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Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny

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"Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny"
The Venture Bros. episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 27
Directed by Jackson Publick
Written by Jackson Publick
Doc Hammer
Production code 3-32
Original air date 1 June 2008
Episode Chronology
← Previous
"Showdown at Cremation Creek (Part II)"
Next →
"The Doctor Is Sin"

"Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny" is the first episode in the third season of The Venture Bros.

PlotEdit

The episode begins with the Monarch thinking back to the aftermath of the battle with the Phantom Limb. He recalls the last words Dr. Girlfriend said to him, which pertain to the dark secret she revealed, after they presumably consummated their marriage. However, he's forced to focus on the battle at hand as he and Dr. Girlfriend struggle against the Guild of Calamitous Intent's killer robots, SlaughterBots.

The Monarch's henchmen, led by 21 and 24, are organizing in the aftermath of the Cocoon's destruction and the Monarch's disappearance. However, Dr. Girlfriend's Murderous Moppets, Kevin and Tim-Tom, show up and insist they have senior rank since they're her Number 2's and all the Monarch henchmen through at least 18 are dead or MIA. The henchmen point out they outnumber and outweigh Moppets, but the diabolical duo quickly kick all of the henchmen in the groin and establish their dominance.

The robots have successfully captured the Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend and bring them to a secret location for separate interrogation. The Council of 13 have assembled and appear as shadows on view screens to interrogate them about the Phantom Limb's betrayal of the Guild. Dr. Girlfriend says that the Phantom Limb ruined her life, but the Council show footage of her in her younger days, when she went on a picnic date with Phantom Limb where he revealed his Phantom limbs. He then asked her to come to his side so they could unite to spread evil and chaos.

The Council point out to the Monarch how easily Dr. Girlfriend was seduced, but the Monarch knows about her past. However, he's reluctant to admit his own connection to the Phantom Limb. The Council respond by showing footage of Dr. Girlfriend preparing for her training as a Number 2 after the failure of her solo career as Lady Au Pair. The hooded villain Watch trains her at the Citadel of Attribution only to be interrupted by his partner Ward . They suggest she might take on a sexual theme but she'd rather apply her training. The Phantom Limb and his army of Shadowmen interrupt them, and the master villain insists that he will train her. Watch and Ward quickly concede the issue and the Phantom Limb calls forward Shadowman 9 to prepare Dr. Girlfriend. Shadowman 9 can't stop staring at Dr. Girlfriend, and in the present she realizes that he's the Monarch before he started his career of master villainy.

The Council turn on the Monarch, noting that he "arched" Dr. Venture ever since college without establishing his credentials in the Guild. The Monarch explains that he first tried to blow up Venture in his science lab at college. However, he only succeeded in blowing off Baron Underbheit's jaw (something Dr. Venture was blamed for). After Venture left college upon the death of his father, the Monarch went after him in a crude prototype of his Monarch costume and Monarch Mobile. He managed to get inside the Venture compound but the doctor's bodyguard at the time, Myra, easily disposed of him. The Monarch claims that he didn't know about the Guild but the Council point out that they have plenty of paperwork showing Dr. Venture filed complaints against the Monarch, and he was still a Shadowman at the time, as well as "henching" for other established Guild villains. It's now the Monarch that must stand trial, and the penalty is execution.

Back at the Cocoon, Henchman 21 and 24 find the old Monarch Mobile and decide to overthrow the Moppets. They realize there's only one person who can dispose of the Moppets: the same person who keeps disposing of them, Brock Samson.

Dr. Girlfriend demands to be heard defending her new husband, and the Monarch also puts on a spirited defense. He has the Council display footage of the night he first wooed Dr. Girlfriend, showing that he was on assignment to serve appetizers at a Guild ball. Henchman 24 (then a Shadowman) found him in costume but the Monarch convinced 24 to take his place in return for becoming his Number 2. It becomes clear the Monarch donned a costume not just to arch, but to pick up Dr. Girlfriend. The Council is less than impressed with this defense.

Dr. Girlfriend has the Council show the later footage showing that the Monarch was hitting on her at the ball where he attended as a villain. He shamelessly flattered her and got her out to his car in the parking lot. Impressed, she comes up with ideas to improve his image and play up the monarch/king motif. They start to brainstorm together but are interrupted when he decides to admit his dark secret. He removes his helmet but before she can recognize him, the Phantom Limb's Shadowmen yank the Monarch out of the car and the master villain prepares to dispose of him. Phantom Limb tells Dr. Girlfriend to return to the party but she refuses. Attracted by the noise, the Council of 13 come out and the Phantom Limb is forced to let the Monarch go to avoid making a scene. As the Monarch departs, he lies and makes up a name, claiming he's "The Manotaur". The Phantom Limb swears vengeance. Henchman 24 (filling in for the Monarch as Shadowman #9 at the party) asks the Monarch to fulfill his end of the deal but Dr. Girlfriend thinks he's the Shadowman who was staring at her back at the Citadel and the Monarch leaves 24 standing by the side of the road.

Dr. Girlfriend concludes her case, saying that the Phantom Limb couldn't have possibly been stupid enough to not recognize the Monarch as his own Shadowman. Therefore the whole thing must have been a set up. The Council say nothing but simply disappear, and the newlyweds are reunited. The Sovereign then appears and announces the Guild's ruling.

Brock arrives at the Cocoon and 24 and 21 watch nervously as he simply talks to Kevin. Tim-Tom sneaks up behind them and demands to know who called out for help. Henchman 21 blames 24, and Tim-Tom surprisingly thanks him and says they're going to call in even more help. The entire Guild arrives to help rebuild the Cocoon.

