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Spanakopita!

  • Original Air Date:
    June 23, 2013
  • Written by:
    Jackson Publick
  • Production Number:
    503
  • Rate This Episode:

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All-time score of 4.2 with 139 votes

Summary

Every year, since he was a little boy, Dr. Venture flies to the tiny island of Spanikos for a week of fun in the Grecian sun. But this year a dangerous new enemy and a dark secret from Doc's past threaten to turn his vacation into a slay-cation.

Capsule & Notes

Episode Notes

As described a few times in the episode, spanakopita is actually a Greek savory pastry. It consists of a spinach and feta cheese filling usually wrapped in a crust of phyllo dough. There is no actual festival of the same name and the island this episode mostly takes place on (Spanikos) is also fictional.

Episode Notes

The wedding Team Venture is attending is that of Jackie Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis in 1968. Jackie was the widow of former president John F. Kennedy. Their wedding was on Onassis' privately owned Greek island, Skorpios.

It's 1968. Jonas Venture Sr., in snorkeling gear, emerges from the sea with a coin in his hand. He calls back to the Action Man on the X-2 that the wreck below is full of old drachmas (Greek currency, specifically coins in this case). The Action Man thinks that's great, but they have to get to a wedding. Jonas almost forgot, even though he's wearing his tux under his wetsuit.

He calls on HELPeR, who has horns on his head. He's immediately knocked over by a young Rusty, exclaiming that he slayed the Minotaur. Jonas corrects him, saying that it's 'slew' and also that he took Rusty to Greece so he could learn the classics, not to play 'bad monsters party.' Kano and Col. Gentleman show up then, picking up Jonas and Action Man to go to the wedding on Skorpios, leaving Rusty behind.

Back to the present day, Dr. Venture is telling Pete and Billy about "Spanakopita!" Not the Greek spinach pastry, Billy, the Greek festival! Every year Doc takes a three day vacation to the Greek isle of Spanikos. Fun in the sun, and all that sort of thing!

Doc notes that he hasn't missed a Spanakopita in twenty years, and this year it looks like two slots have opened up with Hank's band and Dean... having plans? Billy is sold but Pete doesn't seem super sure about it.

Episode Notes

'Doctails' is now a canon term. Also, continuing with Doc's amazing drink menu, Billy was drinking a 'Hot Mummy', which is probably a take on a hot toddy (traditionally whisky, boiling water and sugar or honey). Pete is drinking a far grosser sounding 'Slim Jim Fizz', which is probably Doc's variation of a Sloe Gin Fizz (sloe gin, lemon juice, sugar, egg whites and carbonated water). Specific recipes not provided this time, so I guess that means no YouTube videos of people attempting to drink horrible beverages. Probably a good thing.

Pete makes up some excuses about being Shallow Gravy's manger (Hank points out that he's the producer, not the manager) until he finally just comes out and says it. He's an albino, remember. Fun in the sun?

Outside a robotic owl is watching them. Hmmm.

Opening credits logo.

The X-1 slices through the sky as it approaches Spanikos. It gently lands on the beach and Doc quickly runs down the gangwalk.

DR. VENTURE
Spanikopita!

He laughs happily, though there's nobody there to greet him. Usually there is. He looks over to the side to see the X-2 parked at the beach. Why is Jonas here?

SGT. HATRED
Don't he usually come to this?

DR. VENTURE
No, he wasn't even born ye- long story. Boys! You coming? Let's go!

Pete and Billy exit the X-1, Billy looks fairly normal but Pete... not so much.

Episode Notes

Pete's garb while he's on Spanikos (during the day, at least) is similar to what Marlon Brando wore in the 1996 version of The Island of Dr. Moreau. Brando's character wore the gowns and sunblock to block out the sun, naturally. Val Kilmer also wears them later in the movie, if you're interested.

Up above the beach one of the locals notices the jet on the beach and claps and whistles to get the attention of everyone else. They scramble. Hmm.

