Jackson and Doc promised us that Season 6 would be different, and this episode proves just how different it is. I, for one, am loving the change. Faking Miracles brings some brand new revelations and challenges for Team Venture and Co.
The new episode opens on the original Team Venture. A giant robot spider descends towards Colonel Gentleman, Action Man, and Jonas Venture Sr., who are caught in it’s giant web. Jonas yells the cliché “You’ll never get away with this, Scaramantula!, and Scaramantula predictably responds, “Ah, but I already have, Doctor Venture!” The giant robot’s claws approach Colonel Gentleman’s face, but the arching is suddenly interrupted when a classic blue car flies through the wall, taking out multiple henchmen as it spins in amazing 3D. (Note: they’re assumedly being held captive on Spider Skull Island, which means that the feat of driving a car through a wall is extra badass.)
The blue vehicle features a butterfly-shaped M logo on the grill and hood and shoots at the henchmen through guns inside it’s headlights. A familiar figure exits the vehicle: gentle giant and martial arts master Kano, wearing the same M logo on his jacket and hat. Surprisingly, he is not there as a member of Team Venture (which is how we’ve always seen him previously), as the men stuck in the web do not seem to know who he is. Dr. Venture ominously declares, “I don’t think he’s on our side..”
Kano beats up the remaining henchmen. When he is finished, another man exits the car in a blue suit, fedora, and mask, matching blue gun in hand. Scaramantula addresses the stranger in blue as “The Blue Morpho”. (He seems to be somewhat of a parody of the Green Hornet.) The Blue Morpho shoots Scaramantula with a dart gun, Kano breaks the robot spider, and the two untie Team Venture from the spiderweb. Jonas does not trust his rescuers, and bends the Morpho’s arm behind his back as Action Man holds Kano at gunpoint.
Some notes on car stuff (if you’re not a car fan, skip ahead past the photos to return to the recap):
Although only seen briefly, I fell in love with Blue Morpho’s car. If you know creators Doc and Jackson at all, you know that they never do anything without copious amounts of research. I knew that Morpho’s incredible ride had to be a real model. I sent some screencaps to my dad, a connoisseur of all cars, and he informed me that it is a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing. They were manufactured in the mid-’50s, just around the time that the pre-Rusty Team Venture was adventuring. The Gullwing, named for the way it’s curved doors open upward, is a rare find. They go for about $2 million in good condition today!
Isn’t she gorgeous? Anyways, back to the recap:
The scene freezes and the camera pans out, showing the freeze frame as a panel in a comic book. “But after that, they become like, friends and stuff,” explains 21, holding the comic up for the Monarch to see. The Monarch plays dumb, saying he still doesn’t understand why the Blue Morpho’s stuff was in his basement.
21 exasperatedly yells, “Don’t you get it?! Your dad was the Blue Morpho!” (This was pretty clear even before 21’s official reveal, as the Blue Morpho shared his son’s affinity for butterfly logos and dart guns.) The Monarch continues to resist the truth, insisting that his dad was just a boozed-up socialite who collected butterflies. When 21 uses the S-word to describe his dad, Monarch slaps him in the face with the comic book. 21 still argues: “Millioniare playboy is like, the number one superhero alter-ego! Come on!”
“What the fuck is a morpho?” screams Monarch angrily. Once learning that it is a type of butterfly, he finally accepts the truth and apologizes for hitting 21. “Did Blue Morpho ever have.. his own comic book?” Monarch asks shyly. “Cancelled after six issues. Not Kirby’s best work,” 21 says.
The classic final five notes of the Venture theme play with the blood-splattered logo that we’ve come to accept as the short version of the Venture opening theme. The scene opens on a park in NYC, where Hank and Brock are jogging. Brock tells Hank “for the last time!” that he cannot take anabolic steroids to get fit, because its cheating. If he wants muscles, he needs to work for them by running. Dean finally catches up to them, panting and sweating profusely. Dean wore his normal dress shoes to go running, which Brock just notices.
