That’s right, three Venture Bros. recaps in one week.  With Season Five breathing down our necks, we’re getting caught up so I can enjoy new episodes with a clear conscience.  So let’s get to the senses-shattering conclusion to “The Family that Slays Together, Stays Together”.  Surely we won’t see a beloved supporting character brutally killed before it’s over!

“Too much public killing.  In my day, we’d draw the curtains before we punched a man’s time clock.  Boys, we gotta put an end to this small-town talent show ourselves.  It’s already gone on well past the fat lady’s encore.” – General Treister

The episode opens in OSI headquarters.  Doe and Cardholder enter Treister’s office, where he’s doing squat thrusts.  They report that Brock has killed off OSI’s top assassins, so Treister decides to lead a team to go after Brock.  After the opening theme, we see Doc and Brock in a police interrogation room.  Brock won’t tell them anything, and he and Doc keep getting smacked for it.  Hank and Dean are in a separate room, talking to a psychiatrist who thinks they’re making everything up.

–The first appearance of General Treister!  We see him again in Season Four, and he’s a major part of the finale, “Operation PROM”.  He’s voiced by King of the Hill’s Toby Huss, and he’s hilarious.  Note that he has an arc reactor in his chest, just like Tony Stark.  He was mentioned all the way back in Season One’s “Mid-Life Chrysalis”, in case you’re a completist.

“That was so hot.  Hot, hot cop.” – Henchman 21

We see HELPeR, blindfolded and tied to a chair.  The Monarch and the henchmen are trying to torture him for information.  They can’t interpret HELPeR’s beeps, but they’re pretty sure he’s not answering their questions.  Back at the police station, a guy who looks like Mr. Clean bursts into the interrogation room and sprays the cops with something that dissolves their flesh.  The Cleaner referenced in part one!  Meanwhile, the Monarch tries to electrocute HELPeR, but then Dr. Mrs. The Monarch comes in and stops him.  She yells at him for hurting HELPeR and tells the robot they’ll bring him back to his family, and HELPeR promptly prints out their location.  Then she shoves him aside and gives the info to her husband, having successfully good copped him.

–The melting flesh effect is pretty gross, but it’s not the most disturbing thing we’re going to see in this episode.  And poor, poor HELPeR.  That little robot breaks my heart.

“That’s how you dress when you’re not Catwoman-ing around?  I may have to rethink this whole relationship.” – Brock Samson

The Cleaner leads Brock and the Ventures to a drainage ditch, and says good-bye.  But Brock points out that Hank never got around to calling the Cleaner and pulls a knife on him.  Molotov Cocktease, who’s waiting in her casual hoodie and sweatpants says she’s the one who called him.  Brock makes fun of her outfit (which is not a disguise), and then the cocoon appears above them.  Molotov and the Cleaner drive off, leaving them alone.  They hide under a bridge, but the Monarch calls on Doc’s wrist communicator.  He gives Doc one minute to show himself, or he’ll kill HELPeR.  At that moment, Treister calls Brock’s communicator and asks Brock to turn himself over to OSI.  Brock ends up talking to both the Monarch and Treister simultaneously and agrees to meet at the Venture Compound at dawn.

–Rather than spoil anything, I’ll just say that I’m really impressed at all the little details of this episode – even the dialogue choices have a payoff at the end.  And there’s a great weird joke when Brock mentions Dawn – Hank thinks he’s referring to his and Dean’s sister.  Remember, Hank misread Baron Underbheit’s wedding invitation in Season Three’s “Love Bheits” to mean that he has a long lost sister named Dawn.  Clearly, he was never convinced otherwise.

“Hank, sit down and pretend to be sane.” – Dr. Venture

The cocoon arrives at the Compound, and Brock and the Ventures sneak out of a hatch in the bottom.  Brock sends the family to the panic room, as the Monarch gives a rousing speech to his troops.  Dr. Mrs. warns him that it’s a trap, but the Monarch explains that he rigged HELPeR with a bomb.  We see HELPeR escape from his bonds, and yeah, there’s a bomb on his back.  An OSI warship arrives and Brock directs Treister and the Monarch to the same location.  The OSI troops and the henchmen attack one another, since they don’t know what else to do.  The Monarch prepares his battle armor, and HELPeR crawls through the cocoon to safety.  In the panic room, Dean thinks he’s having a heart attack.  Sgt. Hatred shows up at the door and Hank lets him in, despite the archenemy thing.

–This is the beginning of Dean’s panic attacks, which become a reoccurring problem in Season Four.  He’s not cut out for this life!  And I like the bit where Doc complains about how uncomfortable his prison uniform is, even though it looks exactly like an orange version of his speedsuit.

“Okay, you have to kill me.  I’ve been here for two days trying to do it myself.  I tried to blow my head off with a damn shrink ray and now I got a little baby tongue.  I’m a failure!” – Sgt. Hatred

Hatred begs Doc to kill him, and stops feeling sorry for himself just long enough to give Dean a pep talk.  Outside the compound, it’s a full-fledged battle.  Mostly, OSI is slaughtering the henchmen, but the Monarch’s crew is racking up some kills.  We see 21 and 24, hiding out in the Monarch Mobile and eating chips.  They’re going to sit out the battle and check in afterwards.  Then, HELPeR crawls into the car and starts it.  21 bails out, but 24 can’t get his seatbelt unbuckled.

