The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 11 – “Past Tense” – Where Everything Began

Past Tense Venture Bros.

     “Past Tense” is a great episode. This is the episode where we see more innocent versions of our characters before they became the broken people they are today. It’s really well done how they do it too, as well as including the Old Team Venture into the story as well.

   The episode was directed and written by Jackson Publick.

    The episode involves Pete White, Dr. Venture, Baron Underbheit and Brock going to the funeral of their friend Sorayama, but all is not as it appears to be when they find themselves kidnapped and it is up to Hank and Dean to call the old Team Venture into action to save them from a mysterious foe.

The Pros: The College Years – The college years and how the show presents them are pretty amazing. From the roommates and them all hanging out and playing D and D, from Pete White as a DJ and Underbheit bringing a slave with him when he is studying abroad. The characters and their personalities are captured beautifully.

Pete White – Pete White is the devil may care DJ and when they find out Sorayama captured them he is one of the first to try and reason with him. He’s always been a side character so I hope we get more development of him in the future. In the flashbacks he appeared to be Thaddeus Venture’s closest friend.

Underbheit – Underbheit brings a slave with him to college from his home country and makes friends with Pete White, Sorayama and Venture. I didn’t expect him to show up at the funeral but it was good to see him and see the better side of him.

Sorayama – Sorayama was obsessed with Leslie and we see that in any way the four were connected to her lead to his revenge plan. I wanted him to be more than just obsessed but his creation of A.I. was pretty cool.

Dr. Venture / Thaddeus Venture – Dr. Venture shows his good side again as we learn he didn’t sleep with Leslie (Brock did) and that he didn’t lose his virginity until after college. We also get echoes of what broke him as at the end of the episode in the flashback we find out his father was killed. I felt a lot for his character and he struck me as someone I would have played D and D with in college.

Brock Samson – Brock is the jock who is unstable as he gets kicked off the football team after he accidentally kills a player. This leads to him beating up his roommates. He later apologizes and ends up joining the military to try and atone for what he did. He’s just as much a womanizer as before and from all we see, just as dangerous. At one point he takes out the old team too when he mistakes them for the androids.

The Old Team – The Old Team is fantastic. Colonel Gentlemen is the best, Otto is super religious and trying to convert everyone he meets while Action Man is a has-been who has flatulent issues. Seeing them assemble is pretty fantastic though, even if they lose to Brock easily.

   This was a great mixture of old and new as we get to see the old guard reassemble as well as see that many of our characters were normal people once before all the crap that went down in their lives brought them down to the shells of their former selves they are today (in regards to both the old guard with old age and the current team with their emotional wounds). I highly recommend this episode, it is easily one of the best of the series.

Final Score: 10 / 10

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The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 9 – “Are You There God? It’s Me, Dean” – The Politics of Super Villainy

The Venture Bros S 1 E 9

     This is the episode where we see the rules that make up super villiany here in the Venture Bros. Universe. From the rules the Guild of Calamitous intent set down, to the politics within as who is put in the book and just how small the Monarch’s goals are in the whole scheme of things. This is an episode that is a lot of fun. The side story with Dean Venture is even great in its own way.

    “Are You There God? It’s Me, Dean” was written by Doc Hammer and directed by Jackson Publick.

    The story involves Team Venture’s capture by the Monarch where they about to be executed but are saved due to a technicality when Dean must be treated for Testicular Torsion so their deaths are put on hold until after the surgery can be done.

The Pros: The Guild of Calamitous Intent – The Guild passed a whole bunch of rules to combat and rivalries between different members and its fun seeing those rules play out between the Monarch and Dr. Venture.

Dr. Girlfriend – Dr. Girlfriend is clearly bored as she expected to be taken advantage of by Brock and is sad when he doesn’t.

Pete White and Master Billy Quizboy – These two save Dean’s life, and make a lot of jokes during the process. These two are great minor characters.

Brock – Brock takes out the Monarch’s lair and even embarrasses the Monarch as he points out that the Monarch can’t even succeed in revenge and shows just how incompetent his organization is as there isn’t time to just do revenge against Dr. Venture so a lot of the day everyone just sits around the base.

the Monarch – The Monarch spends a lot of this episode trying to corrupt Hank to no avail and later being embarrassed in front of Dr. Venture when it is revealed that Brock is single handily bringing down his fortress. One of the funniest moments is when Brock asks why he hasn’t thought bigger and done World Domination, which embarrasses the Monarch further.

Okay: The Venture Family – Whether it is Hank, Dean or Dr. Venture they are just kind of there. Getting more of Doctor Venture’s backstory as a member of the Guild of Calamitous Intent was cool but they mostly exist as a joke to show the Monarch is a joke and Dean’s condition being a joke.

  This was a good episode that had a lot of great things in it. I like Brock taking out the Monarch’s lair and the Monarch’s attempt to corrupt Hank as well as all the technicalities that make up the Guild of Calamitous Intent…but the episode could have been much more than it was. We still don’t really know how the Guild functions or the different villains relationship to it.

Final Score: 8.6 / 10