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"Handsome Ransom"
The Venture Bros. episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 41
Directed by Jackson Publick and Jon Schnepp
Written by Jackson Publick
Production code 4-41
Original air date October 25, 2009
Guest Stars

Kevin Conroy as Captain Sunshine[1]

Episode Chronology
← Previous
"Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel"
Next →
"Perchance to Dean"
List of The Venture Bros. episodes

"Handsome Ransom" is the 41st episode of The Venture Bros.

Plot Edit

The Monarch is holding Hank and Dean hostage and, fed up with never being able to kill Dr. Venture, demands a $10 million ransom. Superhero Captain Sunshine barges in and attacks the cocoon-lair, giving everyone sunburn on any exposed flesh, and flies the Monarch off to jail. The Monarch returns some time later after being released for lack of due process and finds that Captain Sunshine had returned, flew off with Hank, and left Dr. Girlfriend with a humiliating and embarrassing sunburn on half her body. Monarch tells a surprisingly fit and able #21 to kill the cab driver who drove him home but 21 just pays the man and tells him to keep the transaction a secret.

Captain Sunshine mistakes Hank for an orphan and hopes to replace his lost sidekick Wonderboy (technically, Wonderboy III, the latest of the Captain's teenage sidekicks; brutally killed by the Monarch sometime towards the end of the first season) with Hank. Hank initially takes to the superhero lifestyle happily. Throughout the episode an inappropriate relationship between Sunshine and Wonderboy is implied. The assumptions are usually wrong as Captain Sunshine fails to realize what his relationship with Wonderboy looks like to others.

Dr. Venture and Sgt. Hatred show up to pay the ransom, but the Monarch, unable to fulfill Guild policy of releasing all captives, lets Dean go. Dr. Venture is also unable to pay the ransom money so the Monarch pretends he still has Hank and takes an IOU. Dr. Venture calls Master Billy Quizboy and Pete White for help; they have just received a $10 million check after apparently defrauding an insurance company.

Captain Sunshine meanwhile is acting overprotective towards Hank. He is immensely afraid of losing Wonderboy again and panics easily. It is revealed that he, as well as his old superhero team, works at night as an anchor for a local news channel.

Dr. Venture attempts to con the Monarch out of the ransom by shrinking Hatred into the bag of money. The plan misfires when the Monarch runs off with the money and the shrink-ray fails to enlarge Hatred in time. Hatred then remains undercover and discovers where Hank really is, when Dr. Mrs. The Monarch tells the Monarch that he is now obligated to return Hank due to Guild rules.

Both the Monarch and Dr. Venture track down Captain Sunshine's lair at night, when he is at work (hosting the eleven o'clock news as "Chuck Scarsdale"). Hank successfully fends off The Monarch and a muscular #21 while Chuck Scarsdale sees the Monarch's flying cocoon at his home from a submitted news video. He panics, steals the station's news helicopter, and flies home. The Ventures then show up and hide as Captain Sunshine (still dressed as his alter ego) arrives.

He quickly changes into costume as the Monarch falls into his "Sanctum Solarium". This also dresses him in Wonderboy's costume. The Monarch delivers verbal abuse about Wonderboy to Captain Sunshine, and ends the rant by revealing that he knows Captain Sunshine has no powers at night. He uses a kind of "sunlight ray-gun" in an attempt to defeat him. The 'hero' is instead recharged and blasts most of his adversaries.

After this, Hank realizes that Sunshine is using him to replace Wonderboy, and bids the hero a heartfelt goodbye. Sunshine kisses Hank on the lips before Hank has a chance to leave, and states that Hank broke his heart. Though before leaving, Hank asks him to put in a good word to Batman for him, leading to an angry and emotionally hurt Captain Sunshine to yell "Get out of my Sanctum Solarium!"

In the post credits sequence, Monarch, Dr. Mrs. the Monarch and #21 (who are all badly sunburnt) take a cab home. When the cabbie demands money, the Monarch, off-screen, shoots a dart that hits the cabbie in the neck.

