This week’s Venture Bros. episode drops a couple of bombshells out of nowhere, brings back some characters you might not remember, and has some fantastic guest stars. Also, Shore Leave kicks Phantom Limb’s ass offscreen. There’s a lot going on and much of it is very silly. It’s time for “The Inamorata Consequence”!
We open with Brock driving Doc and the boys, just like the old days. Only this time it’s a jeep and they’re all wearing gas masks as they go through a wasteland. Hank and Dean make a Grand Theft Auto reference when Brock plows through a barricade, so this episode is already winning. Doc is working on his speech and wants to “pull a Gettysburg” and use “score” as a number. Brock stops to get a dead bull out of the road and suddenly guys in HAZMAT suits are pointing guns at him. One of his takes his helmet off – it’s Hunter Gathers. They don’t need the gas masks after all – OSI reported the area contaminated to keep out civilians. And that area is? The former site of the Venture Compound!
What we have here is a Summit between OSI and the Guild of Calamitous Intent. There’s a Fudgie the Whale ice cream cake from Carvel (“Have a WHALE of a Summit”). Snoopy (John Hodgman!) and Red Mantle/Dragoon enjoy some cake. Dr. Mrs. The Monarch asks Dean about college and tells him he should go out for his Dad’s frat. Shore Leave insists to Brock and Phantom Limb that James Bond used a BB gun in From Russia with Love. Hunter talks to Doc, and we learn that Jonas Venture officiated the first summit fifty years ago. Watch and Ward call the meeting to order and they take their sides. OSI is represented by the aforementioned Hunter Gathers, Brock, Snoopy, and Shore Leave. The Guild sent Phantom Limb, Dr. Mrs. The Monarch, and Red Mantle / Dragoon. (The Monarch is not in this episode by the way. It’s weird!) There are plenty of OSI agents and Guild Strangers standing guard. It’s time for the second summit for the Treaty of Tolerance.
There have been references in the past to a pact between the Guild and OSI, and now we’re seeing it in action! Dean is less interested in continuity than I am, so he decides to go look around the compound. A very familiar looking OSI agent drags Hank away. Elsewhere, as OSI and Guild agents clean up the reception, a Guild Stranger shows everybody the plastic covering on his head that exposes his brain. Only one person is interested – OSI Agent Kimberly McManus, who tells him it’s beautiful.
We first saw these two in last season’s finale, “Red Means Stop”, where they bonded while waiting for the Blue Morpho to attack. The Stranger wasn’t named at the time, but in this episode, he’s identified as Guild Stranger S-464. That will be hard to remember. They head off for some time to themselves.
The OSI agent brings Hank to an intact warehouse. He threatens to send Hank to jail and then takes off his helmet to reveal that he’s Dermott!
Dean heads for Ben’s cabin. We first and last saw Ben in “A Very Venture Halloween”, where the old man who used to be an associate of Jonas’ revealed to Dean that he and his brother are clones. Ben isn’t there, possibly because they couldn’t get JK Simmons to come back. Instead, there’s a red version of HELPeR who has legs and speaks English. He says Dean must be Dr. Venture’s son, and he’s been looking forward to meeting him. He’s voiced by Rhys Darby from Flight of the Conchords and Wrecked.
The Summit is not going well, with the two sides arguing tiny points and Dr. Mrs. yelling at Doc for saying “gentlemen” when referring to the representatives.
Cut to newsreel footage. Jonas marked HELPeR as a robotic servant and every home had them. But then a baby pulled out a robot’s eye. We see one newspaper headline that says “BABY COULD HAVE CHOKED! Robot To Blame” and then one that says “HELPER ROBOTS CAPABLE OF EATING BABIES”. There was a mass burning of HELPeRs and only later did Jonas get back in the headlines when he saved a woman from freezing waters. We agree he definitely was the one who put her in those waters, right?
