Warning: major spoilers below! You know the drill. Don’t read this recap until you’ve seen the third episode of The Venture Bros. season 6. You’ve been warned!
Do you remember the mystery photo that placed the Monarch and Dr. Rusty Venture together as children with their parents at the Venture compound? The opening sequence of “Faking Miracles” may have provided an answer to that, as the original Team Venture was saved by the Blue Morpho, an obvious riff on the Green Hornet (as voiced by Paul F. Tompkins). Considering the fact that the Monarch and Gary (Henchman 21) found the Blue Morpho’s cave in the Monarch’s basement, the implication is clear that the Monarch’s dad was a superhero!
That was a great twist, which clearly had the Monarch coming apart at the seams. The small references to Batman ‘66 and to the Green Hornet were also terrific. They even kept the idea that the Blue Morpho was thought to be a villain by the other heroes, which was totally Green Hornet’s angle.
“Faking Miracles” wasn’t a very kind episode to the Monarch. In addition to that unwelcome news about his father, the Monarch managed to alienate Wide Wale and his fellow Guild of Calamitous Intent members when he showed up to a birthday party in full costume. But there was also a subtle implication that the new villain, Copy Cat, and Wide Wale were working together to discredit the Monarch and cause friction between him and his wife, Dr. Mrs. The Monarch. Copy Cat split himself into multiple bodies so that he could hit on Dr. Mrs. The Monarch while impersonating the Monarch during an unauthorized arching of Dr. Venture.
That wasn’t the only long term story to unfold in this episode. Hank finally had a face-to-face meeting with his crush, the previously unnamed daughter of Wide Wale. It turns out that she’s named Sirena, and she’s voiced by Cristin Milioti (How I Met Your Mother) as if she was a mob daughter who is over the “family business.” One of the more hilarious scenes came early in the episode when Wide Wale and his lead henchman kind of shrugged off the fact that Brock killed at least two of the other henches for daring to lay their hands on Hank in the park.
Hank’s random encounter with Sirena in the park and his later, formal introduction outside of her room were well played…even with the obvious Aladdin riff. But it was also impressive to see Hank stay one step ahead of Wide Wale’s henchmen inside their own penthouse. The one time that this part of the script felt contrived was when Hank suddenly had a job and a legitimate reason to deliver a pie to Sirena’s party. That came out of nowhere and it didn’t really work.
While everything was coming up Hank, Dean had a harder time when a colony of nanobots invaded his body and made wild changes to him every time that Billy Quizboy and Pete White played with the controller. They didn’t know that their test subject was Dean, but they still came close to killing him.
The biggest laugh of the episode came from the absolute fear on Brock’s face when Dean started speaking in tongues (ancient Babylonian, in fact), which Brock correctly identified while frantically calling for Doctor Orpheus. And I’ve missed Orpheus, so it was a little disappointing that he didn’t appear. But considering that Rusty figured out the problem, Orpheus wasn’t really needed.
“Faking Miracles” may have been the title of the episode, but it was also the philosophy that Rusty has embraced. For all of his talk about getting back to his super science roots, Rusty was still looking for the easy way to succeed by riffling through his brother’s discarded inventions. Billy’s misadventure in the floating car of the future was particularly funny. But it says everything about Rusty, Billy, and Pete that they don’t really have any good ideas of their own. They’re all smart enough to play with their new toys, but not talented enough to actually make J.J. Venture’s rejected inventions into viable innovations.
The end of the episode implied that Rusty and his team (with Brock’s approval) kept the nanites inside of Dean to help him pass his college exams. That seems like something that’s destined to come back to bite all of them in the near future, even if it worked out for now.
While there were definitely funny and even great moments in “Faking Miracles,” it felt less like an episode and more like a few subplots cobbled together to make an episode. The Monarch and Hank stories at least had the benefit of taking place in largely the same location. Dean’s story felt like it belonged in an entirely different episode.
It would be too far to say that this was a “bad” episode of The Venture Bros., but it felt weak compared to the previous episodes this season. That doesn’t mean that anyone should worry. The Venture Bros. writers, Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer have always been able to bounce back, even after the occasional “off” episode. I’m still really eager to see what else they have in store for us this year.
What did you think about the latest episode of The Venture Bros.? Let us know in the comment section below!
Image Credits: Adult Swim