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SPHINX Rising

  • Original Air Date:
    June 16, 2013
  • Written by:
    Doc Hammer
  • Production Number:
    502
  • Rate This Episode:

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All-time score of 4.2 with 138 votes

Summary

Henchman 21's command of Team SPHINX is starting to rub the O.S.I. the wrong way, and his new recruits are rubbing them even wronger. Meanwhile, The Monarch tries on a new face to ingratiate himself with Dr. Venture.

Capsule & Notes

A truck drives through the desert alone. Alone aside from the man with a jetpack flying above it. It's Gary. 21. Whatever his name is now. He detaches from the jetpack and glides down to the truck using his trusty Monarch henchman wings. He fires his crossbow at the truck and reels himself in using the cable attached to the arrow. He busts into the cab of the truck and punches the masked henchman driving in the face numerous times. The truck skids to a stop. There's a child in the trailer who is pushed into the back wall and then immediately has the henchman from the cab thrown through the door and into him.

Gary enters the trailer and tells everyone to freeze, which reveals that the other two henchmen in the back of the truck are Brock and Shoreleave. They've been undercover with Short Division (the kid) for a week trying to find out where Long Division's secret base is. They're both dead now though.

SHORELEAVE
You killed an eight-year-old kid with the corpse of the only guy who knew where Long Divison's secret base was. Aughh!! That's so Raven!

BROCK
Gary, you'd better shoot me or something, 'cause I'm about to kill you.

21
I was being a good guy! You left me SPHINX, what'd you expect me to do!?

SHORELEAVE
Honestly? Use the hot tub a couple of times. Not run around like a lone wolf fighting crime... that we are already fighting!

BROCK
[Grabs CROSSBOW] Is this my crossbow?

21
Aww, come on. It makes me feel like a wookie.

BROCK
No. This is my crossbow.

Opening credits logo.

We're back in the Venture Compound for breakfast. Doc is complaining that Hank has eaten all the good cereal from the variety pack while Dean eats. Doc asks where Hatred is, which is easily answered by seeing the huge flying cocoon headed towards the Venture Compound.

Outside Hatred is watching the Cocoon as 21 comes up behind him. They briefly argue about 21's penis (hrm) and we find out that he's recruiting for SPHINX before they get down to business. Blowing up the Monarch. 21 informs Hatred that since he's coming in low and slow he's using the 'look at my cool new thing approach.'

SGT. HATRED
Should I ready the extinguishers?

21
Psht, please. He only uses fire and lasers at night. I got my money on acid or a magnet kinda thing.

Inside the Cocoon:

THE MONARCH
Ready the acid magnet!! Bring her in nice and slow, Dr. my wife, I want to give them plenty of time to panic and soil their pants!

Essentially the plan is to go in very slow so they crap themselves, and then drop acid magnet on them. Makes sense.

Outside 21 tells Hatred where he should fire to disable the attack. A single shot with his sniper rifle is all he needs as when the acid magnet deploy is attempted it fails. Dr. Girlfriend suggests that it was probably 21 and that they should also probably turn around, though the Monarch refuses to believe either thing. Outside 21 explains that the Monarch now has to do something or risk looking like a douche.

THE MONARCH
Jettison the lunch room!!

SGT. HATRED
What is that, patio furniture?

21
That, is the lunchroom.

SGT. HATRED
There's some metal cases. Could be explosives.

21
Chafing dishes. It's Wednesday, right?

SGT. HATRED
Yeah.

21
Well they're filled with Buffalo wings then. We should totally collect the ones without dirt and lawn chunks on 'em, because they are awesome! They're really tangy.

Episode Notes

So there's a Guild version of Craigslist, I guess? There's nothing secret in here that I can see, but here it is. One noteworthy thing is that Turner (the parent company that owns Cartoon Network and Adult Swim) actually does own the domain 'guildslist.org' but there is nothing set up on it. It was likely bought for legal reasons.

