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Recap / The Venture Bros S 4 E 9 The Diving Bell Versus The Butter Glider

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Episode - Season 4, Episode 9 (Production Code: 4-48)

First Aired - September 12, 2010

The show opens from the point of view of an injured Dr. Venture, laying the back of Sgt. Hatred's jeep with Dean by his side. Hatred is driving recklessly as they are pursued by the Monarch's Cocoon. Hank is in the back using the jeep's machine gun to hold off the Cocoon. Dean explains to Hatred that Dr. Venture is "half conscious," apparently having suffered a stroke.


Inside the Cocoon, 21 is revealed to be in command. He orders the Pupa Twins dropped from the bottom hatch of the Cocoon on mini-motorcycles. As they catch up to the jeep, Hank runs out of ammunition. Out of desperation, Hatred drives down the side of a cliff towards a hospital. Tim-Tom and Kevin are unable to stop in time, falling over the side of the cliff as well. However, they ditch their pupa suits to reveal mini-Monarch henchmen costumes and use the wings to slow their descent. Hatred rushes Dr. Venture and the boys inside the hospital as the twins radio the situation back to 21. 21 tells them to pull out, as it is a Catholic hospital, which is considered "hallowed ground" by the Guild.

The Monarch and Dr. Mrs. the Monarch are attending a birthday party for King Gorilla, one of the Monarch's former prison associates. King Gorilla has had his life sentence reduced as he is in poor health, apparently suffering from lung cancer. When they see the Cocoon return, Dr. Mrs. the Monarch leaves to debrief 21. Monarch stays to see King Gorilla open his gift: a carton of cigarettes. Monarch explains that no one told him that King Gorilla was sick.


Inside the Cocoon, 21 leads the other henchmen in demanding better equipment. Since Sgt. Hatred doesn't share Brock's aversion to guns, the Monarch henchmen casualty count is skyrocketing. 21 demands body armor for each henchmen, explaining that he had to pay for his own armor out of pocket by selling his Star Wars collectables, and that the other henchmen can't do that. He also explains that they want collapsible wings, since they are a hazard on the battlefield and don't fit well through the Cocoon doorways. He has a presentation prepared on the giant control room monitor about new weapon and armor designs, but Dr. Mrs. the Monarch dismisses it as too expensive, as well as because some of those items don't actually exist. With the henchmen still angry, she moves on to the next order of business (the henchmen using too much of the Cocoon's bandwidth for non-work reasons) when the Monarch comes riding into the control room on the "Butter-Glider," a wedge shaped flying device made to look like a stylized golden butterfly. He boasts about its cost ("a few mil,") and the henchmen leave angry. Dr. Mrs. the Monarch angrily tells him that she just got done explaining how they can't afford new equipment to the henchmen but The Monarch dismisses her, telling her that you don't bother to explain things to henchmen, because they're simply henchmen, they'll do as ordered.


At the Venture compound, Dr. Venture is laid out on an operating table. Hatred explains to the boys that the hospital denied them because they don't have insurance. So, he summons Billy Quizboy and Pete White. They arrive in their new "Conjecturecycle," purchased with the insurance fraud money the got in an earlier episode. Hatred explains Venture's symptoms to them and also that some metal in Venture's body was ripped out when the hospital gave him an MRI. (The metal was from pins Billy inserted when Venture had his arm severed in Victor. Echo. November.)

After coming up with several possible diagnoses, Billy suggests that they shrink Hatred and the boys down in a submarine and inject them into Venture's bloodstream to find the problem. They go to get the X-3, the Venture submarine, but find it missing. Just then, a SPHINX submarine pops up in its place. Three apparent pirates exit the craft, but are quickly revealed to be captives when Brock exits the sub.

In the SPHINX headquarters, Hatred and the Ventures argue with Hunter Gathers over the use of his sub. Gathers refuses, and tells Brock to mind wipe them, but Brock refuses, as the repeated mind-wipings is making the boys "buggy." He demonstrates by asking the boys some simple questions, and they confuse numbers for colors and days of the week in response (Paraphasia.) Gathers reluctantly agrees after the display, but puts Brock in charge of the mission. Hatred, as the official Venture bodyguard, insists that he should be in charge instead. Brock reasons with him, arguing that Hatred should stay behind to guard Venture's actual body while he and the boys are inside, to which Hatred agrees.

Dr. Mrs. the Monarch prepares to climb in to bed with her husband, but finds him there with the Butter-Glider in her place. She refuses to sleep with the glider in bed, having chalked up Monarch's obsession with it to a mid-life crisis until now, but thinks this is going too far. Monarch angrily accuses her of jealousy and she storms out of the room.

Brock, Shoreleave, and the boys enter the cocoon while Billy uses the shrink ray to shrink them down. He injects the sub into Venture's neck and the crew begin to search for cause of the problem. Billy and Pete make a bet over whether it's a blood clot or a tumor.

