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Pinstripes & Poltergeists

  • Original Air Date:
    December 13, 2009
  • Written by:
    Doc Hammer
  • Production Number:
    47
  • Rate This Episode:

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Jump To: Summary | Capsule | Notes
All-time score of 4.2 with 430 votes

Summary

The Monarch makes his move on Dr. Venture, just as he's distracted by problems with zoning regulations. But how does Monstroso play in and what are his ultimate plans? And how does it all relate to Brock Samson and the mystery of Sphinx?

Capsule

In his room 21 is talking to... 24.

HENCHMAN 21
And you can't have sex again?

HENCHMAN 24
Like we were getting laid all the time! And with no sex comes no rejection. And you don't miss sex because you're like omniscient. Seriously ask me any question.

HENCHMAN 21
Okay. What's the meaning of life?

HENCHMAN 24
The color twelve.

HENCHMAN 21
Really?

HENCHMAN 24
No! Idiot. Ask me something less Hitchhiker's Guide. Dork.

HENCHMAN 21
Do we have souls?

HENCHMAN 24
Yeah. Well, not quite souls but, eh, that's the general idea. Everything has a soul.

HENCHMAN 21
Crap. So I guess I should become a vegetarian?

HENCHMAN 24
No, like everything living has a soul. Even spinach. You can't win.

HENCHMAN 21
Oh, so that's... a problem.

HENCHMAN 24
Here's something. You know how people cry about aborting babies because of their 'soul'? It turns out you don't get a soul until you're like one.

HENCHMAN 21
So weird, one? Really?

HENCHMAN 24
Or maybe six months, I forget. Either way you're just this little crying, pooing monster blob 'til you get your soul.

HENCHMAN 21
That's amazing- I should tell everybody, people need to know about this!

HENCHMAN 24
Oh, definitely! Maybe you should write it all down on a golden plate. Or maybe get some aviators and a compound in Diana.

HENCHMAN 21
Yeah, I get it. Dude, I barely believe you're real. I mean if there were ghosts they'd be freakin' everywhere.

HENCHMAN 24
Ehh, not necessarily. You can only haunt something you were close to. In life.

HENCHMAN 21
And you chose me? Out of everything you chose me?

HENCHMAN 24
Yeah before you get all teary-eyed, I can only choose between you and a Cocoon that is constantly getting blown up.

HENCHMAN 21
Still, you could have-

HENCHMAN 24
Or Beth Seaton. Yeah, but she's not fifteen any more so she doesn't like me 'that way'.

The Monarch enters the room telling 21 that he needed him ready to go fifteen minutes ago. 24 shouts out facts about 21 to the Monarch who is unable to hear him (mostly about how 21 wants to do Dr. Girlfriend) though that doesn't keep 21 from reacting to them. The Monarch says it's time to finally take down Dr. Venture.

S.P.H.I.N.X. opening theme!

Brock and Shore Leave (formerly Holy Diver) are in a high security but miscellaneous location. Shore Leave is attempting to break into the room via the security locks. Turns out that Dr. Shumpmaker (that's the guy who they are about to go after) is making a stink bomb. The good doctor has found a way to combine sulfur and gunpowder or something and crafted a 'deadly stink bomb'. So there you go. The plan is the same as usual. Shoreleave makes a diversion and Brock goes all Brock Ness Monster on them. Easy.

SHORE LEAVE
[the door beeps] Okay it's open.

BROCK
Signal me. [he pulls out a crossbow, fires a rope arrow and climbs into the ceiling]

SHORE LEAVE
Oh there's a ladder right there! [gesturing two feet away where we see a ladder]

BROCK
Oh yeah, that's a lot of fun.

In the lab Shore Leave pretends he's lost his way. All of the science guys (who are dressed in clean suits or something) aim their weapons at him. Right before they open fire Shore Leave dives across the room and pulls out his two pistols, shooting almost everyone in the room very quickly.

SHORE LEAVE
Boom! That's right! This is all happening!! You cannot change the channel now!

The Monarchmobile circles above the city. The Monarch instructs Dr. Girlfriend to land it on the heliport of Monstroso's building. She instead scrapes the roof and flies off it. On a second pass both the Monarch and 21 jump out of the car as it continues to fly around.