Walking up to the town, Doc explains that he found the place when he got lost at sea as a little kid. It was days before his father found him, but luckily he washed up here during...

DR. VENTURE
Spanikopita!

A local walks by and greets Doc with a similarly enthusiastic 'Spanakopita!'. Billy notes that he couldn't find anything about Spanikos (or Spanikopita) when he tried to look him up. Doc says that's because there's no internet on the island. Does that make sense?

Various other locals greet them with happy exclamations of 'Spanikopita!' while they walk by.

They reach their destination, which is a hotel run by the same man who alerted everyone to Doc's arrival earlier. His name is Giorgos! They exchange a 'Spanikopita' and a hug before Doc introduces him to Hatred, Pete and Billy. Doc then asks about his usual room, which Giorgos apologetically informs Doc has been taken by a 'wealthy American' who offered him more for the room. Fortunately Giorgos has a better room for Doc! Only $200 extra!

Doc accepts the deal happily, ignoring Hatred's protest. He heads upstairs when he runs into none other than... guess who?

Episode Notes

The 'little bird' is the Bubo, a mechanical owl from the 1981 film Clash of the Titans. You can watch the intro scene of Bubo if you want. St. Cloud also says that "Harryhausen's a friend" which refers to Ray Harryhausen, influential stop motion animator. Harryhausen actually died on May 7, 2013, which was likely after this episode was already completed, and is why St. Cloud refers to him as a current friend.

ST. CLOUD
Well hello, Quizboy. Spanikopita.

BILLY
[Hisses the word 'Saint'] Cloud!! How the hell did you find us?!

ST. CLOUD
A little bird told me.

The owl from earlier lands on St. Cloud's shoulder. It's Bubo! The actual Bubo, apparently. St. Cloud says that Bubo pales in comparison to his most recent acquisition, however, a fully restored original X-2. Billy points out that it can't be the original X-2. St. Cloud finishes for him, saying the original was was destroyed and rebuilt in 1968.

ST. CLOUD
Don't even try to out-trivia me, Quizboy.

BILLY
I already did once.

ST. CLOUD
That's as debatable as your eBay top seller rating, which I fully intend to destroy. Just as soon as finish destroying your vacation.

Hatred brings the bags upstairs and goes into the room only to find Doc in a what looks like a hostage situation. Tied to a chair and gagged! Hatred quickly rushes into action, punching out all the guys in the room. He knocks over Doc, who yells at Hatred to stop. It's just the welcoming committee. It's a Spanikopita tradition. Hatred stops and everyone shouts 'Spanikopita!' a bunch before carrying Doc out of the room on their shoulders. Spanikopita! Hatred isn't so sure about this.

Speculation & Episode Notes

Sometimes I wonder if St. Cloud is a goof on this site, since he explains a bunch of things that I would otherwise explain. However, Billy's line "it belongs in a museum!" is one of the many references to the Indiana Jones series. This line is from the intro scene of The Last Crusade.

We fade to night time. Doc is outside having a blast, drinking wine and dancing while the Spanikopita guys celebrate with him. Pete and Billy are eating dinner nearby and Pete notes that he's known Doc for twenty years and he's never seen him like this. Like, happy. Pete also notes that his skin is suffocating because Billy didn't leave a bare patch when he put the zinc on. Billy claims that's a myth.

PETE
It is not! Come on, you've never seen Goldfinger?

ST. CLOUD
Did somebody say Goldfinger? I see you recognize my outfit. As worn by Mister Gert Fröbe in the pivotal poolside bridge sequence.

BILLY
St. Cloud, you poisonous snake, that belongs in a museum!

ST. CLOUD
A much larger man, Fröbe, I of course had to take in it. There was even enough left over to make Pei Wai a little pair of matchy pants.

PETE
Pff, well there goes my appetite.

