at heart? To make matters worse, his real father figure, the one who Brock thinks does care for him, has “crossed over to the other side” in more ways than one — not only is he no longer a man, he’s joined Brock’s enemy (who is, of course, also his lover).

With excellent timing, this episode manages to quote both Iron Man (with the Monarch’s “Death’s Head Panoply” battle suit) and The Dark Knight (with the scenes of torture and interrogation, and their attendent questions of governmental incompetence and the value of individual action). Why Rusty and Brock are dressed as convicts when they haven’t even been arraigned yet is a tougher question, but Rusty’s line about his jumpsuit being the most uncomfortable thing ever is worth it.

One mystery left to solve: who detonated Helper?

Comments

96 Responses to “Venture Bros: The Family that Slays Together, Stays Together, Part Two”
  1. a121arthur says:

    Rosenkrantz IS dead!

    (Ah the benefit of European timezones, I can add already.)

    Great analysis as always worth waiting for, thanks – hard to imagine no more till next season.

    Wonderful ending, although I prefer part 1, and surprisingly for me I got a bit tired of the Monarch … sigh… how many times can you go the failed arch route and make it interesting…

    The Rusty-centric season ends logically I felt, he and family finally make it to new flesh (or clone) levels that have so many layers of potential ahead. Twins Hank and Dean are sides of Rusty that we have now learned exist – killing a man with a key indeed.

    Your point
    As Brock tries to adjust his identity upward and fails, Sgt Hatred tries to downscale his and also fails. He tries to live the role of a love-struck victim, but comes to the realization that he’s a killer through and through — a realization that allows him to march a platoon of naked teenaged boy-clones (in their Sting-from-Dune metal jockstraps) into the valley of death

    Sgt Hatred, fearing Princess TinyFeet will leave him, tries to kill himself, but only eventually accidentally shrinks his tongue down, which calls forth the resemblance to female sexual anatomy. The “Christmas Present” unwrapped early, of essentially, weaponless boy-clones he gladly leads the parade of, aptly goes to the tune of “The Nutcracker”.

    Despite the shift you mention with Brock which I agree with, in terms of structure nothing changes over episodes: he was always set within an operating field of different agents in which his role was the equivalent of a kind of “governor”. We always know Brock shows up to keep the arch from going too far, to keep Rusty from going too far, and to know what OSI and GUILD operatives do and think and anticipate, and what the attachment to “family” is while being also being professionally detached from it.

    But who or what keeps Brock from going too far? Other than his sense of orders, duty, values and himself.

    The “I don’t know why I am doing this” factor kicks in last part, as soon as Brock / governor loses any definition of his role. In part 1, all these urges, drives avarices kick in unmediated. Just look at Dr. My Wife – part 1 she is horny to take on Brock, hardly taking the arch seriously, in part 2, she is taking this seriously fed up with this arch and wants to get it over, and in a key scene, cruel and manipulative in a sort of dislikeful way with Helper. Characters also go in and out of character, showing new angles but also a bit…skewed. Like I said, Monarch just goes all flat in comparison to what’s being shown in the other characters.

    The three sides Brock kept in balance – Venture, Guild and OSI, is there in a catastrophic melee really. Brock figured it all out, except he forgot to account for the most obvious of the three sides to fuck it up – Hank and Family. That echoes that he forgot to account for the fact someone else – even his own surrogate father and love – may be manipulating him. In the end the mess leaves everyone feeling powerless – even OSI is unable to stop Brock from leaving them.

    Brock of course wasn’t anticipating a renegade action using him as a tool. The last scene after-credits was just excellent in terms of introducing something new post-Monarch for the next season. Female characters galore.

    • misterseth says:

      Re: Rosenkrantz IS dead!

      The “Christmas Present” unwrapped early, of essentially, weaponless boy-clones he gladly leads the parade of, aptly goes to the tune of “The Nutcracker”.

      The tune is actually from Laurel and Hardy’s ‘Babes in Toyland’, when they activate the lifesize toy soldiers they find near the end.
      The march of the clones also seems to be inspired IMHO by Rene Laloux works, ‘Light Years’ and ‘Time Masters'(and true to form, theyre just as creepy as ‘Fantastic Planet’).

  2. jdurall says:

    I don’t know if the boys’ interrogation scene was so much inspired by The Dark Knight as it was The Terminator.

    • Todd says:

      Hence my remark about timing — it’s doubtful to me that they could have been inspired by a movie that only came out a month ago.

  3. mcbrennan says:

    The theme that jumped out at me on this one was losing your family, or at a minimum losing a family member. Hatred lost his wife, #21 (and the Monarch) definitely lost #24, the Venture clan lost Brock figuratively and lost Helper and all the “spare” Hank and Deans literally–fitting, since Brock and Helper were their only protectors. Samson left his “family” behind–whether he really feels the Ventures were family or not remains to be revealed–but he also lost his OSI family and certainly lost his father-figure whether he knows it or not. (edit: it also occurs to me that Brock surrendered to the OSI, expecting certain death, in order to protect the clone-boys–and after witnessing their destruction, then and only then was he so broken and disillusioned that he walked away from everything he’s ever known. So perhaps he lost more family here than we know.)

