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April 23, 2014

The Venture Bros: Escape to the House of Mummies Part II

by Annie Wu, posted Jul 17th 2006 9:24AM
Venture Bros.(S02E04) Reason #528 to love Doc Hammer: He wrote the most bizarre Venture Bros. episode ever. Oh, man. I think I have a new favorite episode. The weirdness of the priorities in storyline and all the adventure show clichés were totally hysterical. Plus, what other television show can beautifully weave in appearances by Edgar Allan Poe, Sigmund Freud, and Caligula in the same episode? None. None, I say!

There were a hell of a lot of memorable moments in this particular episode, so my review is pretty much stuffed to the rafters. Just a warning. We also have to wait a few weeks for a new episode, so maybe reading this review very, very slowly can help fill the void.

The episode started with a quick clips of "Escape to the House of Mummies Part I". Of course, this is a non-existent episode, but by airing only Part II, the episode can start us off in the middle of a really messed up story without having to go through the trouble of explaining how it developed. Savvy? Anyway, the first Part I clip featured the Ventures in Egypt (or a place really obsessed with the concept of Egypt) where they discovered that a creepy cult has created "the perfect man"... who seemed to be rather mentally challenged. Then, we cut to Doc Venture telling Hank, "You guys have to get Caligula and Dr. Freud back to the time machine!" At the mention of Caligula, I pretty much loved the episode already because he's one of my favorite historical figures. Then, we saw Doc Venture riding Brock's shoulders with a large cloak draped over them, flailing around a flashlight to try and fool the Egyptian guards into thinking they were a four-armed god ("It's just a flashlight! Kill them!"). And then, Brock saved Hank and Dean from Egyptians in scuba gear. Later, we saw someone threatening to kill Hank and Dean...

Cult man: Give me the Hand of Osiris!
Doc Venture: Give me head.
Cult man: ... You didn't just say that.
Doc: I absolutely did. What are you gonna do about it?
Cult man: ... I'm about to kill your sons.
Doc: Join the club.

Part II: Brock, Doc, Hank and Dean were thrown into the Hall of Sorrows, where they faced spiked walls that closed in very, very slowly ("Slower than haunted house spiked walls, but not as slow as evil scientist spiked walls..."). Although reluctant to have to resort to Doctor Orpheus' cheesy snake-charming crap, Doc finally gave in and called him at the Venture compound for help. After commanding Dean to imagine French-kissing a naked Triana, Orpheus managed to locate the Ventures' location (via Triana lust-dar?) and sent a high-pitched magical wailing that stopped the walls from moving any further. Doc, as the only one small enough to climb through the jackal wall-fixture's mouth, left and promised to come back with expensive crap to save the rest of them.

Brock, Hank and Dean were on their own when a guy dressed as Thoth, the ibis-headed Egyptian god, appeared and bitched them out for screwing up the Hall of Sorrows. However, he was interrupted when he sneezed into his mask and, while complaining about how the inside of his mask suddenly smelled like wet cat, was promptly knocked out by Brock. Haha, "sneezing in masks" never fails to make me laugh because I'm always reminded of the time I finally saw it happen to Spiderman.

Back at the Venture lab, Doc attempted to find a science-y way to save the rest. Orpheus attempted to help, but Doc wanted none of his magic hokey-pokey. A science vs. magic argument was sparked between the two of them. Finally, they agreed to settle the battle through a gentleman's bet... Whoever can shrink the most by 8:00 would be declared the winner. Orpheus also informed Doc that Jonas Venture's shrink ray now belonged to the albino and his tiny companion.

Cut back to Brock and Hank outside of the Hall of Sorrows, where they stumbled across Dean's head (fully functional, just no body... Like, Futurama heads without the tank). No explanation as to why the HELL Dean's body disappeared, but we saw that Hank befriended a mummy, Mummy Mum Muggy. It was great how Brock treated the entire thing more as an inconvenience than an adventure ("This is getting stupid!"). Oh, and I almost died when Hank said to Dean, "Yeah, Clarissa, explain it all!"

When Pete White and Billy Quizboy walked into their trailer, they found it completely trashed. Thinking they had finally found an arch-nemesis, they were disappointed to see Doc shuffling around, looking for the shrink ray. They handed over the broken remains of the gun (it didn't work, so Pete White cracked it open, thinking there was a treasure map or something inside) and went to fixing it. Meanwhile, Orpheus practiced his spells. He didn't do so well, so he decided to pay Triana's closet (aka a porthole to the Necropolis) a visit. She caught him just as he opened up her closet, a bright light emanating from it. Furiously, Triana explained to her father that all her life (uh... I guess Orpheus "magicked" parts of their original home to the Venture compound when they moved in), she's been absolutely terrified of that closet, thinking that she was just imagining all the crazy shit coming from it (that's why she wears the same clothes all of the time). Unable to come up with a reasonable excuse/apology, Orpheus simply placed his hand on Triana's face and shouted, "SLEEEEEEEP!" And so she did. I couldn't help but notice the artists made extra sure to accurately draw in Triana's hip bones and the bottom of her rib cage when Orpheus set her down. The ladies of the show just have to have perfectly-drawn bodies, don't they? Anyway, when we jumped over to Doc, Pete, and Billy, they were scribbling down note after note... Not of ways to save Brock, Hank and Dean, or ways to fix the shrink ray, but lists of "guilty pleasures". Doc and Pete guiltily admitted to thinking a couple of strange women were hot on their lists, but Billy misunderstood the question and really put some sick, guilty-guilty pleasures on his list. "Oiled garbage bag? Sweat sock? Oh, my God! Number three... melon heated in microwave!" Priceless.

