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Ghosts of the Sargasso

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"Ghosts of the Sargasso"
The Venture Bros. episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 6
Directed by Jackson Publick
Written by Doc Hammer
Jackson Publick
Production code 1-08
Original air date 11 September 2004
Episode Chronology
← Previous
"Eeney, Meeney, Miney... Magic!"
Next →
"Ice Station – Impossible!"
Episodes

"Ghosts of the Sargasso" is the Sixth episode in the first season of The Venture Bros.

Plot Edit

"Somewhere over the Bermuda Triangle, 1969:" the original Team Venture (those present are Jonas Venture Sr., Rusty Venture, Kano, Colonel Gentleman and The Action Man) watch on board the X-2 as above them in the sky test pilot Major Tom flies the TVC15, an experimental aircraft designed by Jonas. After Tom cryptically ends communication, the plane smashes into the water, killing him.

The scene changes to present day, where the current Team Venture - Dr. Venture, Hank Venture, Dean Venture, Brock Samson - are now on the deck of the X-2. Venture prepares to dive in a large mechanical suit in an effort to locate the wreck of the experimental aircraft (and cash in on it). Inside the suit, Venture dictates intentionally-melodramatic journal entries into a handheld recorder as Brock waits to lower him via rope. Hank accidentally jostles the controls of the crane that holds the suit over the water, and Brock suffers severe rope burn on both hands trying to maintain his grip. They regain control and Venture proceeds with the dive. As night falls, Venture begins another journal entry describing his "ingenious" invention, the Metasonic Locator, which will allow him to locate the wreck of Major Tom's aircraft.

Brock futilely attempts to light a cigarette with his bandaged hands as the boys sleep in bunk beds a few feet away. He spots what appears to be an ancient ship emerging from the fog nearby and leaves the ship bridge to investigate. Seconds later, Hank wakes up and walks onto the deck to urinate off the side of the boat. Stealthy figures, most of which are dressed in stereotypical pirate garb, climb on board the X-2 and sever the communication wires. Brock manages to avoid detection but is unable to wield his knife due to the bandages on his hands. He disables two of the intruders and tells Hank via their Communicator Watches to be careful.

Dean awakens in the bottom bunk to discover a "ghost pirate" warning him to leave the boat. Before Dean can react, Brock wallops the pirate (who is really just a guy wearing a mask and glow-in-the-dark paint) with a fire extinguisher and throws him through the door onto the outside deck. Pirate Captain, the leader of the group, emerges from the bridge with a pistol held to Dean's head. Two of the pirates take Brock to their ship as prisoner as the captain keeps Dean as hostage. Chained to the wall of the pirates' brig, Brock manages to activate his Communicator Watch. He establishes contact with Hank and tells him that Hank will have to retake the X-2. Brock assures Hank that he will talk him through the process if Hank can focus.

Unaware of any of these events, Venture continues exploring the ocean floor. His Metasonic Locator is not getting any readings, so he increases the power to the device. Far beyond Venture's sight, its waves reach the wreckage of the experimental plane; a green glow appears inside the cockpit and shoots upwards towards the surface. Focused on his instruments, Venture does not notice the giant clam in front of him until it closes around the suit, trapping him. He shouts for help, but of course communications with the ship have been lost.

The pirate captain talks with Dean on the bridge, explaining that their ship has been stuck in the sargassum for years. Whenever the opportunity arises, the pirates hijack passing ships and steal their cargo, usually netting things like toys and pantihose instead of treasure. The green glow from the experimental aircraft alights on the X-2, forming itself into a skeletal figure wearing the tattered remains of a flight suit, surrounded by supernatural flames and screaming horribly. As Hank manages to overpower several pirates, Dean and the captain argue over whether they hear anything unusual. The screaming has visibly rattled the pirate captain, who decides to take advantage of the newly-stolen X-2 and leave the area. He learns Brock has the starter key, and instructs Brock's guards via walkie-talkie to search him for the key. Stalling for time, Brock tells them that he is hiding it "up his ass".