Now we're somewhere unknown. A strange man with missing fingers and a number of pet snakes is discussing a Guildslist ad for joining SPHINX over the phone. He tells the person on the other end the URL to go to.

We see another person with a much neater life. He's on the couch in his posh living room, which is also filled with toys. He lets his wife know that one of the kids is eating chapstick before going back to his phone conversation. He thinks the ad is perfect!

Fade to Hank in the Venture kitchen, describing his issues with the ad over the phone. Also Gary wants to be called the Viceroy again. However Hank ultimately doesn't care much for what's going on since he's going to join SPHINX regardless.

Out in the living room Hatred and Doc can hear Hank shouting about being 'ready' for destiny, and not being able to wait to embrace her.

SGT. HATRED
Woah-oh, looks like Hank's got himself a little filly. Isn't that sweet?

DR. VENTURE
[Sighs] I knew this day would come. But come on, Destiny? Destiny is a stripper's name. That's a loose woman. He's going to be having dangerous sex with a trollop that has 'pray for our sinners' tattooed across her forehead.

DEAN
[Closes his book and walks away] This is ridiculous.

Hatred stops Dean, telling him that he needs to pay the toll of one great big hug! He attempts to hug Dean, who ducks him and continues to leave.

SGT. HATRED
Yeah, you gotta kill 'em with kindness.

DR. VENTURE
Yeah, 'kill him', not disembowel him with kindness.

HANK
[From the other room] I told you, I can handle it! I'm ready to be a man!

DR. VENTURE
Ohh, listen to him. He's like his old man. But he's too young for someone named Destiny! He should be with a Pam, or a Pamela.

SGT. HATRED
Or a Pammy, maybe.

DR. VENTURE
Pammy!? The boy's not ready for a damned Pammy! Hatred, you keep an eye on him.

In the kitchen Hank assures Gary that he's good to go. Heck, he's even been in SPHINX before.

Another unknown location we have yet another unknown person (albeit one with a very loud and raspy voice). He's sitting in his Trans Am shouting at whoever is on the phone about the ad. He's also spying on a woman across the street. He puts the phone aside briefly and shouts that the woman is with a man who looks like Criss Angel when a neighbor knocks on his car window. He's waking up the whole block with his screaming. There's a knock at the other window. It's Theresa, the woman he was spying on. He claims that he was just using the phone, which he grabs and tells the person on the other end that he's ready to join SPHINX.

Now we're in the Monarch's bedroom. He's sitting on the bed reading the ad as well. Except he looks... different.

Dr. Girlfriend is in the bathroom, unseen, and they discuss the ad briefly before talking about the fact they they're wearing weird masks for some reason. They also have a weird 'pee-pee smell' which seems pretty unfortunate.

Episode Notes

When talking about his mask the Monarch comments "It's so smooth, it even feels like skin. It tells me how it feels to be new." which is actually a lyric from "Kyoto Song" by The Cure.

She comes out, looking very different herself. She reveals that they're going to bomb the Venture Compound (the masks are their way in) but there doesn't seem to be an actual plan. Also there's the issue that the Monarch is still dressed like the Monarch because he doesn't actually own any real clothing. So there's that.

We now see a dual presentation of Hunter's address to a large number of OSI recruits juxtaposed with Gary's similar but, let's just say more light-hearted presentation to a much smaller group of SPHINX recruits.

Hunter explains to the new recruits that he's in charge of the new OSI. So if they don't like it the door is right over there. Also if you don't like blood you should probably leave too.

He explains that they have an abundance of info on 'the enemy' and that the enemy has grown fat and lazy. OSI is hungry dogs.

HUNTER
They're not warriors! We'll be the ticks on their dog. The lint in their dryers. And the crust in the corner of their eyes! The Guild is the enemy and it's time to-

HUNTER
Get out there and fight the good fight!

