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Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny

  • Original Air Date:
    June 1, 2008
  • Written by:
    Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick
  • Production Number:
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Jump To: Summary | Capsule | Notes
All-time score of 4.3 with 480 votes


The wait is over. The truths and half-truths about Dr. Venture's arch-nemeses, Dr. Girlfriend and the Monarch, are finally revealed (albeit obliquely) in an episode spanning twenty years... and oceans of love. See how they first met, their first kiss, their first trembling gropes... at supervillainy -- and what the Guild of Calamitous Intent has to say about it all.


Dr. Girlfriend: Okay. Deep breath. Sheila you've been rehearsing this. [she takes a deep breath] Monarch, I'm- [a laser shoots a hole in the Monarch's wing]
Dr. Girlfriend: Woah! Pay attention, Monarch! That last one almost took my head off!
The Monarch: Sorry! Sorry! I'm just thinking about how, at this time yesterday, we were floating in our comfy escape-cocoon, a little moist from doing it-
[They are fighting lots of robots]
Dr. Girlfriend: Yeah?
The Monarch: And how you turned to me and softly made your brave confession...
Dr. Girlfriend: Yeeah?
The Monarch: And how this is the last fucking thing I expected you to say!!

Roll alternative opening credits, which have been altered to center around Dr. Girlfriend and the Monarch.

We're in the grand canyon, with the destroyed Cocoon laying in rubble after the events of Showdown at Cremation Creek. The henchmen are all loafing around in the midst of the rubble, unsure of what to do with themselves now that their bosses have flown the coop. 21 and 24 converse briefly and decide that they are now 'wandering samurai without a master'.

A tiny but gruff voice perks up at this moment. It's Dr. Girlfriend's murderous moppets, Tim-Tom and Kevin. They point out that there are no high-ranking Monarch henchmen at the scene (24 had no idea the numbers were ranks), whereas they are Dr. Girlfriend's number two. The moppets begin to stage their takeover until 21 points out that the Monarch henchmen not only outnumber them but are also much greater in stature (some more than others). The moppets put a stop to this by promptly kicking everyone's asses.

Kevin: Any questions?
Tim-Tom: Good. Team A, start cleaning this crap up!
Kevin: Team B, take this list to Home Depot. You ask for Carl.

Meanwhile Dr. Girlfriend and the Monarch are being questioned in separate but similar rooms by members of the Guild of Calamitous Intent Council of Elders (there's no way for me to tell who is who so I'm just going to use 'Councilman' for all of them). The Monarch wants to know why he was taken from 'repeatedly consummating his new marriage' in order to be shot at by robots and such, but there's really no answer for this aside from some sort of strange and vague tradition.

Councilman: Tell us about the traitor, Phantom Limb.
The Monarch: I know he wears an awful lot of purple for a white guy. What else you wanna know?
Dr. Girlfriend: You know damn well that Phantom Limb ruined my life!
Councilman: Ruined it? My dear doctor, he began it. Observe.

Dr. Girlfriend spins around in her chair to watch a flashback on a large monitor. It's in a park, probably ten or so years ago. Phantom Limb is dressed in his regular clothes and Dr. Girlfriend in a pink dress. They're having a picnic when Phantom Limb decided he is going to reveal himself to Dr. Girlfriend. He pulls down his pants (this is apparently one of their first dates) to reveal... his invisible legs. He then goes on a classic Phantom Limb tirade about the world and evil and finally gives a Guild business card to Dr. Girlfriend, telling her that the world is hers.

In the Monarch's interrogation room he has apparently been watching the same video:

The Monarch: Oh man, if that shows up on YouTube- I- I'm serious! What kind of torture is this? Couldn't you just drill my teeth, or shove bamboo under my nails or something.
Councilman: This is not a torture, Mr. Monarch.
Councilman: It is an interrogation!
Councilman: Or a trial of sorts!
Councilman: I always say, it's a crucible.
Councilman: Oh that's way cooler!
Councilman: Now you have seen how easily the doctor was seduced by evil.
The Monarch: Look, heads, any guy in a tight, evil costume could seduce Dr. Girlfriend back then! I'm not retarded, I mean, I know her past.
Councilman: Her past with the traitor, Phantom Limb?
The Monarch: [sighs] Yes! Man! What do you want me to pull my tights off so you can jam it in deeper?
Councilman: Does she know your past with him?
The Monarch: [surprised] Yeah, yeah. Of course. No, no, I told her that... so there's no reason to get into that... again.
Councilman: Indulge us. Observe!