    What became of the Murderous Moppets? Did Dr. Mrs. The Monarch detonate Helper? I don’t know, but these families of choice seem to be coming in for some pretty hard times. The only comfort anybody got was by throwing themselves even further into their “play” roles–running away from reality.

    Speaking of which, I was also struck by the “real” world intruding uncomfortably on the world these guys inhabit. The child abuse issues, framed by Dean and Hank trying to tell their story to the psychologist, Rusty’s tale of murdering a man at age ten*, and Dean’s breakdown–that, especially, caught my attention. For a minute it was like he was completely outside their world, completely rejecting it, and in that same moment Hank decided to completely buy in–detaching from his obliviousness and becoming a full participant in…in whatever the hell these people do. Not only did he (apparently) fully understand who and what his “birthday presents” were, but he thought of a horrendous use for them exactly on par with what Rusty would do. I was somewhat disappointed that Dean snapped out of his lucid moment and bought back in to the “Go Team Venture” thing; I’ve been expecting him to make a break for it since Action Jonny offered to help him escape. Stockholm syndrome is insidious.

    Maybe the “play” world (or whatever we should call what goes on between the Guild and OSI) is at the heart of everyone’s losses here. Hatred tries to figure out why his wife left–and maybe a grown man just can’t have a successful marriage while constantly in costume and attacking scientists. Or maybe pedophiles shouldn’t marry, I don’t know. But this episode seems to suggest that all this stuff has a cost, that during all this damaged man-child mayhem and LARPing and posturing, real relationships can and do get neglected, and when they’re neglected, they die. They die for reals, and no amount of cosplay and clone-tanks can bring them back. I don’t know that it’s an argument for growing up–I’m not sure they can and I’m pretty sure they won’t–but I do think it shows the cost.

    Between Dermott, Huntress (?) Gathers, Molotov and the Venture family, Brock has a lot of stuff to figure out next year. Is he running away the way Rusty ran away at the end of season one? Well, probably not to a rave, anyway. Maybe Page and Plant can guide him through his disillusionment and help him cheer up. Does anybody remember laughter? It really makes me wonder.

    _______________
    *last edit, I swear.

    • Todd says:

      Dr MTM gets up and leaves the detonator on her throne — there’s no indication that she goes back for it.

      • mattyoung says:

        Either the moppets, oddly absent during the finale, set off the explosion, or HeLPER exploded simply because the Story demanded it!
        “When there’s a gun on the mantlepiece in act one…” and all that.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think its pretty obvious that the Moppets did it. They were hinting at some kind of big strategy to take down the Monarch that begins with taking out his top men.(Is this a weird Oedipal thing? Since Dr.MTM is like their ‘Mother’?) The Pupa Twins had some kind of mission in the episode but were not seen in battle. In fact the last we’ve seen of them is going off on the mission.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Funny, the theme I noted here was “letting other people fight your battles for you.” Brock, in true Toshiro Mifune style, manipulates the Monarch and the OSI to take each other out. Both of those forces, of course, primarily let their minions shed blood on their behalf (which may be for the best; when the Monarch tries to directly enter the combat, it doesn’t go well for anyone involved). Rusty, Hank, and Sgt. Hatred’s great epiphany comes when they realize they’ve been letting Brock fight their battles for them, so they… promptly enlist the clone army to fight in their stead. (Except Hatred, who can probably think of no better way to die than leading a squishy, mostly naked army of clone soldiers.) And of course, the whole thing was a blind by Molotov and Hunter to get Brock to do their dirty work for them.

    No wonder Brock quits. Rusty’s a jerk who will insist on putting himself and his boys in danger, no matter how hard Brock tries to keep them safe. (Echoing Myra’s lament about how she can’t guard Rusty’s body if he’s not near her…) In a futile effort to keep the Ventures safe, Brock has betrayed the agency that defined his entire life, and been betrayed by the woman and man he loves most in the world. All for nothing.

    I found Dean’s breakdown honestly chilling, and I was (and remain) really worried for him. It’s interesting that Hank and Dean are maturing in different ways; Hank is becoming more well-adjusted on the surface, but underneath is still a gung-ho idiot who sees nothing wrong with his lifestyle. Dean’s a total maladjusted nerd, but he has a greater instinctual self-awareness that this is NOT the way he’s supposed to be living.

    I believe the car detonated because Dr. Mrs. the Monarch dropped the timer in her haste to flee the cocoon, setting off some sort of time-delayed signal. And as for 24, I’m sorry, I don’t believe he’s entirely dead, given the show’s frequent use of cloning technology. I do like how Doc and Jackson removed all doubt of whether he’d actually been in the car at the time of the explosion, though…

    — N.A.

    • Todd says:

      Excellent analysis.

    • cucumberseed says:

      Dean had the same kind of panic attack I occasionally have. This is both comforting and incredibly disturbing.

    • nekobasu says:

      And as for 24, I’m sorry, I don’t believe he’s entirely dead, given the show’s frequent use of cloning technology.

      This week’s Shirt Club suggests that he’s more dead than a simple trip to the clone vats. That isn’t to say that his return is entirely ruled out (I wish it were #21 instead!), but it’s going to take a lot.

