The Venture Bros: “Bot Seeks Bot” part 2

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Brock’s mission is now “to save Ghost Robot,” which seems big of him, considering that he doesn’t seem that attached to Ghost Robot, considering that no one seems that attached to Ghost Robot, really. Brock’s passion here is for his work, his job, the job for which he has forsaken his family, the Venture clan, for SPHINX, which has been destroyed by his foster father figure, Hunter Gathers. Brock’s job is his family, and it’s the only thing he’s good at. He can’t win at love, he’s backed away from being a father, he’s distant with his work brothers (he even steals one’s wife), but his job is everything to him, an all-or-nothing proposition, even when “the job” is nothing more than invading a nightclub to rescue a robot from an awkward date.

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Brock takes Shore Leave back to the Venture compound to root through his old belongings for suitable villain costumes. He has a whole bunch of old villain costumes because, well, he’s killed a lot of villains (like Marv, the brutal psychopath with the heart of gold in Sin City, he kills men and takes their coats). That, ultimately, is Brock’s legacy: he’s an assassin, a trailer-park James Bond, and he leaves a trail of dead men in his wake. (An assassin is the opposite of a father, and he’s not too much of a friend either. That’s why Bond’s relationship with M is so important to the series: it’s all he’s got that makes him human.)

Brock is taking no time out from his work to celebrate his humanity, because he has so little. But here comes a ghost of Brock’s past, Rusty himself, mistaking Brock’s getup for a costume for a party.  Rusty, as lusty and lonely as Vendata, doesn’t need the death of a clown (“A comedian died tonight,” begins Watchmen) for an excuse to carouse: he’s been ready to carouse since the moment his voice broke. Ironically, the costume Rusty chooses to crash the nightclub is that of a clown, with a rainbow wig and Groucho glasses, a distorted parody of Boggles, a garish slap in the face of those with legitimate reason to want to honor the Clue Clown’s legacy.

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To further twist the knife in Ghost Robot’s heart, the word around the nightclub is that Galacticon, the robot Ghost Robot is impersonating, is a mad sex-beast of a top, and here he is trading small-talk to a clearly bored Vendata. To make matters worse, Vendata has chosen to have his dead-end date at the same nightclub where the Council has come to drown their sorrows. Their familial joy in the face of death openly mocks Vendata’s attempts to stave off loneliness with sex.

Brock easily gets into the villains-only nightclub (further blurring the line of whether we can consider Brock a hero or a villain) but Rusty, thinking he’s going to a costume party, with Billy Quizboy in tow, has no such luck. Trying to find a way in, Rusty and Billy venture (sorry) around to the back of the elevator shaft leading down to the club, and we find the walls of the shaft covered with the least villainous graffiti possible: “Peace on Earth,” a peace sign in the shape of a heart, and a “no bombs” sign. How tough are these supervillains, anyway?

Just as Rusty and Billy are being admitted to the club, the real Galacticon shows up to troll for rough trade. Brock spirits Ghost Robot away to the men’s room, where, in a twist worthy of Orton, Vendata stumbles upon the two of them in a toilet stall in a compromising position: Ghost Robot’s legs up, Brock stripped to his y-fronts. Brock was fingered earlier (sorry) as a homewrecker with Amber, but now he pays the price for it with Ghost Robot, a character he barely knows, and Brock’s rescue operation goes quickly to pieces. He brutalizes Vendata, steals his costume (his second change of identity for the night), dresses Ghost Robot in the costume he wore to the club, grabs Shore Leave and prepares to make a hasty getaway.

Again, his forsaken family intervenes to prevent Brock from executing his job: Rusty and Billy are captured, chained to a wheel and presented to the clubgoers as the evening’s entertainment. Brock tells Shore Leave to get Ghost Robot out of the club, but he says he has to stay to save Rusty. Shore Leave says “I know he’s your old sugar-daddy, but is he really worth it?” which, ironically, is the question the narrative has been begging all along, but not about Rusty, about Ghost Robot. Brock has gone to great lengths to save a character he’s barely even met before, in the name of his work, but Shore Leave, his venture-brother for this episode, reminds him that Rusty isn’t Brock’s mission. What a position for Brock to be in, risking his life (theoretically anyway) to save a b-lister, but chided for wanting to save the show’s main protagonist.

What will save Rusty from certain death? Will it be Brock, who has gone “off the rez” to save his old charge? Will it be Shore Leave, who is trying to create a distraction by cutting the cable to the disco ball? Turns out, neither: it is Guild Rules that save Rusty’s skin, as the Monarch crashes the party to ruin everyone’s fun (par for the course for the Monarch, I guess). The very thing that caused the Council of 13 to disobey the Sovereign, strict adherence to rules, now intervenes as the Monarch complains that Rusty is his, and his alone, to arch.