Up on the screen another scene comes up, this time in the Guild headquarters. Watch is giving a speech to Dr. Girlfriend (who is currently Lady Au Pear) about how he is the only face she will see for a long time when Ward walks in with a bag of Fritos. She's at the Guild because her career as a lead was a flop, so she's now slotted for a position as a number two. Ward uncouthly suggests a theme based around her voice, which Dr. Girlfriend refuses. So that leaves some sort of mutation. Ocelot powers perhaps? Sexy costume! No. Perhaps Mink powers? Also a sexy costume. Dr. Girlfriend, however, wants to play off her abilities rather than her sexuality. They make her an offer to number two for Pin-up Murderess, Betty Rage!

Just them Phantom Limb (and a good deal of henchmen) shows up.

Phantom Limb: The lady [dramatic pause] is with me!
Watch: [bowing] Pardon our insolence, Phantom Limb.
Phantom Limb: I will complete her training myself! Shadowman 9! Shadowman 9!
[Shadowman 9, who is highly familiar looking and sounding, is pushed out of line by another Shadowman]
Shadowman 9: What? Quit shoving! Oh! Am I nine? [looking down at the number on his costume] I thought I was shadowguy 6.
Phantom Limb: Take Lady Au Pear to the lair [pause] of the Phantom.
Shadowman 9: Course. Cool. I mean, gladly. I mean, yes Master Limb [bowing]
Phantom Limb: Good.
[Shadowman 9 continues to bow and stare creepily at Dr. Girlfriend]
Phantom Limb: Stand.
Shadowman 9: What, you mean now?
[the video ends]
Dr. Girlfriend: Wait, was that henchman the Monarch?
Councilman: Silence!
Councilman: What? What is that? What are you doing?
Councilman: I was just trying to sound intimidating.
Councilman: Ah yes. Go on.
Councilman: The traitor Phantom Limb has controlled you from the very beginning! Playing you-
Councilman: Silence!
Councilman: [clears throat] Okay you need to do that when she's talking.
Councilman: Oh!
Councilman: Now I completely forgot what I was saying. Thanks.

In the Monarch's room the council has pointed out that rather than going through the proper motions to become a super villain, he instead made a costume out of leggings and cardboard and just went after Dr. Venture. The Monarch points out that the prick had it coming. Another council member notes that the Monarch began arching Dr. Venture in college.

The Monarch: Yeah, yeah. Role the clip.
Councilman: Unfortunately we have no visual records of your time in college.
The Monarch: Really? Oh, so we're not gonna have to sit through hours of me abusing myself to Markie Post?
Councilman: Of course not! How could we have video of you from that long ago, that's crazy!
Councilman: We're the council of thirteen, not magic angel babies.
Councilman: We don't have, like a magic window into the past.
The Monarch: Okay, okay! I get it!
Councilman: Then why don't you enlighten us all!
The Monarch: Well, Night Court was huge at the time-
Councilman: Not that.
The Monarch: Oh, well then. My first attempt to destroy Venture was admittedly a failure...

Flashback of the Monarch in college. He's hanging outside of the science building when part of it explodes. He screams for joy when someone immediately runs up to him with news of the explosion that happened hundreds of feet away and roughly three seconds ago, informing Malcolm (the Monarch's real name) that T.S. Venture just blew up Verner Underbheit's face! So Venture got the credit for maiming Underbheit and the Monarch failed. Dr. Venture left college soon after that when his father died (the Monarch also briefly inquires as to who killed Jonas Venture Sr. but the council skirts the question).