Meanwhile Shoreleave has been captured by Dr. Shumpmaker and the apparently only two remaining henchmen. Shumpmaker asks Shoreleave if he has any last words, to which Shoreleave responds with the mission statement of SPHINX. Apparently they are on Shumpmaker's back because he's doing evil scientist shit but hasn't bothered to register with the Guild. That's where SPHINX steps in to take you down. Shumpmaker thinks the situation is pretty hilarious, as if how two men will drop dead and he won't want to pull the trigger!

Just then Brock jumps down from the ceiling, bashing the heads of the two men in. He then grab's Shumpmaker's hand and breaks his wrist clean in half, pointing his own gun at him while he's still holding it. Shore Leave chides him.

In a rather swank looking office a large man with an insanely deep voice puts out a cigar. He tells the men in the room to veil themselves; this is Guild business. He puts on a hood with small devil horns on it. The Monarch and 21 enter.

THE MONARCH
Monstroso! Looking... tall.

MONSTROSO
Monarch! Always a pleasure.

HENCHMAN 21
What's with the, uh, extra muscle?

MONSTROSO
[laughs] And this feisty little beetle must be Henchman 21. These are my associates. Mammoth Corp is a legitimately traded business. Mostly. These men are harmless. Cigar?

THE MONARCH
I don't smoke.

MONSTROSO
[lighting a cigar himself] Well I do. Have a seat, gentlemen.

THE MONARCH
Look I've got my wife doing circles around this place wasting jet fuel. Can we get down to it?

MONSTROSO
But of course.

Monstroso tells the Monarch that he's reviewed his request and he has some plans for how to cripple Dr. Venture. The Monarch goes over his plan to soak the Venture Compound with sugar, leaving them at the mercy of ants and... chiggers? Monstroso explains that his plan is more to give Dr. Venture a deep, bureaucratic paper cut. Cigar? The Monarch agrees, asking where to sign, but Monstroso has other plans. He asks what's in it for him just as 24 appears in the room (only seen by 21 of course). Cigar? 24 tells 21 that some of Monstroso's men are about to come after both of them. 21 quickly takes both of the henchmen out. That's all the answer Monstroso needs. Cigar?

Sgt. Hatred is doing some ironing when he hears beeping on his computer. Someone is signed into his instant messenger account. He sighs and walks up the Hank and Dean's room where Dr. Venture is talking to people on Sgt. Hatred's buddy list.

SGT. HATRED
Venture! You gotta get your own screen name.

DR. VENTURE
Who's LittleBoyPink? He has a potty mouth, let me tell you.

SGT. HATRED
That guy's like thirty-five or something. It's just role playing, it's healthy, using your imaginat- What are you doing in here?

DR. VENTURE
Checking my electronic mailbox! Yeah I'd do it on my computer but the Commodore 64 gets kinda buggy... with a cradle modem that, uh, y- well it's all very technical.

SGT. HATRED
Yeah, technical. I was gonna say boring.

Dr. Venture notes that he's also been getting lots of requests from sexy singles in his area. Probably fans of his show. He gets a new mail and reads it and is annoyed by the contents. Sgt. Hatred explains that if it's a Nigerian prince that he shouldn't send the guy twelve million dollars because he'll never keep up his end of the bargain. Dr. Venture explains that he's being slammed for a zoning violation. Apparently his grandfather zoned the compound for the 'care and upkeep of American rightness and the active defense of her civil needs'. What that means is that 75% of his property must be devoted to 'do-gooding' or he'll lose it to Mammoth Corporation. Uh oh. First thing's first, time to kick the guys out of the old propulsion research lab since they're probably making meth in there. Always paid their rent on time though. Ah well.

At SPHINX headquarters (or what appears to be that anyway) Brock and Shore Leave are bathing in tomato juice as an attempt to remove the stench they picked up from their last job. Hunter barges in, complaining that Shore Leave ruined another outfit. Apparently Hunter is the only one who fixes the costumes. Brock laughs, noting that Shore Leave rips them on purpose.