Gary asks if anyone has heard about the old SPHINX, which everyone (all four of the recruits) have. He explains that they don't chase OSI around any more. After the Pyramid Wars they became new SPHINX.

21 then explains that snacking at work is okay but nothing that's too messy. Don't want to get crumbs or goo on your keyboard.

Anyway it's time to pick code names now.

WIND SONG
Wing Song, master of the fighting arts!

DIAMOND BACKDRAFT
Diamond Backdraft, lord of the lightless beasts and keeper of their fire form!

SPHINX COMMANDER
SPHINX Commander! Mythic mastermind-

21
Woah, woah! I'm SPHINX Commander.

SPHINX COMMANDER
But you said you're the Viceroy! Way to be confusing. Okay, I'm Mister Daddy Warlord of the Children of the Corn, or whatever.

21
Good, you're Daddy Warlord, ya big baby. [Looks at HANK] What about you?

HANK
Because this is my destiny, I shall take the name Destiny.

21
That's more of a girl from Rock of Love's name, but whatever. You know I'm pretty sure Wind Song is a perfume anyways. Alright SPHINX, let's get out there and fight the good fight!

Episode Notes

Hunter's presentation, though not his speech itself, is reminiscent of the opening monologue from the 1970 film Patton.

Also in case it wasn't obvious, the new/old SPHINX guys are a parody of GI Joe, as that's what SPHINX originally was before Hunter and other former OSI members took it over. More on this later.

Commercial.

Outside the Venture Compound we see The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend in their disguises. The Monarch has gone with a winter coat and other various things that a person probably wouldn't wear on a summer day. They ring the doorbell as he takes off his coat. Doc answers the door.

DR. VENTURE
Beaver inspectors?

This was not the shirt of the week.

The Monarch struggles with the issue at hand but Dr. Girlfriend quickly gets out in front of it, explaining to Doc that beavers are destroying his home. It's a serious issue.

DR. VENTURE
Beavers? Please. That shirt means you want to inspect a... you know. [Whispers] Vagina.

DR. GIRLFRIEND
Did you just say 'vagina'?

THE MONARCH
Whatever, we can just leave. Probably have another week before this whole structure comes down.

Doc reluctantly agrees to let them, uh, inspect beavers and tells them to meet him in the back. The Monarch is excited though Dr. Girlfriend isn't overly happy about the situation and punches him in the arm to let it be known.

Back at SPHINX Sgt. Hatred has confronted Gary about what's going on.

21
I'm trying to run SPHINX! I'm a good guy now, why can't you believe me?

SGT. HATRED
Once a bad guy, always a bad guy!

21
You were a bad guy too, you idiot!

SGT. HATRED
[Stops for a second] Alright, touche. Listen, I'm here to talk to Hank about Destiny. Worried about him. He's in over his head.

21
Hank's an adult. He's ready to enter destiny. And I'm gonna show him how. I've done it already.

SGT. HATRED
[Blustering] That is perverse! I insist on meeting this Destiny character!

21 calls for Destiny who busts through the wall. Looking... not like Hank.

It's a strength suit. The other SPHINX members are wearing their costumes too. They were in the command gear hold, which Gary didn't know existed. Either way. Hank, excited about his strength suit, displays a feat of strength by jumping straight up through the ceiling. 21 tells Hated that visiting hours are over and it's time for him to leave. Hatred briefly challenges them to make him leave, but he only ends up with three weapons pointed at him. He meant metaphorically. Hank crashes through the floor.

Over at OSI, Hunter is sitting at his desk reading over some files. Brock and Shoreleave walk in. Hunter was reading the report on Long Division. Not too happy about it. He's mostly upset that they let the guy who blew their cover walk. And who the fuck is this guy anyway?

BROCK
You remember that ex-Monarch henchman that we gave SPHINX to? Well, he thinks he's a crime fighter now, and, uh, he's good enough at it to-

HUNTER
Burn my ass! Clean this mess up, I don't want to hear the word SPHINX again! Go tell that deranged, giant man-baby that playtime is over.

