The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 7 – “Ice Station – Impossible!” – A Satire of “The Fantastic Four”

Ice Station - Impossible!

   “Ice Station – Impossible!” is an outright satire of “The Fantastic Four” as it takes a realistic approach to what would happen if actual humans received the conditions that the Fantastic Four receive. Dr. Venture is of course along for the ride and we are introduced to Pete White and Master Billy Quizboy. We also get another great Brock B story to round things out.

    The episode was directed and written by Jackson Publick.

    The episode involves Richard Impossible pulling together a think tank for his organization, while elsewhere Hank is infected by a substance that will turn him into a human bomb unless they can find Richard Impossible’s secret base.

The Pros: Pete White and Master Billy Quizboy – These two are brought into Richard Impossible’s think tank along with Dr. Venture to create products for Impossible Industries. We never see what they do exactly as it soon becomes about the Impossibles and not what the mission actually was.

The Impossibles – The Impossibles are tragic as Richard is a controlling tycoon who keeps them all locked away, Sally just wants to be free even as anytime she feels her skin turns invisible revealing the flesh underneath, her special needs brother Ned becomes the Thing and has a good heart and Cody just catches on fire when ever he is any place too hot. They are a tragic family and I’m glad she escapes with Dr. Venture.

Richard Impossible – Colbert is great at playing this stuck up git as we see him attempt to kill Dr. Venture by leaving him out in the arctic to die and later when he mocks them all for trying to save Hank when it substance wore off since it was never tested on humans. He did make a great antagonist for the episode.

Dean Venture – Dean is fascinated by what Hank is going through and doesn’t panic until Brock mentions that Dr. Venture probably wouldn’t be able to fix it. Seeing his detachment is fascinating though as it seems to be a coping mechanism for him.

Brock Samson – Brock finds the agent who was trying to rescue the serum before he dies and spends the episode getting Hank to safety and calming him down as well as explaining how he’d kill Hank so he wouldn’t feel pain if it ever came to it, voicing he had considered and thought about that possibly occurring.

Hank Venture – Hank is understandably reacting to everything and from this we see that he is at peace with dying.

Dr. Venture – Venture is a sleeze. He is all about hooking up with Sally until her condition is revealed and doesn’t even seem to appreciate her for her mind as he can’t stand how she looks when her skin turns invisible. The guy is shallow, one good thing is he did try to save his son Hank with the Think Tank.

   This was a solidly great episode though I wouldn’t call it a favorite. The humorous moments don’t quite reach the jokes of the first 3 episodes, though the satire of the “Fantastic Four” is great, especially as it relates to body horror and how it reveals that Dr. Venture is not a deep character. I definitely recommend this episode.

Final Score: 9 / 10

The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 3 – “Home Insecurity” – A Meeting of Villains and a Story of Goons

The Venture Bros S 1 E 3 Home Insecurity

   “Home Insecurity” is one of the best episodes of “The Venture Bros.” I have watched thus far. H.E.L.P. eR. gets humanized, the goons of both the Monarch and Underbheit get character development and Brock has a great side story.

   The episode was directed by Jackson Publick and written by Doc Hammer.

    The story involves Brock going on his annual hunting trip in the wilderness as the Monarch and Baron Underbheit’s assassination plots against Dr. Venture occur as they cross hairs and decide to meet up to resolve this conflict of interest in who gets the kill while the brothers find themselves trapped in the Venture Compound.

The Pros: H.E.L.P. eR – The robot who always helps around gets humanized this episode as he seeks the specs for G.U.A.R.D.O. and believes he is being replaced. It isn’t until Dr. Venture has a heart moment that he comes to save the day as we see how much everyone appreciates him.

