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"The Revenge Society"
The Venture Bros. episode
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"Let me introduce...The Revenge Society!"
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 44
Directed by Jackson Publick and Jon Schnepp
Written by Doc Hammer
Production code 4-44
Original air date November 15, 2009
Episode Chronology
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List of The Venture Bros. episodes

"The Revenge Society" is the 44th episode of The Venture Bros..

PlotEdit

The episode begins with a mysterious Highwayman-themed villain calling himself "Revenge" infiltrating the lair of the Guild of Calamitous Intent. During an inquisition held by the Guild's Council of 13 of the Intangible Fancy, Revenge unmasks, attacks and kidnaps two members of the Council, knocking out Councilman 3 and almost killing Councilman 8 while said Councilman was valiantly attempting to strangle him. The other Councilmen, unaware of where each of their chambers is situated, are helpless to stop Revenge from escaping.

Revenge takes them to a secret hideout where they are operated on by another hostage - Master Billy Quizboy - and Revenge reveals himself to be a deranged Hamilton G. Fantomas, aka the former Phantom Limb, who has replaced his missing limbs with prosthetics and grown out his hair and mustache to resemble that of Samuel Clemens. Billy has been forced to work with Fantomas given their previous history together. Councilman 3 ('Red Mantle') awakens to discover that Fantomas has had the head of Councilman 8 ('Dragoon') sewn onto his shoulders in order to save 8's life, an arrangement that neither of them are happy with. Recognizing Fantomas, the Councilmen become angry, but the villain tells them that he has information which will make them willingly help him.

Meanwhile, the Guild's Sovereign (aka David Bowie) is informed by Watch and Ward that Revenge has not only kidnapped the Councilmen but also stolen their official Charter; he orders them to go into action. In Revenge's lair, the Councilmen are forced by Revenge to muddle over the Charter, which tells the history of the Guild, in order to disclose his grandfather's role in its origin (his grandfather being the original Fantomas, a co-founder of the Guild). Being the oldest members of the Council, they are readily able to disclose their stories of meeting the legendary Fantomas to Revenge and Billy: They claim to have been musicians in 1959 - they seem to be referencing J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson and Buddy Holly - when they were approached by an elderly Fantomas who claimed he was organizing a Rock and Roll orchestra. Accepting the offer from the legendary figure, they discovered that in fact he had merely kidnapped several musicians in order to obtain a backing group for his terrible sousaphone playing. In the present, Revenge is uninterested in his grandfather's musical failure, more concentrated on the Guild's relationship with the powerful Orb. In order to try and buy his freedom, Billy reveals that he knows where the Orb is.

At the compound itself, Sergeant Hatred - to the annoyance of Dr. Venture - has sunk back into his terrible depression due to continual rejection from Hank and the wearing-off of his OSI anti-pedophiliac drug treatments, locking himself in the bathroom and downing bottles of cologne for their alcohol content. Venture is momentarily distracted and leaves Dean to try and talk to him. While Dean succeeds in managing to calm Hatred down, Hank announces that the Guild's troops have gathered outside the compound in full force; assuming his military demeanor, Hatred - convinced that the Guild are after him for betraying their secrets to OSI - snaps out of his depression and immediately orders Dean and Dr. Venture to the panic room, and sensing an opportunity to bond with Hank, he offers Hank the chance to come join him in thwarting the guild.

As the Councilmen fight over their shared body, Revenge reveals his plan to storm the Venture compound and introduces the other members of the titular "Revenge Society": 'Wisdom' (a coffee mug with the word 'Wisdom' printed on its side), 'Chuck' (a small toaster), and 'Lady Nightshade' (a black Ferragamo heel shoe previously owned by Doctor Girlfriend). Concluding that he is totally insane, but will murder them if they don't co-operate, Billy & the Councilmen agree to help him storm the Venture compound.

Unable to think of any defense against the mass army, Hank and Hatred have fun taunting the Guild's representatives via the compound's intercom, even managing to briefly convince them that they have the wrong compound. Meanwhile, in the panic room, Dr. Venture comforts a traumatized Dean and reassures him that they will live through this escapade as they had through many others. Dr. Venture tells Dean how Action Man would repeatedly would watch him in his bed when he was a child, putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger, then saying "Not today, Rusty. Not today," after the click of the hammer. Encouraged, Dean decides that they will find out what the Guild are after. As Revenge carries out his plan, the Sovereign sends in backup in the form of Brian Eno (whose Guild codename is Eon), Dean and Dr. Venture perform reconnaissance, and Sergeant Hatred races Hank on the boys' hoverbikes in the sewer system below the compound. Discerning that Hank has no plan and is merely doing whatever he wants without the controlling influence of his father, Hatred encourages Hank by telling him that he takes after his hero, Brock; they turn back and resume their attempts to save the compound.

