Venture Bros: Perchance to Dean

hits counter

What does D-19 want? That’s easy — D-19 wants to be Dean. He’s bound to be frustrated in his pursuit, because there’s no way he can actually become Dean. Setting aside the fact that Dean isn’t really "Dean," since "Dean" has been dead many times over.

Or, well, wait a minute — Dean is, after all, not "really Dean," he’s a replacement. We have, I imagine, never met the "original Dean," although I guess it’s safe to say that "original Dean" is enough like Dean to qualify for the sake of analysis of this episode.

But D-19 is, after all, a clone of Dean — he has just as much legitimacy as Dean does to be called Dean. We aren’t told that D-19 has mental defects or severe physiological problems, only that he is ugly — the "face problem," as Rusty puts it. What, then, in the end, separates D-19 from Dean?

The answer, strangely enough, is Rusty. Dean has Rusty for a father and D-19 does not. The lack of Rusty in D-19’s life has made him into a twisted, deformed freak, seething with spite and vengeance. Two things strike me as odd about this: one, the message here seems to be that having a father, even a father as breathtakingly horrible as Rusty, is better than having no father at all; two, the Rusty that D-19 imagines as his authority figure is, if anything, a harsher, more cruel Rusty than even Rusty himself.

Which is saying a lot! It’s hard to overstate what an incredibly poor father Rusty is. First, he creates dozens of clones of his sons, which all but guarantees that he’ll be negligent about their safety. Then, because he’s too lazy and self-involved to care for even disposable teenage boys, he hires Brock to take care of them. When Brock takes off to find himself, Rusty then hires, what the hell, a pedophile to care for them instead. This, on top of the general discouragement, carping and indifference he dumps on them every day.

Today is different, though! Today, Rusty only despises one of his children — a huge step forward for Dr. Venture, I guess. Why, in this episode, Rusty is not only kind and protective of Dean, he wishes to nurture him and take him on a bold venture (sorry) into adulthood.

As luck would have it, Rusty’s sudden interest in shaping Dean’s developing mind coincides with Dean’s sudden concern about his hair falling out. Now Dean’s hair is not merely Dean’s hair — it’s a metaphor. Dean’s hair loss is a metaphor for growing up, getting older, coming into his manhood. He’s losing his hair up top while growing a teeny bit in down below (meaning, his moustache — I have no firm data on Dean’s body hair). In contrast, Hank seems to be regressing, becoming less mature as time goes on, dwelling on petty grudges and rebelling pointlessly against authority. The disappearance of Brock seems to have wounded him deeply — to him, he has no real father now.

Which brings to mind the Chalk Circle. The question the story of the Chalk Circle raises is, who is more a child’s parent, the one who gave birth to it or the one who takes care of it? In this regard, Brock is very much Hank’s father and Rusty barely qualifies as a parent at all — having killed off his biological progeny years ago, he can’t be bothered to care for his progeny’s clones. He’s like a shadow of a ghost of a father, barely qualifying as even a biological donor.

Dean is in the shower worrying about his hair, while Hank is outside in the hall worrying about his bladder. Oddly, there is only one bathroom in the Venture compound, I guess because Jonas Sr was rather anal — he kept tight control of his excretory habits, he wasn’t going to shit all over the place, even in his gigantic, acres-wide compound. Strangely, there isn’t even a master bathroom in Rusty’s bedroom — Jonas apparently thought that one room was good enough for everyone to shit in.

D-19 is in his prison in the attic, but Dean is also in a kind of prison in his own home. He has no social life, he can’t leave the compound, he doesn’t go to school, all he knows, all he’s ever known, is this life of "adventure" with his father, who is barely a father, and his bodyguard, who prefers Hank to him. Even his new bodyguard, the pedophile, prefers Hank to him. And it’s worth noting that everyone in the Venture compound lives in their own prison, psychologically speaking. Rusty lives in the prison of crushed expectations left by his father, Hank lives in the prison of fatherlessness, and Hatred lives in a prison of continuous torment, a loveless world where his simplest impulses are illegal. Each of us lives in a prison of one sort or another, none of us are truly free.

Amazingly, given all the pain and resentment seething through the Venture household, D-19 envies Dean and want desperately to become him. Why? Well, to gain the approval of Rusty, his father. Obviously, D-19 hasn’t been paying very close attention, trapped as he is in his torment of reflection. He’s so blinkered in his vision of the world that he sees Rusty as a parental figure worthy of respect, or, that is to say, as a parental figure at all.

