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"ORB"
The Venture Bros. episode
Shot01
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 11
Directed by Jackson Publick
Written by Doc Hammer
Original air date August 10th, 2008
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List of The Venture Bros. episodes

ORB is the eleventh episode of Season 3 and the overall thirty-seventh episode of The Venture Bros.

It is the first part of the multi-episode third season finale, as the events in ORB directly lead into the The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together (Part I) and the show's writers acknowledged that the finale could be considered a three-parter.[1]

Plot SynopsisEdit

In this episode a lot of the past is dug up, literally. Billy Quizboy finds a mysterious message hidden in an old episode of the Rusty Venture cartoon that leads him to a buried box next to Brock Samson's room. The contents of the box divulge the secret origin of the Guild of Calamitous Intent and the entire purpose for why Brock was assigned to protect the Venture Family.

Plot Edit

Billy's Discovery Edit

Billy Quizboy sits in his trailer watching a rerun of the Rusty Venture cartoon from the 1970s. Billy pauses the video when Rusty fires a gun, noting the string of numbers and symbols hidden in the gunsmoke and writing them in sequence on a long strip of paper. Thrilled with his discovery, Billy calls out to Pete White. Billy shows White how the symbols are part of a helical cipher; when wrapped around an empty toilet paper tube they can be read in the correct order. Billy is distraught that the symbols still seem like nonsense, but White grudgingly tells him they're a URL. Billy says that's impossible, as the show was from the '70s, but White looks up the address on his computer and finds it's a MapLook map of a spot on the Venture compound.

Billy holds an intense lecture with a slideshow in the living room of the Venture living quarters. He systematically goes through each slide, pointing out the hidden symbols, messages, and codes within the old Rusty Venture cartoon to Brock Samson, Hank, Dean, and an unimpressed Dr. Venture, who merely wonders why he isn't receiving any royalties from DVD sales. Billy claims the clues on the show prove an important secret is hidden on the Venture compound, in a spot that happens to be Brock's herb garden. Brock protests, saying that when the Office of Secret Intelligence assigned him to his detail (officially known as Operation Rusty's Blanket) he was explicitly told to watch the patch of ground where Billy wants to dig; Brock refuses to dig there.

Dr. Venture basks poolside in the sun, sipping a Red Mocho Kooler, while Hank digs up Brock's herb garden, his shirt tied around his head to absorb sweat. Pete and Billy look on. Dean, also wearing his shirt wrapped around his head and appearing to be on the verge of heatstroke, brings a pitcher of Red Mocho Kooler to his father to refill his glass. Hank finds what he thinks is a pile of dead mops but turn out to be the remains of the Venture family dog, Scamp. Dean drops the pitcher and runs off in a panic when his father tells him this, with Dr. Venture calling after him to make the drink with less ice next time.

Brock relaxes on his bed, listening to music, when the window busts open, unleashing an avalanche of soil into the room. Dr. Venture tumbles in amidst the flood of dirt, clutching an old hinged metal box labeled Venture Bodyguard, which he hands to Brock. Billy tumbles into the room with a different box, saying he recognizes it from Episode 209 of the Rusty Venture cartoon, "The Talking Cave Mystery". White also slides into the room, followed by Dean and Hank. Brock calls for everybody to get out.

Dr. Venture, Billy, Pete, Dean, and Hank sit around the kitchen table, staring at the box Billy found. They open it to discover yet another long strip of paper with a helical cipher written on it. Billy says he needs a roll of toiler paper, which Dean runs off to retrieve. Dr. Venture calls after him to get him another Red Mocho Kooler.

Brock opens his box to find an old wax cylinder and a phonograph for playing it. The cylinder contains an audio message addressed to the current Venture family bodyguard from Eugen Sandow, father of modern bodybuilding and bodyguard to Colonel Lloyd Venture. As Brock listens to the cylinder, the episode flashes back to a scene from the Victorian era.