Over by himself Hatred is skulking and looking suspicious of everyone. He looks over and sees some guys walk down into the cellar with a long, thin parcel. Before he can think about it further Giorgos show up in front of him, asking if he's having a good time or not. Hatred says he is, and asks what kind of festival Spanikopita is. Giorgos quickly takes Hatred's second suggestion of the harvest, without much more explanation. Hatred comments that it doesn't look like much grows on the island, but Giorgos just tells him that he thinks too much.

Giorgos then addresses the whole crowd, saying that tomorrow the games begin! St. Cloud's interest is piqued. You can win that crown. St. Cloud tries to buy the crown from Giorgos, who refuses and says you have to win it in the Spanakopita games. Doc then Challenges St. Cloud to a bet on the Spanakopita games. St. Cloud suggests a wager of one million dollars, which Doc quickly shies away from on the grounds that he doesn't have it. St. Cloud realizes this and naturally has Doc put up the X-1 for the bet. Doc agrees and they shake on it.

BILLY
Ha, ha, sucker! You just got hustled by the all-time Spanakopita king!

DR. VENTURE
Ha ha, twenty times running!

ST. CLOUD
You don't want to make an enemy of me, Dr. Venture. That is, not if you expect to be invited back after I buy this place.

[DR. VENTURE spits out his wine]

ST. CLOUD
[Tasting his wine] Oh you're right, that is unpleasant.

It's the next day. Doc is limbering up in at the start line of the running of the goats. First man to the beach wins the drachma! Whoever has the most drachma at the end of the day is the winner! Seems simple. The race begins! Hatred seems to be in the lead with Pete behind him and Doc in third. However Pete trips over his robes and falls. Doc pulls into second for a short second until St. Cloud, riding on Pei Wai's back, pulls ahead very quickly. Doc looks back to protest but a goat runs into him. When he gets up he angrily looks around and decides it's time for a shotcut.

Up ahead Hatred falls when his boot comes off and is mobbed by some old women looking for his wallet or something. St. Cloud instructs Pei Wai to use his parkour to jump over Hatred. He does and they appear to be in the lead until Dr. Venture emerges from his shortcut and retakes the lead. He seems poised to win until St. Cloud produces a pan flute which he uses to make the goats turn around. Doc doesn't seem to notice this and runs into one of the goats, falling down. The rest of them run over him as St. Cloud slowly walks past him and crosses the finish line. Yay.

We're now in Doc's hotel room. He's waving a huge rock around like it weighs nothing. He's upset that St. Cloud is ruining his vacation and wants Pete and Billy to do something about it.

PETE
What? Why is this our problem?

DR. VENTURE
Because he's your arch-enemy! I can't get involved; he's my best customer.

Episode Notes

Pumice is an extremely light volcanic rock. It's got a very low density because of the way it's formed (lots of bubbles), so a big piece is actually really light.

Billy agrees to help, so long as Doc stops waving the rock around. Oh, it's just pumice, for the pumice carving competition later. That explains it. Outside their window Bubo, unseen, watches their conversation. Billy suggests getting Giorgos to kick him out, but Pete doubts that will happen since they seem to love St. Cloud. Dr. Venture shouts that they love him and Pete and Billy better fix this or they're walking home. Though if Doc loses the bet he'll also be walking home on account of betting the X-1.

Commercial.

The next game seems to be sponge diving. Doc, Pete, Billy, St. Cloud and Giorgos are all ready to head out. Hatred elects to stay, saying he's smoked too many cigars in his day to do any diving. They leave and he quickly calls Brock on his watch. He lets him know about Spanakopita, which Brock knows about, and how something feels off. Brock tells Hatred to just let it go. Meanwhile two women with blond children have shown up. Hrm. Brock quickly excuses himself.

Out in the boat Giorgos drops anchor and relays the rules. For every sponge you win a drachma, and whoever has the most drag ma after five minutes wins! Easy. They stand up before jumping in to start the race. Doc has chosen to sponge dive using the olden times uniform.