So Dean is becoming a man — he’s losing his hair and growing a moustache. Unfortunately for Dean, that also means that he is becoming his father. Rusty, perhaps surprisingly, responds to Dean’s situation with kindness and pride — I would expect him to treat puberty like any other annoyance. But no, Rusty sees Dean becoming him as well, and decides to help him along. And so he — in his way — becomes the father to Dean that D-19 has always wanted — kind, protective, nurturing. Rusty wants Dean to follow in the family business. I think he means "super-science," but at this point the Venture family business is failure. He’s excited about re-making Dean in his own image, even though his "image" is that of a stunted man in arrested development, an emotional deadweight and a miserable excuse for a man.

In any case, Dean certainly fails in this episode. Given his father’s encouragement, he tries to, I think, figure out how to re-grow hair. His experiment goes nowhere and he thinks he’s grown a misshapen version of himself. He’s only screwing around with some chemicals and a lock of hair, but he thinks he’s become Frankenstein on his first try.

Dean’s becoming a man, but D-19 is nowhere near. He’s still very much a child, an abandoned child, developmentally bereft. He sees Rusty as an unpleasable parent, cruel and critical, and I suppose the real Rusty would be those things if he gave much thought to parenting at all. He’s obsessed with Dean’s "prettiness," thinking that if he had the same appearance as Dean, he’d be worthy of the love Dean receives, such as it is.

D-19 and Hank both resent Dean, both have a sense of Dean being the preferred child. In a way, Hank doesn’t even need Dermot to coax out his anti-authority tendencies, he could just as easily teamed up with D-19 in that regard. Hank moves the boxes up to the attic and sees the walls covered with pictures of Dean, and it doesn’t even faze him — the attic is, for him, just an expression of how he sees the rest of his world — all Dean, all the time.

As Hank grumbles his way through the chores he’s been assigned as punishment for attacking his father’s authority, it’s mentioned a number of times that Hank has no intellect, and is bound to end up moving boxes for a living. Which points back to his problem with fathers. "Biological father" Rusty is a terrible father, "real father" Brock has abandoned him, his "new father" is a pedophile. What boy with this kind of background would grow up to be a brilliant success? Rusty complains about Hank’s lack of talent, but who is responsible for that lack?

Who can Hank turn to for comfort? He has no father and his brother is his enemy. He therefore seeks a new brother in Dermot, the snotty layabout who wanders in and out of the compound from time to time. Dermot functions as the boiled-down, crack-cocaine version of Hank in this episode. Hank hates authority in juvenile ways, Dermot is a much more dangerous sort. He’s not more mature than Hank, kind of the opposite really, but he puts up a good front. Dermot is all about putting up a good front, actually — he seeks the appearance of a dangerous outlaw, but actually has no clue what he’s doing. Hank, on the other hand, is an amateur in looking like a dangerous outlaw, but doesn’t even have the stomach to put up a good front. He’s a lame-o, through and through, and, in the narrative vocabulary of this episode, he’s a complete loser, doomed for a life of menial labor. Oddly enough, D-19 is also obsessed with "putting up a good front," he has, in fact, centered his existence around the idea. He will look as good as Dean or he will die trying. The obsession with appearance is another link between Dermot and D-19, another way both Dermot and D-19 are Hank’s "brothers."

As Hank makes his way toward Endsville with Dermot, Dean reaches for the stars with Rusty, through the vehicle of progressive rock. In a Yes-inspired hallucination, Dean has a vision of age, death and re-birth, which he applies to the crisis of his hair.

While D-19 is trying to become Dean, and Hank is trying to become Dermot, Rusty, typically, doesn’t want to become anything, not even molded copies of himself. Has there ever been a character so utterly filled with self-loathing and bitterness? Sgt Hatred, trying to be a father to the whole family, concocts a plan to duplicate explosive copies of Rusty to kill bad guys, as though an encounter with the real Rusty wouldn’t be deadly enough. This is Hatred’s protective instinct at work, the positive side of being a father. That he decides that an explosive duplicate of Rusty is a good idea says volumes about his opinion of Rusty, as well as his flaws as a bodyguard — what would prevent Hank and Dean from approaching the wrong Rusty one day?