      • Plus, as other-anonymous pointed out, Doc’s been busted for an illegal clone farm. We don’t know the full implications of that (does the OSI keep tabs on super-scientists?), but if they shut him down/confiscate his clone-stuff, he can’t re-build the boys (keeping that heightened peril that I think will really benefit the story), and he can’t clone anybody else, either.

        • noskilz says:

          As long as Venture can keep some tissue samples on hand and has enough of a handle on the technology to pick up where he left off( and maintain some vaguely up-to-date back-ups), death still sounds more like a scheduling issue(which is OK with me.) If all else fails, Orpheus is a in the resurrection business – he seems to like the kids(it looked like he was game for a freebie restoration at the start of season 2).

          • Anonymous says:

            One life

            As they watched the clone-carnage from the security of the Venture Compound, and Hank was excited to get out and into the fray, etc.. didn’t Rusty add, without irony, careful – “you only live once.” It sounded sort of like the definitive bookend to his “there goes my life’s work”

            • Anonymous says:

              Re: One life

              I agree. The “you only live once,” did seem to be unironic. If all the “back-up” Hank and Deans are destroyed, and Brock isn’t going to be around as their invincible protector next season, the Ventures might have to actually take mortal threats seriously, and start *gasp* living in the real world.
              -Doctor Handsome

        • Notice how they say illegal clone farm. You never hear CNN say illegal meth lab or illegal grow op…

    • frankie23 says:

      Props for the Yojimbo reference, but the noir aficionado in me does feel the need to point out that it’s in truly in Hammett style, really.

  5. jbacardi says:

    One thing I was puzzled by- at what point did Brock and the Ventures hitch a ride in the Cocoon back to the compound? Maybe I looked away for a second (which I doubt because I watched this one twice), but I never saw it. First, Brock negotiates the deal between the Monarch and Gen. Triester under the bridge, Cocoon floating way above them in the sky, then the next scene they’re dropping out of the hatch at the Venture’s. I know all the Monarch’s men (and the Monarch and Dr. MTM too) were dozing, but wouldn’t that have set off some sort of alarm?

    • Todd says:

      This is the second time this season that characters mysteriously hitch a ride in the bottom of the coccoon — The Monarch should really have that fixed.

      • Anonymous says:

        Remember that the Cleaner left them a rented car a few miles away. Probably just took that car.

        A few things in random order:

        Brock’s threshold for weirdness is breached only when he sees the clone army. When they die, it’s all over for him.

        Dean’s panic attack is oddly moving. I hope he gets a real breakdown next season (if only so that Rusty gets hit with a cluebat about the damage he has inflicted on his boys.) Hank, as previously mentioned, is acting a bit smarter this way around. In a way, they are two sides of dad’s personality: the one that wants a normal life and the one that secretly enjoys super-science high jinks.

        Then there’s immortality. 21 and 24 bragged about theirs to 1, while the fat one (Don’t know which one is which, sorry) convinced Hank of his. It seems like both Hank and the fat one have become mortal now. Venture has been busted with his illegal clone farm, so there may be no more clones coming. Good news is, Hank and Dean can finally grow up without resetting to 16 when they die.

        • Anonymous says:

          *Wanted to add that the bad news is that when they die, they’re dead. Seems Rusty will be more aware of that in the future.

          (I’ve always wondered about his real feelings for the boys. Back in the “Powerless” ep., he has a breakdown of sorts, but later we learn the boys have died 14 times. Does he go to raves every time they die? Seems unlikely, so what’s so special about that death?)

          • Anonymous says:

            See, I thought the joke in “Powerless” was that while we think Rusty’s having a breakdown because of his grief about the boys, he’s actually just desperate to enjoy the irresponsibility of a life unencumbered by children for just a little bit longer, until the new versions of his offspring pop out of the clone tanks.

            — N.A.

            • cdthomas says:

              Remember that DMTM fell asleep on her throne…

              … as the Cocoon followed the Ventures back to their compound. I trust that since the plane was disabled (po’ H.E.L.P.e.R!!!), the Ventures and Brock drove the car back to the compound, which took some hours.

        • I always remember who is who by thinking that 24 is higher up, so he’s the taller one.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Poor #24

    Always safety first. Unless. So is the General the CLOSEST thing Brock had to a father? Because supposedly Hunter was only the second closest thing.

    This season was a work of twisted genius. Unfortunately, I think #24 was the result of “It’s the season finale, we have to kill somebody.” It makes some sense, after all, #21 is probably the most sensitive and introspective person on the show after Dean, which is awesomely pathetic. Plus you couldn’t kill the henchman who’s “secretly” in love with Dr. MTM…too much comic potential there.

  7. 1.) I got the impression the first time that I watched it that the bomb was ticking down, and the remote was the only thing that could turn it OFF – thus, when Dr. MTM left it behind, there was no way to stop the explosion. Given The Monarch’s tendency to steal from Sgt. Hatred, and usually making a poorer copy, this would make the bomb a larger version of the one from earlier this season. However, I’ve no problem believing the Moppets set it off, either.