The Original Guild Edit

A flashback reveals that The Guild of Calamitous Intent existed during the Gilded Age as merely The Guild, and had been "founded to protect and serve humanity's best, not to be 'a guild of calamitous intent.'"

A cabal of Guild members, including Colonel Lloyd Venture (Rusty Venture's great-grandfather), his bodyguard Eugen SandowFantômas (grandfather of Phantom Limb), Aleister CrowleySamuel Clemens, and Oscar Wilde, had devoted their lives to "perfect and protect" a mysterious artifact known as the Orb, which had been crafted over the centuries by Archimedes, Leonardo Da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Galileo, and other great minds in history. Colonel Venture's group eventually came into conflict with a splinter faction of the Guild and had to flee with the Orb aboard an airship while being pursued by Nikola Tesla and the Avon Ladies.

The Guild members had different ideas about what to do with the Orb: Colonel Venture and Oscar Wilde both wanted to use it "for the good of mankind," while Fantômas argued that the Guild should be the ones to "decide what is best for mankind." When Crowley tried to seize the Orb for himself, Fantômas and Colonel Venture put aside their differences to throw him out (literally) and then agreed to use the Orb against Tesla. Sandow begged Colonel Venture not to use the Orb, but Venture responded that these were desperate times.

The Secret Message Edit

In his room, Brock listens to the end of the cylinder, which says the rest of Sandow's story is on a second cylinder. Brock checks the box and finds the second cylinder missing.

Dean and Hank sit at a computer in the living room, reading the decoded message aloud:

In Minuit's bargain sits house that coke built. In a loud room of quiet Whistlers, behind the Wilde Gray gentleman sits the Two Two - One Two - One Oh
Pete White looks up Minuit on Google and learns that he was responsible for the Manhattan Purchase, giving beads to the Lenape Indians in exchange for the entire island. They deduce "Minuit's bargain" was New York City and next Google "house that coke built", coming up with Studio 54. Billy excitedly shouts that this is just like the old show.

The scene then abruptly cuts to the opening sequence for the original Rusty Venture cartoon show.

The Rusty Venture Show Edit

A young Rusty Venture runs in silhouette. Driving, dramatic music plays. He freezes midair, changing from silhouette to full color as he rotates ninety degrees to face the camera, the words RUSTY VENTURE appearing as a stylized logo behind him.

Kano, Hector, Rusty, and Jonas Venture Sr. run through the jungle, pursued by an unseen menace. Just as they run out of harm's way, an enormous hand rushes downward from the top of the screen, its palm flattening against the jungle floor where the group had been mere moments before. The hand appears to belong to a massive ape on the scale of King Kong.

Soldiers shoot at a giant atomic age robot in the desert, their guns having no effect on it.

A snake slithers into a pool of water. A wading bird in the waters of the jungle lifts its head and turns to look in alarm.

The Action Man and his apparent double (sans helmet) fly through desert canyons with jetpacks on their backs.

Rusty Venture clings to a rope or a pole, surrounded on all sides by walls of flames.

On the roof of a skyscraper in the middle of a port city, Rusty struggles to free himself from a spiderweb-like net.

Rusty stands on the back of a giant green pteranodon, joyfully riding it like a surfboard as it flies over wooded hills with mountains in the background.

The X-1 flies above the clouds in a baby blue sky as the titles read "A VENTURE-INDUSTRIES PRODUCTION". Crossfade into the cockpit to show Hector and Rusty in the back seats, and Jonas Venture Sr. up front with Kano beside him, piloting the plane. Each is introduced with their own title credit: RUSTY VENTURE, DR. JONAS VENTURE, "KANO", HECTOR, and H.E.L.P.eR. (whose smiling head sticks out of the top of the plane).

A final shot of the X-1 flying at amazing speeds is overlaid with the RUSTY VENTURE logo and a picture of Rusty's face. The logo fades to a graphic for the show's sponsor, Venture Rex cigarettes. The onscreen text says "The Rusty Venture show is brought to you by VENTURE REX. Now you're living Venture style", while the graphic of the Venture Rex cigarette box claims they're 100% Natural and filter tipped. A voiceover announcer proclaims "Rusty Venture: brought to you by... smoking!"

