The Venture brothers are growing up … kind of

Hank and Dean Venture - The Venture Bros.

With three episodes under our belt already, season five of The Venture Bros. is already showing the continuing evolution of the title siblings. How are they changing compared to earlier seasons … and will the changes stick?

 

Man, did I miss this show. Besides the Halloween special last year, it’s been two and a half years since we’ve had a Venture Bros. episode. The third episode of season five premiered on Sunday (with a small but cheeky performance from Gillian Jacobs) and between that and the hour-long premiere the other weekend, this show continues to surprise me with big changes for the Venture clan.

Show creators Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick have never been shy about making story choices that greatly change the characters. I mean, in the last moments of the season three finale they killed off 24 right after Brock quit — two fan-favorites gone from the series, at least as regulars. But that fearlessness and willing to shake things up is how the show went from a straight-forward Johnny Quest satire to the eclectic, often bizarre and even touching show that it is today. The one aspect of the show that has ultimately changed the least is the boys.

That’s not to say Hank and Dean haven’t grown up at all during the first four seasons. Both boys have been disillusioned about their father’s success as a scientist and have an overall better idea of the world around them. But while the show has had the boys change in previous seasons, their naivety seems to snap them back over and over. In the last couple weeks (on top of the Halloween special), I’ve started to think the brothers are really changing.

Dean finally finds out about the clones and he questions more of the propaganda he received from his father.
It’s obvious that the majority of the change is happening with Dean, starting with his profanity at the very end of last season. The next day, he’s dyed his hair black and burnt his bed … literally burning his learning bed and his Dean-y childhood stuff before pointing out to Rusty just how sick the learning beds are. In the Halloween special (which takes place chronologically in the middle of the season premiere), Dean finally finds out about the clones and he questions more of the propaganda he received from his father. And in most recent episode, Dean takes it upon himself to fix HELPeR — not because his father tells him that’s his future but because he wants to help the poor robot.

Hank’s personality hasn’t changed nearly as much, but he is stretching his wings. Hank Co. is back at the compound  and as much as Rusty has belittled him for not being the ideal future super scientist like Dean, Hank is showing initiative. Then in this past episode, we see Hank with highly focused Dark Knight-esque survival and combat skills that save the day. Granted, he was hyped up on coffee at the time, but the only thing that went wrong in his plan was the iPad didn’t go off. That’s pretty impressive considering how many times he died previously due to his own incompetence (including via rooftop umbrella drop trying to be Batman).

But as Hammer and Publick have said before, the show is really about failure. And while the boys are becoming their own people, I doubt their lives are going to be any less disturbing. I mean, in the premiere Dean gets a girlfriend who slowly mutates thanks to Rusty’s new radioactive project, then beats the mutant’s leader in hand-to-hand combat to please his mutant girlfriend, which he then discovers will doom the world to a mutant apocalypse.

The boys might change, but some things stay the same. And I’m looking forward to watching it all.

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Photo Credit: Cartoon Network

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