The Venture Bros. Review: “Arrears in Science” (Season 7, Episode 3)

Hot take: Dr. Jonas Venture was not a good person. He was an arrogant and self-absorbed father to Rusty. He treated his son like a novelty he quickly grew tired of. When Rusty started to doubt the myth of Jonas Venture, The Great Man, Jonas went out of his way to emasculate his son. (See Rusty’s therapy sessions, Rusty’s 16th birthday party, etc.) Tonight, we find out that Jonas’s behavior wasn’t just directed at his son.

Recap (With The Big Idea):

Let’s get the revelations out of the way. The Blue Morpho is Vendata who is the “father” of Malcolm “The Monarch” Fitzcarraldo. He was also the same person that opened the pod bay doors on Gargantua-1 during “Sharkey’s Machine,” killing Jonas. He was also the “great man” Kano killed that started his vow of silence. And after watching this episode, I think the Blue Morpho is one of the most sympathetic characters on the show.

Jonas was a condescending prick to Blue Morpho, giving Morpho the most dangerous and humiliating work that Jonas wouldn’t dare stick his fingers into. The Morpho’s actions weren’t due to some loyalty to Team Venture or the side of righteousness; Jonas blackmailed him with the secretly-recorded sex tape from “Rapacity in Blue.” Because of one dumb mistake from the family-minded The Morpho, Jonas was able to take Kano, possibly impregnate the vigilante’s wife (or at least gave her a “thorough examination”), and jury-rig his corpse into a quickly-abandoned invention. Even when The Blue Morpho/Vendata held Jonas’s life in his hands on Gargantua-1, Jonas dismisses Vendata’s concerns straight out. Jonas doesn’t even bother to stop Vendata’s plans — he just walks away.

(If Jonas was able to find the The Morpho’s body, it would also be likely he could have found Mrs. The Morpho’s and Malcolm in the wreckage. Jonas could also have put his “friend” in the PRO.B.L.E.M. to save his life. He didn’t.)

Even post-death, Jonas returns to his paternalistic straight white super-scientist privilege. He demands Rusty implant his mind into Venturion, not caring that the “friend” he loved so much that he brought back from the dead would be killed. He orders Billy around. Everyone’s a pawn to do his bidding.

(Both Paul F. Tompkins (The Blue Morpho) and Paul Boocock (Jonas) deliver fantastic performances in the flashback/mind-meld sections. I really felt sympathy for The Morpho; for whatever reason, he gave up his successful vigilantism to help a “great hero.” In response, he gets shit on. For two characters we’ve only seen talk in flashbacks, both actors are capable of further defining these characters in only a few scenes.)

Jonas’s and the Blue Morpho’s sons aren’t doing any better. After Jonas’s body was rescued from the vacuum of space, his body was dropped by Team Venture after Col. Gentleman slipped on the plastic horse Rusty left on Gargantua-1. In a bit of kindness from the original Team Venture, they stay silent about Rusty’s accidental dismemberment of his father’s corpse. The Monarch accidentally kills his father’s corpse when the PRO.B.L.E.M, to which BM was attached, flies across Columbus Circle to Tophet Tower, crushing Vendata. Perhaps that final glimpse of recognition on Vendata’s face was enough to give The Monarch a sense of peace; maybe The Monarch was just using his parents’ death as an excuse to be a villain. Similarly, his possible half-brother always used his terrible upbringing to avoid being a decent super-scientist. With both fathers dead (probably for good this time), I’m not quite sure where Rusty and Malcolm are going.

Notes

  • From what I’ve read online, these last three episodes were supposed to be a two-part finale for last season. However, “All This and Gargantua-2” took up two episode slots in production, leaving the show without enough time and money to continue.
  • Red Death’s old gang members were Stab Girl, Laugh Riot, Vendata, Hate-Bit, and Mr. Fahrenheit, the SuperSonic Man. Laugh Riot’s holding a magazine with a Nissan Stanza on the back cover. Hate-Bit’s been a background character for a long time.
  • Dr. Z’s friends are Shrill Spectre and Scary Nielsen. Dr. Z also seems like a fun guy to hang out with during the 70’s.
  • Timeline Continuity! It’s been four months since season five’s “Bot Seeks Bot.” In season one’s “Past Tense,” Dr. Orpheus claims Action Man will die in “two years, seventeen days, from a stroke.” The Action Man suffers a stroke in this episode.
  • I think there’s some retconning here. According to Vendata’s memories, the Gargantua-1 massacre took place April 9, 1987 and Rusty and The Monarch were playing together as kids in 1977.
  • Earlier in the series,¬† we’re told Rusty was born in 1960. “Past Tense” shows Rusty was in college when his dad died. (It’s heavily implied that it was 1982 then.) This means both Rusty and The Monarch
  • Apparently, The Blue Morpho’s name is “Don Fitzcarraldo.” I know he’s probably named after the movie Fitzcarraldo, but I’m not sure *why* he is.

 

Quotes:

  • “Dad! If that really is you, stop! Listen to me, you are not a building!”
  • (Regarding the ease in which Team Venture mounts a giant insect) “They didn’t even hesitate. It’s like they’ve done that before.”
  • “I’ve used Venturion’s antenna to speak to your watch wirelessly via the 2.4 giga-hertz frequency.”
    “The WiFi dad. We call that the WiFi.”