    2.) I love that when Sgt. Hatred admits that everyone in the room is running away from their true selves, he finds his true self again by leading an army of naked teenage boys. This is who he is – some people maybe shouldn’t self-actualize at all. The Onion AV Club recap of this episode said that this scene helped justify a season and a half of pedophile jokes, and I’m inclined to agree. That said, if he steps into Brock’s role next season, we’re going to have a lot of squirm-worthy moments. I can only hope that someone (Dr. O, Triana, The Alchemist?) notices right away what he is, because I certainly don’t trust Rusty to be that aware.

    3.) Odd bit of foreshadowing to 24’s death or “death” – the deleted scene in episode one, featuring The Monarch’s never seen before holodeck/danger room (his tech has gotten noticeably better since Guild sanctioning)… Fake-Brock charges forward and is decapitated by The Monarch’s wings, and the only one not present for the fight? 24, who’s waiting for his cue to enter. In the climactic battle, The Monarch’s wings again decapitate someone literally, but Brock also quits, the only one of the Venture family “eliminated” – and 24 never gets his entrance, because the bomb kills him – and we see his severed head in flight.

    • Actually, sorry! I have more.

      4.) That severed head that The Monarch makes with his Death’s Head Panoply leaves them with a pretty easy out for 24. Which is good, because I like 24 better than 21, by far.

      5.) With next season shaping up to be more of a female-oriented arc than the show’s ever tried, I can only imagine that we’ll finally get a Dr. MTM / Molotov showdown – but I hope this means we’ll finally get back to Triana’s friend, the supervillain wannabe. I’ve been hoping she’d return since Victor Echo November, and had originally suspected that Dr. Girlfriend would take her as a henchman instead of the Moppets and strike out on her own by the end of season two – obviously, not what they had in mind at all.

      • I wish it would let me edit…

        6.) Speaking of foreshadowing – all that “Gary Busey” stuff about seatbelts in part one really came back to haunt the characters later, huh?

  8. rxgreene says:

    The Monarch’s “Death’s Head panoply” is also a reference to the “Death Blossom” from the Last Starfighter.

    The interview with Hank and Dean was very reminiscent of the interview with Sarah Connor at the start of T2.

    Maybe, just maybe, between the revelations that came with “The Doctor is Sin” and “The Orb” for Rusty, he’ll start to wise up a bit and become a more balanced super-scientist, no longer needing the surrogate protective (father) figure that Brock provided. Both Brock and Jonas Sr. were dangerous, physically domineering men to Rusty, and with what he has learned this season, he may well be able to step out of the shadow he’s been living under.

  9. misterseth says:

    The Moppets and the detonator

    One thing puzzles me about the moppet/detonator theory. Did they actually know where Helper was when they set it off? With all the confusion in the last few minutes, it seems doubtful, since no one knew Helper escaped. Any thoughts?

    • frankie23 says:

      Re: The Moppets and the detonator

      Everyone was expecting HELPeR to escape, that’s why they wired him in the first place. As to knowing his location, that’s a great question…

  10. Anonymous says:

    the voice of alcott

    excellent analysis as always, mr. alcott, but i was wondering if we ever heard your voice on the show this year. you mentioned recording a line or two a while back.

    i liked that helper had a bigger role in tonight’s episode. i’ve always enjoyed him as a character and hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of him.

    and thanks for pointing out my favorite line of the episode, re: rusty’s police issued jumpsuit. 🙂

    mack

    • Todd says:

      Re: the voice of alcott

      Mr. Publick had me record the voice of Dr. Entmann while he was out here in Burbank recording Mr. Urbaniak and Mr. Huss one week. When he got back to NY, he decided he wanted something different (the idea of Entmann being a kind of stereotypical Catskills Jew would never have occurred to me) and the schedule didn’t permit re-recording with me. For this, Mr. Publick will have to answer to his maker in the afterlife, but it’s his show and I’m totally cool with it.

  11. teamwak says:

    It was a wonderful ending a wonderful season.

    I hope the boys aren’t too burned out from this one. Cant wait for next season. Hope its not too long.

    The the episode with JJ, the Monarch and Ned and his flying clown may have been the funniest thing I’ve seen is months lol

  12. yesdrizella says:

    At first, I believed the moppets did it as well, but after giving it some more thought I’m not so sure. From having watched them develop throughout the season, I’ve noticed that the moppets take joy in up-close bodily harm. My thinking is that they would find detonating the Helper bomb too easy and cowardly (only a coward would murder someone from a distance). My guess for the culprit is a surprisingly alive Scott Hall (I think it would be great if he managed to beat the odds and survive a Samson smashing, living to serve the Monarch for one more day).

    Also, I don’t think 24 will come back, and in a way I hope he doesn’t. The existence of cloning in the Venture Bros. world has made death potentially meaningless. Jackson and Doc did a great job resurrecting the boys without cheapening their deaths, but to do that for every death would take away from the impact that death has on the viewer. I would liken it to Season 2 of Heroes, where two important characters died, but were brought back to life with ~magical healing blood~. Death is part of the hero’s journey, and for 21’s character to develop, 24 should stay dead.

    And as much as I worry for Dean, I ultimately ache for Hank. He looks for father figures in every male who isn’t his father (even Le Tueur), and now his hero quit on him. The look on his face was pure heartbreak.