Escape to New York Edit

As the title sequence ends, the episode cuts to the cockpit of the X-1 in modern day. Billy sits in Rusty's old seat, while Dr. Venture sits up front with H.E.L.P.eR. beside him, piloting the plane. Dr. Venture balks when Billy suggests it's time to put on their costumes, with Billy quickly backpedaling, saying he meant "disguises".

Brock finds Dean, Hank, and Pete White in the living room. He asks them if they've seen a small tube. Dean says his father and Billy took the roll with them to New York City. Brock sighs, says he has to leave, and asks White to watch the boys for him, then thinks better of it and asks Dr. Orpheus to watch them instead.

Rusty Venture and Billy Quizboy in Times Square

In a Times Square covered with Bizzy Bee billboards, Dr. Venture and Billy Quizboy show off their "disguises". Billy wears a homemade "Quizboy" costume consisting of a grey sweater with a Q logo on the chest, yellow dish gloves, matching yellow rain boots, knee-high socks, purple briefs, a purple baseball cap topped with a question mark on a spring, a backpack, and a homemade utility belt. Dr. Venture wears his old Rusty Venture costume from childhood, which is now far too small for him. It consists of a striped tshirt with the letter V embroidered on the left breast (which is so short that it exposes Dr. Venture's entire midriff), a backpack, black "man Capri" shorts, black crew socks (pulled all the way up), and black shoes. Billy attempts to reassure the skeptical Dr. Venture that the two of them blend in.

Brock's Journey Edit

Brock opens the dashboard in his car, Adrienne, to reveal a computerized O.S.I. interface that asks him for voice identification. He speaks to the robotic voice as he drives, confirming his identity as agent Brock Samson. When he asks for info about his active assignment, the voice has him verify Clearance Level Eight with his password "John Bonham Rocks" and confirms that his active assignment is Operation Rusty's Blanket.

Brock then initiates a subsearch, for the termination clause in orders regarding bodyguard. The voice demands proof of level ten clearance and Brock fumbles through his pockets as the voice repeatedly bleats "Incorrect Identification". Brock finally states "Two Delta Nine Romeo Tango Eight", to which the voice responds "Autopilot initiated. Agent Samson, Brock, terminated." Unsure whether he has been fired or marked for death, Brock attempts to stop the car. He finds the brakes nonresponsive and kicks out the window, diving out and rolling to safety as the car drives away.

Brock arrives at Nightin' Ale's to find a now-female Hunter Gathers working there as an exotic dancer. He explains his situation and Hunter gives him some vital information: protecting Dr. Venture was never his real assignment; he was always intended to guard "some rotten device" and make sure nobody used it. If Dr. Venture ever discovered that device and attempted to activate it, Brock's mission would be to terminate Dr. Venture or the O.S.I. would kill Brock. Brock asks what the device is and Hunter circles or underlines the first letter of two phrases on Brock's termination clause paperwork: Orders Regarding Bodyguard; Operation Rusty's Blanket. The device is an Orb.

Hunter tells Brock that he'll have to speak to another Venture bodyguard if he wants more information. Brock says he can't because Dr. Venture took the other cylinder, which Hunter seems to know nothing about. Hunter then gives Brock a wad of cash for travel expenses, warning him not to ask what Hunter had to do to earn the hundred dollar bills.

At the Venture compound, Dr. Orpheus casts doubts on the idea that Studio 54 is the "house that coke built", as the box the cipher came in was from the Victorian era, over seventy years before the New York City nightclub opened its doors. Pete White asks Orpheus if he can help; Orpheus says it isn't his forte, but he know a cipher master who is also an expert on the nineteenth century. When Orpheus astral projects away for help, Hank tells Dean that he knows what to do, prompting Dean to wordlessly run off.

