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Recap / The Venture Bros S 1 E 11 Past Tense

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Episode - 1-12 (11th in Broadcast Order)

First Aired - October 16, 2004

The Venture family is aboard the X-1, late to a funeral they are trying to attend (after being waylaid by helping some Ant people.) After a hard landing in a graveyard, disrupting a different nearby funeral, Venture asks the priest where the Mike Sorayama funeral is.

In a Flashback, Venture reminisces about his time in college with Sorayama. He learns that Sorayama has a crush on a girl he is tutoring named Leslie Cohen. A young Pete White enters the room, and it is revealed that Venture's new freshman roommate is Brock Samson. White's roommate turns out to be Werner Ünderbheit, an exchange student accompanied by his man servant, Manservant. Venture also mentions a "creepy guy" in his creative writing class with long eyebrows and an obsession with Monarch butterflies. The flashback is interrupted by Hank and Dean questioning how unlikely it is that these people all knew each other in college.


The priest says that Sorayama has requested Venture, Brock, White, and Ünderbheit as his pallbearers. When they step up to the coffin, it shackles them to it, hits them without knockout gas, and flies off with them. Four identical looking women in the back of the church follow the coffin out.

Hank first calls the Monarch, who denies any responsibility for the situation. Dean, meanwhile, digs through some of Rusty's old stuff and finds a communication device. Their call is answered by an elderly British man in Tangier. The man turns out to be Colonel Horace Gentleman, a member of the original Team Venture when Rusty was a boy. He agrees to assemble the rest of the original Team Venture in order to rescue Rusty. Gentleman calls Kano, a mute martial arts master who communicates through origami; Otto Aquarius, an Atlantian half fish/half human hybrid with a long lifespan; and the Action Man, a retired action hero with a flatulence problem. The team assembles at the Venture compound where the boys learn that Rusty had a tracking device implanted in his tooth as a boy since he was getting lost or kidnapped so often. The team sets off to find him aboard the X-1.


The four women chain the pallbearers to the wall of a dungeon with iron collars, connecting Brock to Venture and White to Ünderbheit. The women are revealed to be robots with the same face. As the prisoners awaken, Mike Sorayama appears on a television, noting that the robots are all made to look like Leslie Cohen and that he will kill the four captives for what they did to him in college.

Team Venture follow the tracking device to Rusty's old college dorm room. They find the tooth under a bed, having been knocked out years ago. (The group assumes Rusty removed it himself in a fit of youthful rebellion.) Hank and Dean mention Sorayama, who the student currently in the room has for a professor. The student hadn't heard of Sorayama being dead.

Flashing back to their college days, Sorayama smokes a bong supposedly packed with special weed from Ünderbheit's home country as Ünderbheit, White, and Venture look on. It is revealed that the substance is actually oregano, to which Sorayama is badly allergic. He nearly dies and is forced to cancel a study date with Leslie. In the present, Ünderbheit assaults one of the Leslie bots in an attempt to escaped, but is electrocuted, losing his metal prosthetic jaw in the process. Brock manages to pick up the jaw and uses it to begin cutting through his chain.


In another flashback, Sorayama is listening to the college radio station, where White is a DJ. White reads a fake dedication from Sorayama to Leslie, humiliating Sorayama. Another flashback shows Sorayama, Ünderbheit, White, and Venture all playing Dungeons & Dragons. Venture has his character seduce a "Leslie Golem" creature that Sorayama invented, much to Sorayama's chagrin. In the present, Venture argues with Sorayama about how absurd it is to take offense to such a thing. Meanwhile, Brock finishes sawing through his chain with Ünderbheit's jaw.

Elsewhere in Sorayama's headquarters, Team Venture arrives and disables the Lesliebots. They intend to disguise themselves as the Lesliebots to infiltrate further.

Flashing back again, Sorayama goes to Venture's room one morning in time to see Leslie coming out. He accuses Venture of sleeping with her, which Venture denies while admitting that he didn't lose his virginity until he was 24. Venture says it must have been Brock, who frequently brought women back to their room. In the present, Brock destroys the cell lock with Ünderbheit's jaw and escapes.

