DISCLAIMER: This recap of Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. episode “If Bureaucracy Be Thy Death!” is laden with spoilers. You’ve been warned. Proceed at your own peril.
Welcome back, pitiful humans! We’ve reached the halfway point in the first season of Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. This show is so damn delightful. “If Bureaucracy Be Thy Death!” gives Monica a chance to shine. Not to mention, it boasts one of my favorite animated fight sequences ever. It pays homage to Pokémon and old-school 2D video games. My hat is off to the writing and animation teams. “If Bureaucracy Be Thy Death!” propels the narrative forward in a new direction, as any episode halfway through a season should. The endgame is on the horizon, after all (Marvel reference).
Ready to delve into “If Bureaucracy Be Thy Death!”? Let’s get to it.
Now, we open with Melter’s funeral. His widow is delivering his eulogy. In true M.O.D.O.K. (voiced by Patton Oswalt) fashion, he crashes the funeral alongside Melissa (voiced by Melissa Fumero) and Lou (voiced by Ben Schwartz). We see his newfound pals are also present. M.O.D.O.K. continues to incessantly interrupt the proceedings. Eventually, he hijacks the funeral altogether and incinerates Melter’s corpse, as is the tradition for villains. What, no mournful rendition of “Danny Boy”?
Later, M.O.D.O.K. reveals to Austin (voiced by Beck Bennett) that he wishes to swipe his Black Hole Gun so he can kill Tony Stark. Austin nonchalantly responds that he must first get clearance through the right people. A.I.M. has an intricate bureaucratic system in place. Austin questions Monica’s (voiced by Wendi McLendon-Covey) exorbitant expenses over the last decade.
Next, M.O.D.O.K. proceeds to go through the chain of command in order to secure his gun. He gets the runaround from every single person. Finally, he proffers a moving PowerPoint presentation to bolster his request. Alas … nothing.
Then, Monica learns from Austin that she has a plethora of vacation days at her disposal. In her 10 years with A.I.M., she’s never once taken time off. Austin asserts that she must take said time off per the company’s higher-ups. Monica’s not a fan of this.
Now, Monica and M.O.D.O.K. come together to despair over their respective situations. We see a flashback of Monica in 2009 preparing for her interview with M.O.D.O.K. She knocks it out of the park. Here, she appears to be hopeful and optimistic. A far cry from the Monica we see today. Austin informs the pair that there’s a mandatory workplace training session taking place later that day. However, our frenemies won’t be in attendance. Why? Because they’re cooking up a plan! Begrudgingly, of course.
Meanwhile, M.O.D.O.K. and Monica brainstorm said plan. Monica has been working on silicon-based humanoid body doubles for a hot minute. She’ll unleash them into the wild so they can participate in the workplace course in the pair’s stead. Then, they’ll hack the system, erase Monica’s vacation days and snag the Black Hole Gun. Won’t you come, won’t you come…
So, the head person in charge, Doris, will be on a video call. They must ensure that she stays put for at least two hours. We see Doris begin said video call. I’m having Zoom call war flashbacks. Lots of, “Can you hear me?” and “I think there’s a delay.” Next, M.O.D.O.K. and Monica sneak into Doris’s office. Consider those vacation days stricken from the record!
Then, M.O.D.O.K. snags his precious Black Hole Gun. He waltzes outside only to find Monica and Austin impeding his path. Apparently, she doublecrossed him. Betrayal! We’re in flashback mode as we see Monica standing in a pile of debris from a decade ago. M.O.D.O.K. notes that she slaughtered a legitimate Avenger. The corpse is too destroyed to pinpoint which one, though. M.O.D.O.K. immediately takes credit for her kill. Obviously, this embittered Monica. Hence the current betrayal.
Suddenly, all hell breaks loose as the pair begin to duke it out. Seriously, this is one of the best animated battle scenes in existence. It honors multiple animated/video game franchises. A must-watch for any geek. Monica rises victorious, promptly knocking M.O.D.O.K. on his ass. Austin is surreptitiously recording the whole bit. He’s sending it to his elusive bosses. They agree that Monica’s “the key,” not M.O.D.O.K.
Next, Austin proceeds to demote M.O.D.O.K. He subsequently promotes Monica to “Scientist Supreme.” It sounds like a reference to Dr. Strange. Austin has his team clear out Monica’s space of the weapons she’s created over the years. Instead, his bosses want her to focus solely on churning out the silicon-based humanoids.
Meanwhile, an inebriated and forlorn M.O.D.O.K. stands outside the Avengers Tower and calls for Tony Stark. Stark (voiced by Jon Hamm) scolds M.O.D.O.K. for bumming everyone out at his swanky party. Hamm would actually make a solid live-action Tony Stark. He’s got the ‘tude for it. Stark leaves M.O.D.O.K. to his own misery.
Later, we see Austin is holding the Black Hole Gun. He reports to his masters that he’s seized all of A.I.M.’s weaponry. Monica is now properly distracted. Oh, and he lives only to serve Hexus the Living Corporation. Oh sh*t! It’s all happening!
Who doesn’t love a good mad scientist fight? “If Bureaucracy Be Thy Death!” is a gamechanger for Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. Our titular villain loses his job and we finally learn about Austin’s bosses. Hexus the Living Corporation! All of the comic book stuff being incorporated into this show excites the hell out of me. Bring on episode six!
Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. is now streaming on Hulu.