Venture Bros. wrapup: “The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together (Part II)”

I think I’m gonna need some more time to process the season 3 finale of The Venture Bros., but for right now I can’t help but feel a bit let down. I think that’s because Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer haven’t yet figured out what they really want their show to be.  Do they want it to be an homage/parody of the action/adventure genre, or do they want to fully invest in their own universe and mythology?

All signs pointed to the latter as season 2 progressed, and that was reinforced this season with so many plot- and backstory-laden episodes.  The laugh-out-loud moments decreased in general this year, but the payoff was ostensibly a series of richer stories and an opportunity to appreciate the show with more than ironic detachment.

"That sonofabitch just put me on hold?!"

But enough of that for the moment.  In the conclusion of the two-part finale (and of the larger story arc which took up the second half of the season), we get closure on a number of fronts.  The main front concerns Brock Samson, who is in the custody of the LAPD (as is the Venture family) at the beginning of the episode.  They’ve hauled Brock and Dr. Venture in over the gruesome death of Le Tueur in Part I, but their harsh interrogation methods yield no results.

Back at O.S.I., it looks as if they are ready to take care of their Samson problem once and for all.  General Treister, presumably the head of O.S.I., is ready to take charge personally, with the help of Mr. Doe and Mr. Cardholder.

And then we have the Monarch, who has taken H.E.L.P.eR hostage and is doing a piss-poor job of extracting information from him.  Once again Dr. Mrs. The Monarch takes charge of the situation and gets the necessary information.  With that done, the flying cocoon makes its way toward the Venture family for a final showdown (again).

Brock and the Ventures manage their escape through a bit of deus ex machina, in the form of the Cleaner (who was mentioned in Part I but never appeared).  Brock rightly deducts that no one ever called him, but wrongly guesses that he was sent by O.S.I.  Turns out he was sent by none other than Molotov Cocktease.

With both the Monarch and O.S.I. closing in on him, Brock hatches a plan to take care of both his problems.  He arranges for everyone to meet at the Venture compound at dawn.  Both sides show up, convinced that the other is working with/for Brock (with me so far?).  The Monarch’s henchmen square off against Gen. Treister’s forces, and many heads are lost once again.

Brock watches the events unfold from inside the compound (from M.U.T.H.E.R.’s control room, to be specific), while Doc and the boys wait it out in the panic room.  Hank becomes incensed, while poor sensitive Dean freaks out and thinks he’s having a heart attack.  Things go from bad to sad when a depressed Sgt. Hatred shows his face.  He finally regains his lost nerve thanks to some inspiring words from Hank, and they take an army of Venture clones to wage battle.

The fight gets taken to a while new level, thanks to the Monarch’s ridiculously over-engineered Deaths-Head Panoply battlesuit (think Mobile Gundam Monarch).  He sprays lasers all over the place, and then barfs.  But it all ends when Brock sees the clones in action and decides to turn himself over to the O.S.I.

Except they don’t really want to kill him!  They were simply concerned about his mental health and wanted to help him.  You see, they weren’t the ones who sent the three assassins from Part I.  So I guess the killer car was simply a malfunction?  In any case, Brock is tired of the whole mess and quits it all.  He heads toward the Monarchmobile to hightail it out of there, when it blows up (did I forget to mention that earlier, the Monarch had strapped a bomb to H.E.L.P.eR, who had since stolen the car?).  The head of #24, who was buckled in the back, flies into the arms of a distraught #21.  So much for their earlier claims of invincibility.

In the final scene, we learn the truth.  The whole thing with O.S.I.’s assassins coming after Brock?  It was all the doing of Molotov Cocktease, who engineered it so that Brock would take out the assassins and thus remove all competition for her new Black Hearts Elimination Agency (which apparently boasts Col. Gathers as a member).

Say what?  Yeah, it was Molotov.  Not O.S.I., not the Guild of Calamitous Intent, but friggin’ Molotov.  Anyone else feel like this was a bit contrived?  Like I said earlier, I’ll give this more time to digest, but for now it feels like Jackson and Doc reached a bit on this one.  I appreciate that they wanted to go for something other than the obvious, but this just doesn’t feel right.