HUNTER
Good god, why?!

SHORE LEAVE
For one, because it looks super cool.

HUNTER
You're an infant. How's that bath working?

BROCK
No idea, we're used to it. You tell us.

HUNTER
[sniffs] Uh, nope, sorry boys. You smell like tomato and crap soup!

SPHINX AGENT
[runs up and hands Hunter a piece of paper] Hunter, this just came up on the telex!

HUNTER
[studies the paper] Hmmp, so what? That man-shaped mountain does that all the time.

SPHINX AGENT
Read what he's taking over.

HUNTER
[crumples the paper] Stop playing Jimmy Olsen and tell me!

SPHINX AGENT
Not in front of... you know, him. [points at Brock]

BROCK
What? What's being taken over?

HUNTER
[glances at paper] Nothing! The boy has Tourettes Syndrome or something!

SPHINX AGENT
Uhh, right! Whoop-dee! Pickled penis, pickled penis! My underwear is on fire!

HUNTER
Yeah it's tragic. Not a damned thing you can do about it, poor bastard.

In the Cocoon the Monarch and his henchmen are all extremely bored except for 21 who is busy at his console. Dr. Girlfriend walks in and asks what they're doing. The Monarch explains that he's arching. You know, his big plan. He's having Monstroso attack Dr. Venture with paperwork. Whee! Dr. Girlfriend notes that Monstroso, being both a lawyer and a super villain, is probably planning some kind of double cross. 21 points out that she's correct. Monstroso is planning on stealing not only the Venture estate but also the Monarch's. He lifted a Blackberry off a henchmen that has all the information they need. The Monarch signed over his arching rights to Dr. Venture to Monstroso. Whoops.

Dr. Girlfriend walks over to 21 and looks at his console, brushing into him. 21 awkwardly stares at her goods for entirely too long until she walks away, apparently oblivious. 24 appears, saying how awesome it was, and 21 yells out "I know!", which of course looks weird. He knows though. You know, he knows what he has to do. Yeah.

At the Venture Compound Dr. Venture is showing Billy and Pete around. He's cutting them a deal, letting them stay on the compound for cheap since he needs them there and devoted to 'community vigilance and safeguarding rightness'. Whatever that means. Pete points out that Conjectural Technologies doesn't really do anything and that the super science community doesn't take them seriously either. Dr. Venture reassures them that super science adventuring isn't that difficult anyway. Billy is convinced. They enter a large factory on the compound which is to be Pete and Billy's new digs. However inside is... SPHINX?

Commercial.

DR. VENTURE
Uhm, I know I'm not really up on this confusing crap, but isn't SPHINX the bad guys?

HUNTER
They were, but we annihilated the real SPHINX in the Pyramid Wars of 87.

SHORE LEAVE
So when we went rogue we just went 'hey, why don't we use these fresh costumes and all this sweet Egypt-themed equipment we captured?'

BILLY
You guys aren't with the OSI any more?

HUNTER
Hell no son!! We all joined the OSI with pie-eyed dreams of saving the world from baddies. And what did we get? Hot bureaucracy poured in our laps!

SHORE LEAVE
At SPHINX we can whip up foamy justice any way we want!

MILE HIGH
The OSI plays there game of tag with the Guild, but when someone refuses the costumed life? SPHINX.

BILLY
Can we join?!

PETE
Uhehh, speak for yourself, Billy.

HUNTER
Don't kid yourself, Short Round, you two are gonna wake up tomorrow with your memory wiped. How's that metal high five treating you these days, eh?

BILLY
With all due respect, I hate you.

HUNTER
I know! And tomorrow you will love me!

DR. VENTURE
You know, this is the answer to my problems! You guys just need to pay some back rent and sign some papers.

SHORE LEAVE
Wrong-o!! SPHINX works in the shadows! We are ghosts.

BROCK
I couldn't tell anyone about this. Doc, seriously, it's important work. It's why we're all here.

DR. VENTURE
You're here because you forgot to leave me your keys.

BROCK
I mean why we're here on this planet. We had to make sacrifices.

DR. VENTURE
Like covering yourselves in rotten eggs? Do you know how bad you smell?

