This is an episode that I consider a favorite, not for the overall story narrative, which is inconsistent, but for the Monarch scenes and for the unexpected ending that leads to great introduction to Season 2. It does have problems but these elements help elevate into an episode that is worth seeing again.
“Return to Spider-Skull Island” was directed and written by Jackson Publick, with Doc Hammer as a co-writer.
The story involves the brothers running away and ending up in prison with the Monarch while Dr. Venture must face his younger brother he hate in the womb who has escaped from him fully grown and wants revenge.
The Pros: Jonas Venture Jr. – The character is a super genius whose body never grew beyond that of a baby, even though he aged. He’s a great antagonist and when Dr. Venture finally apologizes and gives him the the old Venture Compound on Spider-Skull Island, it is pretty sweet. I like the character.
Dr. Venture – Dr. Venture once again shows he can be a good guy as he atones for something he only remembers in dreams, of eating his twin in the womb. This episode humanizes him a lot, including the ending.
The Minions / Henchmen – I really like these two guys as they are the only ones still following the Monarch and even manage to succeed in killing the Venture Bros. that he asked them to do (though it was an accident). I’m glad these two stuck around.
Hank and Dean Venture – These two run away from home when they think Dr. Venture having a baby will replace them. It’s funny and sad that they think that and it is great to see them end up with the Monarch who actually likes the two of them and gets them out of prison.
the Monarch – The Monarch’s human side is revealed a lot in this as we see him teach kids to not end up in prison as well as doing his schemes via his minions/henchmen. He actually wins in one of the schemes too, though I think he’d regret it if he knew as he came to like Hank and Dean.
Accident Competency / Tragedy – The Monarch ends The Venture Bros. Though it is after he made peace them and came to like them. He’s still in prison and he only did it because Dr. Girlfriend mind controlled him to blame them. Tragedy all around.
The Cons: Narrative Structure – The episode feels all over the place, and the brothers running away doesn’t completely mesh with the Jonas Venture jr. plotline. Each feels like it could have been it’s own story and that they should have remained separated.
This is an episode worth seeing, though it isn’t as strong as it could have been. Both plots deserved their own episode really and doing it all at once ends up bringing both stories down as we never get to explore the different brother relationships or the Monarch’s life in prison.
Final Score: 8.4 / 10