So Hank and D-19 both want Dean out of their way, and their agendas collide when Hank drives into a Dean clone that D-19 was digging up for his Dean-skin outfit. (Odd that the Dean-clone is clothed, but who am I to say?) Just as Dermot is Hank’s devil on his shoulder, D-19’s imaginary Rusty is a devil on his own, feeding him poison-pill after poison-pill, leading him further and further down the road to unhappiness. D-19 surely could have left the Venture compound ages ago, but stuck around, waiting, hoping to acquire the one thing that Dean gets just by being alive — Dr. Venture’s attention. Such as it is.

I very much like the beat about Dermot seeing Fight Club in the theater, in 1999, when dropped off at the movies to see Elmo in Grouchland. This event goes a long way toward explaining how Dermot ended up so badly screwed up. It’s hard enough for a teenager to get the satirical tone of Fight Club, for an eight-year-old it would be devastating. Or liberating.

Venture Bros characters are always in the midst of transformation, that’s why the Monarch is the chief villain — as a butterfly, he is the personification of transformation. And so Dean, here, is seen transforming into a scientist, Hank is transforming into a delinquent, Hatred is transforming into a guardian, D-19 is transforming into Dean, and Rusty is transforming, briefly, into a father worthy of the appellation. In another cross-cast link, Dermot shares with Rusty his inability to take responsibility for his actions. Everything is always someone else’s fault in Dermot’s world, just as Rusty blames everything on his father, while utterly ignoring the effect he has on his own sons. The characters in this episode all ache towards transformation, but ultimately they collapse back into their dead-end ways.


47 Responses to “Venture Bros: Perchance to Dean”
  1. mimitabu says:

    re: clothed dean, i assumed it wasn’t one of the slugs that died in the finale, but rather just some dean that died somehow in the past. it wouldn’t surprise me to find old deans and hanks in shallow graves all around the compound.

  2. carlos_v_b says:

    Rusty’s approach to fathering the boys seems to mirror that of not so much his father’s approach, but Rusty’s experience of that approach. A horrid, destructive childhood full of boy-adventuring, that while Rusty hates with his every fibre, is still the inescapable path he leads the boys down.

    But when Dean starts to show signs of adulthood that Rusty can relate to (facial hair, balding etc.), then Rusty tries to raise Dean by introducing him to what raised him during adolescence / early adulthood; super science and progressive rock. And Rusty seems both much more capable here, and much more caring as well.

  3. notthebuddha says:

    “Then, because he’s too lazy and self-involved to care for even disposable teenage boys, he hires Brock to take care of them. When Brock takes off to find himself, Rusty then hires, what the hell, a pedophile to care for them instead.”

    I’m not sure that it makes an overall difference in the analysis, but Dr Venture doesn’t pay his body guards, they are provided by OSI. (This jibes with the original JOHNNY QUEST series where Race has a secret agenda to monitor Johnny’s emerging genius and keep his talents out of the wrong hands.)

    (Odd that the Dean-clone is clothed, but who am I to say?)

    They have at least three seasons of identical clothing, so it’s not worth Doc’s or Brock’s time to undress a dead one. The real mystery is why the dead-and-buried clones look freshly dead instead of decayed.

    • Todd says:

      I thought the Dean that D-19 digs up is a recently-dead clone from the recent clone-massacre. I could be wrong.

      • notthebuddha says:

        Considering D-19 survived being aborted when he was still a clone-slug himself, I wonder if the slugs in general might have some kind of ability to survive and mature despite being removed from food and oxygen for a long time.

        I don’t have the DVDs, maybe a fan who does can check to see how many flashbacks there were to Dean-deaths that would have left an undisfigured face: gas leak yes, wood chipper no, explosion no, …

        • gersonk says:

          I don’t think they were the clone army – they were all Stretch Armstrong slugs and mostly dismembered badly. While we only see the one completely ‘normal’ Dean in the grave (the one D-19 removes), the others seem to have regular skin. It’s been mentioned elsewhere that none of them looked to have been dead any length of time.

          There’s a list of their deaths here. The last Dean could’ve come from Wereventure, maybe the robot and the spider (if they had quick painless weapons), running with scissors and gas leak. At the end of season 1, Hank looked like he may have left a pretty corpse, Dean looked charred. It’s also unclear what happened to Dean after Hank got a satellite dropped on him while they were playing football. Did they wipe his memory with the bed? Explain it all to him and then restore from an earlier backup the next time he died? Just kill him? Or is it another of his repressed memories?

