The season’s penultimate episode of Venture Bros. gave us super science, sibling rivalry, and a murder bear. Oh, and time travel. It’s everything I want out of TV, so let’s get to “The Forecast Manufacturer”.

New York is blanketed with snow. Feet of snow. Doc decides this is a great time to have Billy test out their thermal regulation suppository. Stick it in you butt, it keeps you warm. They hope. Doc calls him “the rectal Neal Armstrong” and Billy gives him all the gory details. Then they hear a beeping noise and by this point, any unexplained sound is probably something that could kill them.

Later in the Panic Room, Hank can’t get a call through to Sirena. Billy and HELPeR find the source of the beeping just as Brock arrives. Sgt. Hatred tries to get him to put on a helmet, but he refuses. (Hatred: “I’m just wearing mine because I look good in helmets. Not because I’m scared of…. debris.”) They determine that isn’t a bomb – it’s a huge old phone with the O.S.I. logo. Doc figures it’s probably for him.

OPENING STING!

Doc takes the call and it sounds like he’s trying to weasel out of something, but he’s not getting anywhere with that. He finally agrees to take the assignment.

Gary shows the Monarch and Dr. Mrs. their training facility. (So, no resolution to the cliffhanger? That might be addressed next week, but we can maybe read between the lines in a bit.) It’s a dojo where kids learn martial arts. It’s hard to make out, but the instructor is “Sensei Finkelstein”. Hee! Dr. Mrs. isn’t impressed but she has a Guild mission for them. So, apparently she is still Guild leadership. I feel like there’s a reason they made that a cliffhanger, though.

Before they go on their mission, Gary gets involved in training and slaps a tiny girl. The sensei yells at him.

So here’s Doc’s mission – this cold front is actually manmade. It’s a weather machine. Doc tells Hank to suit up for a mission and Hank says “As much as I’d like to pretend I’m that lady from Jurassic Park and go chase storms with you…” which means he thinks Helen Hunt and Laura Dern are the same person, which is sort of the nineties version of confusing Bryce Dallas Howard and Jessica Chastain. Anyway, he’s obsessed with trying to get through to Sirena, but she’s not responding to texts or calls. Billy is only too happy to volunteer. In fact, he insists on a “Go Team Venture”. Man, I love Billy.

A large junk (the boat kind) sails up the river as Dr. Z and Dr. Mrs. explain the mission. It begins with the Peril Partnership. Formerly the Guild’s Canadian counterpart, they’ve been making moves lately. OSI reached out to the Guild because the Partnership is behind the storm – OSI will handle the weather machine but the Guild needs to take out the man behind it, a guy named the Creep. They made a bust of him out of chicken tenders so they can eat them later and leave no trace of this mission. Dr. Z says how the Monarch and Gary handle it is up to them, but hints heavily (with a riddle) that assassination is in order. Oh, also the Creep stole the Guild’s weather machine. He didn’t even make his own!

Doc and Billy take off in the X-12 (JJ’s better version of the old X-1). Doc finds a bunch of dangling wires and Brock says it’s from the tape deck and they can just tuck that “pasketti” back in there. Doc and Billy make fun of him for that and it’s funnier than I’m making it sound.

Sgt. Hatred reads the novelization of The Day After Tomorrow as Hank prepares to head out into the blizzard to find Sirena. Hatred tells him he’s getting clingy and tries to give him some advice based on his own failed marriage. Hank has decided everybody who disagrees with him is a duplicate and goes outside.

Gary and the Monarch are ready to scuba in to the mission, armed with personal communicators that are just tracphones in sandwich bags. Once again, Dr Z won’t tell them to kill the Creep, but he won’t confirm that they shouldn’t kill him and Dr. Mrs. finally has to tell them that they obviously are supposed to kill him.

On the way, Hank plays some snow football with himself and ends up taking a header into a snowbank that’s not as deep as it looks and knocks himself out.

Doc and Billy reach the epicenter of the storm and look for the source. Billy has taken off his clothes because he’s still got the suppository and it’s warming him up too well. They find this big hovering turbine surrounded by a silver nitrate cloud, and that’s what’s causing the storm. The X-12 narrowly misses a Mountain Dew can that flies at them incredibly fast.

The Monarch and Gary reach shore and they’re immediately discovered by a shadowy figure who seems to be the Creep. He’s big and has a trident, and he’s flying around on what seems to be the Monarch’s glider from “The Diving Bell and the Butter-Glider”. Monarch even points it out, so clearly the Peril Partnership is stealing most of their technology. He tells them that they must survive the Most Dangerous Game and flies off. They both know what that means and they’re not excited about it.

Hank’s bloody face emerges from the snowbank. He’s got a wicked head injury and looks out of it. He asks a passerby “Help me”, and then we see that passerby is wearing a stained bear costume and holding a bloody machete. Oh, poop.

This character has never been named onscreen, but Jackson and Doc call him “Scare Bear”. He has yet to speak. He first appeared in “Bright Lights, Dean City” as an applicant for the Revenge Society and he creeped out the whole team. He’s appeared in the background of a couple of crowd scenes (“It Happening One Night” and “The Rorqual Affair”), but it’s pretty rare that we see him(?).

Doc and Billy try to come up with a plan to stop the weather machine that doesn’t involve knocking it out of the sky and crushing everybody below. Doc realized they can stop it by preventing cold air from getting in to the intake port. And the best way to do that is to drop the thermal suppository in there to warm it up. But it’s inside Billy, so they’re going to need some coffee.

Gary and the Monarch head towards the Creep’s base and discover it’s surrounded by an energy dome that keeps out the cold and snow. Billy flies out over the weather machine (using JJ’s flying belt) in his underwear so he can poop the suppository into it. This is not a plot point I thought I’d ever see.