Speaking of which, I never really cared for the whole clone storyline and I really didn’t like how they were used here.  I mean, it’s clever how it tied into a line from season 2 (“¡Viva los Muertos!”), but it’s still just too creepy.  Then again, maybe this is Jackson and Doc’s way of doing away with that plot device and restoring some credibility to the idea that Hank and Dean can really die.

Anyway, none of this is to say that I can’t wait for season 4 to start already.  It’s just that I think on this finale they missed a home run and got a standup double, at least compared to their last two season finales.  On the whole it was a good episode, with pretty high entertainment value.  I just hope they come back next year with a clearer vision of how they want the show to proceed.

Final grade: B-

Observations & best lines/moments:

  • “Don’t use that one!  It’s set to record Battlestar Galactica!”
  • “What is this, the ‘bad cop, retarded cop’ routine?!”
  • “That is downright esoteric.”
  • “Do we get socked on the lips every time we talk, or only when we make a point?”  *smack*  “So that’s…that’s every time, then.”
  • Hank has really been a strong character this season, and the scenes in the interrogation room were no exception.
  • “That’s how you dress when you’re not Catwoman-ing around?  I may have to rethink this whole relationship.”
  • “Trust me, it sounds extra creepy over the P.A.”
  • “Aw, check it out.  When you turn on the night vision with the lights on, it’s like an x-ray camera!”
  • “Don’t go gettin’ all First Blood on me, boy.”
  • There’s no two ways about it, H.E.L.P.eR is awesome.  How is a character with no ability to speak a human language so expressive?
  • “How old do you have to be to have a heart attack?”  “In regular years or pansy years?”
  • “Why did you buckle it?  Why would you do that?!”  “I don’t knooooooow!”
  • Despite Brock’s protestations to the contrary, he clearly loves the Venture boys.  It was only after their clones made an appearance did he give himself up.
  • Best moment of the episode had to be the Monarch’s battlesuit going apeshit and spinning out of control.
  • Can we finally be done with Sgt. Hatred, at least for a while?  I’d much rather have Baron Ãœnderbheit back.
  • Is season 4 here yet????

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26 thoughts on “Venture Bros. wrapup: “The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together (Part II)”

  1. Kevin Karstens

    :)
    Thanks!
    Still a ways to go on it, its about halfway done as of this post…but if anyone here gets a chance to download the script (top of the page, in white as a link) I would appreciate feedback before I commit it all to sketchwork/sound…

    Thanks in Advance!
    K

  2. Kevin Karstens

    :)
    Thanks!
    Still a ways to go on it, its about halfway done as of this post…but if anyone here gets a chance to download the script (top of the page, in white as a link) I would appreciate feedback before I commit it all to sketchwork/sound…

    Thanks in Advance!
    K

  3. Kevin Karstens

    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

    1. Chris

      Wow, nice work!

  4. Kevin Karstens

    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

    1. grayflannelsuit

      Wow, nice work!

  5. Voo

    I’m so psyched about the Black Hearts Elimination Agency! My husband has been planning a tattoo of the Guild of Calamitous Intent’s crest, and now I can get a matching tattoo of the BHEA logo…what little I saw of it.

    I have some screen caps to take to the tattoo artist. Is there anywhere that has the full logo, unblocked by characters (as it is in my screen caps)?

  6. Voo

    I’m so psyched about the Black Hearts Elimination Agency! My husband has been planning a tattoo of the Guild of Calamitous Intent’s crest, and now I can get a matching tattoo of the BHEA logo…what little I saw of it.

    I have some screen caps to take to the tattoo artist. Is there anywhere that has the full logo, unblocked by characters (as it is in my screen caps)?

  7. mike

    i think that Scott Hall might take 24 place i mean i can just imagine him coming back in the 4 season saying that he survived and escaped thanks to some gadget and becomes 21 new freind though i do miss 24.

  8. mike

    i think that Scott Hall might take 24 place i mean i can just imagine him coming back in the 4 season saying that he survived and escaped thanks to some gadget and becomes 21 new freind though i do miss 24.

  9. mizerychik

    24 is definitely dead, unfortunately. I think I’m getting a shirt.

    1. Chris

      I LOVE my Order of the Triad shirt!

  10. mizerychik

    24 is definitely dead, unfortunately. I think I’m getting a shirt.

    1. grayflannelsuit

      I LOVE my Order of the Triad shirt!