Brock stands on a city street, tracking a signal on his communicator watch. He enters a seemingly empty apartment, the beeping on his watch increasing in frequency as he approaches an ornate oriental armoire. An aged but still massive Kano smashes through the wooden doors of the armoire, grabbing Brock by the throat and lifting him off his feet. Brock gets Kano's neck in a scissor lock with his legs and brings his body down on top of him, knocking Kano out for a moment. Brock rolls Kano off of him, then gently slaps Kano's bloodied face to wake him back up.

Kano speaks to Brock, assuming the O.S.I. sent him as an assassin. Brock, shocked that Kano is able to speak, tells him that nobody sent him, he just needs to learn about the Orb that Dr. Venture is seeking and find the second gramophone cylinder. Kano tells Brock that his silence was a choice--penance for having "taken from this world a great man"--and that he has something for Brock. Kano leaves and returns with the second gramophone cylinder. A confused Brock asks what Dr. Venture has, with Kano correctly guessing "a roll of toilet paper".

The Bathroom at Studio 54 Edit

Dr. Venture and Billy Quizboy stand "backstage" in the bathroom at Studio 54, reading the cipher off of the roll of toilet paper in Dr. Venture's hand. An elderly washroom attendant sits on a stool in one corner of the room, right before the fold-away baby changing table on the wall. Billy guesses that the model number on the changing table will be 2 2 - 1 2 - 1 0.

Enter The Alchemist Edit

The Alchemist teleports into the Venture compound, declaring it "never not fun!" He laughs when he sees that Hank and Dean have covered Orpheus' corporeal form in toilet paper while he was astral projecting. The boys tell The Alchemist that they need his help solving "the mystery of the box we found in Brock's garden." He tells them to bring him all the clues and he'll help them.

Sandow's Decision Edit

In another flashback to the Gilded Age, Sandow attempts to convince Colonel Venture not to use the Orb. Venture declares that people are already dying over it. Sandow asks him what it is. Colonel Venture responds:

The Orb! Archimedes himself began the construction with little more than a mirror alignment! da Vinci added the gearings. Newton the lenses. Galileo the prisms! And all of the great poets, painters, scientists, alchemists, and philosophers have had the Orb in their hands.
When Sandow presses him further, Colonel Venture admits he doesn't exactly know what it does. Some people believe it to be a weapon of catastrophic proportion, but Venture thinks it a self-sustaining engine capable of endless power. Colonel Venture says he believes this because he is a man of hope. He decides he must activate the Orb, to which Sandow bows his head and says "Then so must Sandow." Sandow and Venture are then shown only in shadows on the wall of the airship, with Sandow reaching out ominously toward Colonel Venture.

Brock listens to the end of Sandow's story on the second cylinder, where Sandow laments he did what "must be done", believing it for the best of humanity that the Orb remain unused, and that he will forever carry his burden. It is purposely left unclear in this episode whether Sandow destroys the Orb or kills Colonel Venture to prevent its use.

Kano says the rest of the cylinder is Sandow listing chocolate recipes, which he kept because he likes to bake. Brock asks Kano if he was also forced to kill his charge--Jonas Venture Sr.--over the Orb, to which Kano falls mute again. Brock leaves Kano, who is disappointed that they won't be going to karaoke together.

The Alchemist's Solution Edit

At the Venture compound, The Alchemist has them fetch him a dictionary. They look up "coke" and discover that it is a fuel source derived from coal. The Alchemist said they need to find a coal magnate with a home in Manhattan.

Back in the bathroom at Studio 54, Billy and Rusty have dug a hole through the changing table into the wall itself. Despite their best efforts they have found nothing. A police officer enters the bathroom, demanding to know what they're doing. Dr. Venture and Billy immediately pretend that Billy is a baby and Dr. Venture is a father changing his diaper. Their ruse appears to work until it is interrupted by Hank, calling through his father's communicator watch, telling them that "Studio 54 is not the coke house" and they should instead head to the Frick museum.

Back at the compound The Alchemist asks Hank how "wild" is spelled and Hank says "ye old-e fashioned way", with an E. The Alchemist corrects him, saying it's not old fashioned but a references to author Oscar Wilde. Brock calls Hank from an airport and Hank tells him that his father and Billy are going to the Frick museum. Brock asks Hank to have White book him on the next flight to New York.