          Also note, even though Brock and Rusty agreed this was time #14, the Scooby gang killed them once. Also note #21 said he’d seen Hank die twice – that can be explained a few ways (21 misinterpreted a tranq dart amongst them). But together with the Scoobies, that suggests either Brock and Rusty lost count or the boys kept dying in season 2 & 3 in unaired adventures. Doc and Jackson have suggested that they do have a lot more adventures like Escape to the House of Mummies, but we just don’t get to see them.

  4. notthebuddha says:

    Oddly, there is only one bathroom in the Venture compound, I guess because Jonas Sr was rather anal — he kept tight control of his excretory habits, he wasn’t going to shit all over the place, even in his gigantic, acres-wide compound. Strangely, there isn’t even a master bathroom in Rusty’s bedroom — Jonas apparently thought that one room was good enough for everyone to shit in.

    I think the single-bathroom situation is limited to the residence. Obviously, the Orpheuses have their own, Dr Killinger’s men used other bathrooms on duty, and the last two employees Doc fired were using other accommodations since he hadn’t seen them since his dad died. Besides, a single bathroom is a handy way to stage dialogue between characters who would otherwise avoid each other.

    • I also think it shows Jonas never intended to have children.

      • notthebuddha says:

        I think that’s a stretch – non-self-loathing super geniuses almost always want to spwan. He obviously designed the main compound residence as a super science bachelor pad/man cave. Perhaps Rusty’s mother didn’t last long enough to require him to remodel, or perhaps the home now occupied by the Orpheuses was going to be their family home before she was kidnapped/killed/shrunk/driven away by Jonas’ flaws.

          • Anonymous says:

            I have this curious idea that Rusty is actually a clone of Jonas. Bear with me here:

            – With the exception of Guardo and that “happiness machine” from the first season, Rusty hasn’t built anything in the entire compound. And even those could have been stolen from his dad’s designs. Which is more likely: That Rusty built a full-featured, working cloning lab, or that it’s left over from his dad’s era?

            – Rusty has a lot of odd defects that suggest genetic imperfection. He bleeds when shot by a rubber bullet, his knees are terrible, and he started losing his hair in college.

            – Rusty’s memories of in-womb strangulation to the contrary, Jonas Jr. could have been created through a glitch in the cloning process.

            – In “Now Museum, Now You Don’t,” Jonas Venture has a knowing smile on his face when he describes his son as “my greatest accomplishment.”

            – Rusty’s mentioned the boys’ mother, at least on occasion. He’s never mentioned his own. No one has. Ever. Not Jonas in any of the flashbacks, not any of Jonas’s old running crew, no one.

            I suspect that Myra was, at the very least, an egg donor for a pair of test tube babies, if not their natural mother. Rusty, however — I’m not sure he ever even had one.

            — N.A.

            • Strange, but not impossible. Mr. Brisby (in his titular episode) knew that the late Dr. Venture was at one point dabbling in clone research. That would allow for Jonas to have, in theory, created the cloning labs.

              I thought the smile when he said that Rusty was his greatest accomplishment was one of pride in his son, but your conclusion actually seems the more likely, since in every other flashback we have of Rusty’s youth Jonas seems to be rather neglectful of his progeny. Then again, most of those flashbacks are being had by Rusty himself, who blames his father at least on some level for most of his current troubles, so we might have to question the veracity of these memories of his.

              • gersonk says:

                I’d tend more to the notion that JJ is the D19’ish clone of Jonas and Rusty is at most Jonas crossed with somebody else. JJ’s abnormal gestation along with possibly picking up a few genes from Rusty would explain the various physical differences, whereas I’m not sure why Rusty doesn’t much look like his dad’s twin.

                While his missing mom is another odd mystery, you’d think that if Rusty’s parentage was that unclear, Jonas would have had a hard time selling a kids’ show about him in the late ’60’s/early ’70’s. She probably died while he was very young, hence her absence from flashbacks. Though I am surprised he’s never found a way to blame it on his dad.

                While a lot of the flashbacks may be cherry-picked from what Rusty is discussing or remembering, VB flashbacks generally seem reliable. They sometimes undercut the narrator (Trial of the Monarch), go beyond a single character POV (Invisible Hand of Fate), and at worst leave out the same details as the narrator (ORB) or seem clearly marked as portraying a confused POV (“It was February 16 52…Idaho”)

                And while just about every season 3 & 4 appearance of Jonas Sr. has reinforced him as a major prick, we have seen hints that he had some faith in Rusty’s abilities – presumably the Tiny Wonder nickname was real, and unlike Dr. Impossible, he did trust him with the gateway in 20 Years to Midnight.

