The Venture Bros.: The High Cost of Loathing
August 27, 2018 9:55 AM - Season 7, Episode 4 - Subscribe

The Morphic Trilogy is over and we're back to the everyday life of the Ventures - Rusty is trying to keep Ventech afloat, Dean moves away to college, Hank tries to make some money and The Monarch is back in the supervillain game.
posted by GuyZero (23 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
So, with spoilers: my main question near the end when Sirena is talking about getting arched by level 9s and 10s - why would Wide Wale being getting arched? He's in the Guild. Isn't he a villain? Would he have been getting arched before joining the Guild? Is she talking about him getting arched by good guys? It doesn't completely make sense.
posted by GuyZero at 9:57 AM on August 27, 2018

G-D, Doc, you can have MORE THAN ONE TEEN GIRL CHARACTER AT A TIME! I think that's why fans are so obsessed about bringing back Kim (Triana's friend). We are just begging for more female characters, and I am not up to a Dean-Serina-Hank love triangle right now. I can see how they think it's "novel" to have her get closer to Dean because they're in college together, and Hank is funny when he's outraged, but all I see is "can't think of another female character". She's also the ex of the Brown Widow! Are there no other girls in New York?
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 10:28 AM on August 27, 2018 [5 favorites]

Hermeowne Grangepurr, agreed! My hope is that there isn't a love triangle, because in part it's too obvious. He's at college! Meet new people of both genders! They have such a deep bench of heroes and villains, so it's not a problem of managing new characters. But I get it, who could really understand Dean than a fellow child of a hero or villain? Still, again with that deep bench, give someone else a family!
posted by filthy light thief at 10:53 AM on August 27, 2018 [4 favorites]

Sometimes VB does something that I love- and that's showing real life consequences to superhero/super-science type behavior. They've done it a few times, but Doc crashing through the plate glass in order to demonstrate the hover-belt and then getting cuts all over his face and a giant piece of glass in his thigh because DUH THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GO THROUGH A WINDOW DOOFUS! had me in stitches. I know they've done that sort of thing before and I wonder if there's a name for that trope?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 3:05 PM on August 27, 2018

I enjoyed this but didn't love it. It was a bit of a letdown after the previous three episodes. Also hoping we won't see a love triangle.
posted by wittgenstein at 3:24 PM on August 27, 2018


I'd say the show indicates that it's what happens when you go through head-first, because later in the same episode, The Monarch swings in feet-first for his arch on Prof. Von Helping (born Victor Von Hellfire) and is A-OK, as seen in the picture at the top of this episode recap (it's not an action shot, but what came after: Monarch standing triumphantly with nary a cut, and the broken window behind him).
posted by filthy light thief at 5:11 PM on August 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't see Dean being into Serena just because he knows she and Hank are together, but I do see Hank getting carried away with the wrong end of the stick. That is practically his power move.

As for the arching, I think it's a back and forth. Ideally, a game of cat and also cat, like when he'a got someone tied up a couple episodes ago, it's a given people would be coming to the rescue and once there is an established rivalry comes the game, but he's also a "bad guy" so "good guys" would be gunning for him.
posted by provoliminal at 5:40 PM on August 27, 2018

They're probably setting up a triangle because they think it'd be an interesting new conflict for the brothers, and maybe they're right. Give it time. The brothers have grown in very different directions since their "Go Team Venture!" days, but they've never had a deep, bitter dispute. This could be it. Although it's tough to picture Dean putting the moves on Hank's girlfriend and Sirena seems to have genuine feelings for Hank, so unless we find out she's poly and wants them both, I'm not sure how a triangle would happen. I wouldn't be too surprised if Dean tries to hide his feelings but Hank finds out somehow (maybe an inopportune boner gives Dean away) and they have a big, ugly conflict over it that ultimately drives Sirena away from both of them.

I was surprised the Monarch's rep didn't get a bigger bump from killing Blue Morpho. At first I thought the Monarch's dream sequence was real and I was like, "Damn, he's come up in the world!" When he acknowledged Gary as his sidekick, it was almost kind of... sweet? Normally the Monarch doesn't seem to give a shit about anybody but Dr. Mrs. the Monarch, so it's nice that he's not just taking Gary's tireless henching for granted.

Dean buying off the Monarch was funny (I guess Venture Corp. isn't doing THAT badly, if Dean can just go around blowing a million bucks on a whim) but a million bucks really isn't that much anymore, especially for a super villain budget. (Out here in LA you can't even buy a normal house for that.) It seems like money troubles will be a theme this season. Everybody is worried about paying the bills.

I'm just glad they seem to have written out Dermot. The creators of the show seemed to really like that kid, but to me he was always just a big sullen lump. They've also kind of sidelined Sgt. Hatred, which I'm fine with. The whole "affable pedophile" thing was never as funny as the show's creators seemed to think. (I gasped when Hatred was seen giving tours to those kids in a recent ep. Given his history, how the hell is he allowed to work with kids every day?)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:11 PM on August 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

I love that Monarch's fantasy included a fully working DEATH'S HEAD PANOPLY with limbs that actually move.

Also it's fantastic that Marvel comics are a real pop culture thing in their world and there are at least two guys who just go all in on the Doctor Doom schtick. I want a flashback to an awkward Hellfire and √únderbheit encounter.

Also also, this show keeps on proving that the biggest boneheaded move yet was Hunter and company refusing to take Hank and Gary in. They're both more than qualified and were denied and now Hank's spinning his wheels with no direction and Gary went back to the Monarch.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:57 PM on August 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was thinking about how Rusty was cut to ribbons by that window while the Monarch crashed through one without a scratch, supervillain-style, and it occurred to me that that juxtaposition probably wasn't accidental. If Doc and the Monarch are indeed brothers, which the show keeps hinting without ever quite saying, they are quite a study in contrasts. Doc is a science genius who is mostly held back by his own self-loathing and other psychological hang-ups, and he wants nothing to do with all this superhero stuff. The Monarch fully embraces the world of heroes and villains and actually has some legit skills, but because he's also kind of a goofball maniac people constantly underestimate him and he's full of resentment over his frustrated ambitions.

Do these descriptions sound familiar? Dean is fated to become a scientist, like it or not, and while he seems to have a kinder heart than Rusty he's developing all kinds of neuroses just like dear old dad. Hank has the potential to be a hero, even if he is kind of a dope, but he keeps being overlooked and he's obviously getting frustrated with that and he's making some bad choices. I wonder if the show is setting up a situation where Dean and Hank eventually take over the roles of Doc and the Monarch, or come close to it and back away before it's too late.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:55 PM on August 27, 2018 [8 favorites]

A propos of nothing, but speaking of this show's tendency to drop its female characters? I miss Warriana. Tell me Brock's still dating that age-appropriate TV journalist/flying domme. I wonder, honestly, if Warriana was finally the moment when they flew too close to the sun on a parody of a mainstream superhero -- the missing breast and halfhearted references to Arianna Huffington are a very thin scrim. But the season is young.
posted by thesmallmachine at 9:52 PM on August 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

Think Tank Think Tank Think Tank. So happy he survived.
posted by Paragon at 2:12 AM on August 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

Given his history, how the hell is he allowed to work with kids every day?

It's almost like his supervisor is bad at supervising!
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:40 AM on August 28, 2018

I forget which episode it was, maybe Venture Libre, but there was a flashback that implied it was the super soldier serum that was responsible for Hatred being a pedophile. And I kind of wish they'd just make that explicitly the case. Like there was a whole thing where the Nomolestol medication interacted with the serum and he grew breasts, and that's done with, so just a line about getting treatment to fully remove the serum and that having cured his urges, and then never mention it again.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:44 AM on August 28, 2018

Yeah, I can see them setting Hank and Dean up for future seasons of them being adults and arching each other. I can see Hank as Evil Knievel with that jacket, or Enrico Matassa; and Hank being some sorta unwilling super-scientist, and both of them chasing the one-teen-girl-character away with their nonsense. Not that I am psyched for that kinda plot-line; I like it much better when team venture works as a team.

I'm more interested in Monarch's ascension in the heir-arch-y. LEVEL SIX WOOOOO!

Agreed: more female characters needed... at least more without Harvey Fierstein's voice or accent.
posted by not_on_display at 10:55 AM on August 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

getting arched by level 9s and 10s

I figure both sides are rated, to make sure there is a match in power levels.

So obviously, what will happen is The Monarch will rise through the ranks, and get himself up to a 9 or 10 (whatever he needs to arch Doctor Venture), just in time for Venturecorp to go bankrupt (thanks in part to Dean), and Rusty be reduced in rank to a 3 or 4, at which point the Monarch is ineligible to arch such a weak opponent.
posted by fings at 1:58 PM on August 28, 2018 [5 favorites]

I just realized: Hank is already taking on a larger-than-life character, Enrico Matassa, and that character has a Latin-sounding name. Just as the show has revealed that the Monarch's "real" name is Malcolm Fitzcarraldo. So, more weird parallels.

Also, Fitzcarraldo is almost certainly a reference to the Herzog film, about a stubborn, ambitious fellow who embarks on a doomed enterprise to haul a steamship through the Peruvian jungle.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:08 PM on August 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

Loved the Piter DeVries reference (the twisted Mentat). Fitzcarraldo you would think would have to be a reference to the Herzog film as Ursula mentions. Fitzcarraldo was played by Klaus Kinski. I will never forget the documentary I saw on the film where a native chief offers to kill Kinski for Herzog because Kinski continually flew into loud screaming rages. The Monarch has some resemblance to him but then many of the characters in the show suffer from grandioseness married to mediocrity.
posted by juiceCake at 3:12 PM on August 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was trying to find it, but is there a moment in the last two episodes where Hank admitted that he enjoyed playing a villain? I think they're setting up D&H moving out on their own. I'm guessing the million dollars is going to come up later in the season. I hope they're not going to bankrupt Rusty right away. I think broke scammer Dr. Venture isn't as interesting as rich-but-flailing-to-keep-things together Dr. Venture.

I think W&Brock are still together in the show, so she could well make a appearance in the next few episodes. These past few episodes have been pretty Brock and OSI light, so there could be a meaty part for him on the horizon.
posted by Query at 5:21 PM on August 28, 2018

I got a little lost with Hank's plot to infiltrate Wide Whale's HQ. Was there a moment when he was actually considering joining WW's gang and only hesitated at killing the Monarch, or did he have some other plan in place and I'm not remembering?

The thing with Hank, like a lot of guys on this show, is that he's so swept up in his genre geekery that he actually cares more about gee-whiz gadgetry and cool fighting techniques than he cares about right and wrong. He's always been on the side of good, but if some villain has a boss ride or a nifty costume Hank will fully geek out over that. (We've also seen that he values flashy gadgets over his own masculinity, which is surprising for such a seemingly butch kid. Remember when he was so enamored by that one girl-shaped robotic super suit that he wore it until it reeked?) I feel like Dean is a good, surprisingly grounded kid and if he can hold onto that without becoming amoral and bitter like his dad he should do OK. But Hank is teetering on the edge of something, he longs to be a part of that weird superhero world and he's probably fated to either become a goofy hero or a goofy villain.

The more I think about it, the more I feel like this season may be setting up the show's finale. For all I know that finale might be 10 years from now, but I feel like Publick and Hammer are seriously considering who the Venture Brothers will be as grown-ups and how this sprawling story could end.

(Maybe Dean and Hank kill each other, Doctor Venture clones them from a few scattered teeth and then the whole thing starts over with the boys as eager, oblivious teens again. That'd be just about the grimmest ending possible, but I could see it.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:55 PM on August 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

(Also, I knew Jackson Publick voiced Hank, but I didn't know much about the actor who voices Dean. A quick Google search reveals that he's Michael Sinterniklaas, and he looks like a pixie Sam Winchester.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:04 PM on August 28, 2018

I got a little lost with Hank's plot to infiltrate Wide Whale's HQ.

His goal was a bit muddy, but the general thrust of it was to get in good with WW so that he could spend more time around Sirena, and if that plan also involved making Rocco and the rest of Whale's goons lice look like chumps, all the better.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:59 PM on August 29, 2018

Don't usually wade into discussions of this show, despite that I believe it to be one of the best televisions shows ever produced, period. Seeing people call 21 "Gary" was throwing me off, I had forgotten that was even his birth name. I'm loving this season so far, I just hope they don't do a typical dean-sirena-hank triangle, I have faith in them to set it up like it'll happen but go in a different unexpected direction. I don't think Sirena would put up with it anyway, Hank getting possessive or jealous seems like she would know better and nope the fuck out of it all.
posted by GoblinHoney at 3:04 PM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

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