|The Venture Bros. character|
Myra Brandish with her supposed sons Hank (left) and Dean
I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills
None (clinically insane)|
Formerly O.S.I. Agent and/or American Gladiator
|Relatives||Numerous Cats ("children")|
Office of Secret Intelligence (formerly)
Myra Brandish is a supporting character on the Adult Swim show The Venture Bros. First appearing in the late season 2 episode I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills, she is revealed as Dr. Venture's former bodyguard and the possible mother of the titular Venture brothers, Hank and Dean.
Myra has a pathological obsession with Rusty Venture, as well as her "children" Hank and Dean Venture. She is willing to kill anyone who might get in the way of reuniting her "family", particularly Brock Samson and Dr. Byron Orpheus. Because of this obsession, Myra is clinically insane. It turns out Thaddeus used her vulnerability to manipulate her into thinking she was the boys' real mother.
Myra is a leather-clad, buxom, physically fit woman in her 40s or 50s, though years of longing after Doctor Venture and the stress of being forcibly separated from her alleged children have left her with a haggard look. She is prone to muttering insanely to herself, and dotes/obsesses on the Venture brothers when they're in her possession to the point of trying to breast feed her teenage sons.
Her face is similar to that of the younger Mia Farrow, who raised ten adopted children in addition to the four born of her, and at least at one point, deserved or not, had a reputation for being unhinged in attempting to keep them close and micro-manage their lives, likely cultivated at least in part by her ex-husband after he married one of those children immediately after she turned of age and was accused of molesting another as a preschooler.
According to her retelling of her past to Dean and Hank, Myra was once an agent of the Office of Secret Intelligence (O.S.I.). Her first assignment straight out of the academy was to serve as Dr. Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture's bodyguard, to protect him from his various enemies and those who would seek to steal his inventions. During this time, Myra fought The Monarch and Middle Eastern terrorists in her job as bodyguard. As time passed, Myra found herself falling in love with Rusty, culminating in a "night of passion" in Venture's car. According to Myra's version of events, the sexual encounter left Myra pregnant and nine months later she gave birth to twin boys, Hank and Dean. Though Brock and Doc tell the boys that this story is a lie, several flashbacks early in season three corroborate large portions of her story, in particular, the fact that she was employed by O.S.I. as Rusty's bodyguard.
After giving birth, Rusty and Myra's relationship went downhill as Myra's obsession with her lover caused Rusty to leave his family compound to get away from Myra. The situation between the two would ultimately collapse, with Myra ultimately being tasered unconscious by an O.S.I. agent after beating up a security detail of fellow O.S.I. agents at Rusty's compound. Myra would later claim that Rusty used his political contacts to terminate Myra's parental rights to the twins and had her institutionalized, as Rusty "wanted the boys all to himself". The shock of Rusty's ultimate rejection of her and the separation of Myra from her children caused her to have a complete and utter nervous breakdown and become clinically insane.
What followed next is unknown; in the version of Myra's backstory that Rusty and Brock Samson tell Hank and Dean, in order to try and discredit Myra's version of events, Myra is recast as a mentally unstable American Gladiator, known on the show as "PowerKat". According to Venture and Samson, when the show was canceled, Myra drifted in and out of insane asylums as she began stalking Doctor Venture, with her modus operandi varying depending on her medication.
However, in an aside to his children when an Oni lured Rusty to the same motel where Hank and Dean were being held prisoner, Rusty sarcastically asked Myra if she told the boys about how she burnt down the Venture Compound several years earlier (an event Brock refers to when he's telling the boys the fictionalized version of Myra's backstory).
Regardless of this, Myra was shown running a motel outside of town in I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills where she lived with many cats, which she refers to as her children—Hank and Dean's "brothers and sisters".
Myra acts like something of a cross between Annie Wilkes, the deranged middle-aged serial killer in the Stephen King novel, Misery and Catwoman from Batman Returns. Like Annie Wilkes, she is clinically insane, has a penchant for kidnapping people, and doesn't use normal curse words but instead often segues into childish babble-words like "ookey" instead of "disgusting". Her costume resembles the 1970s black vinyl costume worn by the Marvel Comics super-heroine Black Widow.
