The Venture Bros: Venture Libre, Review
The Venture Brothers deal with being reborn in a wild and mutated jungle setting in… "Venture Libre!"
Sliding into the new groove of season 5 nicely, this week’s episode found Dr. Venture summoned by General Manhowers to Central America, in order to stop an A.W.O.L. Venturestein, who has also managed to significantly improve his overall handle on dialect. This ultimately leads to a classic Venture Bros. excursion through an imaginative jungle, full of cheetahs wielding machineguns and other fun surprises, while always keeping the main focus on how our central cast of characters continues to make discoveries about themselves and who they are.In many ways, “Venture Libre” could be seen as an episode about rebirth and being reborn, which functioned great against the earthly jungle environment that made up the larger part of the episode. Dean is still jumping headfirst into his newfound sassy and emo phase: reading poetry in his Greg Brady attic room, staying home from the team’s adventure based on principle, bonding with his fellow Venture compound outcast H.E.L.P.E.R., and spouting lines like “I’m a vegetarian now. I don’t eat FACE!”But I think it was definitely Hank’s transformation that stole the show this week. We saw a little taste of this “new Hank” in the season 4 finale, and it’s nice to see the other Venture brother now taking such a more active role in the happenings around him. This new Hank includes more cussing, which is always such an unexpected and hilarious treat, and taking charge of the mission by jumping out of airplanes and setting up a tablet device to explode. But this overarching idea of rebirth was tackled more fully after Hank accidentally eats a basket full of coffee beans, and quite literally “vomits and diarrheas” out everything he used to be inside before. Naturally, this leads him to adopting a new role as the jungle version of Batman, complete with bat mask and raspy Christian Bale voice.But what’s so great about this series is that Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer have structured these characters so carefully and meticulously over the years, that these drastic changes in characterization are not only welcome, but they fit the world of the show here completely. After all, we can always tell that they are still Dean and Hank Venture at heart here, and even if they manage to revert back to their old ways a few episodes later, it would nonetheless be entirely believable given their track record throughout the series.Other fantastic highlights of “Venture Libre” include the hilarious banter between Dr. Venture and Sergeant Hatred on their initial trek through the jungle (although I’m still trying to get used to Hatred’s enormous and completely screen-dominating new boobs). It was also interesting to allow each of the Venture brothers so much solitary screen time, so we could more fully see their growing pains of trying to fit into these newly-adopted roles. And while the extreme absence of Brock Sampson didn’t hurt the story in any way, his character’s lack of appearance so far in season 5 definitely didn’t go unnoticed.