Cultural references Edit

  • Having "a fun time eating sunshine on a stick" is quoting a 1970's Saturday morning cartoon DIY commercial on how to make homemade popsicles. [1]
  • Captain Sunshine parodies Michael Jackson, Batman and Superman simultaneously.[2]
  • Barbie-Que is a parody of Barbie, DC Superheroine Fire, and barbeque 

Connections to other episodesEdit

  • This entire episode finds its origin in "Return to Spider-Skull Island", in which the Monarch ordered #21 and #24 to send the "charred remains of Wonderboy to his beloved Captain Sunshine."[2] The Monarch blames his breakup with Dr. Girlfriend and the resulting drinking problem for his "slaying" of Wonder Boy. Captain Sunshine is also mentioned by a henchman in the episode "Powerless in the Face of Death", and in an anecdote told by the Monarch at a party in "Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny".
  • Dr. Venture's shrink ray makes its third appearance in the show, the first being in "Tag Sale – You're It!" and the second in "Escape to the House of Mummies Part II". The device is mentioned but not shown in the Season 3 finale "The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together (Part II)", as Sgt. Hatred reveals he tried to commit suicide unsuccessfully using the shrink ray (leaving him with a shrunken "baby tongue").
  • Captain Sunshine spares The Monarch a beating upon their first encounter, saying that he knows The Monarch is invulnerable. This is a reference to the episode "Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny", where The Monarch regales Dr. Girlfriend and Truckules with a tale in which he duped Captain Sunshine into believing this.
  • Sergeant Hatred implies that his alcoholism was a key reason for Princess Tinyfeet leaving him.
  • Hatred's supposedly cured pedophilia is implied at when he learns that Master Billy Quizboy is 37 years old. The Office of Secret Intelligence administered a shot that was supposed to rid him of the problem in "Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel".
  • The Sea Captain mentions that Jonas Jr. is building Gargantua-2. The space station Gargantua-1 crashed in "Guess Who's Coming to State Dinner?".
  • At the end of the episode, Hank asks if Captain Sunshine can give him a reference for Batman. Hank has displayed a Batman obsession throughout the series.
  • A giant penny can be seen in Captain Sunshine's lair. In "Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny," henchmen can be seen rolling another giant penny with the Monarch's face on it from the wreckage of the cocoon.
  • Billy and Pete's $10 million insurance check came from "General Consolidated Insurance." This is a reference to the Guild's tendency to create fronts using the same initials as "Guild of Calamitous Intent," having previously used this method when financing Phantom Limb's muscle regeneration experiment in the episode "The Invisible Hand of Fate" under the name "Guild of Collegiate Investors."
  • One of the members of Captain Sunshine's superhero group is "Ghost Robot" a reference to Hank's deduction in "Past Tense," upon seeing the destroyed robot version of Mike Sorayama, that "He's [Sorayama] not just a ghost - he's a ghost robot!"
  • The Monarch's claim that Captain Sunshine wanted to have sex with him (as his arch enemy) is a possible echo of the episode "Tears of a Sea Cow" wherein the Monarch attempts to infect a robot with Dr. Venture's face with chlamydia.
  • Captain Sunshine's valet, Desmond, makes a reappearance in Every Which Way But Zeus in a more pivotal role. It's revealed he was the original Captain Sunshine in the '60s while the current Captain Sunshine was his sidekick Wonderboy, further paralleling the Batman mythology of the sidekick taking on the mentor's role.

Production notes Edit

References Edit

  1. McCulloch, Christopher (October 25, 2009). "Publick Nuisance - Let The Sun Shine In". Publick Nuisance - Jackson Publick's blog. http://jacksonpublick.livejournal.com/27094.html. Retrieved October 26, 2009. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Davis, Lauren. "We've Seen Next Week's Rainbow-Powered Venture Bros. Episode!". http://io9.com/5382987/weve-seen-next-weeks-rainbow+powered-venture-bros-episode. Retrieved October 26, 2009. 
  3. McCulloch, Christopher (November 15, 2009). "Publick Nuisance - The Revenge Society". Publick Nuisance - Jackson Publick's blog. http://jacksonpublick.livejournal.com/27372.html. Retrieved November 16, 2009. 


Preceded by:
"Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel"
The Venture Bros. episodes
Original Airdate:
October 25, 2009
Followed by:
"Perchance to Dean"

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