The Venture Bros. – Special – “A Very Venture Christmas” – Crazyness and Warped Reality

A Very Venture Christmas

    “A Very Venture Christmas” is a trip that is a lot of fun, but doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s “Inception” with non of the narrative consistency. It is a lot of fun but the fact that it is 20 minutes of chaos really brings the story and jokes down, merely making it enjoyable rather than good or great.

     The episode was directed and written by Jackson Publick.

    The episode involves a Christmas Party thrown at the Venture Compound, but all is not as it appears to be and the Monarch hatches a plan.

The Pros; The Venture Compound – The best parts of the series are in the Venture Compound as we see the Monarch has placed a bomb underneath the house that is set to go off when the baby Jesus is put in the cradle. We also see overprotective Dr. Orpheus and all Old Team Venture appears.

Okay: Krampus – He just kind of shows up. Great design though. I like that Hank and Dean were the ones who summoned him too.

The Cons: The Beginning and End – The beginning is play of “The Christmas Carol” with Dr. Venture talking to death and flying around the city thanking everyone, and the finale scene is them crashed in the Middle East waiting for Palestine or Israel to show up to get them out so they can trade tech. with them. Overall this felt like a clip show more anything else.

  This is an episode that is fun if you are already into the show, but can skipped if you are following the main narrative. It is outside the ending of Season 1 and is very much, just a special. You don’t really learn anything knew about any of the characters, but it is fun to see them all together.

Final Score: 7 / 10

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The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 13 – “Return to Spider-Skull Island” – Family and an Unexpected End

Return to Spider-Skull Island

      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

The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 12 – “The Trial of the Monarch” – Taking Down the Monarch

The Trial of the Monarch

    Any episode with “the Monarch” is usually gold. This is once again the case for “The Trial of the Monarch” and manages to flesh out the Universe more fully as well as show the darker and tragic sides to our characters.

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

    The story involves the trial of the Monarch when he is tried for the death of a cop. Things aren’t as they seem though as Guild of Calamity is soon revealed as well as the falling out leading to the trial.

The Pros: Hank and Dean Venture – The brothers turn into a Shiva-Mech in an Indiana Jones-type Adventure at the beginning and are saved from being hurt by the Guild by Brock. They are naive and it adds a nice contrast to the drama.

Brock Samson – Brock respects the Guild for just how good they are at getting the job done and lets the Monarch take the fall for what he’s done in the past. It is interesting see his relationship with them as there is a mutual respect.

Dr. Orpheus – The Guild makes a deal with him that he’ll get a nemesis if he lies to implicate the Monarch. He does and it is so happy to see him celebrate at finally having someone he can face. This character is always fun.

Dr. Girlfriend – Dr. Girlfriend is shamed by the Monarch and goes back to a past love Phantom Limb but is ashamed of betraying him by joining the Guild that she mind controls the Monarch to blame the Venture Bros. She is great in this, you get why she leaves the Monarch.

The Minions – These guys make an appearance too and one of them dresses up as Dr. Girlfriend so that the Monarch can send his last wishes of what to do now that he’s in prison. It’s funny and sad. Oh the life of a minion.

the Monarch – The Monarch is shown to be both an ass (blaming Dr. Girlfriend for past loves, etc.) but in the end shows he is capable of being good. I wish he’d apologized but the guy is a child and that is kind of the point. All the antagonists and protagonists are children in maturity, so it makes things interesting since they can grow but it is difficult to get there.

Okay: The Guild of Calamity – They have a great look, but we don’t have the chance to really get to know how they work. They have a great look though, lots of spikes and leather to really show they are bad.

The Cons: Phantom Limb – I don’t really get his obsession with getting rid of the Monarch outside of jealousy. I wanted to know more about him, but he just comes off as a creeper.

This was a great episode but not the best episode of the series. Truly that goes for any episode with the Monarch though. He adds so much to everything he is in since he does everything to the fullest. He is a villain you have to admire, and the tragic element of his character makes him interesting. I got a feeling he isn’t out yet.

Final Score: 9.2 / 10

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

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

The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 8 – “Mid-Life Chrysalis” – Brock Finds His Groove and Dr. Girlfriend Rocks

the-venture-bros-mid-life-chrysalis

    “Mid-Life Chrysalis” manages to be a very heartfelt drama keeps the drama and heart up consistently, even with Dr. Venture being transformed into a giant caterpillar. Dr. Girlfriend and Brock Samson are easily the best parts of the episode and make it a favorite.

   The episode was directed and written by Jackson Publick, with Doc Hammer as co-writer.

    The story involves one the Monarch’s plans to turn Dr. Venture into a butterfly by having Dr. Girlfriend seduce him to inject him with a substance that will transform him. Elsewhere Brock must renew his licence to kill after he is pulled over with an expired licence.

The Pros: Dr. Venture’s Mid-Life Crisis – Dr. Venture is called grandpa by two military pilots which throws him into a mid-life crisis. His approach to this is hilarious as he throws on a wig and a suit out of the 70’s. We also learn he is only 43. In the end he falls for Dr. Girlfriend who is on a mission from the Monarch to seduce him and is transformed by her into a caterpillar. He never blames her even when she is the only suspect and we see he genuinely cares for her (he knows her has Charlene) which is sweet and she turns him back.

The Messed up Mind of the Monarch – The fact that the Monarch used his girlfriend to seduce another guy is kind of messed up on its own but when you add him masturbating to them making out you see just how twisted this guy is. He and Dr. Venture were made for one another as both don’t really consider the lives of those around them, just their vendettas and goals.

Brock Samson’s Training Montage – This is done in the style of an 80’s sports montage with Hank and Dean as Brock’s trainers, though in the end it doesn’t matter as the guy who administers the test was a kid who Brock had babysat when he was younger.

Brock Samson – In this episode we see that even though Brock is unhinged he’s by the book and won’t raise a hand unless he has a licence to kill. For this reason he spends the episode getting back into his groove so he can renew his licence.

Dr. Venture – Dr. Venture is both a creep and a sweet guy as we see him have a level of awareness around Dr. Girlfriend that he doesn’t have around anyone else…he really did care about her which is both sad and kind of sweet.

Dr. Girlfriend – Dr. Girlfriend shows she’s more than just a tool when she ends up falling in love with Dr. Venture and saving him from mutating into a monarch. She shows that she isn’t all about the vendetta and also cares about Dr. Venture (which makes sense as Dr. Venture is much kinder to her than the Monarch is).

   This was an amazing episode that hits all the right notes. I felt bad for Dr. Venture (which is hard to feel) and felt bad for Dr. Girlfriend as she is as much a pawn to the Monarch as all his other minions as all he lives for is revenge against Dr. Venture. In this we see that characters can become more and just how connected or not connected they are to their different identities.

Final Score: 10 / 10

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