[WARNING – This Venture Bros. review contains some minor spoilers.]
As last week’s “The Venture Bros & The Curse Of The Haunted Problem” caught us up on the status quo of The Venture Family and their allies, so does “The Rorqual Affair” catch us up on where things stand on the villains’ side of the street. Quite literally, as most of the episode is set in Wide Wale’s hide-out across the street from Ven-Tech Tower.
A quick reminder for everyone who didn’t binge-watch the show in anticipation of the new season. Season Six of The Venture Bros. saw The Guild of Calamitous Intent in dire straits after losing much of their command structure. In order to secure the support of noted super-gangster Wide Wale, Dr. Mrs. The Monarch had to give him a seat on The Guild’s ruling body – The Council of 13 – as well as exclusive arch-enemy rights to Dr. Rusty Venture.
Naturally The Monarch was less than thrilled about this, until he discovered that his father had been a vigilante called The Blue Morpho, who did all the dirty work of the original Dr. Venture. With a cave full of his dad’s old gadgets and his #1 henchman Gary at his side. The Monarch became the new Blue Morpho and began taking out all the competition standing between him and his rightful place as Dr. Rusty Venture’s one and only official arch enemy.
One of the cliffhanger points in last week’s episode was a brief shot of The Blue Morpho tied up and at the mercy of Wide Wale. “The Rorqual Affair” continues with this storyline and does far more to develop the character of Wide Wale than any every other appearance of the character to date. I hadn’t been overly fond of the character, seeing him as a lazy riff on Marvel Comics’ Kingpin and DC Comics Tobias Whale, mixed with all the usual cliches about overbearing fathers and gangsters. I didn’t hate the character but he wasn’t as interesting as other one-note joke characters the show has featured. That changes in this episode, with Doc Hammer’s script giving Wide Wale far more to do than look menacing and make veiled threats and Hal Lublin is clearly having a ball getting to play a more humorous side to the character.
Talking of one-note characters, this episode also sees the return of Clancy Brown as The Red Death and thank goodness for it! You wouldn’t think you could get much mileage out of a man with no skin who alternates between sounding like a reasonable youth pastor and a murderous lunatic, yet they do. Again, this is largely due to Brown’s versatility as a voice actor but Hammer’s script also deserves some credit.
Hopefully you Venture Family fans aren’t sick of cliff-hanger endings yet, because guess what? There’s another cliff-hanger and another twist at the end of this episode, as we go into what turns out to be the third-part of the season opening! Hopefully the next episode will continue the trend of each episode improving upon the one that preceded it, though I’m not sure how Mesers. Publick and Hammer can improve on this one.