The only HELPeR units left are our guy, and this Model Two who’s talking to Dean. I’m just going to call him Two. He explains that Ben went to New Zealand to surf, but he’s happy to host Dean, offering him “comfortable sweatpants”. (“I can heat them up in the dryer to slightly above your body temperature. Being as you’re warm-blooded, it’s quite a treat!”)
Back at the Summit, Shore Leave and Phantom Limb have taken off their shirts. They’re wearing inner tubes and swim fins on their hands. Shore Leave insulted Limb’s grandfather, so now they have to fight for honor. Doc is pretty sure that isn’t in the bylaws. Brock: “I have 44 seconds on the clock. If I hear a bone break, I don’t care. It’s over when I call time.” HA! This is so good!
At the break, there is a fake ad for Carvel in the style of their old commercials offering Brock Samson and Monarch-themed ice cream cakes. The ad states that they are only available by phone, probably so nobody goes into one of the remaining Carvel storefronts looking for them. The number is 1-800-614-1681. Let’s call it! Well, the Monarch instructs you to leave your email address and describe yourself eating a cake while doing the voice of your favorite character. I did Augustus St. Cloud, because I can do that impression. I can do a decent 24, but only certain words.
Hank and Dermott climb the mountain of jackets left over from Shallow Gravy’s video, and it’s hilarious that those are what survived the fire. Flammable-ass jackets. Dermott explains that his dad put in a good word for him with OSI, and he insists his dad is a Black Ops guy. I legit can’t remember if he knows that Dr. Venture is his dad. I know Hank knew it but got mind wiped. (Several times.) They climb the jacket mountain and then Kimberly and S-464 sneak in for some alone time.
Dean shows Two some wristwatch footage of HELPeR (kicking Billy Quizboy into the pool) and Two is impressed. Dean says he can’t talk, but sometimes he can understand what he means. Two explains that their HELPeR is the original and the smartest. The production models were “more like Speak and Spells”. Two says Ben modified him so he contains organics. He’s not a robot but not a man “like you”. Dean wants to know what he means by that and Two is alarmed that nobody told him and tries to convince Dean he’s hallucinating. Finally, Dean mentions “the clone thing” and Two agrees that they were both “made by great men who were compelled by love and guilt”.
S-464 and Kimberly talk about how they’re going to wreck the Summit and then Hank shows up with an Afro and blasts fireballs with his bass. Then he rides a dragon and also he’s married to former gymnast Dominique Dawes. And this is obviously a story he’s telling Dermott. In reality, the adversaries are making out. There’s a lot of discussion as to what the bases are and if ladies even have a second base. Then Kimberly asks why he has “peepee” on his belt.
Back at the Summit, Hunter asserts that Mad Scientists are the Guild’s problem and then straight up calls the Guild “Bad Guys”, which is a breach of etiquette. Also, Phantom Limb is sporting a head bandage and a sling, so clearly Shore Leave won. It all turns into insults and bickering.
Dean walks Two through the woods – he wants to bring him out into the world, but Two is too scared and decides to go home. Back in the warehouse, Kimberly makes it clear that their relationship is over because of the peepee belt. Hank decides the best thing to do is tattle on them. Hee!
They arrive back at Ben’s home and Two tells him it doesn’t matter that he was made in a test tube. He himself is an abomination but he’s happy. He’s watching Skins on Netflix and everything. Dean says goodbye and Two replies “Goodbye, Rusty Venture” and we just learned some stuff right now.
Back at the Summit, they’re still bickering and Doc has had enough. He tells them they’re all a bunch of children. Jonas let them fight it out in the pool because he “was a shitty parent”. Doc insists there’s no such thing as fairness and they need to make some compromises and they can either brag about how much they got or cry about what they didn’t get. It’s one of Doc’s greatest moments. Everybody agrees to sign the new treaty and call it good.
