Last night's Venture Bros., "Everybody Comes To Hank's," was a noir pastiche, complete with fedoras, molls, and Hank's self-appointed "Girl Friday," The Alchemist. We also learned dark secrets about Dermott's true parentage and, oh yeah, Hank becomes a man. Baaarf.
"Everybody Comes To Hank's" (har har har) was hands-down the darkest Venture Bros. episode we've seen a while. Not just chromatically — the Venturesverse becomes black and white whenever Hank dons his fedora — the character revelations were downright Todd Solondz. This episode also felt like a throwback to Season 1 — there was one main plot, arcane pop culture references were pared way down, and the total failure of Doc Venture as a human being, father, and boy adventurer was front and center.
While the episode was content to mock Hank's delusional side, (sample noir dialog: "This old Seamus can smell it when a chippy's pulling a flim flam!"), the show marks his adventure into adulthood. Hank may think gigolo is a kind of Italian ice cream, but he does have intercourse of the unintelligent variety, even if it is creepy and fucked up and cringeworthy.
The episode begins with the boys on summer vacation. Dean goes to New York for a super-science internship, while Hank uses his sleuthing skills to discover who Dermott's true father is. You remember Dermott, right? The roustabout who claims he's the illegitimate son of Brock Samson? Well, Hank is on the case with The Alchemist (Dana Snyder a.k.a. the voice of Master Shake), and our teenage gumshoe's equipped with his detective wide-brim hat and his standard-issue "detective whip" (an Indiana Jones gag). He's even seduced by Dermott's sister, Nikki. Those clones grow up so fast.
It was good to see Hank team up with one of show's few not totally incompetent characters. The Alchemist has been kicked out of his house by his boyfriend and decides to pal around with Hank out of boredom. In addition to Al, supporting characters like Billy and Shore Leave cameo. Well I guess "cameo" isn't the right word, as Billy and Shore Leave have appeared in every episode since Season 4.5 began. Hell, they've appeared more frequently than the Monarch and Doc. And what's even more impressive is that Hammer and Publick have managed to give these side characters real moments. We learn that Al has the magical power to discern when people are telling the truth and that he shared a moment of passion with Shore Leave before getting his mind erased.
Dermott is also cast as a more sympathetic character, once Orpheus and Al reveal who his true father is. And Dermott's sister? That ain't his sister...
Jesus wept. Once Al accidentally fills Hank in, it's off to the SPHINX mind-eraser pods, where Brock is beaming with pride. Hank may have to erase the memory of his first time (with his dad's former underage inamorata, no less), but at least he pulls a Douglas Quaid. Also, we're digging the cliffhanger. An alternate reality competent Doc? We're in.