The great thing about The Venture Bros. is that I can say “Venture Libre” was a pretty average episode, and yet it featured a monster revolutionary movement, Hank eating coffee beans until he turns into Batman, a jetpack attached to a giant crab, and Frankenstein Sarah Palin. I love you, The Venture Bros.
A normal Venture family breakfast is interrupted by the military, which is admittedly also pretty normal for the Ventures. It turns out that Venturestein, the dead Monarch henchman Dr. Venture reanimated and gave to the military way back in the second season, has gone AWOL, and refuses to speak to anyone other than Doc. Since Venturestein is still under warranty, Doc has to go try and fix the situation. Dean, staying true to his new (bad) attitude (and he’s a vegetarian now, to boot), refuses to go on any adventure, deciding to say home, return the newly reacquired H.E.L.P.eR. to his pre-Walking Eye state, and mostly be surly.
So Doc, Hank, and Sgt. Hatred fly to Puerta Bahia, where they are in short order,attacked by a pteranodon. Hank jumps out on the plane with a jetpack, Hatred shoots the dinosaur, Doc and Hatred crash, and the two of them are captured by a variety of mad scientist-made monsters, most of the Dr. Moreau animal-hybrid variety, led by Venturestein himself.
As it turns out, Venturestein spent his military career trying to subdue various revolutions in South America alongside various other "-Steins." A chance encounter with the grown-up Jorge, child star of some of the “teaching films” from the boys’ teaching beds, turns him around — Jorge teaches him again, this time about diction (but not syntax) and the plight of the people. Eventually, Venturestein decides to liberate his people, as well as the fellow monsters and mutants that populate South America thanks to the many, many mad scientists that are hiding there. His goal is to set up a small nation-state of his fellow freaks — he wants Doc to tell all these mad scientists to stop being so mad, and to tell the monsters of the world there’s a place for them. Of course, Doc has no credibility with the science community, and he’s still holding onto the military’s exploding iPad; Venturestein quickly recognizes both, throwing Doc and Hatred in a pirson.
Meanwhile, Hank is subsisting solely on coffee berries, freaking out, and turning into the Bat, which is probably the closest Hank can get to Batman on TV without Warner Bros. suing somebody. My favorite part of Venture Bros. is how genuinely good at adventuring the Ventures are, no matter how incompetent they are at everything else (Rusty included), so it’s awesome to see the drugged Hank be an eerily effective Bat(man); he takes out Venturestein’s rogue animal soldiers one by one and disappears into the dark. When he breaks into the monsters' compound, he’s caught by Venturestein himself… who still has Hank’s old Batman mask and his same love for the Dark Knight; he tosses Hank the keys to the jail, and he frees his dad and Hatred, at which point they escape in the Hankmobile, which is a giant crab Hank caught, hollowed out, and attached to wheels and his jetpack to turn into a completely insane vehicle.
Unfortunately, the jetpack runs out of gas at the beach; Hank rigs the military-grade iPad General Manhowers gave Doc to communicate with to explode, but the monster soldiers easily disarm it (it’s just an app). H.E.L.P..eR. shows up, Venturestein arrives, and things are about to get extra messy until the other monsters of the world show up on a boat, and Venturestein declares a new age of peace and solidarity among his fellow monsters in their new “Abomi-nation.”
It all culminates with bossy, southern Congresswoman Marsha Backwood (voiced by Community’s Gillian Jacobs), who knocked on the Venture door earlier in the episode and who Dean rather rudely rebuffed, arriving to recover her constituent so he can vote for her in the upcoming election. Of course, she picks up the rigged iPad and pretty immediately blows up. It’s a deus ex machina for the group to get home and a rather cheap gag, at least until Doc very confidently says “I can fix this” even before the smoke clears. Hey, if Frankenstein Sarah Palin is wrong, I don’t want the Venture Bros. to ever be right.
• What are the chances of Hatred’s super-soldier-esque flashback playing a larger part in the season to come? 99.57% or something?
• Ro-Man was on the boat. That was more than enough to make my day.
• “He’s just a man. A boy. A boy with a tummyache.”