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"Return to Malice"
The Venture Bros. episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 4
Directed by Jackson Publick and Jon Schnepp
Written by Doc Hammer
Production code 4-43
Original air date November 8th, 2009
Episode Chronology
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"Perchance to Dean"
Next →
"The Revenge Society"
List of The Venture Bros. episodes

Return to Malice is the fourth episode of Season 4 and the overall forty-third episode of The Venture Bros.


Henchman 21 tries to find the truth behind Henchman 24's death by kidnapping Hank and Dean and the Monarch has an allergic reaction. Dr. Venture and Sergeant Hatred prove to be more or less inept at rescuing the boys, though not for lack of trying. And a mysterious stranger seems to be keeping tabs on 21...


The episode starts inside The Cocoon, where the henchmen are relaxing in a break room. Two henchmen are arguing about monsters. All of the henchmen flee in seeing Henchman 21 standing up and entering the conversation, bring an end to their argument and walking away. The two henchmen are shocked to realized that they were speaking to 21, a.k.a Henchman 1 or Two Ton 21, who has become revered among their group. When a henchmen mentions the "car accident" 21 demotes the henchmen and orders him and some others to field duty. In their home, Dr. Mrs. The Monarch voices her concerns to the Monarch over 21's behavior and his grief about 24's death. The Monarch dismisses this, believing nothing is wrong with 21. Dr. Mrs. Girlfriend tells him about 21 having a conversation with 24's skull. The Monarch continues to dismiss it as he too talks to his stuffed cat, who he keeps on the mantle over the fireplace. Dr. Mrs. The Monarch says it's about as creepy but different. The Monarch is more focused on his upcoming photo shoot for Modern Enemy Monthly, but expresses concern that he feels a zit that has "yet to bloom." The Monarch catches Dr. Mrs. The Monarch feeding the Moppets food under the table and orders them out.

In his room, 21 speaks to 24's skull like when he was alive. He has a list of 24's possible murderer and tells him that he plans to avenge him, starting with the Venture Brothers.

In The Venture Compound, Sgt. Hatred attempts to train the boys to respond to a surprise attack from enemies by sneaking into their room at night. The boys respond to his training with little enthusiasm as they are used to Brock always being there to save them. St. Hatred begins a rant about their lack of emergency plans, which makes Dean realize who has been stealing his adventure novels. He had accused Hank of stealing them. Hank demands an apology and a dollar. Dean refuses to give him both and returns to sleep. Hank remarks about how Brock never had problems protecting them. Hurt by his comment, St. Hatred leaves the room, but not before asking Dean about his books.

Back with the Monarch and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch are under the bed sheets about to have sex. They stop when the Monarch's face has swollen from unknown causes. He stays in the bathroom to hid his face. Dr. Mrs. The Monarch attempts to comfort him. He opens the door to reveal how much worse his face has gotten.

While Hank and Dean are sleeping, 21 enters their room dressed as St. Hatred. Hank, thinking he is St. Hatred presses his panic button to go into the panic room as St. Hatred had told them to do earlier. As he goes down the tunnel, he is capture by two henchmen. When 21 attempts to wake up Dean, he finds to his disgust that Dean has an erection. He presses the button to take Dean down to the henchmen and leaves the room, knocking over objects.

In the Venture compound, St. Hatred tells Dr. Venture about being knocked unconscious and having his clothes stolen. He explains that he knows the rules of abduction from being a former member of the Guild of Calamitous Intent and a recovered pedophile. He suggest a plan of action by calling the Monarch and demanding the boys back or he is going to kill them.

Dr. Mrs. The Monarch answers the call and lies to the Monarch about who is on the other line. She assures St. Hatred that they had nothing to do with the abduction. St. Hatred does not believe this as he was hit with the Monarch's dart. Dr. Mrs. The Monarch promises to take care of it and to met at the old observatory. She lies to the Monarch about being interviewed by a magazine (Modern Enemy Monthly) and orders the Moppets to stop him from following her. The Monarch gets pass the Moppets by threatening to kill them and fed them to dogs.

St. Hatred and Dr. Venture goes to St. Hatred's old home to retrieve some weapons. They are stopped by a robot security guard, which St. Hatred disarms by badgering him with questions. Outside of St. Hatred's old house St. Hatred and Dr. Venture see that Princess Tinyfeet is throwing a BDSM party through the window. St. Hatred cries as he watches and laments about his lost relationship.