Carrying Billy into Doctor Venture's study, the Councilmen use 'Chuck' to knock out a guild blackout guard and retrieve the Orb, leaving the unconscious Billy on the floor in a sack. Meanwhile, from his perch above the compound, Revenge recalls that as the Sovereign, David Bowie is a shape-shifter and thus could be anyone; he destroys 'Wisdom' out of paranoid suspicion. In the compound, Dr. Venture and Dean encounter the actual Bowie, who asks for their help. Hank & Hatred return to the study, finding Billy unconscious in his sack; Hatred, believing Billy to be a small child, breaks down at the thought that the Guild are preying on his pedophiliac weakness in order to destroy him.

Outside, the Councilmen are forced by Revenge to read out a manifesto stating that he will assume Guild leadership by right of birth. When the Guild try to kill him, he uses 'Lady Nightshade' as a boomerang-like defense. Bowie appears, and Revenge demands that the Guild be handed to 'its rightful heir', or he will use the Orb on them all; Bowie concurs, and hands the heraldic sword of the Guild to Dean Venture, bloodline descendant of the Guild's original founder, Colonel Lloyd Venture, whose position was usurped by Fantomas during the Guild's schism. Deciding to do the decent thing and get rid of the Guild, Dean officiates Bowie's position as Sovereign, making him the leader of the Guild on the Venture family's behalf. Incensed, Revenge prepares to unleash the power of the Orb.

In a flashback, it is revealed that, contrary to what was implied in the 3rd-Season episode "ORB", Col. Venture was not executed by his bodyguard, Eugen Sandow, in order to prevent him from activating the Orb. Having a soft spot in his heart for the Colonel, Sandow instead broke the Orb irreparably, preventing its centuries of carefully-assembled art and science from ever being used. As thanks for saving his life, Venture promised to keep the incident quiet and repaired the Orb's casing, never revealing that it had been internally damaged. In the present, Revenge fails to achieve anything with the Orb, and collapses, defenseless, to be seized by the Guild.

In the post credits sequence, Billy Quizboy wakes up believing the entire thing to have been a horrible nightmare...only to discover that he is in bed with a relaxed Sgt. Hatred, having spent the night with him in his quarters. Anguished, Billy asks to be put back in his bag.

Connections to other episodesEdit

  • Phantom Limb uses a shoe stolen from Doctor Girlfriend as a member of his team, calling it 'Lady Nightshade' and pretending that it is his lover.
  • Phantom Limb's vehicle is a turquoise Honda Accord with a ghost painted on the hood, which he recalled using early in his career in "Victor. Echo. November.".
  • The episode is a sequel of sorts to "ORB", revealing some of the true fate of the Guild and its members following the schism that took place in that episode; the flashback to the Orb's destruction leads directly out of the flashback seen in "ORB", where Sandow hinted at having killed Lloyd Venture rather than reveal that the Orb had been neutralized.
  • When Phantom Limb threatens to use the Orb, Dr. Venture is the only one who seems unfazed. Did he attempt to use the Orb and already knew that it was defective or is he simply as apathetic to the orb as he is to most of the weirdness in the show?
  • The Council of 13 hold a trial/crucible similar to the one they previously held in "Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny".
  • Phantom Limb's last appearance previous to this episode was in "Shadowman 9: in the Cradle of Destiny", which foreshadowed his insanity.
  • Phantom Limb forces Billy Quizboy into working with him by citing their previous history together, as shown in flashback in "The Invisible Hand of Fate". It is revealed that, despite the attempts of White to prevent him from doing so during that episode, Billy is able to recall what happened between him and Limb. Later, Councilmen 3 & 8 point out that the idea of Billy having amnesia from one knock on the head, as "The Invisible Hand of Fate" implied he would, is entirely ridiculous.
  • In order to encourage Hank, Sgt. Hatred compares him to Brock Samson, citing his own previous work with Samson, who he claims impressed him. This previous experience was also shown in "The Invisible Hand of Fate", where as Samson's commanding officer he pretended to think Samson incapable, but as a secret member of the Guild feared Samson's capability and gave him the dead-end position as the Venture family's bodyguard to prevent him from exposing the Guild's existence to the world.
  • The Intangible Fancy is tried by the Guild not for casually murdering two associates ("We've all been there", mentions one Councilman), but for smuggling without Guild sanction. The character had previously appeared in short speaking roles in episodes such as "Tag Sale - You're It!", and "Fallen Arches".
  • Revenge claims to have been the victor in the Battle of Cremation Creek, an event which took place in the second-season finale, Showdown at Cremation Creek (Part II). He was in fact soundly defeated, mutilated and forced to go into hiding following that battle.
  • Hatred and Hank are riding on the hoverbikes, which haven't been seen since Return to Spider-Skull Island. They were also riding them in the tunnels supposedly sealed off by Dr. Venture in What Goes Down, Must Come Up.
  • When David Bowie came to Dean and Dr. Venture in the episode, he initially appeared as "[Dr. Venture] from the future". This shape-shifting power was first seen in Showdown at Cremation Creek (Part II).
  • Sergeant Hatred mistakes Billy Quizboy for a child and supposedly has his way with him. He has previously mistaken Billy for a child, and was shown to be attracted to him in the episode Handsome Ransom.