Back at SPHINX Gary is trying to start SPHINX training but nobody seems into it. Diamond Backdraft explains that they've been at this for a long time. They fought in the Pyramid Wars! Gary is surprised by this and comments that he didn't know they were all ex-OSI. Hmmm. Well, he made some workbooks, and-

SPHINX COMMANDER
Viceroy! No workbooks! [He pushes the WORKBOOK onto the floor] SPHINX! Evil awaits!

WIND SONG
I'm calling forth the mighty Khafra; the man-faced lion that reigns over the heavens.

21
How do you guys know this stuff?

WIND SONG
Umm, push the big red button?

Down in the sewers of the Venture Compound Doc is following the disguised Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend around as they explain his beaver infestation. It's the red well beaver, rather than the more common paper beaver. They can tell because the Monarch makes the sound a hungry paper beaver pup would make and no paper beavers show up. Naturally. The Monarch (while referring to Doc as 'Tad' in spite of corrections from Doc) gets Doc to help him plant some bombs on the wall under the pretense that they're actually beaver deterrents. They emit a high frequency pulse that beavers just hate. Drives 'em nuts.

Up in Dean's room, Hatred barges in. He needs Dean's help.

SGT. HATRED
I suck at this bodyguard thing! Brock's watch keeps beeping explosives present, your brother's fornicating with Destiny and Gary's got a militia. You're burning candles and you got those cutting scars.

DEAN
[Looks at his arm] Huh? Ohh! I got my arm caught in a-

SGT. HATRED
Caught in a web of sadness! I know that you cut to feel something, Dean. To feel anything.

DEAN
What are you talking about?

SGT. HATRED
I'm not legally allowed to hold you, but I am sworn to protect you D- what the?!

There's a loud noise and he runs over to Dean's window. The huge SPHINX ship thing is taking off! It lifts off, turns, and then quickly bolts away.

SGT. HATRED
He's upped his game. Let's go!

Up in the SPHINX ship the new recruits are doing their best to ignore 21, who continues to insist that he's SPHINX commander. The actual SPHINX Commander informs 21 that he's the real SPHINX commander and 21 is just a usurper. Behind him Diamond Backdraft is holding his flame guns up to 21.

21
Ohh, fuck. You guys are old team SPHINX, I knew it. I'm such a retard.

WIND SONG
Uhh, you really are. It was embarrassingly easy to do this.

HANK
Great! Right when everything gets super cool-

SPHINX COMMANDER
Hush, my sweet Countess, daddy's back. Everything is just as it was!

Episode Notes

Since 21's figured it out, now's as good a time as any to remind you of the original SPHINX. This was explained to some extent in "The Invisible Hand of Fate" and "Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel", but SPHINX was a global world domination organization that fought OSI. They were wiped out by OSI during the Pyramid Wars and eventually OSI's focus shifted to the Guild. This is mainly a parody of G.I. Joe which saw the G.I. Joe team (or just 'Joes') fighting against the global terrorist organization COBRA Command (or just Cobra if you like).

  • Wind Song's most obvious parallel is Storm Shadow, though Storm Shadow was a Japanese American. Either way he's the bad ninja guy in SPHINX. He's voiced by Tim Meadows who is most well known for being on Saturday Night Live for a super long time, though he has also been in films such as The Ladies Man (based on his character from SNL) and Mean Girls. And yes, Wind Song is also a perfume.

  • Diamond Backdraft doesn't seem to have an obvious parallel on G.I. Joe, but he's just the guy who uses fire a lot and owns a ton of snakes. He's voiced by Larry Murphy who is also the voice of Teddy as well as Edith Cranwinkle (among others) on Bob's Burgers and previously voiced a number of characters on Ugly Americans (notably Francis Grimes).