Back in the past, it is revealed that Brock was kicked off the football team on the same day as the D&D game after accidentally killing Tommy, the team's deaf quarterback, in practice. He returned to the room in a drunken rage and attacked the foursome. In the present, Brock comes upon Team Venture, poorly disguised as the Lesliebots. The two battle scenes (college and present) are played in an alternating sequence with Brock taking out everyone. Rusty is shown having his tracking device implanted molar knocked out in the past with Brock knocking out the Action Man's dentures in the present. Hank and Dean calm Brock down and explain that they were there to help.

Venture, no longer trapped since his chain was connected to Brock's, escapes to find Brock. The Venture family investigates a hole made when Brock threw Otto, finding a decapitated Sorayama robot. They investigate the nearby coffin, to discover Sorayama's actual corpse inside. The family leaves, with White and Ünderbheit still trapped in the dungeon.

The Stinger shows another flashback to the day after the D&D game. Brock apologizes to Venture, and explains that he is going to join the army with his scholarship now revoked. On his way out the door, Brock casually says that someone called to tell Rusty that his father died.


  • Disproportionate Retribution: Subverted by Sorayama, in that while he wants revenge for how the others screwed him over with his college crush does have legitimate grievances with them (Underbheit gave him oregano under the pretense it was weed which he was allergic to, White delivered a humiliating message about him on the college radio, Brock attacked him in a drunken rage and unknown to Sorayama also slept with his crush). He reminds Rusty of an incident during a D&D game that was just Doc trolling him (Sorayama created a golem based of his crush and Rusty had his wizard seduce it). Doc is aghast that Sorayama wants him dead for "having fake sex on graph paper with a woman who barely spoke to you in real life" only for Sorayama to reveal that it's actually based on the belief that Rusty slept with his crush.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Col. Gentleman believes that Rusty removed his tooth with the tracker as an act of rebellion, not too shocking given his troubled relationship with Jonas. It was actually knocked out by Brock in a drunken rage.
    • Sorayama is under the impression that Rusty slept with his crush, which isn't too surprising given that he wasn't aware Brock didn't really hang in the room that much and wouldn't be aware of his tendencies.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Rusty, Brock, White, Ünderbheit, Sorayama, and the Monarch were in the same college at the same time.
  • Never Say "Die": In-Universe, Dean seems to be unable to fathom the idea that he has seen death.
    Hank: Dude, just last week Brock killed two dervishes with a pillowcase full of Coke right in our bedroom.
    Dean: He just knocked them out.
    Hank: Go sing yourself another lullaby, baby Dean. The police took them away in body bags.
    Dean: Sleeping bag! Those were sleeping bags!

  • Gass Hole: The Action Man can't seem to move without letting out a fart.
  • Noodle Incident: The Venture family saving the Ant people in the beginning of the episode.
  • Not Me This Time: The Monarch to Hank and Dean about the kidnapping. Brock too, when he wakes up and finds himself chained in a dungeon with the other three, he immediately accuses Ünderbheit of being responsible, leading to this priceless response:
  • Older Than They Look: Otto hasn't aged nearly as much as the other members of the original Team Venture, thanks to his Atlantian DNA.
  • Retired Badass Roundup: The original Team Venture reuniting to rescue Rusty one more time.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When mocking Ünderbheit's haircut, Venture and White compare it to Incredible Hulk and Pete Rose.
    • In the scene where the original Team Venture searches Rusty's old dorm room, there are several posters on the wall featuring Boba Fett, The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, and one reading "60 cent" (a reference to 50 Cent.)
    • In the flashback's to Rusty's room, a poster with a stylized "Yea" is a parody of the logo of the band Yes. Another poster is based on the cover of Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon." A third poster is based on the album "You," by Gong.
    • A suspiciously similar version of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" can be heard during the "oregano bong" flashback.
    • Mike Sorayama is named after artist Hajime Sorayama, who drew characters very similar to the Lesliebots.
    • Col. Gentleman's young servant Kiki is a reference to William S. Burrough's book Naked Lunch. Gentleman himself is based heavily on Burroughs, along with some Sean Connery.
    • The scene where Sorayama is revealed to be a robot, and short-circuits while repeating Leslie's name, is a reference "The Lonely", an episode of The Twilight Zone where a robot short-circuits in death and repeats the name of the human she loved.

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