The Guild agents strip the Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend down to their underwear and the Sovereign congratulates them. They have fought off the robots, stayed loyal to each other, and proven the Monarch's innocence. He gives the Guild's blessing and the duo-ship ceremony is conducted with the traditional binding of hands with a poisonous snake.

The Cocoon is rebuilt and the Moppets christen it. Henchman 21 calls a truce and they shake hands. However, when two other henchmen dump a jug of Gatorade on the Moppets to celebrate, things go horribly, horribly wrong.

The Sovereign concludes the duo-ship ceremony by telling the Monarch to complete his first mission: the usurpation of the Phantom Limb's home. The Monarch bursts in and tells his henchmen to dispose of everyone, then tries to carry Dr. Girlfriend over the threshold into their new home.

In the epilogue, an elderly, retired Manotaur returns to his apartment. Unfortunately, the Phantom Limb has survived and has sought out the person he believes to have stolen his number two/girlfriend; despite Dr. Girlfriend's argument to the contrary, it appears that Phantom Limb really is "that stupid." (Alternately, it could be a sign of his growing post-Season Two insanity; see The Revenge Society.) Manotaur tries to get to his costume but Phantom Limb has already stolen it. Phantom Limb then uses his phantom right hand to give Manotaur a painful death, though his wounds from his attempt to take over the Guild show – he walks with a cane and his left hand appears to be mechanical.

Cultural referencesEdit

  • Part of "Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity" from The Planets by Gustav Holst serves as the soundtrack to the end of the episode. "Mars, the Bringer of War" was referenced in the episode "Hate Floats".
  • Upon viewing a past moment in which the Phantom Limb reveals his abnormality to Dr. Girlfriend for the first time, the Monarch immediately states that he hopes that the clip won't wind up on YouTube.
  • The Monarch mentions his strong attraction to Markie Post of Night Court.
  • Councilman #3 is mentioned as using commercial video editing program Adobe Premiere to do post-production video wipes on the Guild of Calamitous Intent's video library.
  • Henchman 24 says he hopes that the "murderous moppets" will "pull a double-Villechaize". Hervé Villechaize was a dwarf actor who committed suicide via gunshot in 1993.
  • Henchman 24 also calls the murderous moppets "Midg-itlers" in reference to the moppets becoming dictators in tone á la Adolf Hitler.
  • The song that the Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend originally have sex to is by The Sugarcubes, as the Council references band members Einar Örn Benediktsson and Björk.
  • One of the Council of Thirteen looks like the Spiderman villain, The Rhino.
  • Also one other of the Council of Thirteen looks like The Funky Phantom.
  • Truckules says "Roll over", a reference to Optimus Prime's oft-repeated quote "Roll out". Truckules' appearance is based on that of Optimus.
  • In repairing the Monarch's Cocoon, one of the Henchmen is seen rolling a huge penny with the Monarch on it. This references a penny Batman once used to capture a minor villain, the Penny Plunderer. The giant penny is stored in the Batcave.
  • One of the villainous identities the Guild offers Dr. Girlfriend is the Murderous Bettie Rage, a reference to Bettie Page and her biopic The Notorious Bettie Page.
  • One of the villains the Monarch used to hench for is named "Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Nightmare Coat," a reference to Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
  • The Monarch refers to the Guild Council as "super creeps", a reference to the David Bowie song "Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)". David Bowie was revealed as the Sovereign during the season two finale, "Showdown at Cremation Creek".
  • When the Monarch asks "What kind of torture is this? Couldn't you just drill my teeth or shove bamboo under my nails or something?" the former is likely a reference to the 1976 film Marathon Man where a character is tortured by having a dentist drill into his teeth.
  • The Monarch's war cry of "Kill everyone; God will recognize his own" refers to a statement attributed to the papal legate Arnaud Amalric during the Albigensian Crusade.
  • When Brock Samson goes to the cocoon and talks to the Moppets, Henchman 24 questions whether Brock's name is a killing word. This is a direct reference to the movie Dune and its weirding modules which use sound and words to cause destruction.

Connections to other episodesEdit

  • When the Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend meet at the party, she has red streaks in her hair, referencing the line in the episode "Victor. Echo. November." when Monarch remarked she had red streaks like the singer Saffron from the 90's electronica band Republica.
  • This episode expands upon a flashback sequence shown in "I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills" in which The Monarch is beaten up by Myra Brandish.
  • This episode also explains that The Monarch blew off Baron Ünterbheit's jaw in college and not Dr. Venture, in an apparent attempt on Venture's life that somehow misfired. The blame merely fell on Venture because he was Ünterbheit's lab partner at the time.
  • During the rebuilding of the Cocoon, Kurse appears, still without legs. He had them magic-ed away by Orpheus in "Fallen Arches".
  • The Manotaur is one of the three original members of the Fraternity of Torment. He is unable to join the other two at the opening of Jonas Venture Jr.'s Museum of Jonas Venture in Now Museum, Now You Don't, owing to his death at the end of this episode.
  • A giant penny is removed from the wreckage of the Cocoon, similar to the one in Captain Sunshine's mansion in "Handsome Ransom".
    • 21 revealed in "Assisted Suicide" that the penny was used to kill Wonderboy. The one in the Cocoon may have been a spare.
  • At the party The Monarch explains that Captain Sunshine believes him to be indestructible. A point later brought up in season four's Handsome Ransom.

Production notesEdit

  • This is the first episode to be animated in HD[1] and therefore entirely widescreen (previous episodes used letterboxing only for the opening scene).
  • 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 "Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny" the credit reads Kimson "Malevolent Murder Maze" Albert.

ReferencesEdit


Preceded by:
"Showdown at Cremation Creek (Part II)"
The Venture Bros. episodes
Original Airdate:
June 1, 2008
Followed by:
"The Doctor Is Sin"

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