BROCK
No, ass, like living next to the boys all year and not being able to tell them that they're safe. That kind of sacrifice!

HUNTER
I had my pudd removed, and then reattached!

SHORE LEAVE
I pretended I became a religious fanatic!

MILE HIGH
I pretended to be in love with Shore Leave.

SHORE LEAVE
Oh! And I pretended I liked having sex with him every night.

DR. VENTURE
[his watch beeps] Uh, intruder at the front gate.

[the room turns red and the huge sphinx in the room bellows]

SPHINX
Intruder at the front gate. The Sphinx has spoken.

HUNTER
How much you want for that watch of yours? Ours is way too creepy.

Meanwhile 21 has infiltrated the Venture Compound. He smartly disables some security lasers and calls for 24, who appears to him magically but snarkily. 21 wants him to disable some stuff in the Venture Compound so he can safely infiltrate it.

HENCHMAN 24
I'm not a poltergeist, I can't move stuff! But I'll take a look around if you do hat thing for a couple of my new friends.

HENCHMAN 21
Oh come on! Okay, fine. Quickly, I'm in a hurry.

[24 disappears momentarily]

HENCHMAN 24
This is Speedy, you remember him, and President Woodrow Wilson. They bet me you couldn't do it.

WOODROW WILSON
Velvet Hour!

HENCHMAN 21
[sighs] Kate Moss. Easy.

HENCHMAN 24
Still.

HENCHMAN 21
Uh, Jennifer Lopez.

SPEEDY
Covet!

HENCHMAN 21
Sarah Jessica Parker and she also has Lovely, Twilight and Dawn. And a whole bunch more.

WOODROW WILSON
Astonishing! He is like the Rainman of celebrity signature perfumes. Unscripted!!

HENCHMAN 21
Patrick Dempsey. I know it's insane! And Tim McGraw and Carlos Santana have them.

HENCHMAN 24
Alright you guys, I win. Looks like you have to tell Helen of Troy how awesome I am. Beat it.

HENCHMAN 21
Jeeze, okay, now you've gotta go secure the compound. I'm gonna wait here for Monstroso and deal with him the old fashioned way.

HENCHMAN 24
You gonna... sew him a quilt?

HENCHMAN 21
No, douche, I'm gonna wail on him.

HENCHMAN 24
I can't secure anything!

HENCHMAN 21
Oh come on! You help me all the time!

HENCHMAN 24
Do I? Or do I just let you feel secure enough to trust your intuition?

HENCHMAN 21
No! You are real! Real!!

After a moment 24 is gone and 21 can only hang his head, realizing maybe he wasn't talking to anyone after all. Maybe.

The Monarch, meanwhile, is fuming. He threatens to take Monstroso to the Council of 13 to stand trail for his double-cross, though Dr. Girlfriend points out that double-crossing isn't actually a Guild offense. It's actually encouraged by Guild law in fact. Just then the moppets walk in saying that 21's left and stolen the Monarchmobile. They suspect he's gone crazy and is going to attack Monstroso. Dr. Girlfriend points out that this is actually a good thing since they didn't order it. It puts them in the clear for any potential Guild law breaking and 21 is competent enough that he might actually succeed. Dr. Girlfriend then sends the moppets off the clean the toilets or something. She's kind of fed up with them, which the Monarch enjoys immensely. You know, quite a lot.

Still outside any buildings but on the compound grounds 21 comes face to face with none other than Brock Samson, out on a smoke break.

HENCHMAN 21
Brock Samson. At last we meet.

BROCK
Do I know you?

HENCHMAN 21
Uhh, don't pull that shit with me! [he extracts his blade and flips towards Brock, doing a few kicking moves. Brock just watches] I don't know why you're here and I don't care. I have been waiting for this moment for a year.

BROCK
[leans in] Boo.

[21 roundhouse punches Brock who flies backwards, landing on his backside]

BROCK
[spits blood, rubs his jaw] Ahh, very nice. Somebody's been training.

HENCHMAN 21
This is like Christmas, my first BMX bike, and meeting the cast of Firefly all in one! Let's go, come on Samson, bring it!