The Alchemist solves the puzzle and explains it to the assembled group in the living room.

The Alchemist: Sweet pecan pie, I've solved it! Alright, now try to keep up. "In a loud room of whistlers" is the Whistler wing in The Frick. Behind the "Wilde Gray gentleman" refers to Whistler's painting of Robert de Montesquiou, the guy who was the model for Dorian Gray. And who wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray?
Hank: Edgar Allan Poe!
The Alchemist: Not even close, Hank. It was Oscar Wilde. So, "behind the Wilde Gray gentleman" means behind the portrait of Montesquiou. Get it?
Dean: A-almost?
The Alchemist: Doesn't matter! Just... call your dad.

Night at the Museum Edit

Dr. Venture and Billy climb down a rope from the roof of the Frick museum, landing in the middle of the Whistler wing. Billy shoots an arrow at the wall and shimmies along a rope; Dr. Venture chides him for this, telling him to knock it off. They find the portrait and Billy suggests they tear it down, but Dr. Venture instead recommends they investigate the room behind the painting before destroying a priceless piece of art. As they leave the room, Brock silently slips down the rope behind them and draws his knife, ready to act if necessary.

Dr. Venture cracks the numbers from the end of the cipher, realizing they were a simple substitution code, with the numbers describing where each letter could be found earlier in the cipher message. 22 - 12 - 10 translates to O - R - B, revealing to Dr. Venture that they're looking for an Orb. He scours the office and finds it hiding in plain sight, disguised as a paperweight. Billy urges him to use it, having sought this discovery for over thirty years by looking for clues in Rusty Venture cartoons. Dr. Venture instead chooses the path of caution, worried that the Orb could be dangerous. He tells Billy they'll have to study it before they even think of using it, then inadvertently launches into the speech his father used to give at the end of every episode of the cartoon show, with Billy joining in for the last line: "We are not only men of science, we... are men of hope." Brock, relieved that Dr. Venture poses no threat to the Orb, puts away his knife and returns to the shadows, unseen by Dr. Venture or Billy. At Billy's insistence, he and Dr. Venture perform a "Go Team Venture!" salute.

Post-Credits Edit

Dr. Venture secures the Orb in the wall safe of his home office at the Venture compound. Hank asks him what the treasure was; Dr. Venture tells him it was just a note from his father and asks where Brock is, as he needs to clean up all the dirt in his room. Hank says he thought Brock was with Dr. Venture.

In the hangar Brock climbs out of a compartment on the bottom of the X-1. He stretches his back, then is surprised by headlights turning on by the hangar doors. Adrienne, Brock's 1969 Dodge Hemi Charger, roars to life and drives straight toward him, ending in a freeze frame right before it hits him.

Episode Cast Edit

Connections To Other Episodes Edit

The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay (pilot)

The Incredible Mr. Brisby

Eeny, Meeny, Miney...Magic!

  • Hank finds the remains of Scamp, the Venture family dog, buried in Brock's herb garden. Scamp was last seen as a vision that appeared to Dean inside the Joy Can in Eeny, Meeny, Miney...Magic!

Mid-Life Chrysalis

  • Hank and Dean tie their shirts around their head when carrying out their father's whims (Hank to dig up the herb garden, Dean to serve Red Mocho Koolers.) They previously wore their shirts like hats in the Season 1 episode Mid-life Chrysalis.

Powerless in the Face of Death

The Invisible Hand of Fate

The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together (Part I)

The Revenge Society

Cultural References Edit

Aleister Crowley

  • Occultist, author, and "Great Beast" Aleister Crowley was a member of the original Guild.
  • Crowley claimed to be the last to add his genius to the Orb.
  • Fantômas called him "the chubby wizard", referencing Crowley's appearance and mystical reputation.