The Brock Samson Quest – Brock’s quest is a lot of fun as he goes into the wilderness and runs into Sasquatch and Sasquatch’s bionic husband who used to be a soldier who served with Brock. Brock’s mission is to help them escape and he does so by shaving Sasquatch and making them look like wounded vets. It’s a fun B Plot and shows Brock’s good side.

the Monarch and Underbheit’s Goons – There is a standoff between goons at the Venture Compound as each is as strong as the other. While they wait for their bosses to make a decision they become friend as we learn Underbheit forces children into his army and kills them at 38 while the Monarch takes ex-druggies and turns them into soldiers, though also kidnaps. Sadly G.U.A.R.D.O. is unleashed at the end leading to all the goons being slaughtered. R.I.P.

Baron Underbheit – Is a very loud villain who kills 2 of his minions at the beginning and tries to kill the Monarch when they meet. He has a lot of respect for Monarch though as he sees the Monarch’s issue is more personal showing that even though he is a mad psychopath, he has honor in their somewhere. His flamboyance makes him a lot of fun too as he looks like Darth Malek.

the Monarch – The Monarch is the main guy in this as we see how obsessed he is with Dr. Venture, from a 37 point powerpoint of how he’s been planning to take Dr. Venture down and even how dismissive he’s become of Dr. Girlfriend who clearly is running most of the operation while Monarch’s inheritance keeps it all afloat.

Dr. Venture – Venture shows himself to have goodness in him as he reaches out to H.E.L.P.eR. This was a rare moment of goodness for the character and showed that he is capable of more than just caring for himself and can feel gratitude.

   This was a perfect episode as every character got at least some development and not only are the villains humanized but so are their minions…just like H.E.L.P. eR. is given a chance to be a hero. There is also tragedy too as the goons are shown to be just cogs in a machine and pretty great guys who never got the chance to know as their leaders only saw them as tools of revenge.

Final Score: 10 / 10

The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 1 – “Dia De Los Dangerous” – You Don’t Mess With Brock and the Humanity of the Monarch

The Venture Bros Episode 1 Dia De Los Dangerous

   The Monarch and Brock Samson are probably my two favorite characters on the show at this point. Both of them are so true in what they are and manage to be sympathetic even though they are completely nuts. This episode exists to flesh out the Monarch’s backstory and show us just how selfish Dr. Venture is.

    “Dia De Los Dangerous” was directed and written by Jackson Publick.

     The story involves the Ventures and Samson traveling to Mexico so that Dr. Venture can be a guest lecturer at a Community College. Things soon go awry when the boys get seperated from the group and Dr. Venture’s Kidneys are taken.

The Pros: H. E. L. P. eR. – This is a pretty weak robot that speaks incomprehensible but is easily the heart of the team as it is kind in a way that the Venture Brothers clearly are not. In this the brothers treat him to an upgrade and he is there for Dr. Venture after his kidney’s are stolen. The robot has a great design as well.

Dr. Girlfriend – Dr. Girlfriend has the voice of a deep voiced man and is the Monarch’s love interest. She is awesome as we see her counsel and be there for the Monarch and help him through his parental abandonment issues.

Dr. Venture – Dr. Venture is a selfish git who only cares about his kids in how he can use them to further his own ends. We get a glimpse of why in the next episode as he is a reflection of how he perceived his father to a degree. There is nothing redeemable about him in this episode though.

Dean and Hank Venture – These two update H. E. L. P. eR. and end up getting knocked out and their stuff stolen and later kidnapped by the Monarch. They hold their own though though they are not good at reading situations due to them needing rescue multiple times through the episode. They have a funny moment too where they end up with a prostitute but run away in fear after she touches their dicks…as they were oblivious to what she actually does.

the Monarch – the Monarch didn’t care about his biological parents dying in a plane crash we learn…he felt greater loss at the Monarch butterlfys who raised him leaving (which he later learned was them migrating to Mexico, and from Dr. Girlfriend dying as the that is the life-cycle of a butterfly), and from all this all he wants is to be a good father as he never had one.

Brock Samson – Brock goes on a rampage in this as Monarch minions knock him out with their car and later slaughters the Monarch Minions in Mexico with his car in revenge. Seriously, this guy is an insane character and is great because of it. Brock has no line.