Underwater, Venture dictates another increasingly pessimistic entry. The clam finally released its grip when the mechanical suit's legs exploded, but he is still unable to contact his crew and has been reduced to dragging himself across the ocean floor with robotic hands. Against all odds, he manages to find the wreck he was seeking. One of Brock's guards reluctantly dons a rubber glove and begins exploring the area in question, while the other lights a cigarette. Brock tries to convince them to give him a cigarette, but the pirate refuses. Grimacing with effort, Brock traps the searcher's arm inside his rectum and begins spinning him around the room, finally smashing him against the other pirate. While he recomposes himself, the pirate captain asks for a report; Brock takes the opportunity to taunt him, unnerving the captain even further.

By sheer luck, the captain manages to hotwire the X-2 and opens the throttles. The motion abruptly yanks Venture away from the plane, but before long the suit becomes wedged between two rocks and the ship is jerked to a halt. The captain attempts to investigate the problem and finds his crew tied up. A horrible noise brings Dean and the captain to the boat's bow, where the ghoulish figure stands screaming before a cowering Hank. The captain jumps onto the specter's back, but the ghostly figure does not react at all; in fact, it does not even turn when Hank sidles away. All the ghost seems to do is stand in a menacing pose and scream loudly.

Hank uses his Communicator Watch to call Dr. Orpheus, who has them contact Major Tom's widow, Jeanie Tom. Rodney, who has discarded his The Action Man identity, is Jeanie's new husband and interrupts the now-calmed situation, sending the ghost into a screaming fit again. Brock appears, dismembers the corpse and tosses it overboard. Struggling to remain within the last bubble of air in the leaking suit, Venture records a final note of regret over his failure. He breaks off into a scream, however, when Tom's still-glowing, still-screaming head lands on top of his suit.

Venture is seen disturbed by the visual of Tom's head, and then is handed cocoa before asking who the pirates are. Meanwhile, Hank and Dean force the pirate captain to apologize to Brock and ask for a ride home, to which Brock says yes, causing Hank and Dean to yell "Go Team Venture!" which confuses the pirate captain, to which Brock replies "I dunno, they just do that."

Episode CastEdit

Cultural ReferencesEdit

  • Major Tom is an homage to David Bowie's Space Oddity and Ashes to Ashes songs. The opening scene's dialogue contains excerpts of the lyrics from both songs. The name of Major Tom's test craft (TVC15) refers to the title of another Bowie song.
  • The Sargasso Sea is in reference to the first episode of Jonny Quest, which was set in the Sargasso Sea.[1]
  • There is also a Doc Savage book about the Sargasso Sea, involving pirates who use old ships as bases to hijack passing ocean liners.[2]
  • The idea of a fake ghost ship is an homage to Scooby-Doo episodes.[3]
  • The walkie-talkie that Brock uses is modelled after Batman's face.

Connections to Other EpisodesEdit

Production NotesEdit

  • One of the animation directors (Kimson Albert) gets to have a "nickname" inserted into his credits. The nickname is an unusual line or word from the preceding episode. For this episode, the credit reads Kimson "Re-bort" Albert.
  • According to the commentary track for the DVD release, several Cartoon Network executives complained about Brock's near-constant smoking, and they insisted on one episode (this one) in which Brock doesn't smoke (which, ultimately, he does).[3] Perhaps not-so-coincidentally, the first time Brock requests a cigarette, he is denied, and when Hank Venture is retaking the X-2, Brock mentions that now isn't a good time to smoke as it would give away his location, to which Hank replies that Brock should know that he doesn't smoke anyway.
  • Even though H.E.L.P.eR. does not appear or have any dialogue, he is still listed in the credits. Also in the credits, Dr. Venture is listed a second time as "Rusty Venture" even though the voices are very similar; the latter simply sounds more 'tired.'


Preceded by:
"Eeney, Meeney, Miney... Magic!"
The Venture Bros. episodes
Original Airdate:
September 11, 2004
Followed by:
"Ice Station – Impossible!"

References Edit

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