                • Anonymous says:

                  I’m guessing that Rusty is merely a clone of himself in the same way that Dean and Hank are. His childhood certainly seemed very far from safe. And if the piranha tank in Spider Skull Island is any indication, Jonas wasn’t too concerned about his safety either.

  5. craigjclark says:

    I loved all the prog rock references in this episode, especially Rusty’s assertion that exposure to King Crimson could lead Dean down the path to the dark side. The revelation a few episodes later that Dean is the rightful heir to the Guild of Calamitous Intent would seem to confirm that as his destiny anyway.

  6. igorxa says:

    I am thankful for your commentary.

  7. blake_reitz says:

    I found the focus on Prog Rock interesting, as it carries the themes of massive change. Sadly, like everyone else in the show, it failed to live up to it’s potential with the passage of time, and is as dated as Boy Adventures.

    (P.S. I totally love Progressive Rock. But I don’t think I’ve listened to anything that’s come out since the early 80s. Has anything come out since the early 80s?)

    This season is really trying together the convergence of Pop Music and Super-Science Heroes and Villains, and I cannot wait to see just how far they’ll take it.

    • piehead says:

      >> Has anything come out since the early 80s?

      Depends if various Tool albums count.

    • creepingcrud says:

      Actually, there’s a… I can’t exactly say “thriving”, but not insubstantial indie prog scene, as supported by various festivals in the US, Mexico, Europe, and Japan. Much as in the ’70s (though I was not even born during the ’69-74 heydey of the movement), some of it is awesome and much of it is terrible. I’m listening right now to a group called Deluge Grander, a rather good instrumental band from Baltimore that calls to mind Yes, Frank Zappa’s jazzier period, and some of the Canterbury groups. I’ve also been to 11 years of NEARfest festivals in PA, featuring old acts like Magma, Univers Zero, Nektar, Steve Hackett, and Camel, as well as great modern groups like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Alamaailman Vasarat, Anglagard, Echolyn, and more. Also some really terrible bands like Enchant, Under the Sun, High Wheel, and Glass Hammer (do not pick up… the Glass Hammer).

  8. reroots says:

    Wow, I didn’t even pick up on Dean’s fixation with his hair. Even when his psychedelic trip had huge tentacles of hair. It’s so easy to miss things in this show, but that makes me appreciate it more upon subsequent viewings.

    This episode is probably the most disturbing one of the season thus far.

  9. yesdrizella says:

    “Biological father” Rusty is a terrible father, “real father” Brock has abandoned him, his “new father” is a pedophile. What boy with this kind of background would grow up to be a brilliant success?

    Let’s not forget that even Dermot abandoned him; when the going got tough, he preferred to be dropped off at his home rather than stick it out with Hank. Poor kid has literally no good influences (Hatred tries, but he’s still a pedophile).

    I gotta say, though, all those ingredients would make for one bitter super-villain, though Hank might worship Batman too much to even consider it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hank’s Father Figure

      I think #21 could, in the future, become a father figure to Hank. In fact I believe it is possible that if Gary does not die soon, he will replace Hatred as the Venture Bodyguard. Or perhaps join the OSI in opposition to Brock’s (Destro) & Gathers’ (Cobra-Commander) SPHINX). Or #21 could go and Arch on his own, taking Hank as his assistant.

      • Re: Hank’s Father Figure

        Not a bad theory. Hank and 21 seemed to be paired together, first in Showdown at Cremation Creek, and then again later Home Is Where the Hate Is and Tears of a Sea Cow.

        The question is whether this would be a good thing. He’s certainly got a leg up on the other available options, seeming to be more in the mold of his potential predecessor Brock than Hatred (who is at his core a weak man unable to control his urges, to say nothing of his being a poor bodyguard) and certainly Rusty. New look “Two-Ton” 21 seems to have the potential to be that combination of killer/protective parent (though we haven’t seen him actually kill anyone yet, he certainly looks like he can; and he’s become like a father to the other Monarch henchmen, if a very cold one) that inspired a love in Hank for Brock.

