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The Venture Bros. episode
I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills
Season 2
Orig. Airdate September 24, 2006
Director Jackson Publick
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Guess Who's Coming to State Dinner? 23 ¡Viva los Muertos!


The Fluttering Horde gets an overhaul as Dr. Henry Killinger makes it into a more efficient engine of destruction and love. When the boys are abducted by a mysterious insane woman, Rusty and Brock go on a mission to exorcise personal and Japanese demons


The episode opens with The Flying Cocoon hovering into the view of an accounting office window. The Fluttering Horde suddenly breaks through the windows, shooting, netting and blowing up everything in sight! The Monarch makes his grand entrance, demanding to see Venture, but 21 interrupts him, saying it isn't the secret Venture compound, but The Monarch's own accountant's office. He orders the henchmen back into the cocoon, but not before taking some post-its, pens and copy paper. He also tells the henchmen to get the security tape so he can post it on his home page.

In the Venture Compound, Rusty fresh from his trip to Japan, goes to see Dr. Orpheus. Orpheus automatically knows he went to japan by the Oni, or Japanese demon, floating around above him. When Rusty hears this he's happy to know that it wasn't the diet pills that are making him see things as Brock suggested. Orpheus grabs some demon extractors (called the Tempest Tongs) and just as he's about to grab the floating demon, it hurriedly floats away dragging Rusty with him. Orpheus is surprised by this, and tells Rusty he must consult a higher power in his daughter's closet.

Back at the cocoon, 21 and 24 are discussing a new weapon, some ice skates, and when The monarch complains about the problem being something completely unrelated, a foreign accented voice interrupts saying the problem is one of planning and not armament. The man introduces himself as Dr. Henry Killinger and carries around what he terms a magic murder bag. In the Venture compound, the boys are practicing their driving, and while Hank yearns for speed, Dean tries to keep his hand at 10 and 2. Hank notices a car and figures that Brock is probably trying to test them. While Dean tries to park, Hank jumps out of the car and Dean stops and follows him. They see a lady on the ground and when they get close to her, she gets up and gasses the boys, knocking them out.

Meanwhile Orpheus is in the "closet" looking for his Master. He looks up and sees him in the form of a horse being held by a sling. Ms. Manyface dressed as Catherine the Great then kneels under him as some men lower him onto her trying to make some sort of point.

In the cocoon, The Monarch is showing Killinger around. 21 and 24 don't like Killinger at all and are jealous of the Black Guard uniforms. Dr. Killinger is giving a presentation but 21 and 24 voice their opinions about what a faker Killinger is. The Monarch becomes angered and orders that they take 24 to the chamber of a 1000 torments where they are to administer torments 1 through 980. Killinger declares that this seems a bit Draconian to him and requests to instead talk with 24 and maybe change his mind.

Outside the compound, Brock is looking for the boys and Rusty shows up with Orpheus in tow, following the Oni to see what it wants. The Oni stops at the car the boys were driving and Rusty craftily throws it in the trunk. The Oni however, revs the car up and drags Rusty around. Orpheus thinks they should get in the car and go wherever the Oni wants to go. Later that night, the demon stops the car in front of a cheap motel. Orpheus suggests that the Oni wants them to rest up until morning and Rusty accuses him of wanting to get in the sack with him. They argue for a bit but the demon turns the car back on and finds a parking spot.

Brock, in the meantime, is driving in his Charger with H.E.L.P.eR., looking for the boys. He and Brock are arguing about Brock's choice of music when the communicator buzzes on the boys location, a dumpster. He looks inside fearing the worst but is relieved to see that it's only the boys communicator watches. The watches suddenly flash "The boys are mine" and Brock says "Myra's back!" when the package the watches are wired to explodes. In a decrepit room somewhere, the boys wake up and wonder where they are this time and then they hear someone singing and see a woman's shadow walking around a door frame. A woman comes in a door and approaches them coddling them and saying, "come to mommy!" The boys don't believe her on account of the crazy, but the woman insists. Since they are tied up, they assume she only wants to kill them, or hold them for ransom, or touch them inappropriately. Dean doesn't remember this part, but Hank tells him it was Sgt. Hatred but that he probably doesn't remember because he was passed out from the wine. Myra then goes on to tell the boys how she met their father and how they made love in the back seat of their car. The boys are, needles to say, double grossed out by this.