Hank and Dean's real mother?
After the closing credits run, a post-credits scene depicts Dr. Killinger (offscreen) whistling and calling the oni to him. The trunk of Dr. Venture's car opens, and the oni flies up into the air to rendezvous with a hovering Killinger. The oni seems to moan disconsolately. Killinger says that the oni failed to reunite Brandish and Venture, but that it did manage to save the boys. Killinger concludes by saying: "Compromise, my friend, is the essence of diplomacy, and diplomacy is the cornerstone of love." Killinger then flies off, sighing in a singsong voice, "Sweeeet love..."
It was not confirmed in that episode if Myra is the genetic mother of Hank and Dean, or just an insane woman who convinced herself she is. In the DVD commentary for her debut episode, I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills, the writers state that in early drafts of the episode the "boys' mother" subplot hadn't been developed yet and they "didn't know who Myra was", and that even after the episode was finished, they still weren't sure. At the end of season 2, when the writers were recording the DVD commentary, they stated that they still weren't sure if Myra would turn out to indeed be the boys' real mother, or if they would develop a convoluted explanation for how she really isn't, and that at the moment there was an equal chance of each. However, there are several hints and clues that indicate that she might be.
Dr. Venture admitted that he once had sex with Myra, but did not confirm if this resulted in Hank and Dean's conception. Also, it is possible that Dr. Venture was just lying (or volunteering a half-truth) to get Hank and Dean to stop asking questions after Brock almost told them they are clones. It is possible that she could have been Dr. Venture's bodyguard, had the boys, then broke up with Dr. Venture and either previously or subsequently was an American Gladiator, before finally going insane. The episode Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny confirms that Myra was Venture's bodyguard, with The Monarch having memory of her beating him up during an "assault" on the Venture Compound.
Myra is also aware that Hank and Dean are supposed to be 19 years old. However, because so much time has been spent cloning them back to life time and again, they are biologically only 16 years old and the twins believe that to be their real age (although Hank notices in Hate Floats that there is a discrepancy between the birthdate on his ID card and his stated age). Thus only a handful of people would know that the boys were "born" 19 years ago, a further clue that Myra may be their mother. Hank and Dean have no memory of Myra: possibly Dr. Venture removed whatever memories of her they might have had when re-cloning them or perhaps the Venture brothers were simply too young to remember her.
Other evidence which would seem to suggest that Myra really is Hank and Dean's mother is that she actually looks and acts like them to a degree: Dean has rust colored hair, but Hank has blonde hair, like Myra. Hank and Dean also have slightly upturned noses, like Myra (which neither Dr. Venture nor the boys' grandfather had). Indeed, in flashbacks showing a younger Myra 20 years ago, she basically looks like an adult female version of Hank. As Dean seems to take after his father Dr. Venture (dark hair, greater aptitude for science than any sports, more "sane"), it would seem that Hank takes after Myra's attributes of blonde hair and a greater physical aptitude as well as being less grounded in reality. Also, when Dean drives a car, he chants, "10 and 2, 10 and 2," nervously to himself; Myra does the same thing when she drives, as does Hank when he is made to drive by Dr. Girlfriend. There is also the fact that the car seen in the flashback between Myra and Dr. Venture was the same vehicle Hank and Dean were learning to drive in, this is also accented by the fact that the Oni sent by Dr. Killinger to "reunite them" lured Dr. Venture and Orpheus to the same car and then later to the motel where Myra was keeping the boys. However, while he spoke of reuniting "them," Hank and Dean were referred to as "his boys," not "theirs" as would be fitting if she was their mother.
