|"Return to Spider-Skull Island"|
Hank and Dean on their Hoverbikes.
|Directed by||Doc Hammer|
|Written by||Jackson Publick & Doc Hammer|
"Return to Spider-Skull Island" is the thirteenth episode, and the season finale, of the first season ofThe Venture Bros.
Team Venture has returned to base following an unseen adventure during a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Dr. Venture's stomach is unusually bloated and painful, so thinking he has a hernia Brock takes him to the hospital in the X-1. Hankand Dean are told to stay with Dr. Orpheus for the time being. The boys' naïveté and misunderstood knowledge of human reproduction lead them to the conclusion that their father is pregnant.
At the hospital, emergency surgery is performed on Dr. Venture. The good news: the doctors were able to remove the "tumor". The bad news: the tumor subsequently disappeared when the surgeon was not looking. As Dr. Venture and the surgeon argue the X-1 lifts off, unnoticed by anyone in the room.
Back at the compound, Hank and Dean decide to run away and start new lives, and take off on their hoverbikes the next morning, wearing helmets identical to those of Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson in the youth-culture motorcycle movie Easy Rider (1969), the first part of an homage completed at episode's end. Dr. Orpheus immediately panics, but Triana calms him and asks him to not embarrass them. He agrees and dons a windbreaker instead of his usual cloak with the intention of unobtrusively protecting the boys. He trails Hank and Dean to a small diner, where he is accosted by two rednecks, whom Dr. Orpheus apparently murders--or at least banishes--using his magic. When the boys hit the road again, they are soon arrested for driving too slowly and apparent truancy as Orpheus watches helplessly from a distance.
Brock and Dr. Venture have finally managed to get home without the X-1, and Brock puts Dr. Venture to bed, telling him he needs rest. As Brock heads back into the lab, he is knocked out from behind by a mysterious assailant and chained to the roof of his beloved Charger. Meanwhile, Dr. Venture experiences his recurring nightmare about one fetus devouring another and wakes up to see a familiar looking head in a robot body. Venture initially assumes he is dreaming about his father, but the figure reveals himself as Dr. Venture's long-lost twin brother, who had been consumed in the womb forty-three years ago. The twin was finally able to escape through surgery and now intends to claim his vengeance and the Venture birthright by killing Dr. Venture. Dr. Venture quickly escapes to his panic room, but to his horror, the brother easily gains access: his brother knows everything he knows, including all of his passcodes. The robotically augmented twin pursues Venture throughout the lab, pointing out how he has made working weapons from Thaddeus' failed experiments.
Brock manages to talk H.E.L.P.eR. through the process of driving the car, to which Brock is still chained. The car, in flames by now, smashes through a lab window just in time to save Dr. Venture. The evil twin's mechanical body is destroyed, revealing that he has an infant's body. Brock, his mullet singed to a crew cut, begins to crush the tiny man underfoot; Dr. Venture stops him in the name of brotherhood. After calling a truce between them, the brother decides to call himself Jonas Venture, Jr., Dr. Orpheus arrives, announcing the boys' imprisonment.
In prison, The Monarch participates in a Scared Straight-styled program, talking to punks and surly teenagers on how much of a mistake it would be to be a supervillain. He recognizes the Venture Brothers and convinces them to return home. After being bailed out by the rest of Team Venture, they ride back home on their hoverbikes with the others following at a respectful distance. Dr. Venture and Jonas Jr. put aside their differences and decide to split the Venture estate between them. The Monarch's henchmen#21 and #24, driving the Monarch-mobile, pull alongside the boys and ask where to get a haircut for #21 and ammunition for their gun (which #21 points at the boys). In a scene directed nearly shot-for-shot with the climax of Easy Rider, the weapon discharges (here, accidentally) and causes the hoverbikes to explode.
After the credits, Brock and the doctors look at the boys' smoldering bodies; Dr. Orpheus sobs and Dr. Venture merely tells a groaning Brock to "All right, get their clothes."
- "Spider-Skull Island" is a parody of King Kong's Skull Island
- The Venture family dressed up for The Rocky Horror Picture Show as follows:
- Dr. Venture - Frank-N-Furter
- Dean - Riff-Raff
- Hank - Columbia
- Brock - Rocky
- H.E.L.P.eR. - Magenta
- The movie Easy Rider is referenced several times, particularly in the diner scene, the deaths of Hank and Dean, the helmets they wear while riding their hover-bikes, and the closing credits.
- Dr. Venture's offer to his brother that he can have Dean, who can carry him around "like Master Blaster" is a direct reference to Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
- The line "...little miss, little miss can't be wrong", which Hank says to Dean as they're running away, is from the song "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" by the Spin Doctors.
- Dr. Orpheus mentions that "there is a television behind the El Greco", referring to a painting he must own by the famous painter.
- The scene where Brock saves Dr. Venture from Jonas Jr., in slow motion, references John Woo movies, namely the shoot-out, the dripping rose in puddle, and the bursting doves.