The crisis over, Vendata staggers from the men’s room, shellshocked by Brock’s attack, shorn of his costume, confused, disoriented, looking for his wife. In one tiny moment, the script tells us a sad, bitter story of a man caught by fate, trapped in a plane crash, made to live an unlivable life as a man-machine, driven by loneliness to seek love in the arms of a giant robot. (Is he Major Tom, another Ventureverse character caught in a plane crash, missing his wife?)

The Monarch corners Rusty, lustful for his moment of villainous revenge, but is cock-blocked, so to speak, by Shore Leave’s unfinished diversion. The disco ball, the symbol of all things sybaritic, crashes down on him. Rusty, like Ghost Robot, is another victim destroyed by misplaced lust.


32 Responses to “The Venture Bros: “Bot Seeks Bot” part 2”
  1. Ponce says:

    Vendata isn’t Major Tom, he’s the Monarch’s dad, who died in a plane crash. See the very first ep, “Dia de Los Dangerous!”

    • Todd says:

      Of course he is. How silly of me.

    • Jesse says:

      You are correct in who he is but it is episode two in which we find out about the plane.

      • karmavsdogma says:

        Yeah, we’re not going to count “The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay” since that should have been called “The Terrible Secret of Pilot Episodes”.

  2. OldBean says:

    “The crisis over, Vendata staggers from the men’s room, shellshocked by Brock’s attack, shorn of his costume, confused, disoriented, looking for his wife. In one tiny moment, the script tells us a sad, bitter story of a man caught by fate, trapped in a plane crash, made to live an unlivable life as a man-machine, driven by loneliness to seek love in the arms of a giant robot. (Is he Major Tom, another Ventureverse character caught in a plane crash, missing his wife?)”

    Remember, the Monarch’s parents died in a plane crash, and it was established earlier this season that they were friends of Jonas Venture. So it seems like there’s a good chance Vendata is actually the Monarch’s father.

  3. Les Bowman says:

    So a big cliffhanger going into the final episode then, is Rusty alive? Does he have clones sitting somewhere? Or will Daddy (the original Doctor Venture – remember he’s time travelling or something) or potentially JJ save him?
    Will the Venture Brothers still be the Venture Brothers without Rusty?

  4. N.A. says:

    The more I think about Vendata’s last words, the more heartbreaking they get. I love those little moments when the show stops playing things for laughs.

    Ditto for Ghost Robot’s incredibly poignant joy at having fingers.

    And I love Rusty’s line about Vendata: “The metal man from my nightmares! He’s real!” In one quick line, we
    a) learn that Jonas was an even bigger creep than we thought
    b) feel sorry for Rusty, as we get a window into yet another dark corner of his childhood trauma
    c) see that Rusty, once again, sees life only through the prism of himself.

    — N.A.

    • Travis says:

      Considering Jonas left Dr. Entmann sealed in a room for three decades, I could see him turning a friend into a cyborg and then letting him loose when it does work.

    • OldSkoolGeek says:

      That’s the thing. As bad a dad Rusty is, his own father was much, much worse.

  5. FDSY says:

    I don’t know if anyone noticed, but they snuck in Leap Frog, a classic silly Marvel villain. He appears several times in the nightclub. As far as I know, that’s the only real world villain included.

    • whigwam says:

      That was actually Brick Frog, who previously auditioned for The Revenge Society. He throws bricks.

    • Are you sure that wasn’t Brick Frog, a D-lister that was rejected by the revenge society in an earlier episode? I saw him, didn’t see Leap Frog.

    • Ken says:

      Oh, no, my friend. That’s not Leap Frog. That is the one and only BRICK FROG! He auditioned for The Phantom Limb to join The Revenge Society.

    • PDR says:

      That’s actually Brick Frog, a villain who first appeared in the episode with the tryouts for the Revenge Society.

    • Turdsman says:

      I think that was Brick Frog, from Bright Lights, Dean City. It’s easy to forget he was there, since he comes immediately after Scary Bear and is just generally unremarkable. Besides being a dude in a frog outfit that hurls bricks at people.

    • Smokie1019 says:

      Tut tut!
      The only ‘real’ villain mentioned was “The Fruitbat”- from my own comic, “The Shroud” published in Zatso Magazine in the early 2000,s (Actually it was a toy catalogue from a company in Jackson Mississippi that also had comics in it.)
      // Augustus St. Cloud mode off//

      Extremely big coincidence, but cool to see, especially since the Fruitbat also has purple wings.

  6. whigwam says:

    “no one seems that attached to Ghost Robot, really.”

    Hey, don’t forget about U.S. Steel.