Gary realizes that all of the Creep’s technology is stolen from the Guild. I’m a big fan of Maybe Man’s Indifference Engine, personally. I don’t recognize anything from past episodes, but we don’t see many Guild members actually do any arching. Oh, well there’s one big one. Grover Cleveland’s Presidential Time Machine, which appeared in the cold open of Season One’s “Are You There God? It’s Me, Dean”. The Creep shows up, and he’s a big guy clad in mismatched armor and costume parts. I’m pretty sure he has one of Baron Underbheit’s shoulder pieces. His chest piece is actually OSI armor with the logo crossed out.

And now it’s time for the Most Dangerous Game. They thought they survived it by reaching his lair, but no. The Most Dangerous Game is Lawn Darts, that seventies game that was banned all over because you’re really just throwing metal spikes. And he’s going to play Divebomb, the variant where you toss a lawn dart up as high as you can and then try to avoid having it land in your head.

By the way, James Adomian is the voice of the Creep. He’s been doing great work this season as characters like S-464, Night Dick, and plenty of others. (He picked up most of the voices Bill Hader used to do.) I like him, but I don’t usually shout him out because he blocked one of my Twitter friends for not liking Bernie Sanders and that’s not cool.

Scare Bear carries Hank through the snow. Billy returns to the X-12, having successfully pooped. The silver nitrate turned his skin purple. Billy also found another soda can, which he thinks means that there’s a pilot. And yeah, suddenly there’s somebody standing out on the turbine. Somebody dressed like a Guild Stranger and holding a sign that says “Help”.

As they play Divebomb, Creep starts explaining his origin and his hatred of the Guild and OSI. He used to be an OSI agent and he secured a mountain fortress but in the process “there were complications” and he killed a troop of boy scouts. OSI kicked him out. He catches a lawn dart right before it lands in his head.

Scare Bear carries Hank into a convenience story where he buys some chips. Hank definitely has a concussion. The X-12 tows the weather machine back and now they’ve picked up the pilot, S-464. He was trying to get Kimberly’s attention and defected to the Peril Partnership since OSI is more likely to get involved rather than just doing crowd control. Billy tells him how dumb that is, but Doc says he tried to date a black widow and not only did he not score, but she hit him with a restraining order. So now he’s Facebooking her under an alias. Oh, Doc.

It’s the last round of Divebomb, and Creep throws it way up. And then Grover Cleveland’s Presidential Time Machine lights up, and out step Doc and Billy. Billy’s in Civil War garb and Doc is in a tuxedo and top hat and has a life preserver from the Titanic around his neck. He has a bandaged finger and Billy tells him not to touch anything else. Doc thinks Creep is a caveman and asks “Malcolm” what he’s doing seventy million years in the past. The lawn dart lands right in the Creep’s head, killing him. Doc and Billy panic because they killed a caveman and Billy says they “have to go back farther and fix this too”. The Monarch delivers the most perfect “huh” in TV history before getting angry. “Did that asshole just call me Malcolm?”

Scare Bear carries a woozy Hank to Dean’s dorm and directs him to knock. Dean thinks it’s roommate Jared and yells that there’s a tie on the door. And we all know what that means! Hank walks inside and sees Dean and Sirena in bed together. Hank half confronts them because he’s got a serious head injury. Then Dean and Sirena notice the murder bear in the doorway and Hank is just happy that they see him too. And then be passes out.

END CREDITS!

In the tag, Dr. Mrs. the Monarch leads OSI agent Kimberly McManus through a hallway for a prisoner exchange. OSI is turning over somebody named Black Strap and the Guild has… S-464. He’s a traitor, so they’re giving him to OSI. Dr. Mrs. notes that they had to adjust his temperament, which is the kind of thing you can do to somebody with an exposed brain. Kimberly tells him that she loves him but he can’t remember her. And then he takes her prisoner.

That is a weird note to end on.

The Titmouse chirp is Creep saying “Yup”.

–Couple of quick things. First off, I don’t think this resolves the Peril Partnership storyline. I didn’t get the impression that the Creep was behind everything – he’s just the guy stealing Guild technology. Also, I think at this point they have to reveal who’s under the Scare Bear mask – now that he carried Hank through the city and apparently knows where Dean lives, he’s gone from a joke character to being potentially important. My guess, which is partly derived from next week’s listing which says “the Venture Brothers face one of their own” is that he’s a Hank or Dean clone who survived apparent death.

Also, that time machine. The Doc and Billy who emerge look like our Doc and Billy (outfits aside), so their time trip is probably sooner than later. But before it happens, apparently Doc’s relationship with the Monarch is significantly different if they’re on a first name basis. And they’re clearly bad at using the time machine since they think they’re in prehistoric times. I am very much looking forward to Doc and Billy as time travelers. (Note that the time machine doesn’t disappear when they use it, which has all sorts of interesting implications.)

And this episode did exactly what I was talking about last week. It advanced a whole bunch of storylines, and I think it worked really well. We didn’t see every beat of Dean and Sirena getting close, which made for a better payoff. That’s how they’re balancing their worldbuilding with a limited number of episodes – sticking to the important points. They could have given us weeks of Dean and Sirena scenes and several episodes of Hank freaking out, but we got everything we need here. Plus resolution for S-464, teases for the future, and further development of the Peril Partnership. And it muddied the waters for Dr. Mrs. The Monarch’s status. Seriously, it’s really weird that there was a cliffhanger as to whether she’d take the oath and then they jumped to her apparently having taken it.   If we didn’t see it, there’s a reason.

Season finale next week! We’ll have plenty to talk about then!

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