Thursday, November 07, 2013

"Mid-Life Chrysalis" (Venture Bros. - Season 1, Episode 3)


The hooks for the puntastically-titled "Mid-Life Chrysalis" are two-fold: (1) Brock's secret agent permit is expired and he must take a test to renew it, and (b) an air force officer calls Doc "grandpa," triggering some textbook mid-life crisis coping (buying a car and deciding to seek a relationship).






Observe Doc's array of hand and facial gestures in the above sequence. His eye brows literally dance upon his brow! His speech is patently ridiculous, but his facial expressions lend it a certain seriousness. Is Doc so egotistical as to earnestly believe what he says, or he is simply playacting and enjoying the role?

Once Doc and Brock have absconded to the local gentleman's club, we are introduced more intimately than before to the strange life of Hank and Dean At Home, where it is revealed that the boys exist in a state of never-ending arrested development, and also that Hank is prone to eclectic citations of popular culture.



Without Brock to protect him, Doc is easily drawn into a plot by the Monarch, and is administered a injection by Dr. Girlfriend which causes him to transform into a giant caterpillar.  The boys the begin to deviate from thier obvious mystery-gang and jet-age-boy-adventurer inspirations by revealiing thier callousness to weird and extraordinary circumstances, which is expressly discussed by Doc and Hank.




Despite this confession of sorts by Hank (noting that just last week they saw a dinosaur), Doc's response (that he wasn't the dinosaur) remains consistent with the egotism Doc has displayed in response to both the boys and other issues in the previous episodes. 

This is the first episode to mostly take place at the Venture Compound, the place this quirksome four call "home."  Perhaps that is why it is the strongest episode so far - Hank and Dean's bizarre uses of thier free time would seem out of place in Mexico (in "Dia de los Dangerous') or in the Gargantua-1 space station ("Careers in Science").  Similarly, Doc's mid-life crisis antics and Brock's moping about his expired license to kill require the comforts of home as a suitable stage.

-d.d.

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