The Monarch then details his second attempt to kill Dr. Venture, which is similar to the flashback in I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills where Myra defends Dr. Venture from the Monarch in classic Monarch costume. The Monarch drives his original Monarchmobile into the (very large) Venture Compound, screaming the entire way. By the time he arrives in Dr. Venture's lab he's out of breath and Myra beats him up fairly easily.

The Monarch: I would have taken him down then if Venture hadn't hired a private army of ex-Navy Seal ninja witches to protect him. Also my memory is a little foggy, but I'm pretty sure he had a fucking tank.
Councilman: So, you admit you were arching Dr. Venture with neither license nor consent from the Guild of Calamitous Intent.
The Monarch: Well, duh. I had never even heard of you schmucks yet.
Councilman: We have pages and pages of complaints! [paper is heard waving around] All signed by Dr. Thaddeus S. Venture and all filed after you registered as a henchman with the Guild.
Councilman: You can't see it but he's holding them off-camera.

In Dr. Girlfriend's questioning it's revealed that the Monarch was moonlighting as the Monarch while henching for not just Phantom Limb but also the Sea Anemone, Helicoptro and even Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Nightmare Coat. It seems that the Monarch persona was created for one reason and one reason only: to menace Dr. Thadeus S. Venture.

The Monarch: Woah! Woah, woah, woah, woah! Haven't we got off track here? I thought you guys wanted to know about Phantom Limb.
Councilman: We will deal with the traitor Phantom Limb.
Councilman: The council has assembled this tribunal-
Dr. Girlfriend: Interrogation.
Councilman: Inquiry.
Councilman: Trial!
Councilman: More of a crucible.
Councilman: Fine, crucible. To determine your fate.
The Monarch: We gave up our honeymoon for this?!
Dr. Girlfriend: I did what you asked. I made him promise to stop arching Dr. Venture!
The Monarch: Which sucked.
Dr. Girlfriend: Hasn't the Monarch suffered enough?!
Councilman: He has not even begun his suffering. According to this tribunal...
Councilman: Crucible!
Councilman: ... there is no Monarch.


Back at the (destroyed) Cocoon, the henchmen are hard at work repairing the Cocoon at the command of the moppets. They have just discovered the original Monarchmobile as seen in the Monarch's recounting of his second attempt to eliminate Dr. Venture. Would have been a welcome change from 24's crappy Stanza, which by the way is destroyed. 24 laments he hasn't finished paying his father back for the car yet. Just then the moppets tell 21 and 24 to get back to work:

Henchman 24: Man I can't believe those little midgitlers expect us to rebuild this whole freakin' place! I mean what are the odds we'll get lucky enough they pull a double-Villechaize on themselves?
Henchman 21: Hah, wait! Maybe someone we know can take them out for us.
Henchman 24: Dude, they tore through everyone we know like a bag of Lays.
Henchman 21: Right, but who else do we know that's done like the same thing to like everybody else that we know. Like a hundred times.
Henchman 24: Hmmmm. [thinks for a second] Ahhh!!

We see a quick shot of Brock with his arm out the window. His wrist communicator beeps.

Back at the crucible the council has declared the Monarch in violation of the Guild's founding principle of organized villainy and shall be executed painfully. By hot lava.

Dr. Girlfriend: This is nonsense! This isn't my fault!
Councilman: That is for us-
Councilman: Silence!!
Councilman: Ohh, you were so close!
Councilman: Right? I should have just gone with my instincts and not when I felt it.

Guild law, however, allows for rebuttal, and rebutt they shall. The Monarch instructs them to bring up video of the night he first made it with Dr. Girlfriend. Not for that reason though. Apparently.

In the video 24 (who was Shadowman 24), walks in on the Monarch (who was also Shadowman 9 at the time) changing into Monarch costume, mark 2 (with his current one being mark 3). They briefly converse about the Monarch's [lack of] fame and his arching of Dr. Venture['s son]. However he is on duty to staff the Guild ball Phantom Limb is hosting, though he plans to attend as the Monarch to seduce Dr. Girlfriend.

