The agonizingly long wait of 2+ years without any new Venture Bros., besides a few short specials, has finally ended. Last night, while many of you were inconsolable and grieving over Game of Thrones, Season 5 premiered with “What Color is Your Cleansuit?“, an episode highlighting not only Dr. Venture’s continued incompetence, but the heroes who arise to clean up his mess. Tuning in though, it sure doesn’t feel like two years have passed at the Venture Compound as this episode’s events pick up basically where Season 4’s finale, “Operation P.R.O.M.”, ended.
Brock searches the wreck that may have claimed Molotov’s life, but with no trace of a body it seems obvious she’s still alive. Dean arrives home after a disheartening and disastrous attempt to earn Triana’s love by burning her name in giant fiery letters on her lawn, where Hank and Dermot left him. Hatred returns with Princess Tiny Feet only to learn The Monarch and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch kidnapped her during a BDSM session with her new lover. Speaking of The Monarch and the Mrs., they get home and The Monarch insists on waiting outside for 21, sure that his most faithful henchmen is returning to work on the next step in the plan to ruin Dr. Venture. But 21, just Gary now, is off on his own having joined S.P.H.I.N.X only to have them leave him when Brock, Shore Leave, and the guys go back to O.S.I. since Colonel Gathers was put in charge after Colonel Treister shot himself into space like a torpedo. And Doc? He’s awoken by a call from his brother reminding him of the ray shield he’s supposed to deliver to the space station, Gargantua-2, in a only a few months time. Oh, and the prostitute who’s was actually one of Molotov’s Black Hearts in disguise woke up as a mutant fly creature. Whether that transformation happened before or after Doc slept with her, well, we’ll never know.
And this brings us to Doc needing to quickly assemble a ray shield capable of protecting Gargantua-2 from space crap. It’ll be super science as its finest! Once enough free labor, a.k.a. student interns, have been acquired, money earned by selling off more of his father’s inventions, and the compound cleaned, accomplished by bribing Hank and Dean into helping for the promise of separate bedrooms. Then it’s time for everyone to be assigned a cleansuit. There’s the white cleansuit for development, the orange cleansuit for manufacturing, and a green cleansuit for Doc’s special helpers. Knowing what color your cleansuit is, and therefor your duties, is the key to success in the Palaemon Project.
Soon this class system, spurred on by genetic mutations from constructing a ray shield with Doc’s outdated, shitty equipment and without proper safety precautions, has the interns devolving into their own society. In Eden, the biological sphere last seen in “The Buddy System”, the white cleansuit interns are incredibly smart, have four arms, and telepathic/telekinetic abilities. The orange cleansuits are giant, hulking creatures with skin like Ben Grimm. The greens, or Student Green, made soft from housework, are eaten. And for as insane as this whole premise is, I’d like to note this isn’t the first time some new, weird, society has developed on Venture property. Remember the Rusty’s?
Through Doc’s complete and utter negligence a huge problem is created because in time the mutated Palaemon interns will mutate the entire planet with the ray shield. As usual, Dr. Venture totally fucks up and it’s left to someone else to save the day. But Brock is gone, and is for the majority of this one hour premiere. Picking up the pieces and saving the world is the unlikely team of Billy, Dean, and Gary. Even if they don’t realize they’re all working together. Dr. Mrs. The Monarch, too, but she’s pretty used to cleaning up after The Monarch, and this time, she takes control and stops him before he can make matters worse.
Billy faces off against his – now official thanks to an appearance from The Guild’s Watch and Ward – arch enemy, August St. Cloud, in a battle of wits in the form of a one question trivia contest. Defeating August on the technicality that Nomad from the Star Trek: The Original Series episode, “The Changeling”, is never referred to as a “robot”, Billy wins back important equipment needed to decontaminate the facility. Easier than eating a dollar’s worth of pennies. (Eat the pennies. Eat the pennies, Quizboy. Just eat the pennies. Billy, eat the damn pennies!)
Dean, finally growing up, defying his father, changing his hair, and getting close to a girl – be it a mutated, four-armed, sexy nerd girl – manages to stave off the ray shield-induced apocalypse by defeating the intern’s leader at Indian Burns. What can I say, Dean was in his element. His victory makes him the interns’ new leader and wins him the girl as his queen. Dean successfully playing the hero, though not the only one, is only another step on his path to adulthood. Hopefully an adulthood without therapy, but yeah right, like that’s unavoidable. Last season we saw Hank learn some valuable lessons – as well as opening Hank Co., which makes a triumphant return – but this season it’s Dean’s turn. And he’ s got a bit of a goth, emo thing going on, so, there’s that. (Black is what I feel, so black is what I wear.) The boys finally getting a chance to change is not only refreshing for a show where they began as never ending clones, but now one of its more interesting aspects.
And speaking of change, Gary, known to most as Henchmen 21, has also gone on a tremendous arc. Once a lowly henchman, he’s now operating solo out of the old S.P.I.N.X. headquarters. This turns into a real asset because from there he’s able to monitor and manage the whole, almost apocalyptic, situation. And he almost stops The Monarch from interfering, though actualy, he fails. But that’s good thing! Because that’s how Dr. Mrs. The Monarch is able to swoop in and cure all those mutated interns. Doc’s cure was nothing more than a suped-up rufi, causing all the interns, including Dean, to forget what really went on in Eden.
For a show so often about failure, and not that this episode doesn’t feature Doc’s in spades, there’s a real turning point where these relatively underused characters are this episode’s true heroes, and that was unexpected. And in a universe so chocked full of characters it’s good to see those we’ve known for so long – Dean, Billy, Gary – get a chance for real development.
– Dr. Mrs. The Monarch mistaking Khal Drogo for Ivan Drago leads to some damn funny, costumed foreplay.
– Hank Co. has its own currency.
– Hatred’s boobs? Obviously not caused by the same radiation that affected the interns. Are they permanent?
– Loved The Guild short starring Dr. Z about how not to hire a blundering henchman.
– Dean is incapable of telepathy because boobz.
– Now, both Hank and Dean sort of forget their first sexual experiences. Here’s hoping they can get some this season, and remember it.
– Finally, this spot-on realization from Gary, to Dr. Venture, “Don’t take this as an insult, but working for you, and The Monarch? It’s like the same thing.” That’s it, that’s the show right there.
The Venture Bros. airs Sunday nights at midnight on [adult swim].