  7. OldBean says:

    This episode got me thinking: has anyone else noticed that Brock is actually kind of bad at his job? Obviously he’s good (if not the best) at killing, and he can be an effective protector (although 14 sets of Venture Brothers clones might suggest otherwise). But as far as delicate espionage work goes, he doesn’t have a great track record, at least that we’ve seen. In his early OSI days, he’s seduced by Molotov (an enemy agent), which results in him getting drugged, stabbed, and set on fire. Later there was the whole debacle with Billy, which resulted in his banishment to the Venture compound. He gets completely played by Hunter AND Molotov during the whole Orb/Family That Slays Together sequence. In this episode, he ends up killing Vendata (maybe, it’s not really clear if he’s dead or not), when getting intel from him was the whole point of the mission in the first place.

    I always kind of wondered why the OSI would let such a talented agent rot away protecting Rusty Venture for twenty years. Now that he’s back with the agency, it’s becoming much more clear that, outside of murdering people, Brock isn’t necessarily that useful to them.

  8. Kandy says:

    I think everyone is missing the main point here, is Rusty Venture dead?!?! he cant be dead!!! he is the father of the show and our beloved main character!!! we cant live without Rusty Venture, the show will never be the same…

    • Z says:

      Seriously! I was waiting for some resolution in the cold close, but got nothing.
      Actually, we got another question from the cold close. If Killinger is hanging with the Revenge Society, does that mean he’s embarking upon another “revitalization” project for Phantom Limb? What results would that create? Could he be, essentially, rehabilitated?

  9. Rob says:

    Brock’s attempts to save Ghost Robot weren’t out of kindness, they were so as not to blow their cover and start a war with the Guild.

  10. Ryan says:

    I was confused by the “PEACE ON EARTH” graffiti too, but on a repeat viewing I realized that the club entrance, an anonymous bunker in the middle of the desert, probably looks a lot like a military installation (or a missile silo?) to any teenagers or hippies driving around. If I can post a link:

  11. MCP says:

    Upon sharing the thought that Rusty just got crushed by a giant disco ball, some ideas came up.

    First is, are they bold enough to outright kill off Rusty? Even in a series which allows characters to grow and change, that is quite a shock. The last big shock at the end of season 1, it turned out the Venture Brothers were clones.

    So taking off on the whole super science angle, instead of outright killing Dr Venture, are they going to bring him back through some complicated super science/magic story? Some ideas came to mind:
    1. Resurrected by Orpheus or maybe even Dr Killinger.
    2. Survives, but is maimed in some severe way.
    3. Someone saves his head and puts it in a jar/robot/sewed onto another body. (super science) Rusty the Robot. Dr Venture head in a jar. Venturestein (the irony).

    Any of those can finally make him evil, right? Just like how all the bad guys had some horrible super science mishap.

    Or did he just literally side step that death trap?

    Also, since that Robot guy might be Monarch’s dad, maybe they share a tender moment in the next episode.

  12. Z says:

    I am interested in the inclusion of Wild Fop in the Council of 13. He appears in the “what could happen to you if you don’t use the Guild” video sent to Dr. Orpheus in Fallen Arches, where he sexually abuses a hero (The Naked Ape… make of that what you will) strapped to a large laser.
    The apparent absence of the other council members from this video suggests that it might not be a wholly-scripted and acted video.
    Did Wild Fop perform a service to the guild including acting in a roll in the video? If so, when was the video shot? Was he a member of the Council at that time? It would seem a bit odd to “out” one of the silhouetted figures in that way.
    Or was Wild Fop “acting inappropriately” in his arching and was moved to the Council to somewhat take him out of active arching? Seems an odd way for an organization of villains to deal with a problem.

    I thought perhaps other Council members were in the video, but when I went back and watched, it didn’t appear to be so.

  13. Zach says:

    A few thoughts on vendata being the monarchs dad. The dates line up nicely and connect with what we already know about the monarchs parents being friends of dr. Venture, but let’s really clean the bones here. The picture of the monarchs parents shows us a woman with hair the same color as the monarchs standing next to A man with what appears to be very dark hair while we also notice that young Malcolm’s hair is the same color as dr. Venture sr. In spanakopitas we’re given a very brief glimpse of a a woman with red hair sitting next to a dark haired man on the boat col. Gentleman was driving at the very beginning of the episode to get to the wedding. We know the wedding was in October ’68 and we also know that the monarchs parents died during the summer of ’76 (the summer of the monarch!). Meaning that Malcolm was born in the winter or spring of 68. My theory is that dr. Venture is the monarchs father but when his mother wanted to leave her husband to be with dr. Venture he set up the plane crash, left his illegitimate son for dead, and used his dead “friend” to build venturion. This explains why the monarch has so many similarities to rusty. Another possibility is that malcolm is a modified clone of rusty given to Jonas’ friends who couldn’t have their own child.

    • Zach says:

      Upon review of the first episode the monarch states that his birthday was around September meaning that if his parents crashed when he was 8 and he spent the summer in the pine barrens. This leads to the monarch being born in 67 not 68, or vendata being his father is a big red herring.

