It is imperative that your read the recap of Season One to fully understand the insanity of what follows.
To the shock of many, “The Venture Bros.’” first season ended with Hank and Dean Venture – the show’s namesakes – being shot and blown to bits. It was safe to say that the show’s main characters were dead. So how in the world could the series continue without young Hank and Dean? Maybe another Venture duo could take the reigns…
Not only that, but the super villain world was suffering as well with The Monarch falsely imprisoned thanks to the devious mind of Phantom Limb as a way to keep Dr. Girlfriend from returning to her butterfly king. There’s so much than could and did occur during “The Venture Bros.” season two, and I’m ready to let you in on what happened.
The New Adventures
The opening moments of season two were some of the most prolific scenes in the series’ existence. As Aquagen’s mix of Rozalla’s “Everybody’s Free” played over the images of necromancer Dr. Byron Orpheus’ grieving period, his daughter Trina trying to comfort her father, and, seemingly, Dr. Thaddeus “Rusty” Venture in great remorse. “Seemingly” because Dr. Venture eventually stole the X-1 jet and went on a series of misadventures to find himself. When Brock finally caught up with Thaddeus Venture, the ecstasy-using, electro-rocking, raving father Venture was happy to start a family with a girl half his age while proclaiming, “Screw the boys!”
Samson eventually subdued Dr. Venture, dragging him back to the compound so everyone could see the interaction between the “new” Venture Bros. – Thaddeus Venture and his deformed, yet incredibly bright and personable brother who was cut out of his body before the last season’s end, Jonas Venture, Jr. Instead of staying together, Rusty gave his brother Spider Skull Island – the original Team Venture headquarters – so his little brother could stay out of his metaphorical hair (with a hot women in tow – something his older brother couldn’t pull off on his best day).
During Rusty’s problems with a half-working teleportation device that eventually spilt his body around various areas, Dr. Orpheus went to Hell and back (literally) in search for Hank and Dean’s souls. When Dr. Orpheus’ search failed, he tried to perform a resurrection ritual that apparently worked because the skinless, muttering bodies of Hank and Dean stumbled through the necromancer’s front door.
Thinking he had created Venture zombies, Dr. Orpheus spent the next several moments trying to figure out how he could feel their souls inside a nearby Thaddeus Venture-created machine. After Dr. Venture emotionally tortured the poor, confused Dr. Orpheus, he finally admitted that those beings Dr. Orpheus saw weren’t zombies, but clones. Even more interesting was the fact the Hank and Dean we got to know in the first season weren’t even the originals.
By the episode’s end – following a failed “Go Team Venture” pose between the “clone slugs” – and the next episode’s opening, the cloning process was complete. Hank and Dean were given skin, reeducated in their learning beds, and revived under the impression that it was their sixteenth birthday. Though Hank and Dean immediately noticed that their name tags were burnt and featured the wrong dates in association with their “sixteenth” birthday, they went along with the story just like everyone else who knew the truth behind Hank and Dean Venture’s respective existences. Maybe Thaddeus Venture wasn’t such a failure after all.
Mystery Moms, Lincoln Logs, and Failure
While the first season gave the viewers a chance to digest the small world of the Venture family, season two hoped to expand on the mostly mythological universe by revealing characters and associations not known about while giving us follow ups regarding other interesting individuals.
Some of the latter included the return of Baron Ünderbheit during his quest to find a worthy wife – who almost turned out to be a Princess Lia-dressed Dean Venture – and his subsequent banishment from Ünderland for trying to marry an underaged boy. There was Brock Samson’s only unconquerable love interest in Molatov Cocktease (doing a favor for Brock by babysitting the Venture family while he went on a mission to assassinate his Operations of Secret Intelligence mentor turned transgendered rouge agent Col. Hunter Gathers). The Impossible family returned during the episode “Twenty Years to Midnight” when Rusty Venture used Sally Impossible’s infatuation with him to sneak into Impossible Industries.
And then there was one of the series’ most disturbing returns featuring Colonel Bud Manstrong following the crash of Gargantua-1. Brock assaulted Manstrong during the Venture family’s space travel in season one because the colonel caught Samson having sex with Manstrong’s infatuation and fellow astronaut Anna Baldavitch. Returning to Earth, Manstrong was offered a position as Vice President of the U.S. because the national hero was a clean-cut, mama’s boy whose mother believed she should follow Baldavicth’s path and “…wanted to free Nelson Mandela under the table,” when sitting beside Brock Samson.
