It’s the season finale of Venture Bros and it is not a giant action episode like “Showdown at Cremation Creek” or “Operation P.R.O.M.”. In fact, most of this season’s ongoing storylines will still be ongoing by the end. But is it awesome? You know it! It’s time for “Red Means Stop”.
We open with a weird Saw-style scene. Two guys in their underwear are chained up in an old bathroom. The room’s full of bodies and neither of them know what’s going on. I’m ashamed to admit that because one was blond and one had dark hair, I assumed they were the original Hank and Dean even though they didn’t look or sound like them.
After that, we go to the Morpho cave. 21 washes blood off the care while Monarch complains that his marriage is falling apart. But the good news is that the whole Council is in sequester so they get to do some more villain killing. There are only two people ahead of them to arch Doc, and the next one is Red Death. He’s a legend who arches once a year and always leaves a huge body count.
Colonel Hunter Gathers and Dr. Mrs. the Monarch meet on a park bench where they’re both speaking in code, but not the same code. They’re planning on working together to catch the Blue Morpho. They know his target is Red Death and they’re setting up a sting.
Back in Mystery Bathroom, the guys realize that one of them has a much longer chain than the other. Also, the dark haired guy tries to bust the chain with a length of pipe, but dislocates the other guy’s finger instead.
Casual Monarch sidles up to Red Death at the park. Red’s watching his daughter play. He has a red skull head, much like the Red Skull, but he’s off duty so he’s just wearing regular clothes. His daughter also has a skull head. Hee! They talk about how great kids are while the Monarch quietly goes for his gun, until he realizes that Red Death knows who he is. Red Death is super friendly! But also terrifying.
Sgt. Hatred’s just watching the lobby when suddenly the Guild marches in. We see Phage, Watch and Ward, and a phalanx of Strangers and nobody listens when he tells them to stop. Dr. Mrs, Phantom Limb, nobody responds when he shines a flashlight and orders them out. Then Shore Leave and Snoopy show up along with the rest of OSI. Brock tells him to take the day off.
Back in Jersey, the Monarch and 21 argue about being late for supper (“Not dinner! Supper!”) and the Monarch mentions his chat with Red Death. Monarch doesn’t want to kill him now because he’s so nice and can also destroy him if he tries anything, so they need a new plan. Monarch pees in the sink because the downstairs bathroom isn’t finished yet.
As everybody sets up, Doc hits on Dr. Mrs. some more. Phantom Limb tries to kill Snoopy, but Dr. Mrs. talks him down. Everybody else seems to be getting along Watch and Ward are serving as decoys for Hank and Dean, only they’re wearing turtlenecks and fringe jackets and they don’t look anything like the boys. They even had to take out their bionic eyepieces, which makes them look super weird. Hank and Dean help out by grabbing their old clothes. We’re talking their Season One outfits.
Shore Leave (disguised as Brock) and Brock play rock-paper-scissors to determine who stays on site and who has to stay with the boys. Brock wins because he refuses to acknowledge that paper beats rock. Doc, Billy, and Pete head for Billy’s mom’s house and Billy still thinks Doc is the Blue Morpho and he’s up to something. He keeps saying “wink” to Doc, who has no idea what he means.
In Mystery Bathroom, there’s a chicken dinner waiting on the floor and the dark haired guy is ready to dig in. Blond Guy says he thinks it’s poison. He’s been there for weeks and he’s been surviving by eating the dead. But just their butts, and not the dirty part. Red Death gets ready for his arching and his wife packs him dinner, including a brownie.
Shore Leave (dressed as Brock) takes the boys out on the town and waxes rhapsodic about the Limelight club, only when they get there, it’s been turned into a mall. And before it was a club, it was a church. Fair play, I guess. The Red Death flies right over them on a battle horse, vowing death to Venture and waving a laser scythe. I really want to see this guy doing real villain stuff now.
Monarch and 21 go to Red Death’s house disguised as Strangers. They tell Red Death’s wife that her husband has been compromised and she needs to take the baby and go to her mother’s house until she hears from them. Look at them, dealing with this in a non-violent manner!
Flashback! Action Man convinces a young Rusty that he pulled the pin on a grenade. Then his dog gets too close so Rusty dives onto the grenade – it’s a fake that just extends a “Boom” flag, but it goes right through the poor kid. In the present, Doc talks about how it went right through his kidney. Action Man, Pete, Billy, and Colonel Gentleman just laugh at him. A drunk Gentleman starts telling everybody that Action Man killed a baby once, and he insists it was a werewolf. He’s really wound up about it.