The Monarch: Tonight I take what is loinfully mine!
Shadowman 24: Nope. You're standing around holding a tray of mini-tacos dressed like an idiot with a nine on your chest.
The Monarch: Listen, twenty-four. You wear my costume tonight and do me this favor, and I'll make you the Monarch's number two.
Shadowman 24: Really?
The Monarch: Totally, I'm just waiting for some trust fund money to slide out of escrow and I'm doin' this full time, baby. You're my boy, 24! I mean, number two.

The Monarch points out that this means his sole reason for being the Monarch was not to arch Dr. Venture, but in fact he had multiple reasons to don the costume.

Dr. Girlfriend, however, has more for the council to see on that same night. We fast forward a little to Dr. Girlfriend (as Queen Atheria), the Monarch and Truckulese as the Monarch tells the story of why Captain Sunshine thinks the Monarch is invulnerable. After the story Truckulese excuses himself to get another drink and the Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend talk about Dr. Girlfriend's current gig. After some smooth talking the Monarch suggests they get some fresh air, which inevitably leads to them doing it in the Monarchmobile.

After the deed is done Dr. Girlfriend gives the Monarch some suggestions on how to improve his image and persona (wear a crown and also working butterfly wings instead of a cape). At this point the Monarch is about to reveal who he really is to Dr. Girlfriend when Phantom Limb and some Shadowmen show up and rip him out of the car. Phantom Limb is irate with his queen and about to have the Monarch eliminated (in spite of Dr. Girlfriend telling him she's leaving him for the Monarch) when the entire Council of 13 (still obscured by shadows) appear on his front balcony and ask him if everything is okay.

Phantom Limb, not wanting to let anyone know what's happening, tells them everything is fine, and the Monarch quickly adds that he's going to give Queen Atheria a ride home. The council tells Phantom Limb to hurry up since Councilman 10 is getting drowsy.

The Monarch: Welp, good night fellas! [to Phantom Limb] Good night, sparky.
Phantom Limb: What is your name, you insolent little nobody!
The Monarch: Why I'm the mighty... [he looks at his car and sees the giant 'M' painted on the hood] Mmm- mmmm... Manotaur!
Phantom Limb: Then let this be a warning to you. Manotaur. You're hereby officially on the Phantom Limb's shit list. And from this night forward my primary focus in life will be to destroy you. Shadowmen! [they march away]
The Monarch: Oh yeah?! Well... you'll have to... find me first. That is, if you can make it through my... malevolent murder maze! [he looks at Dr. Girlfriend] Heh heh heh heh.
Shadowman 24: Wait! Take me with you!
The Monarch: Well you said you wanted lots of henchm-
Dr. Girlfriend: No no no, that's 9. The one I told you about with the staring.
The Monarch: Sorry man. [drives away]

The Monarch: Wait, wait, did that video have a wipe?
Councilman: Councilman 3 got Adobe Premiere.
Councilman 3: Was it too showy? I thought it would make the scene more lively.
The Monarch: And why'd you change the music.
Councilman 3: Pardon?
The Monarch: Listen, a man remembers what's on his car radio the first time he taps his future wife. That was not the song.
Councilman 3: Oh, we couldn't afford the rights.
Councilman: Einar was ready to sign, but Bjorks' lawyers just would not budge.

Dr. Girlfriend points out that there is no way Phantom Limb is so stupid as to not recognize his own henchmen. Nor is he dim enough that when he met the Monarch later on he would be unable to figure it out. The council begrudgingly agrees and Dr. Girlfriend points out that Phantom Limb is actually responsible for everything. He's the one who hid the Monarch's illicit activity from the Guild. All the Monarch is guilty of is ignorance!

Just then the wall behind Dr. Girlfriend raises up to reveal the room the Monarch was in, with him still in it.

The Monarch: Hi, honey. I think I'm gonna be dipped in lava.
Dr. Girlfriend: Monarch, I'm... sorry.
The Monarch: That's what you should have told me in the escape pod.
[The join hands in the center of the room when a familiar face flashes onto all the monitors]
The Monarch & Dr. Girlfriend: Sovereign!
The Monarch: [whispering] It's David Bowie!
Sovereign: The Council of Thirteen have made their decision.

