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I apologize in advanced, as I’m mostly a casual viewer of The Venture Bros., so there may be some details that I miss out on. I’m all caught up with the show, but the sheer scale and multiple threads that this show embraces is dizzying, and I commend all of those who have been able to keep up with those minute details (like, is there another reason that Brock’s gun is empty, beside the fact that he doesn’t use one?). This season, to its credit, feels like a soft reboot, and while there’s still enough callbacks and references to fill an encyclopedia set, it’s starting off with a fresh, somewhat self-contained story that’s been so far easy to keep up with.

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“Faking Miracles” is mostly about moving various pieces around and setting up what seems to be the more dramatic parts of the season. It begins with a quick flashback of a “miraculous” rescue of the original Venture team from one Blue Morpho, a blue-clad, maybe-hero who Twenty-One suspects is the Monarch’s father, due to the discovery of his cave underneath the Monarch’s home (this isn’t definitely confirmed, of course, but for now there’s no reason to think otherwise). It’s somewhat disappointing that we don’t get much in the way of the Monarch processing what this might mean, mainly because we don’t know who this Blue Morpho really is, but also because he has to get his butt ready for a shin-dig with the Guild, hosted by Wide Wale in order to get intel on those who are above him on the arching list.

The Monarch story is mostly important because of the mysterious Copycat, a Dean Martin-esque schmoozer who quite comfortably is playing a long game, perhaps by the command of Wale himself. One of the things that’s keeping this season in a kind of order is that Wide Wale seems to be pulling a lot of strings–his arching prowess is more of the Xanatos, or (more obviously) the Kingpin kind, defined by moneyed connections and loyal, high-end villains–so audiences aren’t stuck trying to remember who, exactly, works for who. Again, it’s not one hundred percent certain that Copycat works for Wide Wale, but a suggestive glance after Mrs. Monarch storms out implies that the two are, at the very least, working on the same villainous level.

I’m somewhat curious to how people take to Copycat, who, while perfectly charming as his Rat Pack doppleganger, is a bit too smooth, particularly for someone like Mrs. Monarch to get even somewhat comfortable with (I’m pretty sure the show has already done the “cleverly manipulate Mrs. Monarch” thing already). Also, what’s a bit more concerning is how easily Copycat strolls into Venture headquarters, even if he’s pretending to be the Monarch, especially after Wale’s most recent attack. Sure, Hatred thinks its the Monarch, but still, there’s a certain lackadaisical narrative development here, especially after Hatred more or less doubled down on his determination in protecting the Ventures from harm. It’s just odd that Hatred would give even the (fake) Monarch any kind of berth to saunter up to the security desk, you know? But we do get a little “pissing on the couch action,” which is exactly something the Monarch would do.

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Meanwhile, the only story that gets “closure” is the one concerning Dr. Venture, Quizboy, and Pete White, who goofy, exploratory antics unleash a grey goo of nanobots that manage to slip up Dean’s, uh, urethra. First of all: Venture, Quizboy, and White are just awesome together, aren’t they? Just a bunch of terrible, idealistic scientists scrounging around through the late’s J.J.’s files for potential breakthroughs, and I could probably watch them do this all season. They make for a sadly entertaining group: three brilliant men who seem to just be unable to get out of each other’s way. Secondly, Dean and Brock’s brief interactions were also fun in their own way. Brock doesn’t necessarily like Dean or Hank, but it’s always amusing (and even endearing) to watch the psychotic bodyguard try and connect to the two boys.

Speaking of which, there’s Hank, who’s story consists of him trying to win over Wale’s daughter, which is both a cute, Hank-esque love story, and a potential outlier to Wale’s financial/intellectual command of “the strings,” as it were. Hank may be a goofball, but he’s damn resourceful, managing to cleverly avoid the last living Wale bodyguard to see Serena and kind of win her over with an Aladdin-esque “fake balcony fall.” “Faking Miracles” isn’t a plot heavy episode, but there’s enough intrigue and interesting elements being set in place for the rest of the season. Things are definitely going to get crazy, and it’ll take a miracle, even a fake one, for these characters to get through it.

Stray Observations

  • The episode ends with a few of those nanobots inside Dean’s head, which allowed him to get accepted into college. Considering everything we’ve seen Dean do when possessed/controlled by those things, I’m pretty sure we’ll see more of this towards the end of the season.
  • Apologies for this question, but was this the first time the show explored its backstory through a comic book as if it was an actual historical record (concerning Blue Morpho)? If not, I completely forget, but if so, I feel like that’s a pretty big deal.
  • More to the point of Mrs. Monarch being easily manipulated: I find it a bit too hard to believe that, after seeing her husband on the top floor of a roof of an entirely different building, she’d think she’d suddenly see him right at the bottom floor of Wale’s building, without casting some suspicion on the logistics of it all.
  • Thanks to Zack for letting me sub tonight, who wasn’t feeling so great tonight. Hope you feel better!

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