The game starts and they all (except Pete) dive in. When they get to the bottom Doc elbows Billy in the chest, knocking the wind out of him and forcing him to surface without any sponges. Doc collects a few while St. Cloud swims in a different direction. It seems that Pei Wai has something for him. Sponges!

Up in the boat Pete is removing water from Billy's lungs when Doc surfaces with four sponges. Pretty good. St. Cloud surfaces next with his huge bag of sponges. Giorgos declares him the winner. Again.

Thunder!

We see the original Team Venture apparently on Mt. Olympus and dressed as Greek gods. Col. Gentleman, Kano and Action Man note that they've found Rusty on Spanikos and he's having... fun? Jonas, who is also Zeus, notes that Rusty should be studying the classics and he needs to be punished for this.

JONAS VENTURE SR.
Release the Kraken!

Down below the Kraken is indeed released. Well, I guess it's a Kraken.

St. Cloud/Kraken, once again, notes that Harryhausen is a friend. Down below Billy watches the this all unfold until Pete, who is a Pegasus, kinda, tells him to 'mount him'. Like, ride him. Like a horse. Don't worry. Anyway, they fly off towards St. Cloud/Kraken on Pete/Pegasus and Billy pulls a Medusa head out of his bag. Not just a Medusa, the Medusa. Only it's also Dr. Venture's head.

Episode Notes

Continuing with the (1981) Clash of the Titans references, Billy's dream is heavily inspired by the climactic battle in the film where the main character, Perseus, defeats the Kraken. This is done by flying on the back of Pegasus and using Medusa's decapitated head (obtained earlier in the film) to turn the Kraken to stone. Though in the film the Kraken doesn't reflect the eye beams and instead knocks Perseus and Pegasus into the sea. Perseus recovers and defeats the Kraken thanks to some help from Bubo, who retrieves Medusa's head just in time.

The stop-motion portions of this scene were done by Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, the same production company that does Robot Chicken, among other stop motion projects. There's a blog post about it on their site with a couple of photos of the puppets.

Doc/Medusa complains that St. Cloud/Kraken is ruining his vacation and fires beams from his eyes. They don't seem to affect St. Cloud/Kraken and he picks up the X-2, shakes a (huge) coin out of it and uses it to reflect the beam back at Doc/Medusa. The beams turn Doc/Medusa to stone causing Billy to drop him. Pete/Pegasus flips out and starts to fly towards the sun. Billy yells at him to stop, but Pete begins to melt. Billy shouts that it's the wrong myth, but before anything more can happen he wakes up.

Episode Notes

At the end of his dream Billy mentions that this isn't 'Icarus', referring to the Greek myth of Icarus, who could fly thanks to some wings his father built. However because he flew too close to the sun the wings melted (they were held together by wax) and he fell to his death. There's a lesson in there somewhere.

BILLY
White! I've got it. I know how we can beat St. Cloud.

PETE
Uhh, pally?

Episode Notes

St. Cloud getting his abs sprayed on is a reference to the film 300 in which many of the actors had their abs 'enhanced' via airbrishing. He's also wearing Spartan hoplite garb similar to that seen in the film.

Meanwhile in Doc and Sgt. Hatred's room Doc is fast asleep but Sgt. Hatred is not. He's also wearing a bra, but that's what he's got to do, I guess. He hears something outside and quickly grabs his gun and helmet and heads out to take a look. He sneaks past St. Cloud's room, where something kind of gross appears to be going on. Hatred quickly moves on.

Somewhere else Pete and Billy are paddling in a small raft. Billy explains that the source of St. Cloud's power is his money, and if they take that away he's got nothing. Except for all the stuff he's already got. Billy notes that since the island doesn't take checks or credit cards that means St. Cloud probably has a stash somewhere on the X-2. Sneaking time.