The Cons: Mexico – So much more could have been done here, the location only exists to be somewhere new and some “Day of the Dead” jokes so the episode could have happened anywhere at the end of the day. The story is still great for the character bits but could have been more.

This is an episode I’d recommend and is a must see if only for Brock’s rampage and the Monarch’s backstory. The episode is also a lot of fun and made me solidly invested in this show after watching the pilot.

Final Score: 9.3 / 10

The X-Files – Season 10, Episode 4 – “Home Again” – A Voice for the Voiceless

X Files Season 10 ep 4 Home Again

    “Home Again” is another good episode of “The X-Files” that gives us a fascinating “Monster of the Week” while exploring deeper ideas and concepts and further exploring Mulder and Scully’s relationship. It is one of the best of the mini-series thus far.

     The episode was directed and written by Glen Morgan.

     The story begins when a city official dies mysteriously as Scully and Mulder must investigate the existence of “The Trash Man” who keeps showing up in art around the area and explore the homeless crisis in the city.

The Pros: The Artist – The artist is an activist and advocate whose art developed a life of its own. MHes a fascinating guy who seems to a be a little mad or off but is there enough to work with Mulder and Scully to try and write the wrongs of the creature he created, before he leaves his hideout.

The Trash Man – The Trash Man is a great villain as it is a creature that was made from clay that came to life because of the voiceless homeless people who had no advocates and their fear and anger at those who were hurting them became expressed through this monster. The monster is pretty cool.

The Death of Scully’s Mother – Scully’s mother dies this episode and it is rough as we see when Mulder was waiting for Scully recover and fearing for her life and the countless times Scully has lost people finally leading to this. Each of them gets their emotional moment from what happens and you feel for the death of Margaret.

Fox Mulder – Mulder is great in this as both the one who sees why the Trash Man exists and dealing with mortality and death as he remembers Scully being on the bed in a coma. From this he is there for her as we see how close they are after all the loss they have been through.

Dana Scully – This is Scully’s episode as we see her deal with the death of her mother and face loss and mortality. She doesn’t let the loss and what’s going on stop her from working on the case though and we see just how strong she is through all of it and how the past traumas have made her and Mulder close.

   This was the best episode of the mini-series so far and I highly recommend it. The monster is great, the emotion and loss are powerful and our characters feel fully realized. Even the side characters don’t feel like cardboard cutouts. This is an episode worth checking out.

Final Score: 9.4 / 10

Rick and Morty – Season 1, Episode 2 – “Lawnmower Dog” – Incepting the Dream and Liberation

Lawnmower_Dog

      “Lawnmower Dog” is hilarious! It has two arcs that are both really good and come together in the end, though they are a little confusing as for what the final outcome is as it could all just be a dream, which is part of the joke.

      The story involves Rick and Morty Incepting Mr. Goldenfold so that he will give Morty an “A” but things soon go wrong as they find he is an active dreamer while elsewhere the Rick gives Snuffle the family’s dog a device to make him smarter and he begins to plot the fall of man.

The Pros: Mr. Goldenfold – Mr. Goldenfold is hilarious as he’s obsessed with Mrs. Pancakes and Wheat Thins and controls his dream to the point that Rick and Morty’s attempt to Incept him on their own fails and they have to Incept Mrs. Pancakes.

The “Inception Arc” – This arc is hilarious as they go deeper and deeper into the dream eventually running into the supressed area and fear where Scary Terry lives and after they figure out Scary Terry’s fear they help him overcome it and he helps them incept Mr. Goldenfold and is later seen chilling with Rick.

Scary Terry – Scary Terry loves to say “Bitch” as his catchphrase and his family he is taking care of. He is afraid of a teacher in his past and not having any pants which has lead to him being unsuccessful as a scarer but after Rick and Morty help him he defeats all levels of the dream.

The Snuffles Arc – Rick gives Jerry a device that helps Snuffles learn and grow in intelligence which leads to a takeover of the world and humans being enslaved, though we soon learn it was all a dream as Rick incepted him to show that it would lead to Morty’s death so the dogs leave to another dimension to live in peace.