–Not to worry, right?  21 and 24 are like, main characters!  I just have to say, when 21 asks 24 why he buckled up, 24’s delivery of “I don’t know!” is pretty much the funniest line reading in the history of this show.

“We should be out there with them!  We should be fighting side-by-side with our moist warrior brethren.” – Hank Venture

Doc tries to strangle Sgt. Hatred, but can’t even get his hands around his beefy neck.  Hank, armed with an umbrella, tries to go out and join the battle.  Hatred admires Hank’s moxie and snaps out of his self-pity.  Doc says they’ll need an army, and Hank suggests that Doc “let me open my Christmas gifts early”.  He’s referring to the clone slugs.  Doc agrees and activates an army of partially-formed Hanks and Deans.  Sgt. Hatred leads them out onto the battlefield.  When Brock sees them on the security cameras, he runs out to stop them.  Both sides stop fighting when they see the naked pink army, but then the Monarch Mobile tears across the battlefield, stopping just before smacking into the clones.  Brock surrenders rather than see the insanity continue, but then the Monarch arrives with his battle armor that doesn’t really allow him to move.  Dr. Mrs. runs out to stop him, leaving the detonator for HELPeR’s bomb behind.  The Monarch activates the armor and flies into the air firing darts and lasers.  The henchmen and OSI manage to avoid his weapons, but he cuts through the clones.

–Hank and Dean first saw the clone slugs in Season 2’s “Viva Los Muertos”.  Doc explained them away by saying they were a Christmas present, and apparently Hank held onto that.  We’ve already seen evidence that the clone slugs age in real time, so unless Doc wants to start a new batch of baby clones, this is the last version of Hank and Dean.  When they die, that’s it.  (It’s also been implied that Doc can’t clone a clone, so unless he has viable tissue from the originals, he can’t even start baby clones now.)

“I’ve seen enough spinning butterfly… naked boy armies… screw this.  I’d rather, uh, quit.” – Brock Samson

Finally, the Monarch loses control and crashes to the ground.  Brock asks Treister why they’re trying to kill him, but Treister explains they were trying to help him after all the assassination contracts came through.  OSI didn’t hire the killers, and were never trying to hurt Brock.  He offers to reassign Brock to a less insane detail, but Brock decides to quit – both OSI and the bodyguard job.  Hatred mentions that he could use a job as Brock strides off.  As 24 climbs out of the Monarch Mobile, Brock announces to a still incoherent Monarch that he’s taking his car.  And then the bomb planted on HELPeR explodes.  Brock is caught in the blast, and 24’s flaming severed head lands in 21’s arms.  In the tag, Molotov addresses the Blackhearts, including Hunter Gathers.  Now that Brock’s taken out their competition, they’re the top assassins in the country and everything is going according to plan.

–First, the reveal that OSI was only trying to bring Brock in for his own good is handled really well.  Go back and watch it, and Treister never once threatens him.  Here’s how it all went down – Brock accidentally triggered his termination orders in “ORB”, which may or may not have kicked this all off.  It also might have been a coincidence.  Molotov and Hunter hired the three assassins, knowing that Brock would win and eliminate the competition.  And if it did some damage to OSI in the process, even better.

And then there’s poor, poor 24.  He got too arrogant about being a main character.  It’s weird to remember what a shock this was.  For all the mayhem on this show, there really weren’t any major deaths that stuck.  By this point, even the deaths of Colonel Gentleman and the Underland rebellion hand been overturned.  But that is definitely 24’s severed head, and it’s on fire.

So, since I’ve already recapped Season Four, I’ll just quickly tie up some of the loose ends.  Brock survives the explosion, as does HELPeR, though his head has to be attached to the Walking Eye from “Tag Sale, You’re It”.  Hunter was secretly infiltrating the Blackhearts (and pretending to be a woman) so he could recruit Brock to the reformed (and now benevolent) SPHINX.  Both Shore Leave and Mile High were also in on the plan, and are in fact, still gay.  Brock ends up working full time with SPHINX, and in the Season Four finale, Treister launches himself into space so aliens can fix his heart, and he leaves Hunter in charge of OSI.

Doe and Cardholder turned out to be Guild moles, taken into custody at the end of the season.  Brock learned about Molotov’s betrayal, and she seemingly died along with her lover (super-villain / lawyer Monstroso).  21 buffed up and went kind of crazy before quitting villainy and joining SPHINX.  We learned that the Monarch was the one who detonated the bomb (and killed 24).  Sgt. Hatred took over as the Venture bodyguard, and reunited with Princess Tinyfeet at the end of the season.  In the Halloween episode, he had pronounced breasts, which implies he’s been chemically castrated.

Hank got surly without Brock around, had sex, and went on tour with Shallow Gravy.  Dean embraced his interest in journalism, but after Triana got a boyfriend, he got a new emo haircut and feels sad now.  Doc was revealed to be Dermott’s father, and he himself even realized it.  Dean learned from a mysterious man named Ben that he and Hank are clones  And about a million other things happened, but that ties up most of the Season Three stuff, at least.

Guys.  New episode on Sunday.  It is a full hour, and I am freaking out.  Didn’t think I was going to get these recaps done on time, but we are caught up.  See you next week to talk about an ALL-NEW episode!

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