[WARNING – This Venture Bros. review contains some minor spoilers.]
Super-Villains are disappearing right and left and the vigilante known as The Blue Morpho is presumed to be responsible. The situation has become so desperate that The Guild of Calamitous Intent offered a temporary truce to the OSI in exchange for their assistance in bringing The Blue Morpho to justice. Or whatever passes for justice when you’re a group of unionized super-criminals, monsters and mad scientists.
The Guild takes these extreme measures even though the next villain due to antagonize Dr. Venture is The Red Death – a professional evil-doer of the old-school, respected by both his fellow villains as a mentor figure and as a worthy foe by all the old soldiers in the OSI. He’s not the sort to be easy prey for The Blue Morpho but The Guild and OSI aren’t taking any chances. Ironically, even The Monarch – who is secretly The Blue Morpho – respects The Red Death too much to try killing him. So he’ll just have to do something clever to get The Red Death to agree to stop arching Dr. Venture…
Now, as decoys are set in place and The Venture Family is spirited away for an evening, traps are set and plans are put into motion. Will the OSI/Guild sting thwart The Blue Morpho? Will Hank and Dean discover a new side of themselves as Shore Leave takes them out clubbing? Can Dr. Venture survive a dinner party with his father’s old friends from the original Team Venture? And what does any of this have to two with the two guys in their underwear that are chained up in a decrepit bathroom somewhere with a pile of corpses?
I commented in previous reviews of Venture Bros.’ sixth season that we weren’t getting to see nearly enough of the supporting cast. That oversight was corrected in this episode, when some of the OSI command staff returned. We even get Snoopy, the OSI communications guy back for an episode, voiced once again by John Hodgman.
The Venture Bros. has always had talented voice actors but this episode was particularly great in this regard. Supernatural‘s Misha Collins plays one of the two mysterious prisoners and there’s a neat visual gag here in that Collins’ character – like Castiel – appears to have been modeled on John Constantine. And I never knew how badly I needed to hear Clancy Brown (perfectly cast as The Red Death) do Liam Neeson’s speech from Taken before now.
Sadly, this episode devotes a little too much of its time toward asides and subplots involving the minor characters and not enough time on Season Six’s on-going storyline. Despite the threat to the status quo of the show, nothing really happens as a result of the events of this episode. This is surprising given how tightly plotted the season as a whole has been and how everything so far seems to have been building to some kind of pay off. Red Means Stop doesn’t provide that pay-off but it’s a solid episode even if it falls flat as a season finale.