Somewhere during that last paragraph, Brock had big-headed Edgar Allan Poe in a choke hold and he demanded to know where the Hand of Osiris was hidden. Poe finally admitted that it was hidden under the floorboards and Brock let him go, but not before making fun of his huge head a little more. It's great how the really pointless magic vs. science storyline was the dominate plot in this episode and yet we were subjected to only having peeks of the crazy adventure Brock and the boys were having.

Back in Triana's closet world, Orpheus sought advice from his old master (whom Orpheus didn't expect to see in three-headed dog form). After throwing some fireballs at Master's snout(s) and then correcting him for using "Argus" instead of "Cerberus", Master informed Orpheus as to why no one likes him. There was a really funny moment where one of Master's heads started licking himself between the legs. Master said it felt great but "the problem is... I can taste it. So... I taste my own genitals... in my mouth. It's... heh... a conundrum." Over in the non-magical plane, Doc, Pete, and Billy finally got to work with the shrink ray. They managed to shrink down H.E.L.P.e.R., but when it got down to having a human subject, no one wanted to volunteer themselves. After finding out Billy hadn't had sex yet, Doc and Pete agreed that Billy was the best candidate to take a test ray blast (Doc: "The way I look at it, it's not even murder, it's a very late abortion"). Pete fired at Billy, but only shrank his lungs. Billy struggled for air as Doc farted around to make Pete laugh. "I... hate... you... guys..." All the Billy-shrinking screw-ups were really great, especially when Pete accidentally enlarged Billy's body while he was still wearing his Quizboy clothes and said that he looked like Tobey Maguire in a bad Hulk costume.

After Hank messed up a setting on the time machine (12:30 AM instead of 1230 AD), Brock and the gang (which then included Freud, Caligula, Poe, the perfect man, and... uh... a past Brock in snorkel gear) prepared to fight.

Right back into Orpheus' meeting with Master. Apparently, Orpheus reached an epiphany, understanding just how small his place in the universe was. Master praised Orpheus for his quick learning and then told him, "Now, get out of this closet and go win that incredibly gay contest!" Doc also reached an epiphany of his own: he sucked at everything his father was good at. To cheer him up, Billy brought out his old Rusty Venture, boy-adventurer, lunchbox and reminded Doc of how loved he was back then. Doc felt a bit better but decided to forfeit and let Orpheus win anyway. Just then, Orpheus entered and told Doc how he couldn't shrink himself because he couldn't make himself any smaller than he already was. Doc also admitted his failure and the two of them made up. The four of them left to have some of Orpheus' famous rice pudding.

Orpheus: I feel like we've forgotten something...
Doc: Oh, my God! You're right! ... Forgot to turn off the lights. [walks back into lab; damn near crushes tiny H.E.L.P.e.R]

Credits roll.

A preview of the also non-existent "Part III: The Robot Cannon Mystery": Stuck in heavy snow, Present-Brock ordered Past-Brock (still in snorkel gear) to cut open Edgar Allan Poe and stuff Hank inside for warmth. It was probably the most twisted Star Wars reference I've seen in a long time, and, oh, how it made me laugh.

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Teresa

you were thinking of Jason from Home Movies being voiced by H. Jon Benjamin.
He's done so many other things, though, that I get really excited when I hear him on other shows and in movies.
(note: go buy Wet Hot American Summer)

but of Venture Bros., I thoroughly enjoyed this episode.

Dr. Venture: "Orpheus...it's your landlord. We're trapped in a cliché."

July 19 2006 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RSL

Funny you mentioned the way they animated Triana's hips and rib cage. I'm always struck by Brock's incredible nipple action [particularly their glowing presence in the Sasquatch episode] and Hank's peculiarly hunky chest. Sunday's episode even showed Hankypoo with a six pack. Hubba hubba.

July 18 2006 at 8:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Adam Finley

Brendon on Home Movies was actually played by Brendon Small, one of the show's creators. :)

July 17 2006 at 7:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen

The Master's voice was driving me crazy with its familiarity, so I was pleased--and thrilled--to see that it was H. Jon Benjamin. I went back and watched the whole episode over again, just to savor that. As Truong notes, Benjamin was McGuirk in "Home Movies" (and also Brendan) as well as Dr. Katz's son Ben in "Dr Katz, Professional Therapist." What a great voice.

This episode was non-stop genius. This show is probably the best thing Adult Swim has going for it these days.

July 17 2006 at 6:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gavin

Ooops, just realized there isn't a new episode next week...dammit.

July 17 2006 at 1:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gavin

Just like every other episode of Venture Bros., this was a slice of fried gold. Anything With H. Jon Benjamin is good, but his bit about licking his own genitals was howlingly funny. I can't wait til next week!!!

July 17 2006 at 12:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
TNT

Orpheus' Master's voice actor is John McGirk from Home Movies, H John Benjamin. The guy is hilarious.

July 17 2006 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Akbar Fazil

that quite possibly was the best episode of VB ever.

I loved how Dean's head was in a pyramid that keeps it "fresh"

July 17 2006 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Adam Finley

Great episode. I loved the reference to William S. Burroughs when they were shooting Billy with the shrink ray.

July 17 2006 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dvddesign

Stick Jon Benjamin in and I'm sold.

I look forward to Metalpocalypse.

This episode was fantastic. I had to explain to visiting friends that House of the Mummies Pt 1 and 3 don't exsist, and they were quickly in on the joke, and enjoyed it as well.

Now that we've established that Hank and Dean are expendable, I look forward to them being killed soon. It makes their lives so much more useless to Dr. Venture, and all the more humorous to us.

I need more Monarch in my venture brothers, but this was a fantastic episode.

July 17 2006 at 10:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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