Thinking the Super Adventure Club might know why Chef is acting oddly, the boys go to their headquarters and meet with William Connelly, the club leader. Sure enough, they get an explanation, but it's not what they expect: the Super Adventure Club are globe-trotting child molesters (as opposed to the Adventure Club, who are globe-trotting daredevils), and Chef has been indoctrinated into their ranks. On returning to South Park, they take Chef to Dr. Neeland, a psychiatrist, who says that brainwashing can take months or even years to undo. When Stan says that Chef's favourite activity before his brainwashing was having sex with women, Dr. Neeland suggests they take him to the Peppermint Hippo to watch the strippers. Chef remains unengaged until Spontaneous Bootay, a very large black stripper, performs for him, snapping him back to his old self... only for Connelly to fire a tranquiliser dart into his neck and drag him away.
Connelly explains to the increasingly outraged boys that the Super Adventure Club was founded by adventurer and paedophile William P. Phineas, who became convinced that having sex with children was the key to spiritual and physical immortality due to the "marlocks" in the children's bodies. (Not that Phineas became immortal; he was hit by a train in 1892.) As they are escorted out by security guards, the boys incapacitate the guards, break into the Deprivation Room, and set Chef free, but as they try to lead him over the rope bridge to freedom, it is clear that his attachment to the Super Adventure Club is too strong to break, and he bids them a final farewell before turning back. He never makes it to the other side of the bridge, however; a bolt of lightning causes it to break, and Chef falls into the chasm below, where various wild animals tear his body apart, and even Cartman is convinced Chef is dead when his corpse evacuates its bowels.
Back in South Park, with no body to recover, Chef's spatula is put in a coffin as Kyle reads a eulogy suggesting that people remember the good in Chef, not the brainwashing done by the Super Adventure Club. Meanwhile, the Super Adventure Club have recovered Chef's body and resurrected him as Darth Chef, a paedophile Sith Lord... who is never seen again in the series.
"The Return of Chef" contains examples of:
- Armor-Piercing Question: Just when the boys rescued Chef and have almost crossed the bridge from the Super Adventure Club, Connelly's words at that moment immediately makes him stop and reconsider returning to South Park.Connelly: Don't you remember why you left South Park in the first place?
- Blunt "Yes": The boys response to the Super Adventure Club being far stupider than other religions.Connelly: Is it any more retarded than God sending His only son to die for our sins? Is it any more retarded than Buddha sitting under a tree for 20 years?Stan: Yeah it's way more retarded.
- The Bad Guy Wins: William Connelly and the Super Adventure Club succeed at indoctrinating Chef and making him their newest member as Darth Chef.
- Bears Are Bad News: A bear shows up just after Chef is attacked by a mountain lion, signifying that there really is no hope for him anymore.
- Big Bad: William Connelly, the Super Adventure Club's leader.
- Big "WHAT?!": Stan yells this when Chef asks the boys to make sweet love to him.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Chef.
- Burying a Substitute: After Chef's death, his body can't be recovered, so one of his spatulas is inside his coffin when the funeral is held.
- The Bus Came Back: Chef. The title says it all, but unfortunately he returns only for this episode.
- Call-Back: "Trapped in the Closet" featured the "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer "THIS IS WHAT SCIENTOLOGISTS ACTUALLY BELIEVE" when explaining OT-3. When Connelly explains the Super Adventure Club's beliefs (that having sex with children makes you immortal), a similar message pops up.
- Casting Gag: Darth Chef is voiced by Peter Serafinowicz, who provided Darth Maul's voice.
- Cerebus Syndrome: After starting as a fond welcome back to Chef (who'd been Out of Focus for some time), the episode takes a darker tone the moment Chef starts behaving oddly.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Chef's death is pure Gorn and Nightmare Fuel.
- Cruel Twist Ending: Chef is resurrected as a pedophile.
- Darker and Edgier: This episode is generally considered one of the darkest episodes of South Park, even for a series full of Black Humour.