    As for Brock, I wonder where he will go now. It would be interesting to see if he runs into Phantom Limb – another man without allegiance and family. Plus they’ve worked well before in the past and seem to have a mutual respect for each other’s work.

    • anglemonster says:

      Phantom limb got killed at the end of season 2, right? His appearances in season three were all flashbacks.

      • Todd says:

        They showed him enacting his revenge on Manotaur in one of the episodes.

        • anglemonster says:

          Actually that was the college days flashback, wasn’t it?

          • Anonymous says:

            Nope. At the very end of the season premiere, Phantom Limb pops up alive and well and with a robotic hand to replace the one he lost (among other appendages?) at the end of Season 2, to wreak a grisly and entirely undeserved revenge against Manotaur.

            Which, come to think of it, goes right back around to the theme of “having other people fight your battles for you.”

            — N.A.

      • yesdrizella says:

        No, he’s alive (albeit sans left arm and leg). He was in a post-credits scene in Shadowman 9.

        • nekobasu says:

          Sans left arm, leg, and an unidentified other extremity that we can only guess at — although judging from the Alchemist’s reaction, it’s pretty clear which one.

          • yesdrizella says:

            No, I’m pretty sure Al grabbed his arm, judging by how far his arms are when he’s holding said limb… unless Fantamos had a monster penis.

            • nekobasu says:

              Hmm! Now that Phantom Limb’s origin story has been confirmed, I suppose it’s confirmed that he’d only have four ghostly bits.

              I’ll have to completely re-evaluate the show now. It’s the only way to proceed.

              • lolavavoom says:

                The Detonator

                What’s the likelyhood that Phantom Limb set off the detonator?

                • Todd says:

                  Re: The Detonator

                  With his severed penis!

                • Anonymous says:

                  Re: The Detonator

                  I’m going with yesdrizella on this one: the most powerful option is Scott Hall/#1. Kevin and Tim Tom have the motive, but prefer stabbing wiv knives.

                  Phantom Limb has been absent this season, but doesn’t have anything especially against #24 or the Venture robot. They’re both associated with his enemies, but relatively minor in the scheme of things. Killing #24 isn’t Phantom Limb’s kind of revenge — unless it’s phase #1 of something larger.

                  Scott Hall has a reason to personally hate #24 — and the poetic justice of killing an “immortal” is awfully rich.

  13. mr_noy says:

    24…DEAD?…NO! I can’t believe it! I guess I should have seen it coming what with all the comments about how 21 and 24 have “that rare blend of expendable and invulnerable.”

    Also, I second whomever pointed out that the bomb’s timing sequence was accidentally initiated when DMTM dropped the detonator. Sounds logical.

    Poor 21. What will he do without 24? Oh well, cloning is always an option – although, let’s not forget what Rusty did the last time he had so many dead Monarch henchmen lying around. “Prostitoo!”

  14. cdthomas says:

    Anyone think that General Treister went all wussy

    and backed away from his little war, once he saw his prize assassin beat him at his own game?

    C’mon — OSI was facing the man who knew Doe and Cardholder violated the Guild’s prohibition of above level 8 aggression, thus abrogating the treaties between the Guild and OSI. If Brock — a man so respected by both sides that he commanded the Monarch’s troops without penalty to him or the Monarch, during the Cremation Creek crisis — decides to tell what he knows, *every* archenemy would feel empowered to go against OSI directly. General Treister’s willful fudging of the truth — that OSI sent the assassins to kill him, even if they don’t really know why — was his way of keeping Brock from starting a civil war. I have no doubt that if Brock went into the OSI ship, he wouldn’t come out whole or alive.

    In that case, the only thing Brock could do is quit — he protects the Ventures by allowing OSI to appoint another bodyguard, one that doesn’t know too much (esp. about ORB), and he protects himself, by distancing himself from all the mess the JJ/Monarch arching stirred up. No matter what happens, he’s no longer a target — that is, until Mol and Hunter figure out that Samson probably has a long memory, and a patient taste for revenge….

    • Anonymous says:

      Re: Anyone think that General Treister went all wussy

      That occurred to me, too, but it’s a much more satisfying story, and a much cleverer reveal, if it turns out Brock’s been played for sap.

      I’ll be VERY surprised, though, if next season doesn’t involve Brock hunting down both Hunter and Mol and exacting however much payback the whole “no women, no children” edict allows.

      — N.A.

      • Re: Anyone think that General Treister went all wussy

        He’s not OSI anymore, ergo the “no women, no children” edict doesn’t apply either.

        • frankie23 says:

          Re: Anyone think that General Treister went all wussy

          I always took that to be a personal morality instilled in him by Hunter, rather than a hard and fast OSI rule, to be honest.

          • Anonymous says:

            Re: Anyone think that General Treister went all wussy

            I assume its an OSI rule otherwise some other assassin would have been sent to kill Hunter as soon as Brock declined to do it. This also goes along with my belief that Brock quit’s the OSI specifically to kill whoever was responsible for betrayig him, He probably has an idea but can’t prove it. He could never seek revenge and be a body Guard at the same time since that would put the Venture family in danger.

            or

            Brock end’s up working for Molotov until the story requires him to return to the ventures, because Brock does complete that family and no other body guard will be able to take his place.