  14. FredBoat says:

    What comes of all this? It seems to me that it’s all tied to Dean’s arc.

    The Ventures don’t let things die! They clone them, they reanimate them (Venturstein), and now we know that they are brought to life by way of cyborg as well.

    All these options are available to Dean. The trajedy? His father’s death is the perfect out for him, to pursue a life outside super science… but can he let go, or will he become Young Frankenstein, and try to use the inherited tools of his namesake to clone, reanimate, or robotify (all options pursued by his predecessors) his father, all while struggling with the fact that he resents his own clonedness.

    The “good guys” don’t let things stay dead. The “villains” do.

    Speedy dies. 24 is dead. Boggles is dead. King gorilla dies. Monstroso is presumed dead. Henchmen die all the time. Sphinx Commander dies with zero fanfare. Short Division dies. Manservant dies. Mike Sorayama dies (with much ado).

    But the good guys reanimate things as described above. They even are consumed in the womb and lay dormant only to come back to haunt you. Jonas Sr., if he is dead, couldn’t do it in a way that was obvious, and he remains the biggest mystery of all… probably not dead given the themes (though learning he was, in fact, simply dead all this time, might be just the sort if slap in the face by reality that the Venture-Verse needs to put away childhood things). Even Colonel Gentleman, thought dead, wasn’t after all. Brock, in Dia de Los Dangerous, rises from the grave. Helper keeps being rebuilt. Instead of killing Molotov, they fake her death and keep her on. They keep propping up the failed dream, and it gets more dysfunctional each time they do.

    I guess General Treister is a good guy who dies… But he hasn’t given up. He’s just looking for ALIEN TECHNOLOGY, more empty promises of the future, as it were. There are other axceptions, but I’m painting with broad thematic strokes.

    With Boggle’s funeral we see that the villians are so much more prepared to accept death, and as a social circle we see they are relatively well adjusted compared to the good guys, be it the Venture home life or the OSI team. One of the council-women even has a family to get home to, whatever that is.

    The council readily disobey their master, the Sovereign, and accept the death if Boggles, and are all the more adjusted for it.

    21, in time, accepts the death of 24, and rebels against his master, is is all the better for it.

    The OSI is meanwhile tied like a ball and chain to Hunter, and are miserable for it. The Venture clan does not accept death, and Dean in particular is struggling to rebel against his authority figure.

    How we deal with Dr. Venture’s death is important for all the characters, but it’s Dean’s arc that I bet will bare some serious fruit. Regardless of the outcome, dean will struggle with the question of death and sanity, or re-life and super-science.

    On a second note…

    Have you ever noticed how characters who reach a stable point of happiness and fulfillment suddenly die?

    Narratively speaking, when your protagonist is happy or fulfilled, it’s time for him/her to skip town, die, or find a new problem. Consider the red wedding in game of thrones. Everything is going well for Robb Stark when he is suddenly killed.

    In the long arch of the Venture Brothers, we’ve seen a lot of happiness from Rusty this season. He’s discovered a friend, so to speak, in Ted. He has Spanikopita. Both are happiness of illusion/delusion, but happiness all the same.

    Of, course there is so much more we would need to see out of Rusty to know he had truly come to a place of happiness and stability in his life (a functional relationship with a woman wouldn’t hurt), but nevertheless, by Venture standard this has been a pretty good season for Rust. In the Palemon project he even gets double credit for completing the ray shield (respect from his brother) and creating the supposed antidote to the mutations of the interns (another delusion, but credit from Billy and the others nonetheless).

    As far as good times for Rusty to die, it’s one of the better ones.

    Still, I doubt he’s gone. Remember the cliffhanger when a confident, not bald Rusty appeared from a dimensional portal? We all thought it would be something big… But it end up as basically an end if credits gag plot-wise. This whole thing could be solved faster than lickity-split, but that would seem like a missed opportunity for some big character development.

  15. FredBoat says:

    I just found a much more succinct way to make my point, The whole way the good guys and the bad guys deal with death is summed up in about 10 seconds in this episode.

    Captain Sunshine throws himself on Boggle’s grave kicking and screaming, Red Mantle somberly covers the grave with earth.

    And who is the big intrusion at the funeral? Vendata, the reanimated, who now fits in neither among the good, or the bad.

  16. rvngscty says:

    Dude, watch the season 5 teaser trailer. There is more than enough proof some incarnation of Rusty is still alive. He didn’t die. This is classic JP/DH writing.

  17. Nat Almirall says:

    Has the guy in the top hat and tails with the nuclear symbol been given a name yet? If not, I’m really hoping it’s the “Fission Magician,” mainly because that recalls John Candy’s “Fishin’ Musician.”

  18. grilldos says:

    I kept waiting for a joke referring to the pallbearers, who are obviously henchman, as the Clue Clown’s Clan.