For those who follow these episode recaps, apologies for missing last week’s of “Bright Lights, Dean’s City”. Real life got in the way for the first few days and by the time it got to Wednesday it seemed a bit pointless to write a recap. But real quickly – it was probably a B-, if for no other reason than it felt like the lesser companion to “Everybody Comes to Hank’s”. It was goofy but I think I’m done with the whole Phantom Limb/Prof. Incredible duo for a bit.
So on to “Assisted Suicide”, in which Dr. Orpheus returns and the show hits a high mark. As self-contained episodes go, this was one of the best over the past few years. The dialogue was crisp and funny, and there was just enough emotional depth to make it more than fluff. And did I mention Dr. Orpheus? Because he never gets old.
I would be surprised to find out that Doc Hammer was a fan of Danger Mouse (the show, not the DJ), but “Assisted Suicide” nonetheless brought back fond memories of the episode where Baron Greenback invaded Col. K’s brain to rob his secrets. This episode had a lot of similarities, but of course went to dark places Danger Mouse never would.
Once again we’re treated to some insight into why Doc Venture is the miserable SOB he is, and I can’t help but feel even more pity for the guy. What man among us hasn’t ever secretly feared being pantsed while simultaneously having our johnson hit with a shrink ray? That’s almost as common for me as the nightmare where I’m back in high school but can’t remember the combination to my locker.
I really enjoyed the balance of this episode, both in plot and pacing. I love the little slice of life vignettes we get on this show, like the touch football game. I can’t imagine how they convinced Orpheus to play, let alone play without his shirt. But seeing Dean in his own end zone was hilarious.
Elsewhere, the Monarch returns. But he’s sort of out of action, trapped in Doc’s mind as it were, so we get some sexual tension between Henchman 24 and DMTM. I can’t believe he actually had the balls to make a move, but I guess when you feel like you have no dreams left then you’ve got nothing to lose, right? The fact that she didn’t lay him out for kissing her was rather telling, and I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of this little romantic intrigue.
Despite keeping up a decent level of action, this episode left the characters plenty of time to explore their deep-seated insecurities and failings. Of course it’s no shock to see that Rusty is haunted by all the dead Hank and Dean clones, and his sexual frustrations have been great comedic fodder over the last several seasons. And likewise, the simmering resentment Sgt. Hatred has for Brock boiled over once again. 21’s despair has been well-chronicled since 24’s death, but it seems he’s going to get to add unrequited love to his list of dashed dreams.
I can’t place my finger on it, but this episode had the vibe of Season 2, in that the laughs were pretty effortless and the plot was nice and simple. That can only mean one thing – some pretty heavy and complex stuff is on the horizon.
So is there any chance that the Monarch’s failed attempt to drive Rusty insane will actually have some positive side effects? Might Rusty be more able to face his demons and slay them in a step toward mental health? Could he finally be ready to embrace adulthood and his role as a scientist and father?
Yeah, I didn’t think so either.
Final grade: A
- I guess someone found a box of old Rusty Venture shirts?
- Who else is shocked that Brock’s ride is green?
- I need a Bizzy Bee rain slicker.
- I’m surprised that Mr. and Mrs. Monarch, romantic as they are, don’t have a song.
- So I guess the way to rattle Tim Tom and Kevin is to hold a little bondage/S&M session?
- So is the Rusty puppet some kind of symbol of his broken childhood?
- “Why didn’t we get Professor Snape or Hank?”
- “Someone’s in my car.” “That is a legitimate super power”.
- “Daddy, is it something Hank did?”
- “Mr. Venture is not suicidal.” “Oh really? Then why is he trying to hang himself from your tie?”
- “I’m going to puke all over his crappy childhood memories. So good.”
- “If you need a Bible I have one on tape narrated by Mr. Darth Vader.”
- “I’m sure it was the Rush cassette, Dean.”
- “One? A Skittle?”
- “What’s your sleep number?”