"The Devil's Grip"
The Venture Bros. episode
TVB S05E08 Devils Grip
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 8
Directed by Jackson Publick
Written by Doc Hammer
Production code 506
Original air date July 21, 2013
Episode Chronology
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List of The Venture Bros. episodes

The Devil's Grip is the eighth episode of Season 5 and the overall sixty-third episode of The Venture Bros.


When Dr. Venture is apparently killed at Don Hell’s nightclub for villains,[1] Sergeant Hatred sends the boys off to live with their godparents. Dean awakens in Tangiers with Colonel Gentleman, while Hank is in a Boca Raton retirement home with Rodney, aka The Action Man.

Hank helps Rodney bury the late Dr. Paul Entmann, crushed under Rodney’s rocking chair. Rodney explains a peculiar old Venture funerary tradition; attendees urinate on the grave, but the youngest attendee must instead defecate to fertilize the ground and represent new life. Rodney recites an ode to Entmann:

You were my pal, and you were my friend. And your weird body, to heaven I send.
When you were massive and full of size, you gave me counsel because you were wise.
Saying ‘Action Man, take it down a notch. Stop just thinking with your action crotch’.
When you were shrunk down to a little mole, you were able to swim laps in a little bowl.
Now you’re dead, because of my chair. I had no idea you were there.
When I rocked back in repose, You died and began to decompose.

Meanwhile, Colonel Gentleman is introducing Dean to the world of Morocco. Dean mistakes bread for a napkin, and is warned not to drink the local water. A local tough goads Gentleman into a fight. Gentleman sends Dean to pick out a song on the jukebox, and mocks the would-be attacker, suggesting he could defeat him with only a single thumb. The left thumb, because the right one is “too powerful for you”. Then he draws a sword from his cane and slices the man's arm off, and then severs the thumb from the arm and attacks the man with it; “I didn’t specify my thumb.”

Sergeant Hatred recruits Gary, who has been camping on the Venture Compound since the fall of S.P.H.I.N.X.[2], to assist him is recovering Dr. Venture, dead or alive, from The Monarch. Gary, with little else to do, mimes with a piece of wood as though it were a rifle and agrees to assist. Hatred asks Gary if he really just cocked a stick.

Dr. Venture is not quite dead however, but has been captured by The Monarch. The Monarch is trying to determine the ultimate torture to inflict upon Venture from an elaborate list, while Dr. Mrs. The Monarch is tending to his injuries due to Guild regulations. Venture is unintimidated by the Monarch’s threats, as no one who has captured him has ever followed through. Dr. Mrs. The Monarch warns Venture that no matter how effective the torture is or is not, he had better play along and pretend to be in pain if necessary or she will kill him outright. She then pops his dislocated hip back into place without anesthetic to emphasize her point.

Back in Tangiers, Colonel Gentleman enlists Dean's assistance with various tasks. Dean watches episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch in order to catalog when Salem appears as a real cat or “that crappy puppet”. Dean also takes dictation for I, Gentleman, the third installment of the Colonel’s “autobiographical thrill-ogy”.

Sgt. Hatred and Gary successfully infiltrate the Flying Cocoon, and Gary dons his henchman garb and gives Hatred his old uniform, which smells of soup. Henchman 21 is nostalgic that The Monarch attended the Calamity Conference and got him a ‘best henchman’ t-shirt. Hatred remarks that he had a “V” tattooed on his face, but still must pay for his own food. But he doesn’t mind whether he’s Sergeant Hatred or Uncle Vatred, as long as he has a cause to fight for, he fights. Henchman 21 remarks that they are more similar than he thought, and wonders why they aren’t friends. Hatred says it because he doesn't trust Gary and due to the latter being a dork.

The Monarch attempts to torture Dr. Venture with a giant bell, but only succeeds in annoying his neighbors. Venture’s childhood spent in a supersonic jet has paid dividends, and he is nonchalant until Dr. Mrs. The Monarch clears her throat, prompting him to suddenly (and unconvincingly) cry out that his kidneys are bursting. The Monarch notes that the Bell torture sucks, with three exclamation points.

Colonel Gentleman is recounting to Dean an incident when he and The Action Man, captured by Brainulo, are forced to fight against their crushes: Triple Threat and Jass. Kiki arrives, misunderstands the Colonel’s relationship to Dean, and gets upset. Gentleman is also upset with Kiki because he has been unfaithful.

Back in Florida, Rodney explains to Dean that he has been trying to get with Rose for more than 40 years, and is obsessed with her. Rodney later offers Hank anything to help him “seal the deal”, and Hank asks for fifty dollars, a StingRay bass guitar, and a ride home.

