The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 4 – “The Incredible Mr. Brisby” – A Satire of Disney and Activism

The Venture Bros S 1 E 4 The Incredible Mr Brisby

    “The Incredible Mr. Brisby” is a great episode that manages to have some great satire that manages to target both the corporate (Disney) and the local and the flaws in both approaches and how control in any form can lead to egos taking control and it becoming more about a leader’s agenda rather than the organization and the members within it.

   The episode was written and directed by Jackson Publick.

     The story involves Dr. Venture taking a business trip to Brisbyland to meet with Mr. Brisby to help restore financial well being to his company. Things go awry though when the Orange County Liberation Front captures the Venture brothers and Mr. Brisby knocks out Brock leaving him trapped with only his ex-lover Molotov Cocktease to save him.

The Pros: Brisbyland – It has a Safari, a giant dome in place of the Disney Castle and countless other references. It did look like a fun place, as well as creepy as the happy suits are really played up to their fullest degree.

Hank and Dean Venture – These two love Brisbyland and it is here we see more of Dean being the genius nerd while Hank is more of a jock who wants to emulate Brock Samson.

Molotov Cocktease – Molotov is a Russian agent on her own quest who saves Brock from Brisby but leaves him behind when they are going to save the Dr. and the boys. Her vagina is covered with a metal lock, which drives Brock mad and is how she got her name. She is also the only one who can match Brock we have met thus far. I like her character.

Mr. Brisby – Mr. Brisby had a stroke and his face is frozen in a smile. He is the mad genius who might have had help from Dr. Venture if he hadn’t compared him to his father…in this we see that he isn’t as smart as he thinks he is, though he is a genius for making the Brisby Empire.

Dr. Venture – Venture’s pride rules him as we see that money, torture, etc. cannot stop him from going against a decision if he feels it will bring honor to his father or help his father’s legacy in any way. He’s a small minded guy and a lot like Mr. Brisby.

Brock Samson – Brock gets captured in this by Mr. Brisby since he was given a drugged cigarette from Brisby’s guard and in this we see that there is only one who can match him and only one he loves…Molotov Cocktease. Their relationship is quite great and humanizes Brock further.

Activism and Corporate Slavery – The danger of fanaticism is shown in this as both the OCLF capture Dean and Hank and enslave their minds to be soldiers as we see Mr. Brisby doing the same insidious thing at his park. Within this we see the danger of what happens a person loses their identity in something.

  This was a solidly great episode that I highly recommend. It taking place in Brisbyland was fantastic and how it is very much Disneyland but with a Bee in place of a mouse. Mr. Brisby is very much a Walt Disney type too as he is a genius who wants Dr. Venture to clone himself and once knew Dr. Venture’s father. I definitely recommend this episode.

Final Score: 9.7 / 10

Advertisements

The X-Files – Season 10, Episode 5 – “Babylon” – The Power of Words

The X Files Babylon

     This was easily the worst episode of “The X-Files” mini-series so far. The tone is all over the place and it doesn’t give any of the ideas proper space and time to develop and grow so remains a disconnected and disjointed mess. This is an episode that if it had chosen to focus on one of the big ideas it would have been great, but instead tried to to do much and failed.

     “Babylon” was directed and written by Chris Carter.

      The story involves Mulder and Scully investigating an area after a terror attack as they try to communicate with one of the terrorists who survived the bombing, even though he is in a coma. They are working with their younger counterparts as well with Agent Einstein in the Scully role and Agent Miller in the Mulder role.

The Pros: The Idea – The idea of investigating the afterlife or the idea and concept of God and belief is fascinating and could have worked with a tighter script, a smaller cast and a rewrite. I still like the ideas they wanted to explore.

Dana Scully – Scully is great in this as we see her working with Miller to find where the terrorist cell is. She is also the calm and collected to Mulder and after Mulder get’s high she’s there for him to bring him back down.

Fox Mulder – Mulder is just crazy this episode, and because it’s Mulder it works. It still one of the weakest ways he’s been written though. His hallucinating The Cigarette Smoking Man in the afterlife was just weird.

Skinner – Skinner appears briefly in this to reprimand Mulder…I wish we had gotten more time with him as anytime he’s around there is a great dynamic. I’m glad he survived the series thus far.