In the cocoon, 21 tries to see 24 and tells the guards he has some up-the-butt medicine and that he has to administer it to 24. When he gets in, he finds that 24 has completely changed his mind, saying Killinger is like Mr. Belvedere and that he helped him with his herpes and that he might even be able to help 21 with his problem! 21 won't have any of it and thinks 24 is now a pod person and takes off. 21 goes to Killinger's room and covers the magic murder bag in silly string while Killinger is sleeping. Killinger wakes up because 21 screamed "eat web" at the murder bag, and he calls a Black Guard to come take 21 away. "You can silence me, but there will be others!" yells 21 dramatically as he's dragged off. "Semper fidelis tyranosaurus" he screams defiantly, but Killinger informs him he has just said "always faithful terrible lizard". As he's dragged of, he tells the Black Guard to be careful with him because he gets very gassy under these sort of circumstances and he even threw up on a kids face once. The Black Guard reminds him about the time he passed out on The Monarch's cat, Mr. Mostly Mittens, and 21 figures out that the Black Guard is 24! 21 "hypnotizes" 24 into letting him go, and off he goes again. He then comes back with Dr. Girlfriend who is going to help him restore order to the cocoon.

Back in the charger, Brock who is apparently unharmed, is discussing what he is going to do with Myra when he gets a hold of her. The boys are getting an earful from Myra who knows that Rusty hasn't spoken about her in 19 years. The boys are freaked out by this because they are 16 not 19 and Myra goes off about the horrible lie machines Rusty makes the boys sleep in. The boys' brothers and sisters (feral cats) come in and this reminds Myra that the boys must be hungry and she shoves her breasts at them. A bell suddenly rings and Myra goes to the front desk to see who's buzzing. Orpheus is there and he tells her he and his friend are checking out, the friend being Rusty. Myra sees Rusty and goes nuts attacking Orpheus. Rusty is in the car, listening to music unaware of what's happening. Rusty later finds himself tied up in the car and the boys are brought out to the car too. He gives Myra some sass and gets knocked out with the barrel of a shot gun. She gets in the car and runs over Brock and H.E.L.P.eR. who had just arrived at the motel looking for the boys. Brock gets up and goes out to the middle of the road expecting Myra to come back and finish the job. She does indeed come back, but Brock pulls a cool ninja move and instead of being run over, ends up crashing through the windshield and right on top of Myra, in the driver seat. Myra mumbles that she feels like Catherine the Great.

In the cocoon, 21 and Dr. Girlfriend are making their way into the cocoon's inner sanctum. 21 bumbles through everything and sets off the alarm so Dr. Girlfriend leaves him behind. Just as she takes of, 21 lets one rip nd admits to himself that he thinks he's falling for her. In the main control room in the cocoon, The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend are reunited by Dr. Killinger. He locks the doors and tells them that they aren't leaving until they get back together again.

After the Ventures go drop Myra off at the nut house, Hank is still wondering whether Myra is or isn't their mother. Brock explains that she used to be Power Cat on American Gladiator and that she lost her job so she goes crazy every few years and terrorizes them. The boys don't remember any of it and Brock is about to spill the beans about the boys being clones but quickly catches himself, but doesn't know how to finish what he was going to say. Hank tells Dean that he's pretty sure they aren't getting the whole story. Rusty blows up, yelling at the boys Alright, so I fucked her! What of it!?

After the ending credits, Killinger calls back his Liebe-Scheusal the Oni, back to him who was apparently trying to reunite Rusty and Myra. "Compromise, my friend, is zee essence of diplomacy, and diplomacy iz zee cornerstone of love. Sweet love!" he tells the demon.

Episode Related Links[edit]

Fun Facts[edit]

Myra's speech "Funny how it seems, always in time, but never in dreams, I bought a ticket to the world" is a quote from the Spandau Ballet song "True."

The title is homage to Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings", and although it is never overtly revealed in the script, it's obvious that a passage from this poem is what H.E.L.P.eR. "recites" for Brock in this episode.

Voice Talent[edit]

Voice Talent
James Urbaniak Dr. Venture
Patrick Warburton Brock Samson
Michael Sinterniklaas Dean Venture
Chris McCulloch Hank Venture
The Monarch
Dr. Henry Killinger
Henchman 24
Additional Voices
Doc Hammer Henchman 21
Dr. Girlfriend
Additional Voices
Steven Rattazzi Dr. Orpheus
Joanna Adler Myra Brandish
H. Jon Benjamin The Master
The Wicked Lovable SOUL-BOT as H.E.L.P.eR.