They creep into the X-2 which St. Cloud has already packed full of some of his collectibles including the idol from the beginning of Raiders. Either way, there's his safe. Billy jiggles it open but there's only the drachmas from the Spanakopita games in there. Pete notices a weird clown robot from F/X2 which punches him in the face. Pei Wai has donned a suit that allows the clown to mimic his own movements. Billy jumps on Pei Wai, fighting him, while Pete symmetrically fights the clown robot. They're seemingly defeated but when Pei and the clown run at them from opposite sides Billy and Pete duck and the two assailants knock heads and are out cold. Unseen to Pete and Billy, however, St. Cloud lifts up the idol and they are both hit with tranq darts.

Sgt. Hatred, meanwhile, is still snooping. He hears gunfire or something. He heads into the cellar only to find Giorgos and some other inhabitants of Spanikos. Some of them are playing video games, some are just hanging around and some are counting money. Giorgos says that he'll explain everything to Hatred, just like he explained it to Brock all those years ago.

He explains that in 1968 the island was poor and yet the richest people in the world came to the area for a huge wedding. So they robbed the (nearly) abandoned yachts. However Rusty was on one of those yachts, hiding in a trunk because he was playing 'Trojan horse' with HELPeR. Later on the Greeks found him and made a plan to hold him ransom. Except when they tried to call Dr. Venture Sr. he didn't answer.

We now cut to still 1968 but a slightly different time (and on the X-2). Jonas Sr. is thrown into a satellite dish on the X-2 by a robot who turns out to be L. Ron Hubbard. Also of importance is Jackie O has been kidnapped and is being held hostage by what I assume are some Scientologists. The Action Man attempts to save her by killing two of the henchmen but the last guy zaps him with some sort of weird ray gun.

However while the Action Man is disabled Kano comes up behind the gunner and knocks him out. Jonas goes to deal with L. Ron, who reveals that kidnapping Jackie O was a distraction for his real target... Apollo VII, which is scheduled to splash down today! L. Ron laughs and the robot enters self destruct mode. An L. Ron thetan exits the robot and flies away, laughing. Team Venture quickly dive overboard as the X-2 explodes.

Episode Notes

Hoo boy, time for some Scientology facts!

  • So we already know that the original Team Venture portions of this episode take place around Jackie Onassis second wedding in Greece. Specifically it was on October 20th, 1968. Interestingly at this time L. Science fiction author and founder of Scientology Ron Hubbard was also in Greece thanks to his Sea Org "fleet". The Sea Org is made up of Scientology's most dedicated members and is effectively a private navy. After establishing it in 1967 it went on an eight-year voyage in the Mediterranean Sea. For several months in 1968-1969 the fleet stayed at the Greek island of Corfu. So that's why L. Ron was there, though in reality he didn't crash Jackie O's wedding and also didn't have a robot body.

  • Interestingly, while in Corfu, Hubbard renamed ships in the fleet after Greek Gods, with the main ship getting renamed to Apollo from the Royal Scotman, explaining the 'Apollo' patch on Hubbard's robot body.

  • When the Action Man is zapped by a Scientologist's ray guy he says there are 'engrams' in his head. In Dianetics and Scientology an engram is a concept that more or less means a painful memory or mental image.

  • When L. Ron exits his robot body it's as a thetan, which is more or less the Scientology version of a soul (with some differences).

In non-Scientology news, Apollo VII splashed down on October 22nd, two days after Jackie O's wedding and in the Atlantic Ocean, quite far from Greece (making L. Ron's distraction very well done). Col. Gentleman shouts that "Wally's on that mission!" which refers to Apollo 7 mission commander, Wally Schirra. If you recall one of Col. Gentleman's stories from "Now Museum -- Now You Don't!", he mentions having a threesome with Wally Schirra and Gore Vidal.

Continuing Giorgos story when the kidnappers attempted and failed to contact Jonas Venture for a while. Rusty was getting pretty upset and they weren't sure what to do because he was just so sad. So they made up a festival with a hastily made up name (thanks to Giorgos seeing someone eating) to cheer young Rusty up! They made up games and Rusty had a good time. By the time his father (finally) came to get him they even forgot about the ransom.