        However, 21 isn’t exactly a perfect role model for Hank either; he spent much of his early adulthood as a henchman for a supervillain–which, since its pay seems to be minimal (24 was making payments on a Nissan Stanza that was probably from the early ’90’s at the latest) and the probability of death seems extraordinarily high, I take as an indication that he doesn’t really value his own life. Also, the last time we saw him this season, he was having running conversations with a human skull. Unless that changes sometime in the future, I can’t imagine that 21 would be able to foster good mental health in someone, since he doesn’t seem to have it himself.

        • gersonk says:

          Re: Hank’s Father Figure

          21 may be a man-child with a loose grip on reality who gladly works for a homicidal bad guy, but in the Venture world, that doesn’t necessarily put you at the bottom of the mental health barrel. 21 might actually have more respect for human life than Brock. These days 21 does seem competent and in charge, and he’s shown an ability to tolerate Hank – so Hank could do a lot worse for a father figure.

          Having said that, I don’t think it’s actually going to happen. One or both of them would have to break off from their “father” for their relationship to grow. While we’re seeing that break off occur with Hank, this season we’ve seen 21’s forge a “healthy” (apart from the whole henching thing) adult relation as a peer with his father figure, the Monarch. There aren’t many signs of cracks there, although there are 21’s “oedipal” feelings for his “mother-in-law”.

          But 21 henching Brock might be cool, though I don’t think it’d end well for 21.

  10. black13 says:

    “who is more a child’s parent, the one who gave birth to it or the one who takes care of it?”

    I have a very strong opinion about this, for various reasons: the parent is the one who cares for the child. Someone who abandons their children has no right to call themselves a parent.

  11. voiceofisaac says:

    Is there anything to be made out of the motif of “explosive clones” of Rusty, in comparison with the former clone archive for the two boys? They’ve lost one clone army, only to try and replace them with another that is destructive by nature and intent?

    I’ve been thinking about the whole clone issue. The boys’ death in season one’s finale was shocking because of its surprise. Season two revealed the clone angle, which led to the boys’ troubles losing an element of suspense (if they died, boot up another clone). Season three continued that; we never felt Dean and Hank were ever in any danger, wheras Rusty and Brock had no such safety net.

    Now the safety net is gone for the boys as well, and we see them growing more as characters, at least in part because they now live under an actual threat of death. I can’t help but wonder if the writers deliberately wrote out the clone army as a way of spurring their ability to write deeper plots for Hank and Dean?

    • charlequin says:

      It struck me as very deliberate that they killed off the clones at the same time that Brock quit: it freed all three characters up to start some sort of (admittedly, probably doomed) effort towards self-actualization after years of being, essentially, trapped in the stasis field of Rusty’s own self-hatred.

      • Todd says:

        Now that all the clones are gone, the boys need to actually venture (sorry) toward adulthood — they’ve been teenagers for years now.

        Sarte said something about this — we all end up in the grave, the only question is: when we get there, are we free or not?

  12. popebuck1 says:

    Remember also that “The Buddy System” ended with the hint that Dermot is Brock’s natural son (once again, an abandoned one) – which makes his kinship with Hank that much more logical and resonant. Both have been abandoned by Brock, AND by their biological fathers (in Dermot’s case, the two being the same thing). In Hank’s case, Brock was there to compensate for Rusty’s neglect, but Dermot never had even a substitute father figure.

  13. jasonlove says:

    Or, well, wait a minute — Dean is, after all, not “really Dean,” he’s a replacement. We have, I imagine, never met the “original Dean,” although I guess it’s safe to say that “original Dean” is enough like Dean to qualify for the sake of analysis of this episode.

    Haven’t we, though? I’d say this episode put more evidence forward for the “Hank and Dean are actually clones of Brock and Rusty” theory. Consider Rusty’s line about not smoking now that Brock is an “expecting mother.” Consider his line to 21 at the beginning of the season, when he explains that while he can clone 24, he’ll just be a child, and 21 says he’ll simply raise him as his own son. Consider that, now that the clone army is dead, the next plan is a synthesis of that idea with the Venturestein plan: literal duplicates of Rusty, packed with explosives.

    We have met the original Dean; he’s a narcissistic asshole. Exactly the sort of guy who would clone himself and half-ass the job of raising his own clone. And it further explains his disregard for Hank, now that the “original Hank” has ditched the Ventures to go play secret agent.