BROCK
[gets up] Ahh, okay tubs. Let's see what else you got.

21 attempts to kick Brock who catches his foot and smashes in 21's face. They exchange words briefly and resume fighting.

Doc is still hanging out in SPHINX HQ where he notes that he really needs SPHINX to take care of his problem with Monstroso. Hunter says that they will, just not legally. They're apparently not to keen on the back rent idea. Mile High emerges from a back room with a sleeping and freshly memory wiped Billy. Pete asks why he hasn't has his memory wiped and Hunter points out it's because he's lazy. If Pete had even half the moxy of Billy he'd have been up on the chopping block as well. Just then Hank and Dean walk in.

HANK
Um, what's going on?

DR. VENTURE
Oh great.

HUNTER
Is the, uh, washing machine still warm?

DR. VENTURE
You're sure that thing works?

HUNTER
Shore Leave, you have fun with those homophobic drug lords you were in prison with last week?

SHORE LEAVE
Prison? I was here last week!

[Hunter smiles at Dr. Venture]

DR. VENTURE
Come on in boys! Hey! Did I ever tell you about your mother? Or that you're both clones?

HANK
What?

21 wakes up to the sound of 24's voice who is actually mocking him. Brock comments that 21 put up a good fight, though realistically he never had a chance. 21 concedes, though he was sure he had a shot since he was pretty sure Brock crapped himself when they met up. No, that was something else. 21 then explains the situation with Monstroso to Brock. The only thing he could think of to remedy it was an old fashioned ambush. Brock notes that being a hero requires thinking a little bigger than that. He puts his arm around 21 and they head off.

In Monstroso's office Monstroso is filling out some paperwork when 21 knocks at his door. He enters after some difficulty with the doorknob, dressed as a Jedi. He commands Monstroso to tear up the agreement he had with the Monarch, which Monstroso of course refuses. He calls for his men, but 21 informs him that they're currently sleeping. Amused, Monstroso dons his devil horn cap and heads towards 21, noting that he's twice 21's size. Just then Brock barges in, evening the playing field. They lunge at Monstroso, and the scene pauses right before they land.

Roll end credits.

In the Venture kitchen Brock, shirt ripped and blood on his arms and face, is eating some cereal. Hank sleepily enters the room and makes himself a glass of water. As he's leaving he says good night to Brock, who returns the greeting. Once out of the room we hear a glass break on the ground.

HANK
Brock?!

Notes

  • The working title for this episode was 'Ghosts'.

  • SPHINX you may recall from Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel, which is when we found out what happened with Brock after the events at the end of season three. This episode, however, reveals that the original SPHINX was wiped out in 1987 by OSI. The current incarnation is comprised of former OSI agents who were fed up with the bureaucracy OSI and the Guild to a lesser extent forced them into.

    New SPHINX's plot is also rather interesting. Hunter got a sex change in order to infiltrate Molotov's Black Hearts, and leveraged Brock (unknown to Brock) to gain their trust even more, knowing that Brock could have been killed (though Hunter seemed pretty confident Brock would survive the ordeal). However Shore Leave and Mile High also apparently were part of this plan, with Shore Leave noting that they pretended to be religious fanatics (and gay lovers, when in reality they were just gay). The reasoning for this isn't entirely clear? Was it done in order to get out of OSI? In Family That Slays I Brock notes that Shore Leave and Mile High were kicked out of OSI due to a don't ask, don't tell issue a few years back, so that was possibly around when the new SPHINX was conceived. Though it's fairly interesting to consider that Hunter and Shore Leave didn't seem to get along at OSI prior to the defeat of SPHINX as seen in The Invisible Hand of Fate. Obviously their relationship improved some time after that, however.

  • Rather than use his Commodore 64, Dr. Venture collects his email on Hank and Dean's computer (while signed into Sgt. Hatred's instant messenger account). The C64 is an extremely old home computer introduced by Commodore International in 1982. The C64 actually dominated the home computer market from 1983 until around 1986.