- Darth Vader Clone: Chef is turned into Darth Chef after his mutilated body is fitted into a very similar-looking suit of armor in a scene reminiscent to Anakin's transformation in Revenge of the Sith.
- Downer Ending: Chef dies a brainwashed man, and the kids aren't able to save him.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Even Cartman hates that the club transformed Chef into a pedophile (he has no problems with the club itself).
- FaceHeel Turn: In the end, Chef chooses his life with the Super Adventure Club over his old one and willingly becomes a pedophile
- Fallen Hero: Chef.
- Faux Affably Evil: While Connelly doesn't want to to kill the boys, he does not seem to mind psychologically traumatizing children in order to get their "marlocks".
- Faux Horrific: William Connelly's attempts to make asking the boys to leave and being escorted out by security sound threatening, complete with dramatic fanfare and an Evil Laugh.Connelly: ...Okay, you know how, like, when you want people to leave but they won't leave, it's really frustrating?
- Hate Sink: William Connelly and his Super Adventure Club are a group of disgusting pedophiles who go around the world raping children, and the plot is about them trying to brainwash Chef into becoming one of them, which they unfortunately succeed at doing, no less.
- Hope Spot: For a moment, the boys are able to get Chef back to his old self when they take him to a strip club, and start hearing him sing how he's going to "make love to you, woman." Then the Super Adventure Club find them, kidnap him, and things only get worse from there.
- Ironic Echo: During the episode, Kyle repeatedly calls the Super Adventure Club a fruity little club. When Chef surrenders to the Super Adventure Club...Connelly: Yes... looks like our "fruity little club" is safe after all.
- Jerkass: To call William Connelly this would be putting it lightly.
- Karma Houdini: William Connelly and his Super Adventure Club get away with everything and they don't receive any punishment for their crimes.
- Killed Off for Real: Chef, though he is revived in the final scene as a cyborg.
- Knight of Cerebus: The episode takes a turn for the dark when William Connelly shows up and we learn that the Super Adventure Club brainwashes its members into becoming child molesters.
- Major Injury Underreaction: The horrific injuries Chef endures over the course of his grueling death scene are accompanied by notably muted voice samples that make it sound like he's only stubbing his toe.
- No Dead Body Poops: Played for Laughs.Cartman: Maybe... maybe he's still okay. No, really. They say the last thing you do before you die is crap your— (Chef's corpse loses its shit) Oh, never mind.
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: "THIS IS WHAT THE SUPER ADVENTURE CLUB ACTUALLY BELIEVES", a Call-Back to "Trapped In the Closet".
- One-Shot Character: William Connelly never appeared again. Neither did Darth Chef, for that matter.
- Pædo Hunt: The school and police try to arrest Chef once he reveals his brainwashed state.
- Rasputinian Death: To wit, Chef is struck by lightning, burned by fire, hit by several rocks as he falls down a chasm, impaled on a tree branch, shot multiple times, and is finally ripped to pieces by a bear and mountain lion before dying.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The therapist who knows what the Super Adventure Club do and believes Chef was brainwashed.
- Stylistic Suck: All of Chef's dialogue in this episode (prior to his death and resurrection as Darth Chef) consists of bits of his dialogue from previous episodes spliced together. They are intentionally spliced together poorly while he's brainwashed and spliced together more naturally after he's freed from it.
- Take That!: The entire episode is one toward the Church of Scientology after Issac Hayes, a Scientologist, was forced to leave the show in response to Trey and Matt parodying the religion.
- Too Dumb to Live: One of the club members shoots Chef rather than the animals that were attacking him.
- This Is Gonna Suck:Connelly: Our club has a message, and a secret that explains the mysteries of life!
Stan: Oh Jesus, here we go.
Connelly: Very well, I'm now going to tell you the secret of the Super Adventure Club.
Stan: We don't wanna hear it.
- Undignified Death: Chef's death is long, grueling, violent, painful, gruesome, and leaves him mutilated beyond recognition. When that's all done, he craps himself.
- Un-Installment: The episode opens with a fake Previously On showing Chef leaving the town.
- Wham Episode: Chef dies. That is all.