"The Better Man"
The Venture Bros. episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 46
Directed by Jackson Publick and Jon Schnepp
Written by Doc Hammer
Original air date December 6, 2009
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List of The Venture Bros. episodes

The Better Man is the 46th episode of the series The Venture Bros.


The episode begins with the Order of the Triad attempting to stop the supervillain Torrid from opening a gate to Hell. In the process, Torrid accidentally releases a demon from another world which quickly disposes of him. The Triad, despite their fears, attack the demon but are no match for it. Jefferson Twilight is killed and just as The Alchemist and Dr. Orpheus think they've lost, a mysterious stranger riding a flaming black horse flies through the gate. The stranger easily defeats the demon and brings Jefferson Twilight back to life. As he flies back through the portal Dr. Orpheus reveals that the man who saved them was none other than the OutRider, his former student and the man who stole his wife.

In the next scene, Hank asks Dean why he is putting on a suit. Dean wants to look nice for Triana Orpheus, who is outside with her father, but Hank convinces him that she isn't his girlfriend and that he should give up trying to impress her. Meanwhile, Jefferson, in an attempt to make up for being defeated, trains with cardboard monsters, though he laments that between Orpheus and the Alchemist's magical powers, he will always be the one vulnerable to magical attacks.

In the front yard of the Venture Compound, Dr. Orpheus attempts to open a portal to Hell with camping equipment. After failing, Orpheus enters a portal within his daughter's closet to seek advice from the shape-shifting Master, who appears in the form of his very attractive ex-wife. The Master encourages Orpheus to kill the OutRider. The Triad go back to the original portal to Hell to find the OutRider chasing Torrid who, after witnessing Hell, begs for the OutRider to put him out of his misery. As the OutRider is about to mercifully kill Torrid, Torrid pounces on him and says incantations that send the OutRider's soul to Hell. Orpheus, seeing that the OutRider is noble, decides he is good and is therefore determined to save his soul from Hell. The Triad enlist Billy Quizboy to perform brain surgery on the OutRider, discovering an amulet of the "Eye of Osiris" in the OutRider's brain, which allowed him to travel to and from Hell with ease. Orpheus and the Alchemist enter Hell, only to have the OutRider inform them that they cannot return without the help of someone in both worlds. Luckily, Jefferson is found to be the link they need to help escape, and is thrilled to find that he has some magical abilities after all.

Meanwhile, Triana stumbles into her closet and meets the Master, appearing as an older, neurotic, balding Dean Venture as her potential future husband. He convinces her to break things off with Dean and to go live with her mother and train to become a sorceress. Bolstered by the Master's support and realizing that she has the talent to become a sorceress, Triana goes to speak to her father about going to go live with her mother.

After the credits, Dr. Orpheus and the Triad see Triana off as she prepares to leave with the OutRider. Dean approaches Triana and tries to break off their "relationship," citing that a long-distance relationship would be too much work. Triana happily agrees and kisses him. Surprised, Dean then tries to say that they could try a long distance relationship after all, but Triana gently rebukes him with the comment that she couldn't keep him all to herself, thereby sparing Dean's feelings and apparently breaking his crush on her.

Connection to other episodesEdit

  • When Dean is getting dressed, Hank asks "did Col. Gentleman die again?" This being a reference to when he was believed to have died but was in a diabetic coma in Twenty Years to Midnight.
  • Triana's mother and Orpheus' ex-wife, Tatyana, is shown and named for the first time, as a taken form by the Master. She is first mentioned in the episode "Eeney, Meeney, Miney... Magic!" when Orpheus is introduced.
  • Triana's suspicion of her father and the Order being in her room is the effect of Orpheus' use of his magic to wipe her memory of the fact her closet is a portal to the Necropolis, as per "I Know Why The Caged Bird Kills".
  • It is revealed Orpheus' marriage broke up most likely due to the fact he was a workaholic who focused too much on becoming a necromancer. In "I Know Why The Caged Bird Kills", Orpheus insisted to his Master that his wife left because of the persistence of OutRider, which is only half the truth.
  • Hank and Dean revisit the shopping mall from "Hate Floats", where Dr. Venture was beaten and kidnapped by The Monarch's henchmen. One of the very same henchman can be seen in the center of the background for an extended period of time
  • Triana learns of Hank and Dean's cloning, as first revealed in the episode "Powerless in the Face of Death".
  • The Master (as Dean) is seen using the Boom Broom from the episode "Tears of a Sea Cow".
  • This is not the first time that Master Billy Quizboy has mentioned his "rather steep fee". Billy previously mentioned it in the first season episode, "Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean".
  • Triana's mother, Tatyana's could be a mixture of Tatyana from DC comics, and her appearance does seem similar to Vampirella.
  • As Dean, Dermott and Hank are talking in the parking lot, a poster for "Rings of the Realm" can be seen behind them. This is the movie the brothers and Sgt. Hatred saw in the previous episode.

Cultural referencesEdit

  • Jefferson Twilight references Bo Derek in "10."
  • The monster that Torrid summons looks similar to Cthulhu from the short story "The Call of Cthulhu" by H. P. Lovecraft. Cthulhu has also been featured in the South Park episode Coon 2: Hindsight.
  • The Master mentions many different over the counter pain relievers.
  • One of the cardboard cut-outs on Jefferson Twilight's training course is that of Matthew Lesko. Jefferson explains that he mistook Lesko for a villain because his suit "is covered in punctuation", like that worn by the Batman villain The Riddler. Another of the cut-outs is the Marvel comics character Dormammu, the primary enemy of Doctor Strange.
  • Orpheus calls on Amaymon while trying to open the portal to Hell, the demon king of Southern Hell.
  • When Hank takes Dean to the mall to meet girls, he encourages the latter by telling him to "take a bite outta crime". This is a catchphrase used by McGruff the Crime Dog.
  • While teaching Dean to meet girls, Hank uses terminology developed by the Seduction Community, and popularized by Mystery of VH-1's The Pickup Artist. Examples include: two-set, freeze-out, and neg. The OutRider himself is modeled on Mystery.
  • When Torrid sends The OutRider to hell, the spell he utters includes the word "abracadabra". Jefferson Twilight sceptically asks if Torrid just said "abracadabra", and Dr. Orpheus says it is a real magic word.
  • Dean, on "mussing up" his hair at Hank's request, comments that he looks like Rufio, the de facto leader of the Lost Boys from the film Hook, to which Hank responds, "you are the Pan."
  • When The OutRider starts falling apart in hell, The Alchemist refers to him as Brundlefly, a character in the 1986 horror film remake, The Fly.
  • When The OutRider's ear falls off, The Alchemist refers to this as "dino-damage," a reference to the Jurassic Park toy line by Kenner. Certain dinosaur toys featured "dino-damage"—removable skin and flesh which simulated wounds.
  • The Alchemist says that he used to visit the London Gothic rock nightclub Batcave while musician Nik Fiend, of the band Alien Sex Fiend, was still the doorman there.

Production notesEdit

  • 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 "The Better Man" the credit reads Kimson "Dingus" Albert.