As Brock helps Dean, a familar girl runs past Hank in all pink running clothes and Hank runs after her. Before he can catch up to her, Hank is taken down by two of Wide Wale’s henchmen, proving the theory that the girl with gills is Wale’s daughter. As this happens, Hank yells “Don’t harpoon taze me, bro!” (Remember when that was a huge cultural reference in 2007 and it was on shirts sold at mall stands and stuff?) The henchmen address the girl as “Miss Ong”, also confirming that Wide Wale is the brother of Dr. Dugong from season 3 (and who the Monarch cruelly murdered). Brock tackles the henchmen who are holding Hank.
Meanwhile, back at the Venture building, the Captain is showing Dr. Venture, Pete, and Billy around the super science lab, which has not been used for a while as Jonas Jr.focused on consumer electronics in recent years. “This is where we’re gonna make the miracles,” declares Doc.
Billy drives around the lab in the “Go Pod” a floating zero-emissions vehicle that uses electromagnets. The Captain reveals that it hasn’t been put into production because it caused infertility and heart murmurs in monkey test subjects, and also because it doesn’t break well (which Billy learns the hard way as he crashes it into the wall).
During a guild meeting at Wide Wale’s apartment, Dr. Mrs. the Monarch checks her compact phone obsessively. The Monarch has not responded to any of her texts. The Council of 8 is voting on new council members, and they vote to invite Dr. Phineas Phage to rejoin their ranks. They have 5 more spots to fill – or 4 if they can find Vendetta, who hasn’t been seen since his disastrous date with Ghost Robot at Don Hell’s nightclub in season 5.
Wide Wale’s daughter returns home from her run, angry at her dad’s henchmen and her complete lack of privacy. The lone remaining henchman tells his boss that his two coworkers were killed after some kid in the park got too friendly (we can assume by Brock).
Back at the Monarch mansion, Monarch and 21 plan a new coat of paint for his dad’s old Mercedes. Their plans are interrupted when the Monarch receives about a dozen texts and then a call from Dr. Mrs. His Wife, who wants to know why he isn’t getting ready for Wide Wale’s party. He says he has no intention of going because he hates her coworkers. She begs him to make an appearance and turn on “the old Monarch Charm”.
21 tells Monarch he should go to the party because the villains ahead of him on the list to arch Venture will probably be there. The Monarch excitedly asks if he can bring 21, but no henchmen are allowed. “She wants me to bring wine,” whines Monarch. “I should piss in it!” 21 sighs, “There’s that Monarch Charm.”
In the Venture Industries super science lab, Doc, Pete, and Billy are looking through all of the Venture tech in the lab. Dr. Venture admits he’s been out of the super science game for a while, so he’s a little Rusty (get it?). Billy accidentally drops and breaks a vial of silver liquid, which puddles on the floor and then moves on its own. They can’t find where the mysterious substance has gone.
Dean is showering upstairs when the silver liquid comes up through the drain. It crawls up Dean’s leg and apparently enters him through his penis, as afterwards he asks Brock if candiru are native to New York (the fish that enter the body through the penis, as we saw in season 1 episode Are You There God? It’s Me, Dean). When Brock doesn’t know what Dean is talking about, Dean brushes off the problem and asks Brock if he will still help him study for the SATs.
At the birthday party for Wide Wale’s daughter, there are both Guild and civilian guests. We see the members of the council in civilian clothing, including Dragoon/Red Mantle in a double turtleneck. Dr. Mrs. the Monarch is at the bar, upset that the Monarch is not at the party yet. Her worrying is interrupted by a Dean Martin lookalike in a magenta tux who hits on her with old-fashioned smooth talk, calling her “Stardust” and “Bright Eyes”. She dismisses him by mentioning that she is married, but he shows her his Guild logo cufflinks and says he is there to talk business. His name is Copycat, and he’s interested in joining the council.
Wide Wale’s daughter pouts at her party, still angry that she has no privacy from her father’s henchmen. He offers to cheer her up. The episode cuts to a pizza place called Vincenzo’s, where the familiar voice of Steven Rattazzi (who also voices Dr. Orpheus) takes Wale’s order for a pizza. He sends his new delivery boy – Hank Venture. Hank drives the Venture Go Pod we saw Billy crash into a wall earlier to deliver the pizza.
