Doc experiences happiness in a cheesy, spinach-filled Venture Bros.S

Spanakopita! Doc Venture gets one of his few moments of pure, uncomplicated joy as he returns to the Greek island that kidnapped him as a child… at least until Augustus St. Cloud stops by to make everyone miserable in a delicious, savory pastry of a Venture Bros. episode.

Doc Venture, accompanied by Sgt Hatred, Billy and Pete, heads to the Greek isle of Spanakos for the festival of Spanakopita, which he discovered after washing up on the island as a young boy. Rusty is oddly happy, which is more than enough of a clue that something weird is going on — although he is less enthused when Augustus St. Cloud shows up, having stolen his room and with plans to steal the Spanakopita crown. Obviously, a foolish bet for the X-1 is the only possible solution for Doc.

The festival includes competitions such as a goat run, pumice-carving, and diving for sponges, all of which Rusty is happily — almost innocently — into. The suspicious Sgt. Hatred calls Brock, who is as enthused by Spanakopita as Doc is, and tells Hated to just let it go. Of course, that’s exactly the wrong way to get Hatred (or anybody, really) to let it go, and he begins investigating.

This is when the episode gets truly brilliant, as Billy Quizboy has a dream that involves himself as Perseus, Pete as a Pegasus, Jonas Sr. as Zeus, St. Cloud as the Kraken, and best of all Rusty as the head of the Medusa in a Clash of the Titans homage that would have been brilliant even if Rusty and St. Cloud weren’t in some kind of 3D, stop-motion animation themselves. It’s one of the most impressive set pieces Venture Bros. has ever done, without a doubt. It also inspired Billy and Pete to break onto St. Cloud’s ship to thwart his plans, although Pi Wai, the clown from FX and a couple of sleep darts triggered by the golden idol from Raiders of the Lost Ark prevent this.

Meanwhile, Hatred has discovered the horrible truth about Spanakopita: After a bunch of Greeks accidentally kidnapped young Rusty while stealing from all the rich white people attending Jackie O.’s wedding, they tried to ransom him; as usual, Jonas Sr. could not be reached. Eventually Rusty got so said that the sympathetic Greeks told him he was there for a wonderful festival called Spanakoptia. Once Jonas picked up Rusty, they thought it was over… until Rusty came back in his 20s to celebrate to event, and he’s been coming back ever since. Rusty’s happy, the villagers get a ton of money, and Hatred realizes it’s best to let Spanakopita be Spanakopita.

Meanwhile, St. Cloud has tied up Billy and Pete to the ground as the son begins to rise; only the timely intervention of Bubo and Pi Wai — thanks to The Albino Code, which forbids him from letting a fellow albino die in a sun-related death. Billy carries the slightly on-fire Pete to safety, somehow has St. Cloud’s drachmas which means he wins, a sullen announces he’s “bought” Spanakopita, and the happy Greeks reveals he’s really just bought a lot of the delicious Greek pastry. All’s well that ends well, as long as Billy, Pete, and Hatred never have to come back again.

Doc experiences happiness in a cheesy, spinach-filled Venture Bros.S

Assorted Musings:

• I never stop being astounded by what a terrible father Jonas Sr. is. Although on his list of reasons for abandoning his son, Jackie O.’s wedding is among his less awful.

• If you look closely at Doc in front of the slideshow screen you can tell his waist is as transparent as the rest of him.

• I love that Hank is still wearing the Countess’ strength suit, but I wonder if it’s a throwaway gag or something that will continue to stick around…

• Doc Venture’s terrible cocktails of the week: “Hot Mummy” and “Slim Jim Fizz.” I don’t know which sounds more horrible.

• Of course Pete White doesn’t want to go to sunny Greece. “What, do I have to spell it out for you people? I’M AN ALBINO.”

• Augustus St. Cloud is back, and he has a Bubo from Clash of the Titans! (“The Bubo.”)

• First Spankopita tradition: The carrying of the bound and gagged Doc Venture! Perhaps something is going on.

• St. Cloud owns Gert Frobe’s outfit from Goldfinger. He is officially The Venture Bros.’ greatest character, the ultimate culmination of everything Venture Bros. has been building too. A character that uses his obsession with pop culture. His need to collect and his nerdery for evil.

• And St. Cloud’s rare Asian albino is also a ninja, because of course he is. And he’s named Pi Wai? Outstanding.

• Line of the night, from Brock: “Why you callin’ me, man.”

• Since this show is all about father issues, seeing Brock’s illegitimate Greek children was more perturbing than funny for me.

• Doc Venture must be gratified to have such a large censored circle.

• St. Cloud having abs airbrushed onto him for his 300-style Spartan costume. Seriously, I could not love him more.

• It’s a robot L. Ron Hubbard! Honestly, I’m weirdly gratified to know that Jonas Sr. abandoned Rusty to fight a villain as opposed to one of his insane sex parties. This time.

• “Where is Boy Cyclops and the Ghost Man?”

• How about that “On the next Venture Bros." clip, eh? Madness!