Ready for a Venture Bros. flashback? Today, I’m looking at “Assassinanny 911”, the episode that introduced Colonel Hunter Gathers, formerly of OSI, formerly of SPHINX, presently back with OSI again. This is a pretty swell episode that gets into Brock’s past and gives Hank his first crush. Which is much less adorable than Dean’s first crush, admittedly.
“The minute God crapped out the third caveman, a conspiracy was hatched against one of them.” – Col. Hunter Gathers
We open with a flashback – a young Brock Sampson back in the OSI days. He approaches Colonel Hunter Gathers, who promptly pulls a knife on him. Hunter inducts Brock into the OSI and flies off on a jetpack.
–Hunter Gathers is based on gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson – he’s got the look, the voice, and the personality. This is his first appearance, and he’s awesome. I feel like this might be the first time we’ve ever seen Brock in a flashback. He doesn’t even have the mullet yet! OSI is clearly a parody of Marvel Comics’ SHIELD. They wear the same uniforms and they have a helicarrier and everything. Of course, this was years before the Avengers movie, so it was a much more obscure parody at the time.
We get a little bit of Brock backstory, too. Most interesting is that Hunter mentions Brock has a brother. I don’t think he’s ever been referenced before or since, but I like the idea there’s another Sampson out there.
“She’s one of your hussies, isn’t she? You’re leaving my life in the hands of a hussy.” – Doctor Venture
Brock checks the boys for lice and explains their regular routine to Molotov Cocktease. She makes fun of Brock for being a Manny and asks him to go freelance with her. He explains that he’s got an OSI mission and she’s going to fill in as the Venture bodyguard while he’s gone. Doctor Venture isn’t happy about it until he finds out that Brock hasn’t slept with her and he can call ‘dibs’. A Manaconda attacks and Molotov slaughters it, impressing the Ventures. With that, Brock leaves and Molotov announces her intention to turn the whole Venture family into real men.
–We haven’t seen Molotov since “The Incredible Mr. Brisby” in Season One! She is great, and I say this not just because she has red hair and a Russian accent. And since we haven’t seen their pajamas in a while, I should point out that Hank wears Aquaman pajamas and Dean has Spider-Man. (And Dean himself sort of looks like old school Peter Parker.)
“Serpentine! Serpentine! If I was the enemy, you’d be dead already!” – Molotov Cocktease
In the limo, Brock refuses the field kit and then learns that his mission is to assassinate Hunter Gathers, who’s gone rogue. The limo goes over a bridge so that a submarine can pick Brock up. This takes us to a flashback where Hunter teaches Brock to swim by lobbing grenades into a swimming pool. Back in the present, Molotov shoots at Doc and the boys to toughen them up.
–It always cracks me up that OSI’s training requires you to kill people. Like, the frogmen in the pool were probably OSI agents, right? They didn’t bring in enemy agents for a training exercise, did they? Also, the guy in the limo who explains the mission looks like he should have been on The Tick. Something about his eyes and the lines of his mouth make him look like a Ben Edlund character.
“Holy crap! You made me kill Dean!” – Hank Venture
In the sub, Brock eats lobster while an Admiral explains that Gathers was last spotted in Macronesia. Back at the Compound, Molotov tries to teach the boy martial arts. Hank tries to flirt with her and then stabs Dean in the foot with a pencil. Brock rockets to the mission site in a torpedo and Molotov calls in a crisis – the Compound was built on an Indian burial ground and they’re being attacked by ghosts. This is, of course, no big deal and Orpheus banishes the spirits. Brock arrives in Macronesia to meet, and have sex with, his contact. Hank takes the posters off his walls, having grown up and moved beyond his crush on Danica Patrick.
–I think it’s awesome that they put Brock in a tuxedo and let him eat fancy food just for this scene – he gets to be James Bond just for a minute! I also love Hank’s crush on Molotov, the insane amount of blood that comes out of Dean, and the fact that Brock is not at all alarmed by Civil War ghosts. Happens every year!
Hank’s posters? Danica Patrick, Mary Lou Retton, and Anna Kournikova. Yeah, Mary Lou Retton! Today’s teenage boys are nuts over her! This segment has one of my favorite jokes ever – Hank talks about becoming a man, and Dean’s response is “You finally got ‘em?” Which is pretty funny, but then Hank covers his crotch and responds “A gentleman never asks and a lady never tells,” and that is amazing.