- Dr. Orpheus says, "Goodnight, you princes of Venture, you kings of sleepovers." This is a reference to a line in The Cider House Rules.
- The "Homeboy" figurine that Dr. Orpheus purchases is a reference to the Homies line of toys and merchandise.
- Dr. Venture's offer of a "busted up chiffarobe" is a probable reference to To Kill a Mockingbird.
- When asked to order something from the diner or leave, Dr. Orpheus attempts to order a series of soft drinks without success, including Moxie, Birch beer, and Mr. Pibb, all of which are generally obscure or hard-to-find beverages.
- The concept of a man who absorbs his unborn brother in utero and later thinks the internalized sibling is nothing but a tumor is very similar to the Stephen King novel, The Dark Half. It could also be a reference to Cassandra Nova, a supervillian created by Grant Morrison in New X-Men that is revealed to be Professor Xavier's half sister that he tried to kill while they were still in the womb.
- Rocky IV featuring Ivan Drago is mentioned in the 911 conversation.
- Dr. Venture's "hallucination" of his father stating "There is another Venture!" is a direct reference to the 3rd movie of the original Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi, in which a dying Yoda imparts as his last words to Luke Skywalker, "There is another Skywalker," referring to Luke's sister, Leia Organa.
Connections to Other Episodes Edit
- The two punks who stole the boys' wrist communicators in "The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay" are seen attending the Scared-Straight program. The student in Dr. Venture's old college dorm room from "Past Tense" can also be seen.
- Dr. Venture at first presumes that Jonas Jr. is his father due to the fact that Jonas Jr. towers over him, just as his hallucination of Jonas Sr. did in "Careers in Science". This episode was also the only other occasion in which the Jonas Sr. hallucination muttered the phrase 'There is another Venture!' to Thaddeus as a subconscious warning of Jonas Jr.'s emergence.
- Henchman #21 did manage to grow a ponytail by the episode "Powerless in the Face of Death". By pure coincidence, so did Jonas Jr., perhaps out of a need to differentiate himself from his father.
- During the extremely long wait between this and the second season, many fans speculated upon how the show would continue after the deaths of the titular Venture brothers. Popular theories were that Jonas Jr. and Dr. Venture would become the new Venture brothers, or that the boys would be cloned (due largely to an offhand remark of Dr. Venture's that he could have corrected Dean's propensity for testicular torsion "in the prototype phase", as well as the last line of this episode: "All right. Get their clothes", which was often misquoted as "...Get their clones").
- This is the first episode to have Brock with short hair. At first he has the Rocky Horror Wig, which gets knocked off but his hair later gets burned off in the crash through the lab window. His new short hair carries over into Season 2, but is grown out again by Assassinanny 911.
- An apparent throwaway line where The Monarch has #21 and #24 send the "charred remains of Wonderboy to his beloved Captain Sunshine" is revisited in the 4th season episode, "Handsome Ransom", where it is revealed that The Monarch, in a drunken stupor following his break-up with Doctor Girlfriend, killed the sidekick of a prominent superhero.
Production Notes Edit
- This episode originally ran long and Jackson Publick accidentally cut a sequence which explained several key parts of the episode. The Venture family is commissioned to solve a ghost-case at a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when Brock attacks and injures almost everyone in the theater. This explains the injuries in the emergency room as well as the panic when everyone sees Brock (dressed as Rocky). In an attempt to fix this, Publick added in a 9-1-1 call that can be heard during the opening sequence. In addition, the title sequence was extremely shortened.
- The song that plays at the end of the episode is "Look Away", By Nick DeMayo.
- The painting seen in Dr. Venture's room is actually one of Doc Hammer's series of Saint oil paintings. The subject of the painting is Liz Vassey, who was a co-star of the live-action incarnation of The Tick, which also starred Patrick Warburton, voice of Brock Samson.
- Ironically, Spider-Skull Island is never seen in this episode, and only passingly mentioned near the end of the episode. Publick has stated that he chose the name deliberately to keep from revealing the episode's surprises too early.
- One of the animation directors (Kimson Albert) has a "nickname" inserted into his credits. The nickname is an unusual line or word from the preceding episode. For "Return To Spider-Skull Island" the credit reads Kimson "King Gorilla" Albert.
- As Dr. Orpheus brings Hank and Dean tea and pizza rolls, he carries a tray with two cups on it and each of the boys takes one cup. As the angle switches, there are still two cups on the tray. And as Dr. Orpheus places the tray on a table, one of them disappears.
- ↑ Episode "The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay"
- ↑ Episode "Careers in Science" The episode also calls into sharp relief Jonas Sr.'s statement in "Careers" that "The answer was inside [Rusty] all along!"; rather than it being Rusty's inner ego, he was in fact alluding to Jonas Jr.
- ↑ Episode "Powerless in the Face of Death"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Season 1 DVD commentary for "Return to Spider-Skull Island"
- ↑ Episode "Assassinanny 911"
- ↑ Episode "Handsome Ransom"
- ↑ Venture Bros. website where the song is available for download