Rodney and Hank conceive an elaborate plot to break the ice with fellow resident Rose Whalen. Hank pretends to be hooked on loud rock and roll and other things stereotypically associated with it. Rodney pleads with Rose to “help straighten him out”, which she does by convincing Hank to fight the Devil’s grip with Showtunes. Hank suggests Rose, Rodney, and he should share dinner to celebrate.

Sgt. Hatred and Henchman 21 are searching the Cocoon for Doctor Venture, when Henchman Eighty-six mistakes Hatred for Henchman 21 and immediately begins complaining that the Moppets are running everything and it has been terrible since he left. Hatred attempts to impersonate Henchman 21, but fails. The real Henchman 21 brains his fellow henchman from behind before he can sound the alarm. Hatred is now feeling more trusting toward Gary after this, but Henchman 21 is upset because he just attacked a guy who is on his softball team. They continue their search for Venture separately, but Tim-Tom has been monitoring their conversation over Eighty-six’s dropped communicator, and he and Kevin set traps for Hatred and Henchman 21.

The Monarch has Venture’s mouth propped open, and is about to drill into his teeth, but he is unable to tolerate his breath. Thinking at first that he is smelling Venture’s fear, Venture admits to having had shrimp with garlic butter the previous evening.

Colonel Gentleman, depressed after his fight with Kiki, creates another of his eponymous lists; ‘Things Not To Do’, which includes moving to a country where your sexual preference is a capital offense and getting involved with someone a third your age. He makes Dean promise to never do the latter, to which Dean replies; “I can safely promise that I won’t get involved with a six-year-old”. Gentleman wonders why he is still in Tangiers after everyone whom he believed made it a paradise (e.g., Malcolm Forbes, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsburg, Barbara Hutton) has left or died.

Kevin is waiting for Sgt. Hatred in the prison area with two henchmen, and tells him that Henchman 21 is helping The Monarch to torture Dr. Venture and has played Hatred for a fool, then they dump him out of the Flying Cocoon through the garbage hatch in his underwear. Hatred runs back to the Venture Compound swearing vengeance on Gary for his betrayal. Tim-Tom is waiting for Henchman 21 in the Flying Cocoon’s control center, and threatens to tell The Monarch of his treason with Hatred. But Gary turns the tables by threatening to tell The Monarch about the Moppets’ usurpation. Tim-Tom underestimates the other henchmen’s loyalty to Henchman 21 after Gary accuses him of Twenty-four’s murder. The Fluttering Horde closes in on Tim-Tom, chanting; “Hench has killed Hench”.

This time, The Monarch has Venture tied to a table saw, but the power cord will not reach the receptacle and he cannot find an extension cord. Frustrated, he suddenly gives up entirely. The Monarch unties Dr. Venture, and tells him he is releasing him. At first Venture believes he has been rescued, but Monarch disabuses him of that notion. The Monarch admits that they are both failures, and they compare strikingly similar issues going on in their individual lives. The Monarch asks Venture to break a few things on his way out to “make it look good” for Dr. Mrs. The Monarch. Venture comments that their conversation has depressed him more than any of the attempts at torture, and leaves.

Meanwhile, Rose is resisting Rodney’s advances, saying he is a drug addict and a womanizer. The Action Man explains that he was faithful to his wife until widowed, and the drugs were Super-Soldier “jump-juice” for the good of his country. Hank soon realizes that Rose is actually Billy “Quizboy” Whalen’s mother, who has not seen him for many years, and believes he didn’t think she would approve of his lifestyle choice. Rose has assumed Billy is a homosexual because he and Pete White share a home. Hank suggests a reunion, revealing that Billy is his neighbor.

Dr. Venture walks back to the Venture compound, unsuccessfully hitchhiking, and is passed by Hatred who has returned with his Hovertank, determined to exact vengeance on Henchman 21. The Monarch is dejectedly looking at the photo stolen from Venture’s album[2] of himself and Venture as children and his parents and Jonas Venture Sr. looking on. Dr. Mrs. The Monarch bursts in and announces that Venture has escaped. The Monarch confesses to releasing Venture, and his wife is confused at this turn of events. But The Monarch, with sudden renewed vigor, proclaims that he has broken Doctor Venture’s spirit and that is far worse than any physical torture. His dramatic proclaimation of victory over his nemesis has put his wife into an aroused state. They are about to have sex, when they are suddenly interrupted by Henchman 21, who bursts in, announcing; “I’m home.”

