Venture Bros. wrapup: “Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel”

So hey, I’m a little late on this review.  I know that seems inexcusable since it is the season premiere, but my damn DVR didn’t record this when it was supposed to.  And if it’s not on my DVR, it doesn’t exist.  But enough of that…VENTURE BROS. IS BACK!!%$#!

I think the question I asked as season 3 ended  – in what direction do Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer want to take this show? – has been answered, at least on the basis of “Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel”.  They’re going to get even deeper into the show’s characters, while at the same time strengthening their geek cred.   And we’re also going to get plenty of laughs.  So we got that going for us, which is nice.

"Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel"

For me this episode was about two characters – Brock and Sgt. Hatred.  That probably makes sense seeing as how Hatred has now gone from Dr. Venture’s latest arch to his newest bodyguard.  It was an unexpected twist but I think it’ll work, mainly because they’ve thankfully dropped the whole pedophile angle.  I voiced my disdain for Hatred last season but he really shined (shone?  I never remember) in this episode, especially in the scene where he tried to train Dean in gun assembly and then win Hank’s loyalty.

As for Brock, well, things don’t seem to be going so well for him.  In addition to being out of OSI, he’s got H.E.L.P.eR’s head stuck in his chest, which wouldn’t be so bad if not for H.E.L.P.eR’s talkative nature.  We also get to bear witness to Brock getting soft and growing a thick, majestic beard.  Brock drops by the Venture compound for a just a moment, enough time to say goodbye to Dean and say goodnight to OSI agents Doe and Cardholder.  Later on (or earlier, thanks to the Pulp Fiction-style chronology of this episode) Brock tracks down his former mentor, Col. Hunter Gathers, and discovers the real truth behind Gathers’ strange disappearance and OSI’s witch hunt of Brock.  The revelation scene is a hoot.

This only scratches the surface of the goings-on for this episode.  We’ve got Rusty, now without his clones, trying to adjust to a life without Brock while being hassled to make fresh clones for a grief-stricken Henchman #21 and some Neo-Nazis who are stricken with crappy German accents.  And then there’s the boys themselves, who are learning how to grow up on their own now.  Hank gives it his best and seems to have reached some sort of understanding with Sgt. Hatred by the end, while Dean just cries a lot.  Same old, same old.

One of the genius aspects of this series is how much plot Doc and Jackson are usually able to cram into such a short show, without any of it feeling rushed or forced.  They’re gifted storytellers, and if this episode is any indication they’re at the top of their games.  I can’t wait to see how the rest of this season unfolds, but patience is a must once again as this year will be split into two eight-episode halves.  They will both air without repeats, but the second half is in production now and won’t air until spring 2010.  So buckle up kids, because the next 7 weeks are going to be interesting.

Oh, and it appears that if any more proof was needed that #24 is dead, we got it.

Final grade: A

Best lines/moments:

  • I didn’t touch too much on the story structure, but it was neat.  Both the homage to Marvel Comics #1 and the comic value guide tracker were strokes of genius, even if I was confused at first.
  • “Hank, I will give you so much money to not shoot your dad.”
  • “You’re getting face all over me!  Hot melting face!”
  • Is that a fuzz-stache Dean’s sporting???  Nice touch.
  • “Is it me, or does like every Nazi want to clone Hitler?  It’s like the only thing they think of.”
  • Love the decor in the Venture bathroom.
  • “What happened to these guys?  What, did you bore them to death?”
  • “Ever since the Iron Man, everybody wants the robot heart.”
  • “Stopwatch doesn’t have an hour function so, whatever.”
  • H.E.L.P.eR’s reboot sound is the same as the old Macs…who knew?!
  • “Sorry, I don’t have the tits for it.”  “Coulda fooled me, Poppin’ Fresh.”
  • If the return of SPHINX means more Holy Diver I’m all for it.  Boom!  Yummy!