Archimedes of Syracuse

  • According to Col. Venture, Archimedes, the famous mathematician, engineer, and inventor of Greek antiquity began the construction of the Orb "with little more than a mirror alignment."

Avon Products

Edgar Allan Poe

Eugen Sandow

Fantômas

Galileo Galilei

  • Colonel Venture claims that famed astronomer Galileo Galilei added the prisms to the Orb.

George Michael

  • When Dr. Venture has to pretend to change his "son" Billy in the Studio 54 bathroom while a police officer watches, Billy says "This is how we lost George Michael." Singer George Michael was arrested in 1998 by an undercover police officer for "engaging in a lewd act" in a men's public bathroom.

Henry Clay Frick

  • Industrialist Henry Clay Frick owned a coal mine and a coke manufacturing company, with coke being a coal-derived fuel source. His museum, The Frick, is therefore the "house that coke built".

IBM

  • When rummaging around inside the wall of the bathroom at Studio 54, Dr. Venture tells Billy Quizboy that what he's looking for could be something small, like an IBM stock.

Isaac Newton

  • Colonel Venture claims that mathematician Isaac Newton added the lenses to the Orb.

James Whistler

John Bonham

  • Brock Samson's love of Led Zeppelin is once more reaffirmed by his password for Level 8 clearance: "John Bonham Rocks". Bonham was the drummer of the legendary rock band.

King Kong

  • The giant ape hand in the opening sequence of the Rusty Venture cartoon show appears to be a reference to King Kong.

Leonardo da Vinci

MapQuest

  • The code hidden in the old Rusty Venture cartoon is a URL for a "MapLook" map, a parody of MapQuest.

MySpace

  • The Alchemist blames the social media network MySpace for damaging his relationship with his boyfriend, as he learned that his boyfriend was sleeping around and was accused of "snooping" in return.

Nikola Tesla

Nintendo DS Lite

Oscar Wilde

Peter Minuit

  • Peter Minuit is generally credited with orchestrating the purchase of Manhattan Island for the Dutch from the Lenape Native Americans "for the value of 60 guilders" in goods, an amount worth approximately $1,050 in 2015 dollars. Manhattan is therefore "Minuit's bargain".

Pogs

  • Hank finds Dean's old slammer pog while digging through Brock's herb garden, mistaking it for a Native American coin.

Smoking

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Robert de Montesquiou

Samuel Clemens

Sin City

  • One of the locations on the MapLook map is "Basin City", a possible reference to the comic book and film Sin City.

Studio 54

  • Dr. Venture and Billy visit the famous New York City nightclub Studio 54.
  • Notorious as a haven for rampant cocaine usage during the disco era, Studio 54 is not an unreasonable guess for the "house that coke built".

The Frick Collection

  • The Frick is an art museum located in the upper east side of Manhattan, New York City.

The Humpty Dance (1989)

The Pink Panther (1963)

The Walt Disney Company

  • Times Square is covered with images of Bizzy Bee and advertisements for the Brisby corporation, a parody of The Walt Disney Company, which at the time had advertisements all over the real Times Square.

Top Chef (2006-present)

  • Kano mentions being a fan of the cooking show Top Chef. Brock says he also watches it.

Top Design (2007-2008)

  • Brock tells Kano he didn't care for the interior design reality show Top Design.

World of Warcraft

Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game

  • Hank finds one of Dean's old Yu-Gi-Oh! cards while digging through Brock's herb garden. It is labeled "WARRIOR-ZAO". Hank says it reads "Ancient Gear Fist".

 Production Notes Edit

  • One of the animation directors (Kimson Albert) has a "nickname" inserted into his credits. The nickname is an unusual line or word from the preceding episode. For ORB the credit reads Kimson "Butter me, I'm on a roll" Albert.

Trivia Edit

References Edit

  1. "Prelude to a Kill...". http://jacksonpublick.livejournal.com/22875.html. Retrieved 2008-08-17. 


Preceded by:
"The Lepidopterists"
The Venture Bros. episodes
Original Airdate:
August 10, 2008
Followed by:
"The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together (Part I)"