Sgt. Hatred’s Hovertank is closing on the Flying Cocoon, hovering near The Monarch’s home in the gated community for supervillians known as ‘Malice’. Hatred is calling Gary out on the tank’s P.A. loudspeaker, when he suddenly fires a shell from the tank's main cannon. The shell strikes the Flying Cocoon directly, which catches fire and begins to descend at an odd angle toward the Monarch’s house. Hatred calls Gary on the loudspeaker again, telling him that he still hates him, but that Gary should evacuate before he is killed in the fire. The Flying Cocoon crashes into the Monarch’s home, and both are destroyed. Hatred sheepishly departs. In the wreckage of the Monarch’s home, only The Monarch, his wife, and Henchman 21 appear to have survived. Apparently having never learned the actual name of his “best” henchman, The Monarch wonders aloud who the fuck "Gary" is.

Later, the Monarchs and Henchman 21 arrive at the Monarch’s childhood home to live, which is in an extreme state of disrepair. Dr. Mrs. The Monarch is exited, but The Monarch and Henchman 21 are less than enthusiastic. Henchman 21 is reminded of the houses depicted in Japanese horror films.

Back at the Venture Compound, Rodney, Rose, and Colonel Gentleman arrange a funerary relocation of Dr. Paul Entmann from the Boca Raton retirement community to the Venture Estate, near the bronze statue of young Rusty and his father. Rose is re-united with Billy, and meets Pete White for the first time, still under the impression that he and her son are a homosexual couple, but is not bothered by it. Rose remarks that Pete is as handsome as Billy had described to her, leading to a momentary awkwardness between Billy and Pete. Colonel Gentleman invites Rodney and Rose to stay with him at his West Village Manhattan home, having left Tangiers permanently. On the roof, Dean finally reveals to his brother the reason for his year of depressed and anti-social behavior; the truth of their origins as clones. Rather than reacting negatively to the news, as Dean expected, Hank laughs it off as simply part of what it means to be a Venture. Hank’s attitude cheers Dean up considerably. The peculiar Venture funerary tradition is repeated, and Rodney calls Dean over, as this time he is the youngest.

Episode CastEdit

First Appearances Edit

Connections to Other Episodes Edit

Ghosts of the Sargasso

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

Operation P.R.O.M.

A Very Venture Halloween

O.S.I. Love You

  • Sergeant Hatred mentions his nickname "Uncle Vatred", which was given to him by Hank in O.S.I. Love You.

Bot Seeks Bot

  • Dr. Venture's intrusion into Don Hell's Club and being crushed by a giant disco ball are mentioned. These events took place in Bot Seeks Bot.
  • The Monarch mentions that Dr. Girlfriend will take on the position of Councilwoman, which was offered to her in Bot Seeks Bot.

The Venture Bros. & The Curse of the Haunted Problem

"Nifty, nifty little listy" Edit

The Monarch gleefully concocts a numbered list of tortures he wants to perform on the captive Dr. Venture:

  1. The Monarch's torture list - The Devil's Grip
    HOT Pokers (IRON) - eyes, groin...knees?
  2. Bamboo Under Fingernails (chopsticks in kitchen drawer)
  3. Wild Dogs. Maybe a pack of ill-tempered dogs? (Re-think)
  4. Drive to bad neighborhood and scream racial epithets
  5. Sodium Pentathol (Make him admit he's a prick on camera)
  6. Rack! (find Ren-fest costume from that stupid wedding)
  7. Cut off Nose? (check Guild rulebook)
  8. Marathon Man Dentist Drill. (is it safe?)
  9. 12 hours of deafening Faith Hill music (make sure he hates it first)
  10. The Bell! (Asian theme)
  11. The Pear of Anguish (con - have to make a pear of anguish)
  12. Foot Roasting (too slapstick?)
  13. Exposure (maybe too time-consuming)
  14. Buried Alive! (con - don't get to watch him in torment)
  15. Ice Knife
  16. Broken glass in ears?

Cultural ReferencesEdit

Allen Ginsberg

  • Colonel Gentleman mentions American Beat poet, writer, and philosopher Allen Ginsberg as one of several prominent homosexuals who previously resided in Tangiers but no longer lives there. He refers to him as an "eager little puppy".

Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

  • The "Hench has killed Hench" chant is a reference to the film Battle for the Planet of the Apes, in which Aldo is surrounded by his fellow apes chanting "Ape has killed Ape" after it is revealed that he murdered Caesar's young son Cornelius.

Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Captain America

Cutting off the nose to spite the face

  • #7 on The Monarch's list of tortures is "Cut off Nose?" It is unclear whether he's doing it to spite Dr. Venture's face.

Flash Gordon

Hindenburg disaster (1937)

Jack Kerouac

  • Colonel Gentleman mentions American Beat poet, writer, and philosopher Jack Kerouac as one of several prominent homosexuals who previously resided in Tangiers but no longer lives there.

Japanese Horror

Malcolm Forbes

  • Colonel Gentleman mentions American publisher Malcolm Forbes as one of several prominent homosexuals who previously resided in Tangiers but no longer lives there.

Marathon Man (1976)

  • The scene where The Monarch attempts to torture Dr. Venture by using a dentist's drill on his teeth is a reference to the 1976 film Marathon Man. Item #8 on The Monarch's torture list even refers to it as the "Marathon Man Dentist Drill" and quotes Sir Laurence Olivier's famous line from the film: "Is it safe?"

Music Man StingRay

Pear of anguish

  • #11 on The Monarch's list of tortures is the pear of anguish. The pear of anguish, or choke pear, is the modern name for a type of instrument displayed in some museums, consisting of a metal body (usually pear-shaped) divided into spoon-like segments that could be operated by turning a screw. The museum descriptions and some recent sources assert that the devices were used either as a gag, to prevent people from speaking, or internally as an instrument of torture, although these accounts have been disputed as implausible.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996-2003)

Sodium Pentathol


  • A wheelchair bound retiree at Waning Acres wearing a red cape appears to be an elderly Superman.

Stan Lee

  • One of the retirees at Waning Acres appears to be legendary comic book author Stan Lee. He is seated at a table speaking to a woman who appears to be an elderly Storm from The X-Men.

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)

Storm (X-Men)

  • One of the retirees at Waning Acres appears to be an elderly Storm from The X-Men. She is seated at a table speaking to a man who appears to be legendary comic book author Stan Lee.

The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)

The Owl

  • A retiree with a walker and a distinctive hairstyle appears to be the Marvel Comics character The Owl.

The Presidio (1988)

  • Col. Gentleman's fight is a reference to the 1988 film The Presidio, starring Sean Connery, wherein he likewise beats up a bully in a bar using only his thumb, "My right one; left one's much too powerful for you."

The Torture Garden (1899)

Truman Capote

  • Colonel Gentleman mentions American author Truman Capote as one of several prominent homosexuals who previously resided in Tangiers but no longer lives there.

William S. Burroughs

  • Colonel Gentleman mentions American author William S. Burroughs as one of several prominent homosexuals who previously resided in Tangiers but no longer lives there. Burroughs resided in Tangiers in the 1950s, partially recounting his experiences in the books Interzone and Naked Lunch.

Yves Saint-Laurent

  • Colonel Gentleman mentions French fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent as one of several prominent homosexuals who previously resided in Tangiers but no longer lives there. Gentleman refers to Saint-Laurent as a "pretty peacock".

Production Notes and TriviaEdit

  • 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 The Devil's Grip the credit reads Kimson "I, Gentleman" Albert.
  • The Boca Raton retirement home where Rose Whalen and The Action Man live is called "Waning Acres". Its motto is "Where the Adventure Ends..."
  • While never stated outright, the implication that Triple Threat and Rose Whalen are one and the same woman is strong to the point of certainty (and was later confirmed by the show creators in both the episode commentary and in their book.)[3]
  • Billy's mother Rose stated she hadn't seen her son in years, believing Billy thought she wouldn't approve of his "lifestyle". When she meets Pete White for the first time, White is initially upset at Billy for not denying to his mother that he and Billy were a couple. Billy, we learned, said nothing because he didn't want to return the China and sideboard his mother had sent them as gifts. White was pacified when Rose appealed to his vanity, proclaiming him as handsome as Billy said he was, to which a flattered White responded "You said I was handsome?"


  • Henchman 21 states that the stick was the only weapon he had even though Brock gave him his crossbow in SPHINX Rising.
  • On the statue of Jonas and Rusty Venture, which seen close up at the very end of the episode's epilogue, Jonas has six fingers on his right hand. This may be merely an animation gaffe or a clue to something else, such as indicating that there would be a Season 6.

References Edit

  1. Bot Seeks Bot
  2. 2.0 2.1 SPHINX Rising
  3. Go Team Venture!: The Art and Making of The Venture Bros. (2018), p. 261

Preceded by:
"Bot Seeks Bot"
The Venture Bros. episodes
Original Airdate:
July 21, 2013
Followed by:
"All This and Gargantua-2"
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