Dr. Mrs. the Monarch has gone to the Cocoon lounge seeking some time away from the Monarch. The bartender immediately serves her favorite drink, a vodka and tonic, without her ordering. The bartender points towards 21 in the corner as the one who ordered it. 21 is sitting in the corner with the ghost and skull of 24, who claims to have ordered the drink and that she'll now come over to flirt with 21. 21 is incredulous, citing how 24 can't interact with anyone or anything besides him, and starts to think he is going crazy. Dr. Mrs. the Monarch sits down next to him, thanking him for the drink. She tells 21 his idea for better weapons and armor is a good one, and expresses her frustration with the Monarch and his butter-glider. 21 mentions that some of the henchmen are so mad about it that there is talk of going on strike. That gives Dr. Mrs. the Monarch, and tells 21 that maybe the should go on strike.

Meanwhile, the Monarch has gone outside and is riding his butter-glider around the countryside, singing a song about his love for it.

Inside Venture's body, the sub comes upon a large blockage that appears to be a blood clot. Brock, Hank, and Dean exist the sub in scuba suits to cut away the clot with laser guns but soon discover something metallic beneath it. After they've cut away some of the clot, they realize that it is the missing X-3 sub, and on board are skeletons from previous Hank and Dean clones, the "sevens" according to Brock. Hank and Dean believe that someone dressed up in their clothes and stole the X-3, and Brock lets the believe it.

Dr. Mrs. the Monarch contacts the Monarch with her communicator, telling him that 21 and the henchmen have gone on strike and are headed to the Venture compound to kill Dr. Venture since the Monarch is too incompetent to do it himself. This enrages the Monarch who flies his butter-glider towards the compound.

At the compound, the security alarm goes off. Hatred goes outside to see an army of Monarch henchmen descending on the compound. He informs them of Venture's medical situation, and says that it would be against Guild rules for them to attack now. 21 and the other henchmen remove their goggles, informing Hatred that they're on strike and are therefore not bound by Guild rules. Hatred presses a button on his communicator watch, putting the compound under lock down. He flees inside, getting hit in the back with Monarch tranquilizer darts as he does. The steel shutters come down just in time to stop the henchmen from entering. Hatred rushes to the lab and gives himself a shot of adrenaline to counteract the tranquilizers. The mixture gives him a heart attack and he collapses on the lab floor.

The henchmen have captured H.E.L.P.eR and 21 is forcing him at gunpoint (with H.E.L.P.eR's own torn off turret gun) to disable the compound security system. He does so and the steel shutters open, allowing the henchmen inside. Just then, the Monarch arrives on his butter-glider, his sense of purpose restored. The henchmen fall back under his command as he enters the compound.

Hatred tries to carry Venture's body to the panic room but Billy and Pete refuse to allow him to be moved, as it could endanger the crew inside of him. Shoreleave pilots the SPHINX sub towards Venture's tear duct for extraction, but the jostling of Venture's body causes the X-3, with Brock and the boys aboard, to become lost. The Monarch rides his butter-glider into the lab, shooting Hatred, Pete, and Billy with darts. Monarch hovers over Venture's body to taunt him just as the X-3 crashes into part of Venture's brain, causing him to rise up and slap the Monarch. The monarch assumes Venture is conscious, ties him up with the butter-glider's tow cable, and pulls him out of the lab window.

Hatred comes to on the lab floor, the effects of the adrenaline keeping him conscious in spite of the tranquilizer. He grabs the shrink ray, switches it to "Grow," and shoots at Venture's body. Venture grows to a gigantic size, too much for the butter-glider to lift, and crashes back down. Monarch comes to next to Venture's giant body and his destroyed butter-glider. Above him, the SPHINX sub has escaped through Venture's tear duct and has been re-enlarged. It drops from Venture's eye directly onto the Monarch as the credits roll.

The Stinger shows Billy and White on the radio with Brock and the boys, trying to figure out where they are in Venture's body based on a description of the surrounding area. Venture is back to normal size on the lab table, still comatose. Based on the boys description, Billy figures out that they are stuck in Venture's prostate. White asks how they will get them out as Billy hands him a medical glove, a bottle of lube, and a pornographic magazine on the table.


