Review: The Venture Bros. - The Revenge Society
by Annie Wu, posted Nov 16th 2009 12:41PM
(S04E05) This episode was certainly a surprise in many respects. It was one of the funnier installments of the season so far. It also brought back a lot of old themes and cleared up some incomplete storylines that had started to gather dust. On one hand, I'm glad that those have been resolved, because most of them were revealed to be kind of irrelevant anyway, but I also felt as though it was rushed, like, five loose ends from old major arcs had to be hastily tied up in twenty-some minutes. Well, it's better than continuing to string us along, right?
After the epic build-up with ORB last season, I was surprised that they so swiftly revealed it was already destroyed by Sandow so long ago. Within one episode, they brought back and killed a major component of the almost-three-part season three finale. The fact that it's been worthless since the early days isn't what surprised me, just that in the way it was revealed, doubly so because we haven't heard about the ORB since last season. I suppose there was no point in dwelling on it.
Phantom Limb/Revenge was treated in almost the same way, which was an even stranger move. Since the Manotaur attack at the start of the third season, we haven't heard from him. Limb's return was inevitable, but since he was such a huge player in the past, I was surprised that his grand return was cut short so quickly. He dropped in, got the ORB, and then was totally screwed over. The end. Also, he aged super-quickly! Must have been all the stress. Or all the crazy with the Revenge Society.
I was also kind of bummed out that Future Doc Venture was just David Bowie goofing around. Ever since I saw the season trailer, I had been eagerly awaiting that moment. Serves me right for pretending to know what to expect from this show.
I'll quit my semi-whining now. The episode really was super-quotable and interesting, even if it didn't pan out quite as elegantly as it could have been. Also, apart from Limb, there were plenty of other familiar faces. I never thought we'd see the Intangible Fancy again, but there he was. He was in "Tag Sale, You're It!" but I think he had only been mentioned by name in DVD commentary. I've always been quite fond of the Guild's Watch and Ward too, so it was good to see them, even without iPod comedy.
Of course, we couldn't go on without mentioning The Sovereign aka David Bowie ("That guy from Labyrinth just turned into a bird!" again) aka The Thin White Douche. So, I guess Limb went nuts and wanted to be the rightful Sovereign... but that turned out to be Dean... who had to transfer his power back to Bowie... who was already kind of Sovereign. I think I'm understanding that. It felt like they just wanted to close the Limb/Guild case and get it out of the way.
Then, there was that whole Sgt. Hatred thing. Man, there's a lot of fan-hate toward Hatred. Personally, I'm interested in seeing how Hatred's more involved approach with the boys works out, even though I desperately miss Brock. However, bringing back the mental flirtations with pedophilia, I could do without. I may or may not be saying that just because I feel so bad about Billy being Hatred's loophole.
... I said loophole.
Some other bits of the episode I enjoyed included Batman becoming an adjective, the diamond dogs, Dean and Doc's 75% polyester moment, Buddy Holly and Big Bopper secretly being in the Council, Brian Eno chilling with the Guild, and Bowie's "Call Iman! Tell her I'll be on tour." Also, there's no chance that Sgt. Hatred's moment with Axe Body Spray was product placement, right? I mean, there was that Axe commercial in the immediate break...
Finally, Jackson Publick updated his blog with a few quick notes about previous episodes. Captain Sunshine wasn't an actual pedophile, and Brock's absence was a creative choice by Jackson and Doc Hammer and not at all because of something Patrick Warburton did. Fun facts all around.