  11. Ganondorf

    Here’s an interesting point that Wikipedia makes that you forgot to mention: Someone had to press the button on the remote for the bomb. Who was it? No random henchman would just decide to push a button on a remote just lying around. Well, except for maybe #21 and #24, but they were outside when it blew up. And I wonder if Dr. Venture will offer to clone him. I can’t imagine the Monarch with only one of his trademark henchmen. They both make the scenes in the cocoon without the Monarch so much fun. They were basically his #1 and #2 even if they didn’t get those numbers.

    1. Chris

      Yeah, I had thought to get into that but didn’t want add another 500 words to the review. As for the whodunnit – my money is on the Moppets, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was #1 (aka Scott Hall). We never actually saw Brock kill him, so he could still be around seeking revenge.

      It would be sad if 24 was really dead, but the henchmen were getting a little annoying with all their talk of being indestructible. There’s always the outside chance that it wasn’t 24’s head that flew into 21, but they did make a memorial shirt for 24 on the Astrobase Shirt Club.

  12. Ganondorf

    Here’s an interesting point that Wikipedia makes that you forgot to mention: Someone had to press the button on the remote for the bomb. Who was it? No random henchman would just decide to push a button on a remote just lying around. Well, except for maybe #21 and #24, but they were outside when it blew up. And I wonder if Dr. Venture will offer to clone him. I can’t imagine the Monarch with only one of his trademark henchmen. They both make the scenes in the cocoon without the Monarch so much fun. They were basically his #1 and #2 even if they didn’t get those numbers.

    1. grayflannelsuit

      Yeah, I had thought to get into that but didn’t want add another 500 words to the review. As for the whodunnit – my money is on the Moppets, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was #1 (aka Scott Hall). We never actually saw Brock kill him, so he could still be around seeking revenge.

      It would be sad if 24 was really dead, but the henchmen were getting a little annoying with all their talk of being indestructible. There’s always the outside chance that it wasn’t 24’s head that flew into 21, but they did make a memorial shirt for 24 on the Astrobase Shirt Club.

  13. Rishi Gajria

    I liked this one a whole lot more than part one. Agree with your criticisms of season three and appreciate your reviewing the show. I wish you would do the same for season one and two. My ranking for season three –
    1) The Buddy System
    2) Home is Where the Hate Is
    3) The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together (Part Two)
    4) Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman
    5) The Lepidopterists
    6) Now Museum—Now You Don’t!
    7) What Goes Down, Must Come Up
    8) ORB
    9) The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together (Part One)
    10) Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny
    11) Tears of a Sea Cow
    12) The Doctor is Sin
    13) The Invisible Hand of Fate

    1. Chris

      Thanks. I don’t think I’m going to go back and do whole-season reviews, but as I mentioned in another post I probably will do a Top 10 Venture Bros. Episode countdown at some point, and you better believe there will be lots of love for seasons 1 and 2.

  14. Rishi Gajria

    I liked this one a whole lot more than part one. Agree with your criticisms of season three and appreciate your reviewing the show. I wish you would do the same for season one and two. My ranking for season three –
    1) The Buddy System
    2) Home is Where the Hate Is
    3) The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together (Part Two)
    4) Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman
    5) The Lepidopterists
    6) Now Museum—Now You Don’t!
    7) What Goes Down, Must Come Up
    8) ORB
    9) The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together (Part One)
    10) Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny
    11) Tears of a Sea Cow
    12) The Doctor is Sin
    13) The Invisible Hand of Fate

    1. grayflannelsuit

      Thanks. I don’t think I’m going to go back and do whole-season reviews, but as I mentioned in another post I probably will do a Top 10 Venture Bros. Episode countdown at some point, and you better believe there will be lots of love for seasons 1 and 2.

  15. Jesse

    You missed the glaring irony – after gloating about how he and 21 are indesructible a few episodes back, 24 takes a safety precaution that winds up killing him.

    THAT is genius.

    1. Chris

      The best part of that whole sequence was 24’s pitiful response to 21 – “I don’t knooooow!”

  16. Jesse

    You missed the glaring irony – after gloating about how he and 21 are indesructible a few episodes back, 24 takes a safety precaution that winds up killing him.

    THAT is genius.

    1. grayflannelsuit

      The best part of that whole sequence was 24’s pitiful response to 21 – “I don’t knooooow!”

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