Meanwhile at the Cocoon, Brock is talking with one of the moppets as 21 and 24 look on, waiting for him to kick ass. Brock, however, shakes their hands and picks up a hammer. Tim-Tom sneaks up on 21 and 24 and asks which of them called Brock. 21 quickly sells 24 out since Tim-Tom has a knife, and Tim-Tom suggests they call some more of their friends.

From over the mountainside a number of villains approach the Cocoon as a majestic tune plays (normally I wouldn't mention the music, but it's very majestic in this case, so I made an exception). Inside the Guild base the Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend are surrounded by Strangers and blind folded while everyone at the Cocoon pitches in and rebuilds the Cocoon.

The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend are next stripped down to their underwear (I am still not sure why) and...

Sovereign: You have been tested in mutual combat against our slaughter-bots. You have proved your romantic and professional compatibility and you have even proved the Monarch's innocence. Your trial is thus concluded. Now join hands.
[Ward brings their hands together and Watch ties them together with a snake]
Sovereign: Monarch. Dr. Girlfriend. The Guild of Calamitous Intent hereby approves your application for duoship. I now pronounce you villain and villainess. You may kiss your queen. [they kiss]

Outside the Cocoon the construction is complete. Everyone cheers and 21 shakes hands with Tim-Tom. 24 and another henchman dump Gatoraid on the moppets and one of them pays for it with his life (or at least a terrible injury). Inside the Guild location Sovereign informs the couple that they now need to complete their first mission together.

Cut to Phantom Limb's house. The Cocoon hovers over and henchmen and the Monarch pour in at the Monarch's command:

The Monarch: The lair of the Phantom! Minions, attack!! Kill everyone! God will recognize his own! Take no prisoners! Show no mercy!!
Dr. Girlfriend: Monarch!
The Monarch: Whaaat?!
Dr. Girlfriend: Excuse me?
The Monarch: Oh. Sorry, pookums. [he picks her up] Welcome home! [his wings deploy, blocking him from getting in the front door]
Dr. Girlfriend: Great.
The Monarch: You deployed my wings with your ass.

End credits.

A very large man with an MTA uniform enters his dark apartment when a familiar voice is heard.

Phantom Limb: Did you really think I'd forget about you, old man?
MTA Guy: What is this, some kind of revenge trip? I retired from all the villainy crap!
Phantom Limb: No one retires from the Phantom Limb's shit list!
[the MTA Guy runs to his closet and looks in it frantically]
Phantom Limb: Looking for this?! [he holds up a bull mask] Manotaur!!
[he approaches Manotaur with his death hands glowing, and cut to black]


  • This episode was the first episode to air during season three, but was the fifth episode written for season three. It is also the first new and complete episode of the show to air in over a year and a half (with Cremation Creek II airing in October of 2006 and an partial rough-cut airing of The Doctor is Sin on April 1st of 2008 being the two most recent airings of new content).

  • Dr. Venture's weird flying saucer thing in the beginning of the episode is very similar to the Avrocar, which was a secret project carried out during the start of the Cold War. It was canceled in 1961, though it appears Jonas Venture, Sr. did build a working prototype. Thanks to Ronald Miller for the link.

  • The Dr. Girlfriend/Monarch opening credits mark the fifth different opening credit sequence the series has had thus far. The others are the original opening, the Christmas episode opening, the shortened opening for season two, and the Dr. Venture/Jonas Venture Jr. opening credits from Powerless in the Face of Death.

  • This episode not only has the fewest number of voice actors ever used in an episode (three), but it marks the first episode of the series where Brock, Dr. Venture, Hank and Dean do not have a single line. Furthermore Hank and Dean are not even on screen at any point (though their silhouettes appear in the opening credits), and Brock is only seen for a few seconds and Dr. Venture only in a flashback. This is also the only episode of the series where Patrick Warburton does not have a spoken line.

  • Adding to the list of characters with names previously unknown, the Monarch's real first name is Malcolm.

  • Character relationships of the past are one again brought into the forefront in this episode. We find out that not only did the Monarch serve as a henchman for Phantom Limb, but 24 was a Shadowman as well. The Monarch also henched for two other super villains before becoming the Monarch full time.

