It was really only a matter of time before we ran into the Venture Bros. version of Cobra, SPHINX, and last night paid that off beautifully. And it also gave Gary, aka Henchman 21, the spotlight he deserved while advancing the series’ overarching plot. Oh, and we also finally see more of Brock and Shore Leave. Spoilers from here on in.
Being a Venture Bros. episode, there’s a lot going on. Gary starts recruiting for SPHINX, and winds up with what’s left of the organization and Hank. The Monarch, after yet another failed attempt to attack the Venture compound, tries being sneaky for once, and accidentally stumbles over something far more revealing. Hatred tries and largely fails to connect with Dean.
Gary actually gets the short end of the stick a lot in this episode; his acts of heroism go horribly, hilariously wrong on one level or another throughout the entire episode. The simple fact of the matter is that Gary can’t see the forest for the trees until it’s too late. It does, however, lead to one of the most heartwarming weapons exchanges you’ll ever see; Brock and Shore Leave at least feel genuinely bad for Gary, and the subtle point that Gary would actually fit in well if OSI would have him is simultaneously hilarious and sad.
Meanwhile, much to the Monarch’s shock, he learns that he and Rusty Venture were childhood buddies, something he literally doesn’t remember at all. Needless to say, this screws with him, even as he accidentally blows up Gary’s house.
If there’s any criticism of this episode, it’s that it’s a bit overstuffed; the main plot is rushed a little bit and you wish you had a bit more time with SPHINX post-villainy, just because what little we see is so damn funny. Sphinx Commander in particular is hilariously pathetic, and it feels like these guys deserve more of a spotlight. Of course, this being The Venture Bros. they’ll probably turn up again, but even so.
It’s not quite as good as the last two episodes, but it’s still pretty damn great, and setting the stage for even better. Just like Dean, Gary’s trying to figure out who he is, and despite yourself, you’re rooting for him.