Venture Bros. wrapup: “Everybody Comes to Hank’s”

When I first discovered the secret of Hank and Dean Venture – that they’re merely the latest in a series of clones whipped up by their father – I was pissed.  Even within the kooky world of the Ventureverse, where henchmen die left and right, it seemed to devalue their value as people.  It made for some good sight gags (particularly the death montage in “Powerless in the Face of Death”), but felt empty otherwise.  I posted as much on Jackson Publick’s blog, and he didn’t take too kindly to the criticism.

But I think what I objected to in truth was that having the boys as clones gave Jackson and Doc a sort-of Venture Plot Etch-A-Sketch, where they could simply hit Reset and still get to off them in increasingly gruesome ways. So when they removed that crutch at the beginning of this season it was a welcome development for me.  Once again the stakes were high the danger was real.  So imagine my disappointment when they simply find a new way to do the same thing, through SPHINX’s memory wipe machine.

All this is to say that while “Everybody Comes to Hank’s” was a damn fine episode, the notion that most of what happened to Hank never really happened, from his perspective at least, feels like a huge cop-out.  If you’re going to take the rather bold step of having him lose his virginity, at least let him get to enjoy it fully.

And it was a good episode, despite not feeling like anything the show has ever done.  Remember last week when I praised the show for taking worn-out bits and making them seem fresh?  They managed it once again by crafting a film noir piece centered on the unlikely but awesome pairing of Hank and the Alchemist.  The two spend the episode digging for clues to the true identity of Dermott’s father, whom Dermott has always assumed to be Brock.  I’m actually relieved to know that he was wrong, but the true circumstances of his birth are far creepier.  Creepy enough for the commenters on the AV Club to launch into a huge debate over statutory rape.

I’ll just say that out of all the nasty and deplorable things Rusty has done in his life, I don’t think knocking up the teenaged president of his fan club is very high on the list.

On the plus side, the Alchemist had a lot of great lines and I’m really liking the way Hank is growing up lately.  The surly teenager bit was getting old (as I’m sure it does for parents in real life).  It also speaks to Doc Hammer’s skill as a storyteller that an episode that seems so light and breezy on the surface is actually quite dark.  It also contained the second-greatest scooter chase scene in TV history.

I’m sure I’ll calm down about the whole memory wipe thing.  I just have to have a little more faith in Jackson and Doc.  Hey, I’m already amped about next week’s episode, where we’ll see what happened to Dean in New York and who that guy is that looks like a successful Rusty.

Final grade: B

Notes:

  • The whole Sgt. Hatred bit with the X-1 and the Broadway tickets was a complete dud.
  • My face totally lit up when I saw Orpheus and the Alchemist.  I needs more Triad.
  • When would a detective need a whip?
  • Loved the montage with Hank getting pushed around, especially the hat throwing at the mall.
  • Billy’s been a real treat this year, but having him get dressed up to play detective, combined with how much he wanted to do it, was great.
  • I guess we know now where Billy scores all his vintage Rusty Venture toys – Dermott’s mom.
  • OK, the prerecorded bit where Hank told himself about sex did make up for the memory wipe a little bit.  Dean Faceplant indeed.

Best lines/moments:

  • “If that suit could talk…” “It would say, ‘kill me, I’m a hideous monster!'”
  • “Oh yeah, I’m jealous that I don’t get to go to New York dressed as the Jamaican flag to work for no pay.”
  • “Compared to Mr. Fun, I’m the entire party.”
  • “Alright Hank, I’m in.  I’ll be your partner ’till we solve this case or ’till I get completely bored doing it!”
  • Pudgy McTalkalot
  • The Alchemist gut-punching Dermott was great.  Dermott’s reaction was even greater.  You just know Brock would’ve loved to have seen it.
  • “Great, now you’re doing the voice too, huh?”
  • “I can barely understand Hank and you do it with a speech impediment.”
  • “Nothing will ever be the same, because of sex.”

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3 Comments

  • Rishi Gajria

    The first episode of this season that I have enjoyed. You should comment on Jackson Publick’s blog whether he takes kindly to it or not. Yours are the best reviews of The Venture Bros show.

  • Gio

    Very Insightful review,(Probably because I agree with it lol. ) the dark realism at the end (won’t spoil it) actually shook me up. What other cartoon touches on so many emotions? As far as the Dean Hank clones, its simply a parallell in my view to the “Marvel” universe. There seems to be a strong Marvel influence on the series. I feel like the creators really tapped into the ‘kooky’ unexpected plot convolutions that made those comics so enjoyable. Strangely this second half of the fourth season seems like a new artist/writer team took over. Took me a couple episodes for me to adjust to it ,but hey I’ll take what ever these guys will dish out; I’m a super fan!

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