OSI and the Guild are in position when Red Death shows up. He puts on quite a show for everybody. We’ve got Brock as himself, Watch and Ward as Hank and Dean , Hunter as Doc (“I’m frightened because I’m Dr. Venture”), and Phage as HELPeR in his old “walking eye” body. Red Death attacks and seemingly kills Phage, and Brock is just excited that they’re putting on a show. He tackles the villain and knocks him into a pool while a sniper for OSI and one from the Guild agree that it looked really fun.
Mystery bathroom! The dark-haired guy realizes that the other one is a villain named Maestro Wave. And he’s the Termite. They’re both super villains!
Back at the Venture Building, Red Death assures Watch and Ward that they did a good job. Then he gets a call from the Blue Morpho. He says that his wife and daughter have been kidnapped and they’ll be returned safely once he signs over arching rights to Doc. Red Death gives them the Taken speech and scares the living hell out of them.
Gentleman, Billy, and Doc talk about the new Blue Morpho. That name doesn’t mean much to Doc, and Billy thinks it is Doc, so it’s a weird conversation. Gentleman confirms that the original is dead and has to explain to Doc that Morpho’s Kano is the Kano that he knows. How did Doc not put that together. Doc heads home.
In the Mystery Bathroom, Maestro Wave kills Termite so he can eat his butt.
Red Death bursts into the Morpho cave and finds the Monarch and 21 immediately. They quickly explain that his family is safe and he calls to confirm. He and his wife talk about corn chips and then he asks Monarch to tell him everything.
Doc returns to the Venture Building and hits on Dr. Mrs. on her way out. She vows to find and kill the Blue Morpho. And out in the pool, it’s a good guys vs. bad guys volleyball game. HA! Hank’s on the bad side because Phantom Limb left in a huff and he had to even up the teams. Also, Phage is playing so we have confirmation that he survived the fake attack. The last OSI and Guild snipers are up on the roof telling their stories and bonding.
In the Morpho Cave, Monarch explains that he doesn’t have anything if he doesn’t hate Doc. Red Death tells him that rules are important – he really wanted to kill somebody tonight, but he followed the rules. He explains that when he was young, he hated his archenemy so much that he couldn’t live with himself. So he finally took a deep breath, collected his thoughts, and crushed Professor Cadmium’s skull and slaughtered his family. He says Monarch needs to do exactly that and then change his ways.
21 asks if the killing ever gets to him and Red Death is mostly just impressed that he’s racked up so many kills himself. So 21 says he has something to show them and leads them to the bathroom. He’d been locking people up instead of killing them and is more than a little surprised at all the bodies. Red Death offers to solve this little problem and satiate his own bloodlust, and that wraps up our season.
The tag is maybe the dumbest joke ever on this show and I love it. We go back to the two snipers. They agree that they can no longer be enemies.
GUILD SNIPER: “How will I know you if we meet again? I must know.”
OSI SNIPER: (Removes helmet, revealing long flowing hair.) “Because you’ll see this – a woman who loves you. Yes, I’m a woman. How will I recognize you?”
GUILD SNIPER: (Removes hat, revealing an exposed brain.) “Because I have he top of my skull removed and I have this plastic dome with tubes coming out of it.”
Shore Leave brings us home with the final Titmouse “chirp” of the year.
Gonna be honest with you guys – I’m a little bit overwhelmed with Batman Week and I don’t have time to get into the analysis this week. So let’s save that for next week’s Post-Mortem. Instead, let’s wrap it up with a census of the guest voices this week. It’s really weird that Hal Lublin wasn’t in this episode at all after doing multiple roles in almost every other episode. But semi-regular James Adomian returned to voice Phage as well as Termite and the Guild Sniper. (Jackson was the OSI Sniper.) Supernatural‘s Misha Collins voices Maestro Wave. Deranged millionaire John Hodgman returned as Snoopy and Cristin Milioti, who appeared previously in another role, voiced Red Death’s wife, Kate.
And the Red Death? Freaking Clancy Brown. Kelvin from LOST. The best Lex Luthor ever. Mr. Krabs. Clancy Brown!
Come back next week for the wrap-up and the long wait for next season.