  • SPHINX Commander has the most obvious COBRA version in Cobra Commander, the supreme leader of Cobra. He's voiced by Jackson, doing his very best Chris Latta impression. Latta also voiced Starscream in the original Transformers series, providing the vocal inspiration for Watch and Ward.

  • And while the Countess doesn't end up re-joining SPHINX, she's meant to be a version of the Baroness from G.I. Joe. However Baroness was romantically involved with Destro in the series, not Cobra Commander. The SPHINX version of Destro briefly appears in the OSI intro in "The Invisible Hand of Fate" before being decapitated by a jet.

Down in the Venture Compound sewers Hatred is trying to have a heart-to-heart with Dean. He reassures him that he's kicked some addictions himself, so he knows how Dean feels. Dean assures him that he's not addicted to anything. Just then the little thing Hatred is carrying beeps and they locate the first explosive.

SGT. HATRED
Yeah, when Uncle Hatred was a villain he used this kind but green. The Monarch crew used to steal crap from us and paint it yellow, so, uh, looks like we discovered Gary's little plan.

Brock and Shoreleave are in an OSI jet headed to SPHINX HQ, except Hunter contacts them to inform them that SPHINX HQ is on the move and it's headed towards OSI. He warns then that if they don't take down SPHINX then the OSI HQ airship will. Presumably by blowing it up. A lot.

At the Venture Compound Doc is enjoying a drink with The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend (still disguised) and showing them some photos. Hatred runs in to talk to Doc:

SGT. HATRED
Doc, I need to talk privately. We have some problems that might be... explosive.

Doc excuses himself to talk to Hatred in private. The Monarch continues to look through the photo album. Dr. Girlfriend tells him it's time to leave, since Hatred very obviously found the explosives. The Monarch suddenly freaks out when he sees a photo but we're interrupted by Doc yelling "He did what?!" from the other room. Time to go!

In the big SPHINX ship 21 and Hank are sitting in a cell while Wind Song guards them. 21 questions why they even did this. They just sat around and waited thirty years for a want ad?

WIND SONG
SPHINX was pretty serious. Yeah, we got our asses kicked by OSI all the time, but we were hardcore. When you join SPHINX you put a cyanide chip right in your brain. 100% loyalty or we flip the switch.

21
Woah. And I thought my old job was nuts.

WIND SONG
Well you can't get these things out. And they don't last forever! We all have maybe a year left to live, so when your ad came up we figured we could go out like SPHINX! Flame it!

HANK
We have nothing to do with your acid head... problem. Why can't you just let us go?

WIND SONG
It would ruin the commander. You look just like the Countess in that outfit. After she left him, he hasn't been the same. Yeah, that was her strength suit.

A realization suddenly comes over Hank. He stands up, rips the door off the jail cell and throws it at Wind Song, knocking him out cold.

HANK
Totally forgot it was a strength suit.

Hank and 21 but run off, in search of the bridge and engine room.

Dean and Hatred are walking somewhere, carrying some boxes. Hatred is trying to give Dean some help. Dean confides that his only problem is that he knows a little too much.

SGT. HATRED
Dean, growing up is hard. It's supposed to be! You're not like anyone, you're Dean! And you're the best Dean.

DEAN
Hmm. That... almost helps.

We see now that they're carrying two boxes of the Monarch's bombs. They leave them at the entrance to SPHINX. That'll send a message.

Up in the Cocoon Dr. Girlfriend is trying to command the ship but the Monarch is busy freaking out about the photograph he saw earlier. The photo is of the Venture Compound, except it's got the Monarch as a very young child playing with Rusty Venture. Behind them Jonas Venture is talking with the Monarch's parents. The Monarch mostly seems to be upset that he doesn't remember this event.

Speculation

So here's the long awaited tie-in between Doc and The Monarch. While we already know that they went to college together, nobody quite knows why The Monarch hates Dr. Venture so much. In college The Monarch (well before he was The Monarch) rigged one of Doc's science lab experiments to explode. The accident ended up not killing Doc, but it did cost Baron Underbheit his jaw.

