[WARNING: The following review contains some minor SPOILERS.]
The Monarch’s recent efforts to fill the coffers at The Guild of Calamitous Intent have not gone unnoticed or unappreciated, but he’s still a long way from being able to win back the assignment of being Doctor Venture’s official arch-enemy. Thankfully, there are other ways to boost your guild ranking beyond bringing in big pay-days. Because like most craft-based service organizations, The Guild looks after their own and one gets back what one gives. So when The Monarch finds out there is a “Little Villains” program which allows experienced baddies to boost their rank by mentoring newbie villains in need of guidance for a day, he is quick to sign up. Particularly when he finds out the only villain signed up in the program at the moment will allow him to arch Doctor Venture by proxy.
Meanwhile, Doctor Mrs. The Monarch is busy dealing with the fallout of the recent Treaty of Tolerance Summit and the revelation that one of The Guild’s drones is a spy for rival organized villainy group The Peril Partnership. Thankfully, the drone is willing to go double agent (particularly after the penalties for treason to The Guild are outlined) but he does ask for one boon to which Shelia is sympathetic – he wants to get his girlfriend out of the O.S.I., having only apparently betrayed The Guild to save her life. A collision course with wackiness will ensue but it remains to be seen if true love (or a lust for exposed brains) can truly conquer all.
“The Bellicose Proxy” provides an interesting payoff after a seemingly lackluster episode last week. Much like how the season’s opening trilogy of episodes built out of a seemingly one-off gag from The Venture Bros. first season, so too does this episode build a surprising amount of pathos and humor out of the brief gag from last season involving a Guild Stranger and an OSI sniper forming a surprising bond.
However, the real treat of this episode lies in the larger plot-line which sees The Monarch and Gary mentoring another super-villain and his head henchman. I’m intentionally keeping their identity a secret so as to preserve the surprise, but even those who find this particular character annoying and unfunny (that in itself may be a pretty big spoiler) will draw amusement from The Monarch’s frustration as his charge fails in basic tasks such as delivering an evil speech, dramatically emerging from a smoke cloud or managing an evil laugh that can’t be mistaken for an asthma attack.
Between that and a spattering of random gags involving the inner workings of The Guild of Calamitous Intent’s Research and Development wing and the acronyms they use for labeling everything, this is a solid episode of The Venture Bros. It continues the story of the season admirably, without letting the plot weigh things down too much. “The Bellicose Proxy” achieves the perfect balance of drama and humor that makes this series worthwhile.