As stated in Past Tense and Powerless in the Face of Death Dr. Venture lost his virginity when he was 24 and he takes a dismal view of the affair. Given Myra's claims that the boys are actually 19 and that Venture was 44 in Twenty Years to Midnight, the timing may fit. The Invisible Hand of Fate strongly implies (yet still never definitively reveals) that Myra is Hank and Dean's mother since she goes crazy trying to apparently take the infant Hank and Dean from Dr. Venture as well as demanding to be with Dr. Venture at all times.
Later in Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman when Dr. Venture is about to presumably have sex with Dr. Quymn. Dr. Quymn states "Rusty you have no idea how long it's been." To which Venture responds, "19 years, 2 months and four days."
Finally in Momma's Boys, Dr Venture makes a "death confession" to Sergeant Hatred telling him that he convinced Myra (assumed it's Myra by context, but he never says the name "Myra" in the episode) she was the boys' mother and "messed her up pretty bad". This happens just after the scene where Hank comes to believe that Myra was lying about being his mother because Myra (who is attempting a birthing ceremony on Dean) states she never carried the boys in her womb. Later, Thaddeus confirms this to the boys as he wanted Myra to give them free daycare and that he wanted to continue having sex with her.
Since the truth has been revealed, we see Myra is not really their biological mother, but just a clinically insane madwoman who was manipulated in a vulnerable state.
- Several references have been made to the boys having an actual mother, as opposed to just being clones to begin with:
- In Careers in Science, Dr. Venture says that he created the boys in a moment of passion.
- In Mid-Life Chrysalis, the boys directly asked Dr. Venture about their mother. He realizes that he's never really told them about their mother, and begins to tell them about her, but is cut off before he could go into more detail.
- Also, in Eeney, Meeney, Miney... Magic!, the image of Dr. Venture makes a reference to their mother while Hank is in the fantasy world of Dr. Venture's "joy can", with Hank hearing her voice off screen. However, this was the idealized fantasy world of Hank's in which he had a mother (with Dean's absence implied), and likely had no basis in real events at all.
- In Powerless in the Face of Death, Dr. Venture implies that the boys' mother was ugly. When he mentions losing his virginity at 24, Dr. Orpheus says "That is awful!" (Referring to his continued cloning of the boys). Dr. Venture scoffs, and replies "You didn't even see her, it was horrific." This could, however, simply be a spiteful comment due to bitterness over the ultimate course of the relationship. Despite this, Dr. Venture appeared sad when he was getting ready to describe the boys' mother in Mid-Life Chrysalis. But this could be referring to her insanity, as he was obviously afraid of her in The Invisible Hand of Fate.
- In Perchance to Dean, a flashback shows Dr. Venture introducing a quietly outraged Brock to the cloning labs, where the clones are all babies, the brothers themselves being infants at the time. Referring to a misshapen clone, Venture comments, "Is that a face only a mother could love or what? Good thing she's not here then, eh?", a comment that would seem to indicate the brothers had a biological mother and did not originate as clones; additionally, Myra's obsession with protecting the children would mean that she would probably be against an attempted abortion of the failed clone, which Venture immediately carries out after making his comment.
- In Assisted Suicide, Myra is shown in the harem of women Rusty could have "sealed the deal" with if only he put in the effort. If he indeed slept with her like he says, it is unknown why she is in there. However this was the older version of Myra, indicating that Dr. Venture may have wished to continue (or at least, repeat) his prior relationship with her; meanwhile if he did not have sex with her, then the younger version of Myra would be present.
- In A Very Venture Halloween, Ben the geneticist, who helped clone the boys, tells Dean that he was conceived when Rusty got drunk with their mother and forgot to wear a condom during sex.
- Myra is likely based on Jackie Shorr from Captain Marvel (Marvel, not DC) comics. In the comics, Rick Jones is visited by his self-proclaimed and insane mother who proceeds to murder Rick's girlfriend Marlo Chandler.
- Judging by how she referred to her cats as Hank and Dean's "brothers and sisters", going on about how they were hungry and attempted to nurse the boys with her milk, it is likely that she breastfeeds her own cats, which can further emphasize her insanity.
- Assisted Suicide (imagination)