As everybody clears out, Dermott and Hank do their tattling. Everybody compliments Doc on his officiating. He’s so proud of himself and asks Dean if he got to see him in action and it’s actually very sweet. Dean says he missed it but “I find out how similar we are. And your Dad may have been a worse father than you.” Dean gives his dad a hug and tells him he loves him and then Doc wants to know why he’s wearing sweatpants. Hee!
In the tag, Dr. Mrs. orders a tail on S-464. Phantom Limb thinks he didn’t do anything that bad and they’re making too big a deal about the peepee. But no, it was “PP”. The letters. He’s a member of the Peril Partnership and the Guild has a mole.
The Titmouse chirp is Dragoon making a surprised noise.
–OK, let’s hit the two big things first. The Peril Partnership is kind of an out of nowhere reference. They were first mentioned in Season Two’s “Fallen Arches”. That episode established that the Guild had two competitors – the Partnership and the Fraternity of Torment. At the time, it was noted that the Guild had more members than the other two combined. They rarely come up. Jonas’ enemy Scaramantula was a member of the FoT. The only known member of the Partnership before this week was Tiger Shark, who appeared in Season Four’s “Every Which Way But Zeus”. In that episode, the OSI and all the villain organizations called a cease fire to find who had been kidnapping sidekicks and henchmen. If they have a mole in the Guild, they must be poised to make a move.
Here’s something I’ve been thinking about. A lot of the crowd scene villains have disappeared over the last couple of seasons. When they had the Guild meeting in this season’s “The Rorqual Affair”, a lot of the familiar faces were missing. Plughead Guy, Hate-Bit, Truckules – those guys used to be in every crowd scene. I wonder if they’ve been lured away by the Partnership. That would be a really neat and subtle use of D-List characters. I think this is our next big storyline.
And then there’s the Dean bomb. I think a lot of people have read too much into that, so let’s go over what we actually learned. Other than some great stuff about HELPeR units and Jonas being terrible, I mean. We learned that Doctor Thaddeus Venture is a clone. They didn’t establish that he’s a clone of the Monarch and they didn’t establish that Dean is a clone of Doc. Two called him “Rusty”, but there was no indication that he did a DNA scan or anything. He might just be bad at telling humans apart. It’s still possible that Dean is a clone of Doc, but it’s far from confirmed.
Now, when Dean mentions that he’s a clone of himself, Two just rolls with it so that may indicate that Doc is a clone of the original Doc and he had a mother and everything. Or it might just mean that there have been multiple Docs. And if that’s the case, that clears up some of the timeline discrepancies that result from the last 14 years of real time taking up two yeas on the show. (Compressing the timeline moves Doc’s birth closer to the present, and there are events in his childhood that are tied to historical events.)
It was heavily implied that the Monarch is Jonas’ son, but there’s no reason to believe Doc is a clone of the Monarch. They’re roughly the same age and they don’t look alike, for starters. A clone would have at least the same head shape, you know? Assuming that Doc didn’t have a mother, I assume he was a clone of his father. Remember, tiny dead ringer for Jonas, Jonas Jr., was in there too. So maybe it was a flaw in the process that resulted in two imperfect clones. Or, and I like this idea a lot, what if there were a couple of other Docs before him, and in every other case, JJ consumed the Thaddeus fetus? Doc is the material that the perfect clone was supposed to feed on for strength, but our Doc turned the tables.
Were you worried that we wouldn’t have any mysteries left after “Arrears in Science”? You were wrong!
Beyond that, I just have a small thing to note. When Watch and Ward introduced the Guild delegation, Phantom Limb is identified as the “Victor of the Battle of Cremation Creek”. Maybe you remember the Season Two finale, but Limb lost that battle. It was his forces vs. the Sovereign and at the end, the Sovereign was fine and Limb slunk away in defeat leaving an invisible arm and leg behind. He’s rewritten history to make that a victory which, well, is pretty realistic I guess.
Can we possibly top John Hodgman and Rhys Darby in one episode? Well, next week has the Monarch, Gary, and Augustus St. Cloud, so there’s a chance.