Then for twenty years they forgot about Spanikopita and Rusty. Until one year he showed up! And then every year since. Sgt. Hatred finishes listening to the story, noting that there actually isn't a spanikopita. He and Giorgos see Rusty working on his pumice carving outside, Giorgos says that, in essence, Spanikopita exists in Dr. Venture's heart, and that's really all that matters. Hatred seems to be convinced not to tell Rusty the truth.

Pete and Billy are currently in a bad situation. Mostly for Pete, but they are tied up somewhere and the sun is about to come up.

Billy struggles to get untied but is unable to. However out of nowhere Bubo show up and breaks one of his ropes. It's Pei Wai!

BILLY
Why is he helping us?

PETE
The Albino Code. A covenant more sacred than his loyalty to St. Cloud. Namaste, Pei Wai.

Pei Wai bows and then quickly runs away, leaving Pete and Billy. The sun is coming. Billy unties himself and then gets to work on Pete. They finally escape, but only barely.

Back in town Giorgos is judging the pumice carving contest. Of course St. Cloud has won, thanks to shipping in a pumice version of Han Solo frozen in carbonite (you know what I'm talking about, do I even need to put a note about this?). He ends his phone call with George Lucas, saying that he's happy with the results. Anyway, time to get on with this so he can get his crown and X-1. Time to count the drachmas. Except Pei Wai doesn't have any drachmas. Odd.

Just then from over a hill comes Billy (still in his underpants), hauling Pete (wrapped in a blanket or something) over his shoulders. He only grunts a few times before putting Pete down and handing Giorgos a bag full of drachmas. Giorgos immediately declares Billy the winner of Spanakopita!

However St. Cloud doesn't care too much, since he has just purchased Spanikopita. So, see you next year... except you won't, because it's his island now. Welp.

DR. VENTURE
What. Giorgos! How could you?

GIORGOS
Aww, Dr. Venture, we Greeks, we have a saying. 'Why sell a man your best goat when you can just wrap up a spinach and a fat in a phyllo and call it a goat instead?' [He laughs] You see?

DR. VENTURE
It's all Greek to me.

SGT. HATRED
Yeah, I think what he's sayin' is, the only thing old St. Cloud owns is a couple million bucks worth of spinach humble pie.

BILLY
So you're not mad at me for winning your crown?

DR. VENTURE
No, Billy. There's always next year, right?

Immediately and forcefully everyone asserts that there's no fucking way there's going to be a next year.

Roll end credits.

Back in 1968 we see Team Venture confronting Giorgos and the other Greeks. They have handed over young Rusty and are trying to make amends for the whole ordeal. They even gave Jonas Venture a bottle of olive oil.

ACTION MAN
Well, like I always say, oil's well that ends well!

[TEAM VENTURE laugh, the GREEKS look uneasy]

JONAS VENTURE
Kano, take Rusty outside, would you? I'd like to compensate these fine gentlemen for their time.

RUSTY
Bye bye, Giorgos!

GIORGOS
Bye bye, Rusty!

JONAS VENTURE
Horace, lock the door.

Col. Gentleman locks the door and draws his sword. The team advances on the protesting Greeks. It's not a super fair fight. Team Venture leaves the basement. It doesn't appear that they have killed anyone, but those guys will be sore in the morning. Giorgos has taken the worst of them, losing an eye in the fight.

GIORGOS
Some day, Dr. Venture, I swear, I will make you pay!

Present day. Giorgos laughs to himself and counts.

Episode Cast

James Urbaniak Dr. Venture
Rusty Venture
Patrick Warburton Brock Samson
Michael Sinterniklaas Dean Venture
Chris McCulloch Hank Venture
Sgt. Hatred
Pete White
St. Cloud
Action Man
Col. Gentleman
Doc Hammer Billy Quizboy
Joanna P. Adler Jackie
Greek Lady 1
Greek Lady 2
Greek Widows
Paul Boocock Jonas Venture Sr.
Larry Murphy Giorgos
L. Ron

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