    • gersonk says:

      The Invisible Hand of Fate (the Billy episode) shot a large hole in that theory that this episode didn’t fill. Pete & Billy arrive at the compound – H.E.L.P.eR.’s is holding Hank & Dean as babies in his arms, while Myra is tasered and dragged away by OSI agents after snapping her handcuffs, as she scream “I won’t let you keep them”. She’s awfully fit if she was a new mother, but insanely possessive if she isn’t. Rusty watches the whole thing, swaddled like a baby in an OSI blanket. This all leads into Brock’s demotion to Operation Rusty’s Blanket by the double or triple agent Sgt. Hatred.

      To sum up, the boys were out of the womb or tube when Brock and Rusty apparently only had the tie of ex-roommates. If Hank is Brock, it’s part of a crazed OSI or Guild plot.

      The flashback in this episode is while Brock is still settling as Rusty’s new bodyguard – although both he and Rusty are somehow sporting even worse haircuts than when he arrived. Rusty’s “kind of takes a little of the pressure off your job” line reinforces that there are already “real” twins for Brock to guard. “You know you really shouldn’t smoke when we’re pregnant.” Ok, he’s already making Brock a co-parent, though not necessarily in a genetic sense. “Is that a face only a mother could love or what? Good thing she’s not here,” as he hits the abort button. Could be in the sense “good thing he doesn’t got one” but felt more like a jab at their actual mother.

    • Sorry…I have to step in on this one. Hank and Dean are NOT clones of Brock and Doc. That’s one mystery fan theory we’re always willing to openly dispel.

  14. I don’t dare to tell you how to run your own blog Mr. Alcott, but I was just wondering, is there a particular reason you chose to write about this episode before covering Handsome Ransom?

  15. dougo says:

    I thought the clump of hair Dean found in the shower drain was simply evidence of his growing pubic hair, and not actually the onset of premature baldness. I know Rusty is bald, but isn’t baldness a maternal gene? I figured D-19’s baldness was just part of his deformity (like the Elephant Man).

  16. Anonymous says:

    I think the most heartbreaking part of the episode for me was Dean’s wholly inadequate grasp of “science.” Early on, Rusty tells him that Shrinky-Dinks, don’t count. But what does he do for his “great breakthrough”? Mixes Shrinky Dinks, his own hair, and Miracle-Gro, and truly believes that this will yield results.

    (Also, man, those learning beds must be doing a highly inadequate job.)

    I’ve really been enjoying watching Rusty, slowly but surely, continue to mature this season into something faintly resembling a decent human being. Then again, I haven’t seen this week’s episode yet, so that development may be short-lived.

    — N.A.

    • Todd says:

      Oh man, I completely missed the Shrinky-Dinks connection.

      • I don’t know if that lack of a grasp of science is at all Dean’s fault though. Granted, his plan of regrowing his hair by using Shrinky Dink technology admittedly shows a pretty alarming lack of scientific knowledge. But honestly, I’d kind of expect it from a son of Rusty’s. Isn’t Rusty’s idea that Dean will become a brilliant scientist by listening to progressive rock, as opposed to doing actual lab work, just as absurd?

        Rusty is obviously trying to groom Dean for the life he has, but the question is why? Rusty himself was forced into the super-science business by his father, and by all accounts is a) an abject failure, b) full of self-loathing, and c) resentful of his father for choosing his path for him. He seems to be on the verge of doing the same to his son (though Dean, though obviously a little misguided, seems to have more enthusiasm for science than Rusty ever did). I guess that’s the real tragedy: in spite of all the pent-up emotion regarding Jonas, Rusty has seemed to learn nothing from the mistakes his father made, and is in fact proudly attempting to repeat them.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Original Dean?

    I would say that we have actually in a sense met the original biological Dean and Hank (beyond their infant appearance, I mean). At least the souls of the original boys seem to reside in their current cloned bodies. It has been established by Orpheus that the afterlife is real and that the boys’ souls weren’t there when they died. Orpheus did, however sense their souls in Doc’s machine that recorded the boys’ brain patterns or whatever. Therefore, those recordings are the same as any “soul” that the boys may have and those souls have been passed along to the new clone slugs as each of the deaths occurred (and that would explain why Hank was able to at least partially remember his jumping off the roof in the Batman costume).

    D-19, though, never got one of those brain recording souls and he has had to form his own life/mind/soul after getting flushed.

  18. samedietc says:

    any idea why the slug that gets flushed down (like Rusty being dumped into the no-longer-safe panic room) ends up in the attic at the top of the compound?