Welcome to Calamitous Intent, Comics Alliance’s weekly reckoning with The Venture Bros, in which Betty Felon and Elle Collins, longtime fans of Adult Swim’s most complicated half hour, discuss and clarify the latest episode.

In this week’s installment, “Faking Miracles,” the Monarch learns something huge about his father, Hank’s love life gets complicated, and Dean gets a surprising edge while studying for the SATs. "Faking Miracles" was written and directed by Jackson Publick.



Elle: You know what I love, Betty? Flashbacks to the original Team Venture. There’s always so many great vintage genre references, and plus it’s all part of the long process of realizing just what a horrible person Dr. Jonas Venture Sr. was. This time around, we see how he first met Kano, and find out that the Monarch’s father was a masked crimefighter with a suspiciously familiar aesthetic and the questionable name of the Blue Morpho.

Betty: Yes, the Team Venture flashbacks are so great, but this is one of my favorites, since I love Green Hornet and Paul F. Tompkins. I hope there will be more Blue Morpho flashbacks in the rest of the season.



Elle: I’m convinced Jonas Sr. did something terrible to the Blue Morpho and left the Monarch an orphan. There was speculation during Season 5 that the cyborg Vendata might have been built from the remains of the Monarch’s father, and now that we’ve gotten a better look at his face that still seems possible. I hope we get these answers this season, rather than having to wait three more years for Season 7.

Betty: This episode also continues the storyline of Hank’s crush on Sirena, Wide Wale’s daughter, starting with a scene of Hank attempting to meet her in the park while he and Dean train with Brock. I think the relocation of the Venture family allows Hank and Dean to actually have more normal slice-of-life moments, and I’m excited to see Hank pursue romance while Dean prepares for college. Of course, those slice-of-life moments are cut with a heavy dose of retro super science and dealing with villains.



Elle: Now that we’ve gotten to know her, I really like Sirena. When she was just a girl in a swimming pool seen through a window, she looked like a generically hot object of desire, but as soon as she opens her mouth and we hear that over-the-top New York mafia princess voice that Cristin Milioti is doing to such perfection, she becomes much more interesting and endearing, and she’s a believable love interest for Hank to a degree that nobody else he’s ever been interested in has come close to.



Betty: The Guild of Calamitous Intent is throwing a business party at Wide Wale’s property, which the Monarch attends with apprehension. Dr. Mrs. the Monarch is dealing with some unwanted attention from a new villain named Copy Cat, who tricks both her and the Monarch with his ability to replicate himself (because of course).



Elle: I felt pretty bad for the Monarch in this episode. I mean, he’s a terrible person a lot of the time (he is a villain, after all), and all the lies he’s telling his wife this season, and all the secrets he’s keeping from her, are going to have massive consequences that could ruin his marriage and possibly get some people killed along the way. But watching Copy Cat frame him for the crime of peeing on the Venture sofa still had me sympathetic toward him. Of course, Hatred saw that that wasn’t really the Monarch, but he’s not terribly smart and probably doesn’t care enough about the Monarch to clear his name anyway.

Betty: I kind of don’t buy how easily manipulated Dr. Mrs. the Monarch is in this season so far? Like, there was already an entire season where she was manipulated by Phantom Limb, and now that she’s in a position of power in the Guild, it would suck to see her so easily swayed to distrust herself and her husband, even if he is a petty little man.

But I don’t know --- Dr. Mrs. the Monarch is one of the very few female characters on this show, and one of my favorite villains of all time, and while I do think that this kind of conflict can give a character depth, I don’t think she would be so easily duped by Copy Cat.

Elle: I hear what you’re saying, and I’m definitely rooting for her to figure out that there’s something big going on beyond just her husband lying to her. Certainly the Monarch hasn’t been doing a great job of earning her trust lately, but Sheila really ought to be smart enough to know what he is and isn’t capable of. And now that she’s risen so high in the Guild, she certainly has to know that she’s in the middle of the proverbial nest of vipers.



Betty: At the same party, Hank delivers a pizza (from a non-HankCo establishment!) to Sirena and spends the rest of the episode clumsily dodging all of Wide Wale’s henchmen while trying to talk to Sirena.



Elle: Did you notice in this sequence that Donald Trump is at Wide Wale’s party? If it were any other presidential candidate, his inclusion would seem like a pretty strong political statement. But let’s be honest, having a party full of NYC-based supervillains and not having Trump there just wouldn’t seem realistic.

Betty: Yes! Trump fits so well in that setting, because like, he’s just a cartoon rich person who would hang out with other cartoon rich people with questionable motives.

Meanwhile, Dean is infected with nanobots that Billy and Pete (who have officially accepted their residence in VenTech) accidentally unleashed in the Venture building, which allow them to control Dean’s body to max capacity, including speaking Babylonian and lifting Brock over his head. Later, it’s revealed that Rusty assists Dean with his tests by using the nanobots to access all of the SAT/entrance exam information that the learning beds definitely didn’t teach the boys.



Elle: The scene when Pete’s controlling Dean without realizing it and makes Brock think Dean is possessed is basically comedy gold. There’s nothing creepier than someone sitting straight up in bed and suddenly speaking Babylonian. Or possibly Sumerian, Brock’s not sure which. But regardless of what it took, I’m happy for Dean that he got into college. It’s his one chance to either escape the cycle of science-violence that is the Venture family, or at least gain enough outside knowledge to find greater super-science success than his father.



Betty: I can’t wait to see Dean actually go to college and have to navigate his life beyond an outdated learning bed. I can’t wait to see Hank go on an actual date with Sirena. I love this silly slice-of-life super science boy adventurer stuff!

Elle: Same! Even as this was a fun episode on its own, it set up so many things that I can’t wait to see play out in the future!


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