    Dr. Venture also mentions something about a cradle modem which is officially known as an acoustic coupler which was a literal cradle for your phone in order to use modem functionality to get online (the cradle actually listened to the noise coming out of the phone and interpreted it into data). These were popular prior to electrical connections to telephone networks becoming legal, which was the case prior to 1984 when Bell System was declared a monopoly and broken up. Many thanks to Delano in the comments for pointing this out to me.

  • Dr. Venture and Sgt. Hatred's conversation also includes two rather famous internet scams of varying degrees. Dr. Venture notes that sexy singles are available in his area, which is a reference to various ads that usually feature a scantily clad female with a location noted below that always happens to be right near you. This is because these ads use your IP address to figure out where you are located geographically (a process known as geocoding) and then spit out a bunch of nearby towns or cities.

    The second one is a bit more serious, mentioned by Sgt. Hatred who is talking about Nigerian scam emails in which the email writer generally pretends that he has a large sum of money but is unable to withdraw it. He then promises that, if you first send him a sum of money, he will be able to withdraw it (or that you will be able to) and share it with you. This is of course entirely bogus and just a way to steal a couple hundred or thousand dollars from someone. Most people tend not to fall from them any more, though you will still occasionally get one every so often. The best course of action is of course to ignore them.

  • Speedy you may remember from the very first regular season episode, Dia de los Dangerous! in which Brock killed him in spite of being hit with a large number of Monarch henchmen tranq darts. Speedy was mentioned in passing to Henchman 1 by 24 in The Lepidopterists but hasn't been seen since los Dangerous!, so this marks his first recurrence.

    24's other friend is President Woodrow Wilson who was the 28th president of the United States during World War I. Wilson was realistically elected in 1912 only because Teddy Roosevelt ran and ended up splitting the Republican vote with William Taft (the sitting president at the time). That left Wilson with a fairly decisive victory (almost 42% of the popular vote compared to Roosevelt's 27% and Taft's 23%, which translated to 435 of a possible 531 electoral votes).

  • If you like we can take this time to analyze 24's appearance in this episode. Namely the fact that he actually appeared to 21 and we, the omniscient viewer, were able to see and hear him. Previously 24 had only appeared in skull form, though that did include 21 having a few in depth conversations with him. One thing of note is that during previous conversations with 24 when 21 was caught (usually by the Monarch) he was able to halt his conversation entirely and focus on the situation at hand. Only in this episode did he still respond to 24 even when others were within earshot. That could indicate that the 24 we saw in this episode is real, or just that 21 is spiraling deeper into whatever mental state is causing him to communicate with his deceased friend. As we have seen in a few episodes, ghosts (or some form of ghosts) do exist in the show's universe, though not always in the form 24 has taken. It's not entirely far-fetched to believe he's a real ghost, but the other plausible explanation is obviously not out of the question either.

  • Monstroso, kind of like Sgt. Hatred once was, is an oft mentioned but never seen character. He was mentioned first back in Trial of the Monarch in 21's tell-all book which contained a photo of Dr. Girlfriend sitting on Monstroso's lap (though she notes it doesn't mean much as there were like five other people on there). He was also mentioned a few other times, but this is of course the first time we've seen him.

    Monstroso himself is a fairly interesting character. He's a member of the Guild but seems to be playing the Guild's bureaucracy as much as possible. For example before his meeting with the Monarch he tells his henchmen to put on their masks since it's Guild business, which implies that costumes are mandatory for Guild work. Likewise he dons his own hood with two small devil horns which make for quite possibly the lamest super villain costume, but are also probably just enough to qualify him for costumed villainy. Dr. Girlfriend also notes that he knows Guild law extremely well and uses it to his advantage whenever he can. He also seems like he would much rather hit his enemies with paperwork than a fist, though he's clearly not opposed to beating up someone either.

Episode Cast

Patrick Warburton Brock Samson
Chris McCulloch Hank Venture
The Monarch
Sgt. Hatred
Henchman 24
Hunter Gathers
Pete White
Tim-Tom
Monstroso
Dr. Schumpmaker
Sky Pilot
James Urbaniak Dr. Venture
Doc Hammer Henchman 21
ShoreLeave
Dr. Mrs. The Monarch
Billy Quizboy
Kevin
Speedy

Screencaps

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