The Venture Bros. returned last night with the second half of its sixteeen episode season four last night with "The Diving Bell Vs. The Butter-Glider." Even though the show was on hiatus for nine months, the episode just jumped right into the action and picked things up where they left off last December.
It's really best not to look the episode as a season premiere, because the seasons were never intended to be split so far apart. And as far as an episode goes, it was fantastic.
"The Butter-Glider" opened up with a great action sequence with some crazy driving by Sgt. Hatred and some excellent shooting by Hank until he ran out of gun food. Without any pedophile jokes, Hatred was actually very entertaining this week, which was important, as he played a key part with Brock trapped inside the incapacitated Dr. Venture.
Speaking of which, it was pretty impressive that the show's main protagonist didn't speak a single line and the show completely felt natural. It's just proof of how developed and likable every character is on this cartoon.You can literally swap between good and evil, as they did often in this episode, and find yourself rooting for both side. Heck, sometimes I prefer watching 21 and The Monarch to the Venture Bros. There's a reason that this cartoon has become our favorite show on television, animated or not.
As usual, the episode was loaded with hilarious (un)pop eighties references, like the entire premise being based on Fantastic Voyage or Innerspace to a lesser extent. Plus there were plenty of earlier VB references for fans like Rusty's arm re-attachment surgery, calling out the missing number seven clones, and the amazing college episode.
While it's really tough to complain about anything, my only issue is the episode is mostly due to Cartoon Network and scheduling outside the writers' control. We just felt a little lost as we got thrown right back into the action. For a show that has such impressive continuity, what happened to 21 and Brock teaming up at the end "Pinstripes & Poltergeists?"
Owell. At least five minutes into the episode, it felt like we had our old show back and it never left us for those nine months without releasing its episodes on DVD in its absence. Promise you'll never do that to us again.
Oh and also tell us Monarch is still alive after that submarine falling on him. We couldn't watch the show without the guy. It's been tough enough each week with only getting 24 in ghost form. Speaking of which, thanks for that moment.
Eric Hochberger is the programmer of TV Fanatic, so please forgive his mediocre writing. His programming is far better. Follow him on Twitter and/or email him. Just don't request threaded comments. They're coming.