HOLY CRAP, GUYS! THE VENTURE BROS IS BACK!
Sorry. I get a little excited when we get some new Venture Bros. Where most series have a few months wait, it usually takes a few years for Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer to get a new season on the air. Fortunately, the show has been one that’s consistently worth the wait.
This past week didn’t mark a new season, but it marked something just as good – an hour-long special episode that changes a lot of the established norm of the series.
The title for this special is pretty accurate to summing up a lot of what the episode is about. We start with Rusty, the boys, and several other friends of Team Venture being invited to visit the Gargantua-2 space station overseen by Rusty’s brother, Jonas Jr. The station has attracted the attention of numerous organizations, including the ever-present Guild of Calamitous Intent, the OSI, Phantom Limb’s Revenge Society, and even the sinister Investors.
All this, along with a puzzled Monarch left in the dark, and for a chunk of the episode adrift in space with Henchmen 21.
If any of that left you scratching your head, you may want to wait on this special for the moment.
The problem with going into too much detail on the story for this special is, it’s built on a LOT of the lore that The Venture Bros has been snowballing over five seasons. We’ve seen characters grow, learn, and change organizations several times over the course of the show’s run, and to try and explain it here would just lead to more loose ends and spoilers.
Just rest assured, if you’re up to speed on this series, you’re in for a Hell of a ride. If you’re not, you’re really going to want to get caught up before taking this one on.
In the week leading up to this special, it was being advertised as completely changing the face of the Venture world as we knew it. They weren’t kidding. There’s a lot going on in this hour. Betrayals, character deaths, destruction, unusual reveals, and a chance for just about everyone to shine.
Probably the most impressive trick this special pulls off is that it throws a LOT of balls into the air and is able to juggle them all. Going over the fairly known recurring characters, I think the only ones who didn’t turn in any sort of appearance here were Pete White, Augustus St. Cloud, and (disappointingly) Shore Leave. That’s still a sizable stable of people to balance. Then adding in that some of them go through some major developments (including one character whom I won’t name for spoiler reasons who completely shifted my take on them).
Another great aspect is that amid all the action and comedy, this manages to actually hit a couple of strong emotional beats. These aren’t alien to The Venture Bros, but they wind up being rarer moments that are actually strengthened by being knee-deep in the weirdness. This special manages to hit a few good moments, particularly involving Rusty (including a scene with Dean where he acts the most like a father I think we’ve ever seen from the ol’ pill popper; I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a touching moment).
To this end, the special does a good job of also maintaining an air where no one is safe. Well, okay, certain core cast members are safe simply because otherwise Publick and Hammer would be screwed. At the same time, this special takes out enough people that when others are endangered, it’s hard not to think they might seriously take them out after all. It’s something I hadn’t really thought about until the special had ended, but I do have to give credit where it’s due in actually instilling that sense.
I realize I’ve been kind of vague on details of this. There’s a reason for that – there’s only just so much I can say without spoiling anything. Really, this just needs to be seen if you’re already a seasoned Venture fan. If you’re not, I’d still suggest it, but for your own sake watch the series first – this will do you no favors otherwise.
Between the big changes over the course of this special, as well as the two epilogues (one is only available on Adult Swim’s website) I’m now reminded how much I’ve missed this show. Further, with the changes this special has brought about, I’m genuinely looking forward to next season, whenever it may be.
Okay, I think I kept my raving to minimal levels. Really, this was hard not to hype up. It’s just…really, it has to be seen for itself.
Till next time- Go, Team Venture!
-With only an hour, pulls a good ‘huge crossover event’ without feeling like it overreaches
-Continues to do a great job of balancing the absurd humor with some, under the weirdness, solid character growth
-Prettymuch everyone gets a chance to shine in this
-For as many regular as they bring in to the insanity, a few do still get left out (sorry, Pete)
-and so resumes the long wait for season 6