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

No more flashbacks, no more character sketching, and no more filling in questionably important bits of history – the season finale of The Venture Bros. is all about moving forward.  All the buildup and all the backstory is done, so I hope you were paying attention.

Actually, if you think about it almost all of this season’s back end has really been the finale, since most of the episodes have picked up right where previous ones left off.  So in that sense, everything from “Tears of a Sea Cow” forward has been part of one big story arc.

(One caveat before we move forward: the first few minutes of this week’s episode were cut for the television broadcast.  If you want to see the entire episode uncut, you can watch it on

In the cold open, things look bleak for the Venture clan.  The Monarch and his crew have infiltrated the compound yet again, but this time they mean business.  The family is taken hostage, while Brock is beheaded by the Monarch’s apparently razor-sharp wings.  And in the strangest twist of all, Dr. Mrs. The Monarch finally gives in to her lust for #21!

Except that it’s all a simulation, designed for training.  Mostly satisfied with the results, the Monarch declares that they’re ready to storm the compound (for real this time).

Back at the aforementioned compound, Brock is dismantling his beloved Charger (“Her name was Adrian.”), since it tried to kill him and stuff in last week’s episode.  He also announces to the Venture clan that they’re not safe, because he is now a target for assassination.  He plans to bring everyone to Spider-Skull Island and seek refuge but before they can get going, said assassins arrive, led by none other than Molotov Cocktease (making her first appearance since last season).

Molotov tells Brock that the O.S.I. asked her to kill him, but she refused the job.  It went instead to three professional assassins – Herr Trigger, Go-Fish, and Le Tueur (French for ‘the killer’), each with his own weird little fetish (Le Tueur, being a lover of Silver Age comics, is my favorite).

Meanwhile, the Monarch and his gang are making their way to Venture Industries, but not in the cocoon, because that’s what Venture would expect.  But when the Hover Tank flies past them, it looks like they’ve been beaten to the punch once again by Sgt. Hatred.

Brock’s first stop after leaving the compound is to see Col. Gathers, perhaps his only true friend.  After dealing with a horribly inappropriate and hilarious pass by Rusty, Gathers confirms that Brock is in fact in deep, deep trouble and hooks him up with some wheels (“you are not gonna like looking for the keys!”) and a list of ex-O.S.I. agents who can help him.

Brock’s plan to leave the family at Spider-Skull Island hits a snag when Hank stows away in Brock’s car.  This follows a sad scene where Brock declares that he never loved the brothers and that protecting them was only a job.  I don’t buy it, frankly, but I understand why he needed to say it.  What follows is a thrilling chase and narrow escape from Herr Trigger.  (the whole chase sequence reminded me a lot of the old Spy Hunter game)

At the compound, the Monarch strikes out big time.  Not only are they too late to catch the Ventures, they’re left to deal with an inconsolable Sgt. Hatred (who is about to become a bachelor and finds out he’s no longer Dr. Venture’s archenemy).

Brock’s next stop is the dock, where he meets Shore Leave and Mile High (now Holy Diver and Sky Pilot, since Jesus slew their demons of homosexuality).  And while Brock tangles with Go-Fish, the classic Ephesians sequence starts (“Is this going to take long?”).  Boom!  Yummy!  But with no help from the former spies, it takes a bit of clever – and gross – subterfuge for Brock to win the day again.  And what’s with all the beheadings on this show anyway?  Someone got a bit of a Highlander fetish?

The final of Brock’s trials takes place at an unnamed hotel (well, a blurred out name), where he faces a showdown with Le Tueur.  Poor Hank finally finds someone who shares his love of Batman and he turns out to be a killer.  Brock escapes death at the cost of one nipple, but just after he dispatches of Le Tueur a pair of armed men bust into the room.  At that same moment, the Monarch’s flying cocoon happens upon the X-1, and is close to closing in on the Ventures…

Obviously I can’t fully evaluate this week’s episode without seeing how it plays out next week, but it was still pretty awesome.  Some laugh-out-loud lines and a metric ton of action, all rendered beautifully.  It’s interesting to me that in spite of all the new characters we saw this year, it all comes down to the core group of the Ventures and the Monarch/Dr. Mrs. The Monarch.  Either way, this was exciting viewing.  Is it Sunday yet?

Final grade: TBD

Best lines/moments:

  • “It’s the Monarch!  Pop’s most feared enemy!”
  • “OK, this is why I’m anti-Moppet.  Right here, this crap.”
  • #21 messing with the mannequin for Dr. Mrs. The Monarch takes his infatuation to a whole new and awesome level.
  • “Give him time, boy.  Thinking’s new to him.”
  • “People have been trying to kill me since I could pee standing up.”
  • “Look at it?  I don’t even want to think about it!  I hate my henchmen.”
  • “Anything to declare, Mr. Le Tueur?”  “Excelsior!”
  • “Piss off you horrible buzzard!  Tsetse fly, buzz!”
  • “You call parking a supersonic jet in front of a titty-bar inconspicuous?  Who taught you how to spy, f&$@ing Gallagher?!”
  • “At least now we have the septic system mapped out.”
  • On second thought, Herr Trigger is my favorite of the three assassins.  The whole mix of violence and eroticism was too much.  Reminded me of Æon Flux.
  • “You wanna end up like Gary Busey?”
  • “This is worse than calling Orpheus.”
  • “That’s a big cell phone.”  “I’m a big boy!”
  • “Holy cow I think I’m in love…with that towel!”
  • So Hank remembers jumping off the roof in his Batman costume and killing himself.  Interesting…
  • “Why do you sword guys always gotta talk about how cool your swords are?
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