Snuffles/Snowball – Snuffles sees how humans have mistreated dogs and plots to raise their intelligence (like Ceaser in “Planet of the Apes”) and when he finds that his balls were cut off he turns on the family. He eventually realizes peace can only be away from humankind after Morty dies in the dream he is shown so he leaves giving a heartfelt goodbye. He also takes Snowball as his newname  seeing Snuffles as his slave name.

Rick – Rick is hilarious and his madness comes in handy as he chills with Scary Terry at the end and the possibility of this whole episode just being his dream is suggested in the process.

Morty – Morty is the good guy in this episode as it is Snuffles’s love of him that makes him spare humankind from the dogs taking over after he would be making them all intelligent like him. He also is the one who gives Scary Terry pants which makes them his and Rick’s friend which leads to successful Incepting of Mr. Goldenfold.

Okay: Jerry – He just causes trouble by asking for Rick to make the device to make Snuffles smarter. He’s just kind of there and doesn’t really have an arc except for being happy for the dogs when they say good-bye to Morty to travel to their own dimension.

This episode is hilarious and it’s two arcs manage to flow together perfectly creating one of my favorite episodes. It has great comedic timing and the jokes payoff, especially since the episode is one giant gag that pays off really well and even has tender moments like Scary Terry getting over his fear and having joy with his family as well as Snuffles/Snowballs saying good-bye to Morty.

Final Score: 9.7 / 10

The 12th Doctor – Series 9, Episode 1 – “The Magician’s Apprentice” – The Return of an Old Foe and a Choice

The Magician's Apprentice Doctor Who

    “The Magician’s Apprentice” kicks off a promising start to Series 9. There are some awkward moments for sure and it doesn’t appear that they know what to do with Clara this season as Missy is so front and center, but it is a lot of fun and overall a great ride. I’ll get into the details further into the review. I plan on reviewing all the episodes of Series 9, just as I did for Series 8.

      The episode was directed by Hettie MacDonald and written by Steven Moffat.

     The story involves the Doctor going into hiding as Davros has returned and he fears that their confrontation will end in his death. It takes Missy and Clara working together to find him and from there they are captured by Davros as the story unfolds from there.

The Pros: The Child in the War – The episode opens with a child in the middle of a battlefield watching and running as soldiers die around him. The Doctor throws him his screwdriver and when he asks for his name we learn it is Davros, leading the Doctor to leave him to die. It’s powerful as we know what Davros’s future holds just like the Doctor though at the same time this is when the Doctor is innocent, leading to the question of the Doctor maybe having created Davros through his fear and heartlessness.

Return to Old Sites – We return to Old Sites as Colony Sarf (a minion of Davros) looks for the Doctor. We got to the Shadow Proclamation and see them with Dragoons and they call Sarf away and we end at Karn where the Doctor is hiding with the Sisterhood. All of it is amazing, especially these 2 locations where powerful women rule.

Colony Sarff – This minion of Davros is awesome. He is a Colony of living Snakes and is a deadly foe and is super creepy and awesome. He finds and captures the Doctor’s friends and is the one who made all of Davros’s plans possible this episode. I liked the enemy a lot.

Skaro – Skaro is back and it looks awesome! Lots of Dalek buildings, the fact that they cloaked their planet after rebuilding it and it still looks like a wasteland like Gallifrey. It’s great being back here again.

Missy – Michelle Gomez really owns this role and it is wonderful as she stops all planes to hold the world hostage in order to get help from Clara to find where in time the Doctor is. It is a pretty cool scene and we see her kill multiple UNIT folks establishing she is the same old Missy and her defense of her friendship and rivalry with the Doctor shuts Clara down as we get glimpses of her and the Doctor’s childhood together in the references she makes. Later on she is shot by Daleks, but death has never stopped the Master before.