  • Awesome, but Impractical: The new henchman armor proposed by 21. Beyond the expense of it, several of the technologies don't actually exist. (And in a universe with SCIENCE! and real functional magic, that is really saying something.)
    • Also, the Monarch's new Butter-Glider, which "cost a mint", doesn't appear to have any weapons mounted on it, smells like french fries due to it running on bio-diesel, and is destroyed after Sgt. Hatred enlargens Doc (tethered to it by a bola-cable) to giant-size, dragging it back down to earth.
  • Batman Gambit: Dr. Mrs. The Monarch, sick of the Monarch's obsession with his new Butter-Glider, instructs Henchman 21 to go rogue and lead the Fluttering Horde in an assault on the Venture Compound before informing the Monarch of his "insubordination", surmising correctly that the Monarch will not allow 21 to succeed where he has failed.
  • Cargo Ship: In-Universe. The Monarch's... "attachment" to his Butter-Glider involves singing to it during a moonlit flight, having picnics with it, spooning it in bed and accusing Dr. Mrs The Monarch of being jealous of it; naturally, she is far from impressed.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Dr. Venture can't have an MRI (necessitating the submarine voyage) because of the metal pins Billy used when reattaching Venture's arm in Victor. Echo. November.
    • The shrink ray makes yet another appearance.
    • The Monarch recognizes Pete White from college, which they both attended at the same time, as revealed in Past Tense.
  • Facepalm: Billy's reaction to the fact that Team Venture is in Rusty's prostate, knowing what this means they have to do to get them out.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: Invoked and Lampshaded; Pete White initially thinks Billy was referring to Innerspace.
  • Foreshadowing: The X3's absence from the compound - turns out that it (along with the skeletons of two of Hank and Dean's clones) are in the centre of the blood clot responsible for Doc's coma.
  • Ironic Echo: The Monarch fobs off his wife's concerns about the henchmen by telling her "you gotta be more ruthless". Later, after she manipulates him into intervening in 21's assault on the Venture Compound, she mutters to herself "Gotta be ruthless."
  • Jumping the Shark: Discussed In-Universe. The trope is mentioned by name by the Monarch when describing the villain-henchman relationship.
    Monarch: You say "jump" and they say "which shark?"
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Pete White's improvised response when the Monarch breaks into the Venture compound lab to find no sign of Hank and Dean.
    White: Uh, due to a medical emergency, the parts of Hank and Dean will be played by Billy Quizboy and Pete White this evening.
  • Midlife Chrysler: King Gorilla's terminal cancer provokes the Monarch to purchase the gaudy and expensive Butter-Glider.
  • Noodle Incident: How and why were the "Sevens" inside of a clot in Rusty's body? The world may never know.
  • Oh, Crap!: Sgt. Hatred when he realises that 21 and the Fluttering Horde have gone rogue.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The episode title is taken from the book The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, a 1997 book about the life of a man suffering from "locked-in syndrome."
    • The Monarch's Butter-Glider is similar in function and appearance to the various Goblin Gliders used by Spider-Man villains Green Goblin and Hobgoblin.
    • The Guild's rule about villains not being allowed to "arch" on "hallowed grounds" is a nod to Highlander.
    • 21 shouts "Pistole!" to get the attention of the other henchmen while presenting his idea for weapon and armor upgrades to Dr. Mrs. the Monarch. Marion uses the same phrase in Raiders of the Lost Ark to get the attention of the Nepalese.
    • Billy and Pete argue over whether their plan more closely resembles Fantastic Voyage or Innerspace.
    • Hank, Dean, and Shoreleave recite lines from the 1970s commercial for the game Operation while in Venture's body, much to Brock's annoyance.
    • Shoreleave mentions the "sonar lighting up like Tony Manero is going to dance on it!" while piloting the SPHINX sub.
    • When the Monarch and Dr. Mrs. the Monarch discuss King Gorilla's appearance due to his illness, Monarch says he "looks like a gorilla suit with nobody in it...wearing David Byrne's Stop Making Sense suit.
    • Pete mentions that Billy has been watching a lot of House when when he is diagnosing Venture.
    • The searchlight Hatred uses to summon Billy and Pete is a reference to the Bat-Signal.
    • Billy shouting "we got one!" when called upon by Hatred comes from Ghostbusters (1984) which uses the same line when they get their first call.
    • Gathers says that he doesn't want his expensive submarine being used to fight the "Cavity Creeps." The Cavity Creeps were villains who made holes in teeth used in commercials for Crest toothpaste.
    • The music that plays while Monarch is flying on and singing to his butter-glider is extremely similar to the music played in the first Superman movie when Superman flies with Lois Lane.
  • Took a Level in Badass: 21's first solo command of the Cocoon demonstrate his improved tactical knowledge and leadership, only breaking off pursuit when Team Venture enter a Catholic hospital. Later, he leads the other henchmen in a rogue assault on the Venture Compound, successfully disarms H.E.L.P.eR and forces it to override the locked-down compounds' blast shutters.
    • Also, Sgt. Hatred. In spite of being overweight and over 50, he gets an unconscious Doc to a hospital unscathed whilst being pursued by the Monarch's henchmen, and during 21's assault on the compound, manages (whilst fleeing and outnumbered) to shoot at least two henchmen, lock down the building, tank several tranquiliser darts and smash through a plate glass window before the blast shutters close. He then self-injects himself with an adrenaline shot, states that he might be having a heart attack and attempts to hoist Doc into the panic room before the Monarch subdues him, then revives just in time to run to the roof and enlarge Doc with the shrink ray.
      • It's also mentioned that, due to him not sharing Brock Samson's aversion to firearms, henchman casualties are actually higher since Hatred became the Ventures' bodyguard.
  • The Unfettered: At Dr. Mrs. The Monarch's suggestion, 21 leads the rest of the Monarch henchman in a strike, meaning that they no longer work for the Monarch and by extension are no longer bound by the Guild's restrictions on arching during medical emergencies. Had the Monarch not shown up to reassert his authority, they may well have succeeded in wiping out Team Venture.

Example of: