Henchman 21 destroys SPHINX while Venture Bros. skewers G.I.Joe

Illustration for article titled Henchman 21 destroys SPHINX while Venture Bros. skewers G.I.Joe

I have decided that recapping The Venture Bros. is impossible. Well, for me, at least. Now I’m going to try to do it anyways.


The main characters are so rich and fully formed it’s almost impossible to describe them; the newest characters are so brilliantly inspired by nerd culture that it would take pages to try and explain why they’re funny, and the plots are so carefully woven that somehow all these threads of the stories and the characters and their histories all start separate to inevitably culminate together in a way that makes most other TV seem like they aren’t even trying.

Trying to truly summarize and episode of The Venture Bros., to do it proper justice with my stupid clumsy monkey paws in less than 10,000 words seems like cheating, but no one wants to read that much and I certainly don’t have the time. So let’s get down to brass tacks, ladies and gentlemen:

We begin with Gary. Now the sole member of SPHINX, he’s determined to keep the heroic agency going, even if it’s by himself. He does manage to destroy a truck operated by a math-based criminal group, with two small problems: 1) he accidentally botches an undercover OSI operation, and 2) he kills an admittedly evil, chain-smoking 8-year-old boy named Short Division. Brock takes his crossbow away and tells him to stand down.

But this doesn’t stop Gary. He helps Sgt. Hatred defend the Venture compound from The Monach, thanks to his years of henching for the villain give him almost complete knowledge of the Monarch’s schemes and actions. It’s then he decides to advertise for new SPHINX members to help him restore SPHINX to its previous glory.

What Gary has forgotten, though, is that before SPHINX was Col. Gathers’ secret group of good guys trying to ferret out the traitors in OSI, it was a COBRA-esque group of terrorists — and its these guys who (re-)enlist, including Sphinx Commander (this does not tip Gary off). Hank also rejoins SPHINX, putting on the extremely feminine and sexy power suit of The Countess (who Sphinx Commander was spying on, in his car, earlier in the episode). These guys (minus Hank, natch) have decided to go out in a blaze of glory fighting OSI one more time.

Meanwhile, The Monarch and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch decide to disguise themselves, enter the Venture compound, and set bombs. This is incredibly easy, despite the fact that the sole t-shirt the Monarch owns is one labeled “Beaver inspector” from his bachelor party. Of course, Doc has fought crazier shit than mutant beaver, so he leads them through the tunnels underneath the compound, where the Monarchs place bombs, explaining they’ll send out anti-beaver vibrations. It isn’t long before Sgt. Hatred, currently trying to bond with the still-completely-fed-up-with-this-nonsense Dean, detects the explosives, and the two round them up. Refusing to believe Gary has truly changed his ways (despite his own face turn), Hatred deposits the bombs at SPHINX HQ.

Once his new crew start attacking the OSI’s flying fortress, Gary realizes what’s up, and he and Hank are imprisoned. From there, it’s a quick matter of Brock and Shoreleave infilitrating the ship and disposing of the SPHINX goons. Col. Gathers destroys the SPHINX ship at the same time the bombs destroy SPHOINX HQ. Now SPHINX is dead and Gary’s on his own, but at least Brock gives him his crossbow back.


But the true bombshell is the picture that the Monarch finds in Dr. Venture’s family photo album — a picture of him and Doc, playing together as children on the Venture compound. The Monarch’s parents are there, too. You know what that means? SECRET ORIGIN TIME, BABY.

Now, none of this truly explains how great this episode was, but at least it recapped it. I think, rather than try and mess with truly summarizing the episode each week, I‘ll do a quick recap like above and then have a big list of various thoughts and the most awesome moments. Does that sound better to you guys, or would you prefer to keep it essay-style?


Assorted Musings:

• “I’m guessing something involving acid or magnets.” /cut to inside the Monarch’s cocoon: “Prepare the acid magnets!”


• Everything about Sphinx Commander made me laugh. It’s insane how great voice actor Chris McCullough’s Chris Latta impression was.

• Only the Venture Bros would be bold and subversive enough to give us countless cheesecake shocks of the Countess’ strength suit while Hank Venture is inside.


• Doc showing the “Beaver Inspectors” his family photos albums is equally sad and funny, and it’s incredibly funny.

• Hank remembering his outfit is a strength suit was also a delight.

• When the season started, I thought I wanted Gary to join the OSI, but now I want him to be the Ventures’ new bodyguard. And Sgt. Hatred can just be the mom of the family. Besides having a ton of potential, seriously, Gary’s knowledge of the Monarch would probably make him a better bodyguard than Brock was.




The Monarch and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch's entire schtick under the Venture Compound was brilliant, like if you close your eyes, you could totally just see the recording studio where they've just been told "You're beaver inspectors. Whatever you want to do with that, we'll get it onscreen."