            Also 24 is dead however I am amazed no one has though about the whole ghost aspect of venture brothers. Dr Orpheus (who was strangely absent from the whole backyard war) is a necromancer. And what is cooler than 21 talking to ghost plotting to kill moppets? Nothing.

    • mimitabu says:

      Re: Anyone think that General Treister went all wussy

      I think Brock and what he stands for are so important to everyone in the Ventureverse that no one would ever kill him, regardless of his crimes. His quitting is just as bad for them.

      Anyway, I loved this episode. It was the PERFECT tie-up/catharsis for a lot of this season’s themes, while at the same time opening up completely new territory for next season. I’m expecting the next season to be less about masks, and more about the crisis the characters confront when they try to live beyond their mask (“But wasn’t this season about that?” This season was about loving the mask and being pathologically incapable of taking it off–though Rusty seems almost ready to. Obviously I have no special knowledge of what will happen next season, but I expect a lot of breakdowns and, probably, murder). Brock will be ruined without his family, Rusty might start to learn the actual hardship of maintaining meaningful emotional relationships, Dean should lose it entirely, and the Monarch… is a big question mark. Molotov and company will, I suspect, try to spice things up in ways that the stagnant Guild and OSI fear (and probably exist expressly to avoid).

      The more I think about it, the more satisfied I am by this finale than last season’s. It wasn’t quite as grand, but I felt it tied up more, and related more strongly with the season itself. Both were funny too, of course.

      Anyway, I’m very excited to see what comes in season 4. I feel like much of what’s been going on in the series has been pushed to the limit thematically, while several intriguing strands of plot remain. It’s great.

  15. Anonymous says:

    #21

    I also wonder if Henchman #21’s going to have a cataclysmic breakdown/breakthrough next season. He knowingly lives his life like he’s a cartoon character and is vaguely self-aware that this is actually the case.

    Losing #24 should shatter #21’s preconceptions about the world he lives in, the world he was just starting to put together…the plucky comic relief sometimes doesn’t get lead character-level respect. When a character leaves and is replaced (I see an opening for a “#42” similar to the replacement Duke Boys Coy and Vance, or X-Files agents, uh…Latina and Terminator) it isn’t the “show” isn’t winding down and about to end, it’s real life continuing. And sometimes (even in a cartoon) people die.

    Can “G. Viceroy” deal with these harsh realities and maintain not only his already-questionable sanity, but his henching career? It’s a valid question. He may try dulling the pain (forcing another Henchman to be #24, striking out on his own, getting hammered and making a move on Dr. Girlfriend, ratting out the Monarch to Phantom Limb, using the Guild insurance payout #24 left him to open up a comic-book store…staffed by Hank and Dermott?) which wouldn’t be pretty. But it WOULD be pretty funny.

  16. I’ve got a lot more to talk about concerning this episode but just wanted to throw something out there:

    Last year at DragonCon, Doc Hammer had mentioned (in what everyone in the crowd assumed was a mostly-joking statement) that they were considering killing off #24 since doing his voice was becoming phsically painful for Mr. McCulloch to do. (Pansy.) In answer to the protestations of the audience, Doc pointed out the upside of such of thing — the totally awesome eulogy we could expect from #21.

    Unfortunately, this will be the first DragonCon in years I will not be attending because otherwise I’d ask Mssrs. Hammer and Publick how long after last September they decided to off the poor sap.

    • vinic says:

      From Anonymous:
      [21] knowingly lives his life like he’s a cartoon character and is vaguely self-aware that this is actually the case.

      At the point it was revealed that 24 couldn’t unbuckle his seatbelt, we all knew what was going to happen. The melodramatic echoes of “why would you do that?!” from 21 were taken directly out of DragonCon’s mouth. Vaguely self-aware indeed.

      • Anonymous says:

        I still think 21’s apparent invulnerability is exactly because he “knowingly lives his life like he’s a cartoon character and is vaguely self-aware that this is actually the case.” 24 had always lived the same way, but he died because he buckled his seat belt. Ignoring simple safety precautions will never kill you in the VB universe, but the poetic irony of buckling up when you’re not even driving anywhere, and getting stuck in a car with a bomb-laden robot and dying, is something that 21 & 24 would normally joke about. “Why would you do that?!” indeed.
        – Doctor Handsome

    • thunder24 says:

      I’ll ask for you.

  17. mitejen says:

    Thoughts I thought myself. . .

    Wonderful, beautiful deconstruction, as always. I am so bummed that the season is over and I don’t have your glorious episode reviews to read any more, although I still read all your other stuff (and creepily friended you because I am lazy and like to just aggregate everything).

    I also wondered who detonated Helpr since the control was left behind, and honestly I wondered if it was HIS head that 21 caught, as a red herring alluding to 24’s death. I say that because while all the discussion this season of 21 and 24 being ‘immortal’ could be construed forshadowing, it seems more like Doc and Jackson would have something else in mind. They may lay down points A, B, and C, but the last point is almost always something else, like a picture of a unicorn with donuts centered on its horn.

    Also, Hunter’s presence with the Blackhearts at the end was shocking, BUT. . .

    . . . why, of all the strip clubs in the world, should he work at the one Brock frequented near the Venture Compound? SO he could keep an eye on him?