HUNTER: “No woman, no children. There’s rules. Separates us from the baddies.”
BROCK: “But what if she’s an enemy agent?”
BROCK: “A double agent assassin who just killed the President?”
HUNTER: “Non-lethal takedown only. President’s not the President anyway. You know that.”
BROCK: “How about, you know, a lady Dracula?”
HUNTER: “You mean, le vampire? Nosferata? Undead. Not technically a woman in that regard, so you got no beef there. Also, fictitious.”
Hank, in a Chippendales outfit, brings Molotov breakfast in bed. She reacts as she usually does to surprises, by trying to crush his windpipe. Brock calls in, and then there’s a flashback to 20 years earlier, when he and Hunter were on an assassination mission inParis. Hunter explains that women and children are off-limits, and then they spot Molotov. Cut to the present, where Molotov is terrorizing the family through training. She accidentally kicks Doc through a wall and then offers to clean him up. Triana and Kim visit, and Hank spots his father hitting on Molotov.
–So much fun here. The hilarious costumes in the flashback, as well as Brock kind of acting like Hank with his constant stream of questions. (I’m trying to figure out a chronology for Brock, and I think he must have joined OSI immediately after dropping out ofStateUniversity, but that might conflict with some Season Three info. We’ll deal with that as it comes.) I also like the well-observed bit where Dean’s bathing suit is full of water when he climbs out of the pool. That happens! And I believe this is the last we’ll see of fan favorite Kim.
Keep in mind, Hunter dismisses vampires as “fictitious”, even considering all of the crazy stuff that verifiably exists in the Ventureverse. Even though there are actually ghosts, zombies, Cenobites, mummies, time travel, and superheroes, vampires are a ridiculous notion. That’s where Jackson and Doc draw the line!
“I like it with the boots on.” – Brock Samson
Hank almost drowns in the pool, and Molotov has to resuscitate him. In Macronesia, Brock finds that his contact has been apparently murdered (while she’s in bed with him) and the message “No more secrets – H” written on her body. This despite Hunter’s “No women, no children” policy. Of course, the second Brock leaves their hideout, she yawns and wakes up. At the Compound, Molotov wanders into Brock’s room and sees the eyeball in a jar on his nightstand. Her eye. This takes us to another flashback, continuing the Parismission. First they kiss, then they try to kill one another. She impales him with a pair of sai, sets the room on fire, and escapes. Back in the present, Hank is in her room, sniffing her boots. A spike pops out of the heel and poisons him. Hallucinating, he sets out to kill his father on fantasy Molotov’s orders.
–Molotov opening her shirt in Hank’s dream, only to reveal that her boobs are Hank faces? Best visual gag ever.
“Get this. I’m working in the lab, right? He sleepwalks in, hauls off and smacks me in the head with a paper mache sword, pees his pants, and passes out.” – Doc Venture
We cut between drugged Hank stalking the Compound and holding a machete, and Brock rushing Hunter’s hideout with his big knife. Doc mostly ignores Hank, while Brock finds a makeshift surgical station. Hunter’s on the table, unconscious. Both Hank and Brock ready their knives, while Molotov and a German doctor (respectively) rush in to stop them. Hank attacks Doc Venture, and the doctor reads Brock a letter from Hunter, explaining that he’s tired and just wants out. Brock tries to carry out his mission, but he pulls back the sheet to see that Hunter has had gender reassignment surgery. “No women, no children.” Brock walks away, unable to complete the mission. In the tag, Brock returns home and finds out that Hank is grounded for hitting his father with a paper mache sword.
–I really like the way these scenes play out, with Hank and Brock mirroring one another. This is the kind of thing that makes people thing that Brock is actually Hank’s dad. These people are wrong. There’s some really good emotion in Brock’s scene – we have only just been introduced to Hunter, and the climax depends on us buying him as a father figure for Brock. And I think it works. (Plus, they incorporate a Chinatown tribute.) And of course, this isn’t the last we’ll see of Hunter. It’ll be a while, but he does pop up in Season Three and then become a major character in Season Four.
Next time, we return to Guild Business and introduce a couple of fan favorite characters. I’ll see you back here for “Fallen Arches”!