Following another Samson-Manstrong altercation in the U.S. President’s force-fielded office, the shooting of Abraham Lincoln’s ghost by Mama Manstrong, and some sleuthing by Dr. Venture, the truth was revealed that Manstrong wasn’t so clean after all. Actually, the colonel was a repressed masturbator.
Then there were new characters. One woman debuting during season two that turned the Venture world upside was Myra. Abducting the boys and taking them to motel infested with cats, Myra revealed to Hank and Dean that she was the boys’ mother. Though Brock denied the possibility of Myra being the missing mom (almost telling Hank and Dean that they were clones in the processe), Dr. Venture admitted soon after that he did have sexual relations with a woman who was the original “Brock Samson” to a young Thaddeus Venture.
And that’s not even going into details about The Monarch’s Henchmen 21 and 24 trying to get laid by stealing jetpacks from Sergeant Hatred; Dr. Orpheus teacher’s – the shape-shifting Master; a grown up version of Jonny Quest being a drug addict living in Quest Bell One; the Scooby Doo-inspired Groovy Gang that featured Ted (this show’s version of Fred) as a condemning, violent kidnapper, Val (Velma) as an extreme feminist, and the seemingly possessed Devil dog Groovy who only Sonny (Shaggy) could understand. If you haven’t guessed by now, members of the Groovy Gang also had similar traits to famous maniacs such as Ted Bundy, Valerie Solanas and David Berkowitz (a.k.a., “The Son of Sam”).
The Order of the Triad
Though no man in his right mind would want to mimic the somewhat disappointing life of Dr. Thaddeus Venture, Dr. Byron Orpheus hoped to one day be arched by some costumed super villain. In the episode “Fallen Arches”, Dr. Orpheus got his wish when The Guild of Calamitous Intent gave him an opportunity for a villain to attack him during appointed, somewhat convenient times. But Dr. Orpheus wouldn’t be alone. By reuniting with Blackula Hunter Jefferson Twilight (an older version of Marvel Comics’ “Blade” who happened to be diabetic) and The Alchemist (a pudgy, balding homosexual whose path to enlightenment centered on finding the cure for AIDS), Dr. Orpheus reformed The Order of the Triad.
During the episode, The Triad had a chance to interview several candidates. Some of the best ones included a lizard man who couldn’t understand the difference between hunting blackulas and African American Draculas (“There’s no African Americans in England!” – Twilight), a stereotypical wizard named Curse – who got cut down by The Triad with ease – and a disguised Dr. Girlfriend – whose deep voice actually scared all three Triad members – and her “Murderous Moppets (who have a true reason to be nicknamed “murderous”). In the end, Dr. Orpheus settled on a fire fiend – Torrid – who abducted the necromancer’s daughter Triana during her time watching the Venture bros. “entertain” her with their rendition of Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan”.
Though The Guild’s actions and control over super villainy had been referenced to during season one, not until the reformation of The Triad did we come to understand how the hand of The Guild worked. Also, The Triad’s debut brought forth two of the best minor characters of the show thus far.
The Love Triangle
At the end of season one, Phantom Limb took it upon himself to frame The Monarch and have him imprisoned to avoid Dr. Girlfriend from returning to The Monarch’s apologetic, awaiting arms. Thanks to fellow prisoner King Gorilla (an actual talking, walking, raping gorilla), The Monarch was able to break out of prison. Upon contradicting his “top” henchmen – 21 and 24 – The Monarch not only got his hideout running again, but also searched out Dr. Girlfriend for some kind of reconciliation. Though Dr. Girlfriend was obviously disinterested in the activities of Phantom Limb (dinner parties and selling stolen artwork rather than utilizing Dr. Girlfriend’s true strategic abilities to actually be a super villain), The Monarch’s obsession with killing Dr. Venture was too much for his ex to handle.