The Monarch joins Hank in the elevator ride up to Wide Wale’s apartment. He clearly did not get the memo that the party is half-civilian, as he is wearing his Mighty Monarch costume. The butler tries to prevent him from entering the apartment, but the Monarch shoves past him. Hank sees that his pizza recipient is the girl from the park, and drops the pie in excitement. Before he can collect the payment, Wide Wale’s henchman from earlier sees him and chases him through the apartment.
Wide Wale is furious when he sees that Monarch came in costume. Copycat offers to take the Monarch to his downstairs apartment to change and as they are leaving, he splits into two, showing the reason for his name. One of him leaves the party with the Monarch, and one goes back inside.
Brock reads over Dean’s college admission essay and sighs. He tells Dean that his essay reads like a suicide note and he needs to be more positive. “You’re supposed to be selling yourself to these people!” Dean says that the changes are lying, and Brock argues that it isn’t lying, its just spin: “I know what I’m talking about. I work for the government.” Dean reveals that the SATs are the next morning, and asks Brock to help him study.
In Copycat’s apartment, Monarch takes off his costume to borrow one of Copycat’s suits. Copycat puts on the Monarch’s costume and shoots him with one of his own butterfly darts.
In the lobby of Venture Industries, Sergeant Hatred sits at the front security desk reading a magazine. Copycat comes through the front door in Monarch’s costume and walks towards Hatred with a jazzy gait, snapping his fingers and shaking his hips. Hatred realizes that he isn’t the real Monarch when Copycat multiplies himself by a dozen.
Downstairs in the lab, Pete finally locates the silver liquid’s file on the Venture Industries computer database, and finds out that the mysterious substance is actually nanobots. They play around with what they think is a tutorial for the nanobots, and find out that the tech was created to go inside a human body and fix health problems.
Pete runs the bots around the intestines on the computer program, unaware that they are really inside Dean’s intestines. This causes Dean to vomit on Brock, who is helping him study. Pete decides to go even further with the nanobots and uses them to stimulate the muscles and give the body superstrength. Dean’s body reacts to this change by picking up Brock with one hand and throwing him across the room.
Billy argues that this raises ethical questions – for example, you could just stop the person’s heart. Dean collapses in his room. As Brock performs CPR, Pete says that the bots could merely start the heart up again. Dean sits up, suddenly back from the dead. Billy tries hooking the nanobots up to the Internet to see if they could cause someone to speak a new language. Dean starts to babble in Babylonian.
Back at the party, Copycat approaches Dr. Mrs. the Monarch on the balcony. She rants to him about the Monarch’s jealousy and passive-aggressive ways. He tells her to come look through the telescope, where she sees the Monarch pissing on the Venture’s couch in the opposite building. Of course, this is not really the Monarch, but one of Copycat’s clones in the Monarch costume. Dr. Mrs. calls her husband, and watches the Monarch-Copycat ignore her call. Upset, she leaves the party.
Brock is extremely worried about Dean. He calls Dr. Venture on his communicator watch and tells him to call Dr. Orpheus, because he thinks Dean is possessed. When he hears that Dean was speaking Babylonian, Doc finally realizes what happened to the nanobots.
Down in the street, the Monarch wakes up from his dart-induced stupor in full costume. He catches his wife as she leaves the party, unaware of the events of the night and of his wife’s anger. He tries to explain himself, but pauses to answer a call from 21. While he’s on the phone, Dr. Mrs. the Monarch leaves without him in the limo.
Wide Wale’s daughter is pouting in her room when she sees Hank out on her balcony, hiding from the henchman. She recognizes him from both the park and when he was outside her window. Hank is confident and smooth with the girl, who reveals her name to be Sirena. (Not only does “sirena” mean “mermaid” in Spanish, someone on Reddit also pointed out that “sirenia” is the taxonomic name for sea cows.)
When Hank goes to leave, Sirena teases him for not being willing to risk his life to go on a date with her. Hank grins at her and jumps off of the roof. The romantic moment is interrupted when the henchman who was chasing Hank all night breaks down Sirena’s bedroom door. “I was just getting some fucking air!” she screams. He apologizes and leaves awkwardly.