    . . .could there be another reason Hunter underwent gender reassignment surgery? A less obvious reason than ‘I’ve always felt trapped as a man,’ especially since he told Brock he was tired of espionage and dirty dealings, and yet went straight back to it? Especially since the Blackhearts only seem to admit women?

    . . .why were Molotov and Hunter the only two insisting that Brock was under threat from OSI. . .this one I’m sure is because Brock would only trust information of this caliber if it came from either of them, something I’m certain that Hunter knew. I think he and Molotov both wanted Brock out of the game, but why?

    I’m totally thinking triple-cross where Hunter is involved–maybe a backwards attempt to protect Brock from the dangers inherent to his position as a bodyguard? I submit he infiltrated the Blackhearts for some reason, using his new status as a woman (albeit an unconvincing one) to get in whereas before he (nor Brock) could’ve.

    • greyaenigma says:

      Re: Thoughts I thought myself. . .

      Molotov, Hunter, and his car. (Yet another love/murder relationship.)

    • cdthomas says:

      another point: six million dollars paid for a banging body,

      but surely it didn’t cost that much for gender reassignment surgery? If Hunter has all that cash, why did she still bump and grind to get Brock those dollars?

      I think there’s a love there, too, that remains unspoken — a love Hunter can’t deal with, because it involves *men* giving up the hunt and the lifestyle for something else, a tenet she-as-he drowned and shot into Brock.

      Mol and Hunter might be on the same side now, but that might change… until then, why not earn some dough being the best vagina dentatas in the world?

      • mitejen says:

        Re: another point: six million dollars paid for a banging body,

        When did he say his body cost 6 million dollars? And he kidnapped C. Everett Koop (or his VB universe approximation) to perform the surgery–that must’ve saved a few bucks right there.

        And if he did say that, could it have been a joking reference to the Steve Summers character?

        • cdthomas says:

          I was wrong. Gathers stole *40* million dollars

          from VB Wiki:
          http://www.venturebroswiki.com/vbwiki/Hunter_Gathers

          “In Assassinanny 911 Brock was contacted by his handlers in order to find Hunter Gathers. Gathers had gone A.W.O.L with forty million dollars of the OSI’s money and a plastic surgeon kidnapped from “the enemy”. Brock is dispatched to an island in Macronesia in order to take Hunter out permanently.”

          Even though the doc was kidnapped, wouldn’t he be paid off to leave a phony trail, for Gathers to escape? Coercion only works when one isn’t under anesthesia….

          Forty million would be a right nice sum to start one’s own business…

  18. greyaenigma says:

    Like a butterfly to a death blossom.

    With excellent timing, this episode manages to quote both Iron Man (with the Monarch’s “Death’s Head Panoply” battle suit)

    And here I thought that was a Last Starfighter reference.

    The thing that struck me most about that episode in terms of effect on the series is that, with the clones gone, the boys would appear to be mortal again. Sure, they can clone more, but the implication of having all those tanks is that it takes time. (Disturbing thought — what if just one died? I hope they’d just put the other in a coma while warming up the clone rather than killing him outright.)

    I expect the next season will be about Brock (who is justifiably pissed about the current situation) realizing he actually loves the kids and coming back. And maybe Dermot, who seemed oddly absent. Another thought — what if his his mother was a Blackheart only introducing Dermot to keep Brock wound up and off balance to this final play against the OSI?

    • frankie23 says:

      Re: Like a butterfly to a death blossom.

      “what if just one died?”

      Considering Hank’s little speech from last episode about umping off the roof, (and the flashbacks last season) we can assume it’s happened before. What was done though, that’s another question…

    • Re: Like a butterfly to a death blossom.

      Disturbing thought — what if just one died? I hope they’d just put the other in a coma while warming up the clone rather than killing him outright.

      You’re not thinking like a super-scientist! You just install a pair of mutual dead man’s switches–if Dean 23 blows up, the freighter Hank 23 gets a fatal neurotoxin or massive radiation dose or something.

      • greyaenigma says:

        Re: Like a butterfly to a death blossom.

        I’m trying to think like Rusty.

        That seems like a lot effort for him to go and install on every clone. This is a man who’s too lazy to properly program the teaching beds so his sons can mix a decent drink while he lounges about.

    • Anonymous says:

      Re: Like a butterfly to a death blossom.

      Dermott as a diversion would have to be deeply worked into next season’s plots, for that to stick. He’d be one hell of a lever, once Brock bonded with him. But Brock’s had sex with dozens of women. He’d never suspected he left kids behind?

  19. The Venture Bros is often about father figures, and the government is, after all, the ultimate father figure

    I don’t get it. Does that mean Kennedy and Nixon and Gorbachev fucked everyone’s momma, or some metaphorical womb? Does that make Marilyn Monroe the ultimate mother figure?

    • (at least here on Earth anyway — God, to my memory, hasn’t made it into the show as a character yet)

      waitwaitwait–so what is the Master, if not a god?

  20. johnnycrulez says:

    Just when we started to like both the Monarch and Venture and view them as protagonists again, they’re both giant dicks in the finale.