  • Slightly more is revealed about Baron Underbheit's jaw injury (first brought up in Home Insecurity). The lab accident which was thought to be Dr. Venture's fault was actually sabotage on the part of the Monarch.

  • Beau Bradley pointed out that there was a very brief cameo of the Action Man in the flashback when Dr. Venture is walking to a Venture Industries car. The Action Man can be seen inside the car.

  • The Monarch also sheds what is perhaps a sliver of information regarding the late Dr. Jonas Venture, saying he was killed. The circumstances of Dr. Venture's death are completely unknown at this point, and this is the first time the series has insinuated he may have been killed.

  • In case you were curious, the Monarch mentions Night Court, which ran from '84 until '92. This is just in case you're keeping tabs on when exactly Dr. Venture was in college. If you're not keeping tabs he left school (and his father died) sometime between 1986 and 1988.

  • Speaking of Night Court, the Monarch mentions abusing himself to Markie Post, who had a major role on that show.

  • One of the Monarch's former bosses was named "Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Nightmare Coat", which is a play on a musical with a similar title.

  • 24 makes a quip about the moppets saying he hopes they "pull a double-Villechaize" on themselves. This is a reference to Hervé Villechaize, who was most well-known for his role as Tattoo on the TV series Fantasy Island. In 1993, as a result of depression and health problems, he shot and killed himself.

  • A bit of continuity paying-attention-to, if you recall in Victor. Echo. November. the Monarch mentions that Dr. Girlfriend had her hair like Saffron from Republica when they first started dating. In this episode we see that moment (or thereabouts) complete with Dr. Girlfriend's stylish 'do.

  • The song playing during the scene where The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend make it for the first time is Revv Me Up, which was previously used in Mid-life Chrysalis. The councilman's remark about changing the music because they were unable to afford the rights to the song is self-referential joke since Doc and Jackson often want to license songs to use for the show but lack the budget. To date the only licensed song in the entire series was 'Everybody's Free (To Feel Good)' in the beginning of Powerless in the Face of Death.

  • In the same conversation a councilman also mentions that 'Einar was ready to sign but Bjork's lawyers wouldn't budge'. This means that the actual song playing on the radio would have been a song by Bjork's first band, The Sugarcubes. 'Einar' most likely refers to Einar Örn Benediktsson, the band's other vocalist. However it's hard to pinpoint the exact song that would have been playing though given the time period it was likely something from the band's final full album Stick Around for Joy.

  • When Brock is talking with the moppets, 21 ponders that perhaps Brock knows how to kill with words. 24 remarks 'maybe his name is a killing word'. This is a reference to Dune (the novel as well as the film). From the Wikipedia article on the movie:

    This device is a sonic beam weapon that translates certain specific sounds into attacks of varying potency. The sounds that the device translates into attacks are presented as being somewhat rare. For that reason, everyone is startled when, during the training of the Fremen in the use of the Weirding Module, a devastating beam shoots from the weapon when the warrior wearing the device speaks Paul's Fremen name, "Muad'Dib," while wearing it.

    This prompts Paul to think "My own name is a killing word. Will it be a healing word as well?" Originally in the novel, this line referenced the holy war beginning in Paul's name, however, in the context of the name being a trigger for the modules, it became somewhat more literal.

  • This is the first episode to feature fully animated scenes in the end credits rather than stills from the episode.

  • Phantom Limb's appearance at the end of the episode reveals a few things. Firstly, and most obvious, is the fact that he did survive the crash at the end of Cremation Creek II. Other things of note are that his mustache is gone (probably due to the fact that he has a five o'clock shadow) and he appears to need to use of a cane to walk now. His confrontation with Manotaur also negates Dr. Girlfriend's assumption that there's no way he was thick headed enough not to figure out who the Monarch was.

Episode Cast

James Urbaniak Phantom Limb
Councilman 7
Chris McCulloch The Monarch
Henchman 24
Tim-Tom Moppet
Councilmen 2, 8, 9
The Sovereign
Doc Hammer Dr. Girlfriend
Henchman 21
Kevin Moppet
Councilmen 1, 3


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