She runs to the edge of the roof and Hank floats upwards in the Go Pod, leaning back and smiling confidently. “So, do we have a date?”, he asks. I loved this reference to Aladdin jumping off of Jasmine’s balcony. (Some people on the forums said it was a reference to Back to the Future 2, but the romantic aspect makes me think its more Aladdin/Jasmine than Marty McFly/Biff Tannen.) There was also an undeniable Romeo and Juliet vibe from the balcony plus the whole “my dad is your dad’s arch nemesis” kind of thing.
End credits roll, revealing that Cristin Milioti (from multiple Broadway productions as well as the Mother from How I Met Your Mother) was the voice of Sirena and Thrilling Adventure Hour cast member Paul F. Tompkins was the voice of Blue Morpho. Mark Gagliardi (also of TAH fame), who voiced Stars & Garters and speedsuit tailor Enzo in the season 6 premiere, was in this episode as Rocco, the henchman who protects Sirena.
In the last scene of the episode, Dean is in extreme pain in the bathroom, passing the nanobots the same way they entered. Dr. Venture reveals “That’s not all you passed!” and tells Dean that he was accepted into Stuyvesant University. We cut to Doc as he sits at the desk in the lab. One of his computer screens displays the Stuyvesant U website, and the other shows the nanobot program, with multiple bots in Dean’s brain. This suggests that Doc connected the bots to the Internet while Dean was taking the SATs so that he would know all of the answers. Dean seems unaware of this.
“Gentlemen, I think we just made our first miracle,” Doc declares proudly. Brock and Pete cross their arms and nod, smiling, and Billy yells “High five!” in the robot suit, raising the robot arm.
Fan theories abound after this episode. When Copycat removed the Monarch from the party, he winked at Wale, making us think that Wale was in on Copycat’s plan to make Dr. Mrs. angry with her husband. After the confirmations about Wide Wale’s last name, most of us assume that he procured the henching rights to Dr. Venture as a step in a larger plan to take revenge on the Monarch for killing his brother.
The specific mention of Vendetta during the Guild Meeting has made many fans believe that he and the Blue Morpho are the same person. The theory that Vendetta is the Monarch’s father existed before season 6 premiered, after the Bot Seeks Bot episode of season 5. Many fans online have been suggesting that the Monarch will take up his father’s mantle and don the Blue Morpho costume, possibly in order to kill the rest of the members on the Venture arching list. The Monarch’s interest in his dad’s old lab and car further supports this theory; however, I personally doubt it. Doc and Jackson like to intentionally make fans predict that something will happen, and then squash that theory, like having the Sovereign shape-shift into Jonas Venture Sr. before revealing that he’s not Jonas or anyone else.
Faking Miracles is one of those special episodes where we really notice just how much the Venture unit has changed over the seasons. Dr. Venture willingly accepts help from Pete, Billy, and the Captain, and for once does not pretend to have all of the super science answers. Even after his long absence, Brock returns to his role as bodyguard and father-figure with ease, which shows that he never stopped considering the Ventures as his family. We see the most growth in Hank and Dean, who have developed from the goofy and naive twins we met in season 1 into unique individuals. Hank’s interactions with Sirena have shown that he’s learned how to have Detective-hat confidence without wearing the hat. Dean is very aware of how strange his life as been, as we see from his college application essay, but he is finally taking control of his own future by applying to college.
There was some complaining on the forums about how this episode was only filler. I do not share this complaint; this episode was hands-down my favorite of the season so far. I have to wonder if those complaining have not made any emotional ties to the characters and only watch the show to see Brock punching people and the Monarch being a dick. I can’t imagine that anyone who really loves these characters will dismiss this episode as only filler. Watching Brock patiently help Dean study for the SATs and Hank flirt smoothly with Sirena, I am filled with that weird sense of pride you get f0r a fictional character even though you know they aren’t real.
If you are like me and are also emotional about the character development of Hank and Dean, you might like this week’s Shirt of the Week Club that features Dean’s upcoming alma mater.
See you next week, Venturoos!