    • Anonymous says:

      They’ve always been giant dicks. That’s who they are as characters. We may like them anyway, perhaps because we identify with their struggles, but that’s our own weakness.
      –Ed.

      • johnnycrulez says:

        That’s true, yeah, but a lot of the time we can view them in some light other than just as giant dicks.

        In part one of the finale, though, Venture was totally unsympathetic. And the same with the Monarch in part two.

  21. ukuhawa says:

    My favourite thing about the way they’ve wrapped up the season, after a few days of thinking and theorising, is how we now have such a wonderfully unique balance of Things Unresolved. There’s a little bit of “who?” (Helper’s detonation being the main one), a little bit of “why?” (Hunter with the Blackhearts), and a LOT of wondering where these characters, these people, will go from here.

    I find it interesting that in a show where so much of the humour and character comes from double acts (Hank and Dean, Pete and Billy, Watch and Ward, Kevin and Tim-Tom… even incidental characters — like Doe and Cardholder, and Heat and Collar — typically get introduced in pairs), 24’s death marks the first time that one has been irreparably broken up. It doesn’t seem as if 21 has anything left to lose now… he’s lost his friend, any illusion of invulnerability, and, presumably, all hope of any further special treatment from the Monarch. Never mind the fact that, barring a return to the support group from the start of season 2, he’ll find no sympathy from anyone; I’d be surprised if anyone else even shows up to hear his totally awesome eulogy. Could this be the age of the Viceroy?

    Also… am I alone in thinking that Phantom Limb, confirmed alive at the beginning of the season and then never seen (in the present) again, could have had more of a hand in things (pun reluctantly intended) this season than may be immediately apparent? I couldn’t even begin to think what he might have done, of course — although he may well have encountered the Moppets back in the day, and 24 used to work for him, let’s not forget…

    Something unlikely to ever be resolved or even spoken of again: did the Cleaner melt Hank and Dean’s psychologist too? That’d be a shame.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I remember the clones as being nude before. Did Rusty outfit them with the “Sting-from-Dune” jockstraps specifically when Sgt. Hatred became his Arch, because of Hatred’s proclivities? It seems uncharacteristic of Rusty to care if the clones got raped.

    • everyone else gets uniforms why can’t they?
      .. and it would be hanks doing much less Rusty, as Hank is under the impression that these are his personal army, and would need such identification as a Venture army. Little bit too much reading into it.

  23. Pretty sure they say hes killing the top assasssins and dont make reference to whether or not they are from OSI.
    and
    Sergeant Hatred was OSI before he was Guild, I’d say if the door swings one way, theres a possibility it swings both. I also think it was more of a joke to have the pedophile protect the boys he had already abused than a foreshadowing of the nature of the guild and osi.

  24. Anonymous says:

    hunter gathers

    hunters presence in the black hearts casts the strip club scene from p1 in a new light. Hunters knowledge of the “csi’s” plot to kill brock was part of the setup, and so was the position of the car keys. A classic story of parental abuse, you can have the car but..

    also i’m pretty sure the moppets did it.

  25. charlequin says:

    Oh man, poor H.E.L.P.eR. ;_;

    All three seasons of the Venture Brothers have impressive finales (I should know, I’ve caught up on the whole show in the last three weeks) but this one seems so much huger than the others. “ORB” sets a rather ominous, off-kilter tone leading into this finale, and the events justify that entirely.

    It seems to me that the biggest theme of this episode is that everyone’s playing for higher stakes now: Brock’s conflict has expanded into a forced choice between his two “families” (the Ventures and OSI), Hank and Dean’s clone immortality has vanished, etc. It’s as if everyone’s been treading water until now and a storm’s come in — or the main characters are starting to actually feel the consequences that have been heaped upon the nameless and faceless henchmen until now.

  26. karcreat says:

    24…Alive?…;)

    Hey, All!

    My name is Kevin Karstens, Im a net cartoonist/animator for a living…and I was completely disheartened to witness the recent apparent demise of Henchman 24.

    So much so, that I thought it would be fun to do an animatic w/ sound showing how he actually loved…all is well, until Brock runs into him, unexpectedly.

    Here’s what I have so far, with a link to some storyboard art and the work in progress animatic…opinions appreciated, let me know what you think so far…

    ****************

    Venture Brothers Lost Episode:

    ‘Lam-Pooned’
    http://www.karcreat.com/VentureBrosAnimatic.html

    Thanks!
    K

  27. Anonymous says:

    Excellent analysis, first of all. Really great to see this show explored in the depth which it deserves.

    One other theme that I detected was the further blurring of the line separating good and evil. In the episode the actions of OSI and that of The Monarch seem eerily similar in parts. Particularly in the scene directly before they attack each other; with the focus shifting between the two, revealing that they’re doing the exact same thing. A good theme in itself, but this is made better by the possible subtext. Could this be allegorical criticism of the increasing moral ambiguity of US foreign policy? Particularly during the Cold War, many came to the realization that the nature of our CIA operations did not differ all to much from those of the terrorist/revolutionary groups we were trying to suppress. So I thought that was quite interesting as well.

    About Sgt. Hatred, he did at one point work for OSI (in fact he assigned Brock to Operation Rusty’s Blanket), so it’s possible they’ll take him back.