Davros – Davros is back as the anti-thesis to the Doctor and in his dying breaths wants to kill compassion in the Doctor and make the Doctor him. We see the 4th Doctor in “Genesis of the Daleks” appear and all the conversations Davros recorded of he and the Doctor together. He does this through letting his children the Daleks kill Missy and Clara though it is more complicated as he remembers the Doctor seeing him as a child…so there might be more going on. Did he send back the Doctor to kill him? Is Davros full of regret for what he’s done? I got that vibe from their conversation together.

The Doctor – The Doctor parties it up in Medieval England for a while and brings a tank and electric guitar…ti’s fun and frivolous and I didn’t like how it clashed with everything…it did show how the Doctor has been running from Davros and his regret at both probably not saving the child Davros and not killing him…as the episode ends with him ready to kill Davros the child with one of his own weapons from the future. The Doctor’s friends matter more than his core is what we see now, though with the Doctor there is always more going on.

Okay: Clara – She’s just kind of there. She helps UNIT figure out Missy’s plot and she talks Missy down but after that Missy owns the scenes and Clara is the side character (or puppy as Missy describes her) which is a shame. I don’t think the writers know what to do with Clara once again…except being the goodside of the Doctor while Missy is his darker side.

Okay/Con: The Doctor’s Party – The party is over the top and frivolous and I didn’t like it. It was okay I guess but it added nothing to the episode and took up time we could have had with Davros or Missy.

   This was as great episode, the only downsides were the party and Clara not doing all that much, but the dialogue between 12 and Davros is fantastic and Davros is finally humanized beyond a Saturday Morning Cartoon Villain. In this 2 parter we will no doubt learn how he became the way he is, and if that can be changed…as well as the Daleks being an inevitability of being created by him or if they will always find a way to exist in this Universe. Can’t wait to see what the next episode brings.

Final Score: 9.2 / 10

Rick and Morty Pilot – Season 1, Episode 1 – “Pilot” – Twisted Hilarity

Rick and Morty Pilot

    “Rick and Morty” is a darkly comedic satire of the sci. fi. genre and “Back to the Future.” From Rick basically being an even more unhinged Doc Brown and Morty being a more realistic take on if Marty were an actual high school student. Suffice to I really enjoyed the pilot and I plan on reviewing more episodes from “Rick and Morty” in the future.

    “The Pilot” is about Morty being pulled onto an adventure with his Grandfather Rick. This has been going on for a while and things come to ahead when his parents find out he has been missing a lot of school after Morty and Rick make an escape through Inter-dimensional security to return home.

The Pros: The Adventure – The adventure involves going to a planet to get seeds that Rick needs for research. From here they face monsters, bureaucrats and end facing Morty’s parents and one another throughout the mission as Morty is clearly Rick’s pawn.

The Jokes – The jokes are awesome! From the Bureaucratic Insects being called Robots and it being revealed they are sentient, to Morty having to sneak in the seeds through his but and Rick interacting with anyone. Also Rick freezes Morty’s bully and he later breaks and we see Morty’s sister Summer had a crush on the bully.

Morty’s Parents – Beth and Jerry are wonderful. Beth is a horse surgeon caring for her Grandad while Jerry feels insecure around Rick and is worried about his son as he explodes about him being special needs at the end but shows empathy after. They have a great dynamic as they are in a failing marriage where Jerry has no awareness of others.

Rick – Rick is a sociopath who has gone mad from how brilliant he is in hopping through dimensions and comprehending and living in a whole bunch of realities. This makes him cruel to others when he is able to solve the problems he causes really quick, like healing Morty’s broken legs. The thing is he has to be told to help others though as he is so obsessed with the missions, the big picture of adventure and his own interests.

Morty – Morty is a high schooler with special needs and is a great guy. He is kind but still is able to stand up to himself to Rick. He hasn’t stood up to his parents yet but I won’t be surprised if that happens later as his arc is becoming more assertive and setting what boundaries he can with Rick.

   This was a great episode that does a good job establishing the conflict between characters and the worlds that our characters live in. We see the brilliance of Rick, the conflict between Beth and Jerry and Morty just trying to survive as he is going through adventure so much larger than his small world in High School.

Final Score: 9.4 / 10