Throughout the season, The Monarch went out of his way to move on while trying to make his ex jealous of him; thus proving he hadn’t moved on at all. A great example of The Monarch’s inability to get over Dr. Girlfriend was seen during the episode “Fallen Arches” where The Monarch hired a prostitute to pose as Dr. Girlfriend during a sexual romp that ended with the hooker being forced to escape The Monarch’s flying cocoon hideout through a series of potentially fatal traps.
Several episodes later during “I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills”, The Monarch confronted the truths of love thanks to Dr. Henry Killinger – a mysterious figure wearing a black skull mask while carrying his “magic murder bag” who The Monarch could understand only every third word he said. Killinger arrived at the cocoon under the false pretense of improving The Monarch’s arching, but actually wanted to reunite The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend because the seemingly evil gentleman actually believed in the beauty of love. Locking The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend in a room together, Dr. Killinger’s strategy worked as we headed to the season’s epic conclusion.
“On This Your Wedding Day…”
Thanks to Dr. Killinger’s practices, The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend had the opportunity to reunite … in various hotels behind Phantom Limb’s back. Dr. Girlfriend just couldn’t give of herself fully without knowing if The Monarch would sacrifice his greatest mission – stop arching Dr. Venture. Agreeing reluctantly, The Monarch prepared to wed Dr. Girlfriend. Though The Monarch was done with going after his sworn enemy, his henchmen couldn’t remember the order when they attacked and kidnapped the entire Venture family during a drunken ambush following The Monarch’s bachelor party. The Monarch was stunned to see his usually bumbling protégés actually complete their leader’s old goal after a meeting with Phantom Limb to retrieve Dr. Girlfriend’s things (with an awkward hunting session in-between that saw Phantom Limb kill several of The Monarch’s former jail mates).
When Dr. Girlfriend found out about this massive case of miscommunication, The Monarch made Dr. Venture his best man in the wedding. The argument between the future Mr. and Mrs. Monarch reminded Thaddeus of his encounter with a deep-voiced woman named “Charlene” during season one. Though it’s against every unwritten rule known to man, Dr. Venture made a play for Dr. Girlfriend not soon after; failing miserably, of course.
While all of this was going on, Hank Venture spent his time playing with Henchmen 24’s collectible toys before disguising himself as Hank’s evil version, “Russian Guyovitch.” Dean Venture became enamored with the Mighty Flying Cocoon’s mechanics, leading to a panic attack that left him traveling to a fantasy world featuring his father as a giant Master Splinter from the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”-like rat and his crush Triana Orpheus playing the part of “Princess Tinklepants”.
The Triad (well, Dr. Orpheus and The Alchemist because Jefferson Twilight went into a diabetic coma following an ingesting of too many Nickel Nips) conversed over how effective was a group of middle-aged men in costumes chasing the same villain. And, of course, there was Phantom Limb staging an attack on The Monarch-Dr. Girlfriend wedding site even though The Guild’s Sovereign wouldn’t allow retaliation because Limb was dumped.
When the wedding commenced – with musician David Bowie giving Dr. Girlfriend away – Phantom Limb and his forces surrounded the cocoon. The second-half of season two‘s finale featured David Bowie being betrayed and believed killed by his personal security, Brock Samson becoming a commanding officer in The Monarch’s Fluttering Horde after Bowie’s former number twos kidnapped Dr. Girlfriend, and The Triad successfully saving Dean Venture from his own fantasy world before the cocoon was destroyed with him inside. During the commotion, Limb’s true intentions were revealed – to become the new Sovereign thanks to Bowie’s demise.
Sadly for hopeful usurper, the shape-shifting Bowie turned into a pack of cigarettes to fake his death (as noted by reader Mark Dorsch). Iggy Pop and Klaus – Bowie’s former security – were bested by their original leader and Limb’s flying arsenal was wiped out by Samson’s strategic onslaught and The Monarch’s escape pod; giving us a happy ending featuring a cliffhanger of Dr. Girlfriend revealing an incomplete admission.
While it seemed impossible to top the greatness of season one, Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick somehow outdid themselves over the course of thirteen episodes. Though season two didn’t end in a fiery moment featuring the dead bodies of its lead characters, the hope for an even more spectacular follow up season was in the minds and hearts of every “Venture Bros.” fan. We’ll see next time if the momentum continued.