Now we have this. The Monarch's origin was explained way back in the first episode of season one, "Dia de los Dangerous!", and also revealed that his family was extremely rich (which is also the reason he's able to afford all his Monarch stuff). So it's not a huge stretch for his family to also know Jonas Venture. How close they were remains to be seen, but I'm sure we haven't heard the last of this.

In the meantime SPHINX and OSI are converging on each other quickly. Brock and Shoreleave arrive and land on the SPHINX airship.

On the bridge Hank confronts SPHINX Commander.

HANK
Alright, weirdo, the game is over! Knock this crap off or I will go karate bananas on you!

SPHINX COMMANDER
Countess! Soon the OSI will be destroyed, and we can finally be together again!

HANK
Look, seriously, I will karate you.

In the meantime Shoreleave has just taken down Diamond Backdraft. He comments that he remembers kicking his ass as a kid (referring to 1980s OSI) and that it's still fun. 21 shows up with what looks like a Shake Weight and explains the situation to Shoreleave. SPHINX is going to attack OSI and communications are down. Also he can find neither engineering nor Hank. Shoreleave comments that Gary's in a lot of trouble.

Brock busts onto the bridge with his crossbow. SPHINX Commander spins around in his chair, Countess on his lap. He comments that it's just like old times.

BROCK
So you and the Countess figured you'd take the jalopy out for one last ride?

HANK
Brock. It's me, Hank.

BROCK
Hank? What are you doing here, and why- why are you on his lap?

HANK
He needs my bosom, Brock. Plus the suit is frozen. I can't move.

SPHINX COMMANDER
My Countess forgot that her suit is programmed to never hurt her man! So put the crossbow down.

BROCK
Hank, uhh, can you close your eyes?

HANK
Of course.

BROCK
Then do it.

HANK
I can't open them yet, can I?

BROCK
Nope.

Cleanup time. OSI agents take away Wind Song and Diamond Backdraft. Gary is sitting on a console in the bridge looking super bummed. Everyone feels pretty bad for him, and Shoreleave notes that he understands why his dad would say that he wasn't going to punish him since he's already punished himself enough. Brock walks over to Gary.

21
I am a complete loser. [Sighs]

BROCK
You know I was thinkin' that this, uhh, kinda looked better on you.

[BROCK hands 21 his CROSSBOW, 21 looks at it and then up at BROCK, smiling]

BROCK
You work it like a Wookie.

Roll end credits.

We're back in OSI HQ. Outside the SPHINX ship floats, unmanned. Hunter makes the order to position artillery. He's been waiting to do this for thirty years.

Inside the Cocoon Dr. Girlfriend makes the order to arm all explosives. The Cocoon hovers in full view of the Venture Compound.

Inside the kitchen Doc and Sgt. Hatred watch the approaching Cocoon.

SGT. HATRED
Monarch again. This is exhausting. You want me to go out there?

DR. VENTURE
Pssh, what are they gonna do, drop a dinette set on my lawn?

Inside the Cocoon the Monarch gives the order to detonate.

Up at OSI Hunter gives the order to blow up the SPHINX ship.

Doc and Hatred see SPHINX HQ explode. Doc seems shocked. In the Cocoon Dr. Girlfriend and the Monarch watch with confusion.

DR. GIRLFRIEND
I don't get it. It looks like we just blew up-

[Cut to INT. OSI HQ]

HUNTER
-SPHINX for the last time!

Episode Cast

James Urbaniak Dr. Venture
Patrick Warburton Brock Samson
Michael Sinterniklaas Dean Venture
Chris McCulloch Hank Venture
Sgt. Hatred
Hunter Gathers
The Monarch
Commander
Doc Hammer 21
Dr. Mrs. The Monarch
Shoreleave
Tim Meadows Wind Song
Larry Murphy Diamond Backdraft
Man in Robe

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