The Cons: The New Agents – They don’t really work as they feel like cutouts of Mulder and Scully while missing the fact that Mulder and Scully were actually fully developed characters.

God and Religion – We never really get this explored. There are trumpets that sound and no one knows from where but they never investigate it really and it is forgotten about. If it wanted to explore these ideas it should have taken the time to do just that.

Tonal Dissidence – The episode begins with a suicide bombing, radicalization is briefly discussed and we have Mulder get high and go to a Cowboy Club before he travels to the afterlife…What the hell?

   I wouldn’t recommend this episode. It doesn’t really work in anyway and I wonder if Chris Carter was the writer who took the show off the deep end before it was canceled based off what I watched here. If you want to see high Mulder it’s probably on youtube now and that’s pretty much it as far as comedy goes in an episode that should have been serious and focused.

Final Score: 2 / 10

The 12th Doctor – Series 9, Episode 7 – “The Zygon Invasion” – The Zygons are Amazing Again!

The Zygon Invasion

         The Zygons are great again! After their introductory episode in “Terror of the Zygons” (one of my favorite episodes) and sadly being turned into jokes in “Day of the Doctor” it’s nice to see them back in form as a worthy and complex enemy of the Doctor and humanity. The Zygons are one of my favorite enemies so I really hated how they were played as a joke in “Day of the Doctor.” This was an episode that did a lot right and is easily one of my favorite for the season.

      “The Zygon Invasion” was directed by Daniel Nettheim and written by Peter Harness.

       The story involves the peace treaty established in “Day of the Doctor” falling apart after the death of Osgood by Missy as a fanatical group of Zygons seek to establish a world where they can live as Zygons and no longer have to deal with humanity as a threat.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros: The Introduction  and the Osgoods – The episode begins with the Osgoods (who we later learn have now become hybrids of one another as part of the treaty) are keeping a box safe that the Doctor gave them that is only to be used if one of them dies. It’s powerful as we see just how fragile the peace is even though the Osgoods are friends and their friendship was the basis for the treaty.

The Tone – The tone is wonderful! It is a high stakes political chase where tension is built over the course of the entire episode and we see how deep the Zygon manipulations go. It pulls you in and doesn’t let go.

UNIT – UNIT is competent again and we see soldiers emotions being manipulated by the Zygons taking the formed of their loved ones (like one of their’s mother) and Kate Stewart is back in action investigating the plot and searching for the missing Osgood (as they were core to the treaty).

Kate Stewart – We get to see why she is in charge of UNIT as she keeps the operation small and seeks to isolate the radical Zygons and figure out their plan. In the end she is ambushed by one pretending to be a human survivor but my guess is she survives and we see her patience in dealing with the Zygons even with all the secrets.

Clara – Clara is great in this as we see her playing an active role that eventually leads to her capture and replacement by a Zygone named Bonnie.

The Zygons – The Zygons are wonderful! It’s great to see one of my favorite aliens from “Doctor Who” back in form again. They are a huge threat and have a bigger kill count of their own people (the fanatical faction that has taken the good idea of living openly to the extreme of targeting those working with humans in cooperation). In the end they have the faction working with humans to keep the treaty either dead or on the run and UNIT in the United States and the U.K. annihilated or destroyed. They are fantastic threat and show that there should be reason to fear them.

The Doctor – The Doctor kicks things off rocking on his air guitar, which is wonderful and we see that he loves to fly around in a Jet even if he doesn’t want to be President. In this we see that he is willing to do anything to keep the peace and doesn’t realize that the folks he are dealing with don’t want peace until a rocket is being fired at his airplane. Really curious how he and the surviving Osgood are going to get out of this one.

Okay: The Good Zygons – I would have liked to see them and their motivations explored more. Do they take on the memories of those they shape shift into or is it something else all together? Is it out of fear or do they respect humanity? I hope Part 2 answers why there are those who still want peace given humanity’s track record with aliens in “Doctor Who.”

  This is one of my favorite episodes and I really enjoyed seeing the Zygons as a threat again. If you are a fan of Classic “Doctor Who” or any good political thriller where each side has motivations that can at least be explored in a good way, this is the episode for you.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10