Cultural referencesEdit

  • When the Intangible Fancy betrays the Agents, he gives them a packet of 100 Calorie Oreos. They also refer to him as Casper, in reference of Casper the Friendly Ghost.
  • Brian Eno is shown to be working with the Guild alongside his friend David Bowie, as a negotiator. Whereas Bowie appears in his Station to Station era (circa 1976) dress, Eno appears in his youthful, 70s-era body and costume from his Roxy Music days, going by the name of Eon, an obvious anagram of his last name. He travels in several large aircraft called the Warm Jets, after his debut solo album "Here Come the Warm Jets"; upon their approach, Guild members shout "Here come The Warm Jets!" while the drum intro to "Dead Finks Don't Talk" plays in the background.
  • When Councilmen 8 & 3 wake up after the operation, Councilman 3 asks Revenge: "What are you, Ray Harryhausen?" in reaction to Councilman 8 being sewn to him. Harryhausen is a movie special effects artist, known for his ability to create convincing monsters.
  • Councilman 8 notices that a simple blow to the head is seemingly enough to knock out anyone; he compares this phenomenon to Gilligan's Island.
  • Hatred states he was drinking Axe cologne or "the CVS equivalent."
  • Revenge comments to the Councilmen that "if they run into Shemp or Moe they would give them quite a thrashing", a reference to The Three Stooges.
  • Councilmen 8 and 3 are implied to be J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) and Buddy Holly. When they tell Revenge about their first meeting with his grandfather, Fantomas, they mention they were musicians about to take off in their private plane from Clear Lake, Iowa. They were apparently kidnapped by Fantomas on February 16, 1959 and declared dead to the rest of the world. In reality Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper were musicians who died in a plane crash, February 3, 1959. This is the second time in the series a musician who is dead in real life was revealed as being alive and in the Guild; Klaus Nomi appeared in the final two episodes of season 2, as one of Bowie's traitorous bodyguards.
  • Councilman 8 declares that he "accidentally" created hip-hop.
  • As with previous David Bowie appearances, there are numerous references to Bowie songs and albums:
  • When David Bowie hid behind the table and had the floating head state to ignore the man behind the table, his dialogue is a reference to The Wizard of Oz.
  • "Siegfried's Funeral March" is playing when Dean "knights" The Sovereign, which is a reference to the film Excalibur.
  • Councilman 8, dubbed Dragoon, is literally dressed as a Dragoon (an infantryman deployed by horse). His name, voice, and general physique are based on the character Dragon from the film The Eiger Sanction.
  • When David Bowie originally appears to Rusty and Dean Venture as a future version of Dr. Venture he is wearing red and green glasses similar to those worn by Spider Jerusalem in the comic book Transmetropolitan.
  • When Sergent Hatred is in the bathroom crying he says that he has a "Calvin and Hobbes" tattoo on his thigh, then describes his tattoo as Calvin hugging Hobbes.

ReceptionEdit

The Revenge Society received positive reviews. From the AV club, Zack Handlen gave the episode an A-, saying it was "a very strong piece of work, managing to re-connect with some characters we haven't seen in a while, giving us some cool back-story pieces, and, most importantly, balancing it all out with the character-based humor." Dan Pillips of IGN gave it a 8.2/10, saying "I got a good laugh out of watching Sergeant Hatred try to explain pedophilia to (Hank, who) continues to steal every scene he's in. Seeing Billy Quizboy do so much with his time in the spotlight was likewise a pleasant surprise. Still, I can't help but feel like there was a lot of unrealized potential in this story. I surely expected more from an episode that saw both Phantom Limb and David Bowie step back into the forefront."[1]

Production notes Edit

  • One of the animation directors (Kimson Albert) gets to have a nickname inserted into his credits. For "The Revenge Society" the credit reads Kimson "Noogie Patrol" Albert.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Pillips, Dan (November 16, 2009). "The Revenge Society Review". IGN. http://tv.ign.com/articles/104/1045683p1.html. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 

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