Hank and Dean are tied to a table, with pails filled with water dripping over their faces. A form of torture called Chinese water torture by 21, which isn't working as he had planned. Hank and Dean are bored and claims the only torture was the smells of farts. Dean demands to be release as the kidnapping was against the Guild regulations. 21 urges them to confess to 24's murder. Hank talks about the death of the clones and Brock's departure, revealing to 21 that that day has caused him a great amount of grief as well. 21 tells the boys about his life after 24's death, which consisted of role-playing with other geeks and video stimulation. He had trained himself to be a good henchmen, vowing to never lose a man to his cowardice. As he speaks he comes to realize that he is responsible for 24's death. He releases the boys.

The Monarch, being unrecognizable, is thrown out of the break room in the cocoon because they don't serve drinks after mid-night as ordered by 21. Upset at 21, the Monarch goes to confront him. On his way he sees Hank and Dean, who are shocked by his face. Not in the mood to deal with them, he calls a cab to take them home.

Dr. Mrs. The Monarch and Dr. Venture are sitting on the porch of the observatory. He asks her if she really hasn't seen the boys. Dr. Mrs. Girlfriend suggest he call the boys to see where they are. Hank answers and says he and Dean were in 21/ Gary's tree fort and have been home for a hour.

The Monarch meets 21 in his tree fort, revealing his swollen face was due to an allergic reaction to a salad he had at dinner. He accuses him of trying to take over. 21 denies it, stating that he is not cut out to be hateful. He praise the Monarch for being a great villain and asks if he wants to hangout like he and 24 used to. He declines 21's offer and allows 21 to stay in the tree fort and play for a while before he sets the place on fire. This shows that the Monarch finally acknowledges 21's grief over 24. He can't set the tree fort on fire because it is heavily raining outside.

Ending credits show a hand crossing out the Venture name as listed as 24's murders. 21 enters the room to show 24 a magazine cover of Modern Enemy Monthly with Dr. Mrs. Girlfriend on the cover. 21 turns around and asks 24's skull what he is doing over there.

Episode Cast

First Appearances

Connections to Other Episodes

I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills

Cultural References


  • While torturing the Venture brothers, 21 makes reference to himself possibly being various creatures of the boys' delusions. One of the creatures he mentions is a centaur, a being from Greek mythology with the upper body of a human and the lower body and legs of a horse.


Danger Room

Depeche Mode

Fortress of Globitude (Solitude)

  • Dr. Mrs. The Monarch tries to console the Monarch through the bathroom door about his swollen face by joking and saying they can change their villain theme to be "glob-face" centric. When he opens the door to show her his condition, she is taken aback but still teases him about changing The Cocoon to the Fortress of "Globitude," referring to Superman's Fortress of Solitude.

Eye for an eye

  • One of the backup titles for 21's revenge plot is "An Eye for an I." which is a reference to the concept of Lex Talionis or "eye for an eye".


Joseph Merrick (The Elephant Man)


Selsun Blue


  • While torturing the Venture brothers, Henchman 21 makes reference to himself possibly being various creatures of the boys' delusions. One of them is Sin-Eater, a Marvel comics villain of Spider-Man and The Punisher, whose capture by Spider-Man inadvertently lead to the creation of the villain/antihero Venom.

Stetson cologne

The Jam

The Year Without A Santa Claus (1974)

  • The mirror video phone that The Monarch uses to communicate with his wife is similar to the ones used by Snow Miser and Heat Miser in The Year Without A Santa Claus.


  • While torturing the Venture brothers, Henchman 21 makes reference to himself possibly being various creatures of the boys' delusions, including Wolverine, the famous mutant protagonist of numerous Marvel comics.

Production Notes

  • 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 Return to Malice the credit reads Kimson "Globface" Albert.


  • Sergeant Hatred becomes a fan of Dean's Giant Boy Detective novels. He asks Dean which book comes after The Mystery of the Burning Island. Dean replies GIANT BOY DETECTIVE and the Secret of the Disappearing Pyramid, which Hatred then borrows from Dean's shelf.
  • The Monarch has an allergic reaction to rocket and sunchoke that caused his face to swell up and miss his photo shoot for the cover of Modern Enemy Monthly.
    • Rocket is another name for Arugula that was originated and popularized in Italy.
    • Sunchoke is a thin-skinned root vegetable from the sunflower plant and is also referred to as Jerusalem artichokes; despite having no origins in Jerusalem and not really tasting like artichoke.

Preceded by:
"Perchance to Dean"
The Venture Bros. episodes
Original Airdate:
November 8th, 2009
Followed by:
"The Revenge Society"