Control Brains are the overarching antagonists of the Invader Zim series.
They are a large, computerized, brain-like creatures created by the Irkens for making both tough and basic decisions. They play leading roles in the Irken Empire, and are responsible for making decisions in judiciary matters. Among other purposes, the Control Brains conduct trials (also known as Existence Evaluations) of Irken criminals, serving as judge, jury, and executioner. Should an Irken fail their Evaluation, the Brains will eliminate them and erase their PAK's data so that it may never be used again to corrupt another Irken.
This ensures that the memories of the failed Irken don't get passed along to the Brains' hive mind. It's also implied that the Brains are actually enormous supercomputers and, like all machines, they can malfunction and break down. If so, then a group of scientists and mechanics is often called in to ensure that the computers are at optimum efficiency.
They also decide on elite soldiers' tests, determining whether the subjects pass or fail based on their performance ("Tak: The Hideous New Girl"). They can also reprogram an Irken's PAK and change their job and position, as seen in "The Frycook What Came from All That Space".
Control Brains appear to have been in line for a makeover, not unlike the one the Almighty Tallest went through mid-season. The concept art (see picture) for their appearance in "The Trial" makes them appear much more sinister, and more similar in appearance to a human brain.
This redesign could be the true appearance of the Brains, as the ones that appeared throughout the series were wrapped in a metal casing.
Because of this, there are no visible gender differences between Brains, although a masculine voice was heard from one in "The Frycook What Came from All That Space", whereas Tak referred to the Brain that tested her as a "she".
In Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus, the Control Brains are no longer colored purple, magenta or green and instead are dark and ominous but their "eyes" seen to glow, unlike their previous incarnations on the show. However, as their only appearance in the movie is Zim's daydream, it's unknown if this is what they really look like, or how Zim remembers what they look like as he has been far away from Irk and may be unaware of possible technological upgrades on his home planet.
Control Brains run the empire and their conclusions even have to be accepted by the Tallest, which means that the Tallest have no real authority over the people of Irk, and are simply figureheads (not unlike a constitutional monarchy).
Facts of Doom
- Control Brains have only appeared in "The Frycook What Came from All That Space" and "Tak: The Hideous New Girl". More would have appeared in the unfinished episode "The Trial".
- It's unknown at this point if more Control Brains will appear in the comics.
- Earlier versions of Control Brains resemble very large PAKs; this may be where PAKs got their design, or vice-versa.
- In "Tak: The Hideous New Girl", during Tak's flashback showing her pleading with the Control Brain, some clips of "The Nightmare Begins" can be seen on the small screen on the Control Brain, hinting they could be capable of foreseeing the future.
- It's possible that there are Control Brains on planets that have been conquered by the Irken Empire.
- Jhonen Vasquez stated in the DVD commentary that Control Brains are actually genetically-engineered Irkens, heavily altered to the point where they no longer require bodies.
- It's possible that the Control Brains rule the entire empire, while the Tallest rule only Irk. However, this is never outright stated.
- Interestingly, the Control Brains can re-encode Zim's PAK from an Irken Invader to a Fast Food Drone without any problems. But, when they try to erase the PAK they turn insane.
- Jhonen Vasquez is credited as a "Control Brain" in each issue of the Invader Zim comic series.
- Oddly, in Enter the Florpus, the Control Brains act submissive to the Tallest rather than the other way around. But as their only appearance in the movie is in Zim's imagination, it's possible that this is merely him misinterpreting the power relationship between the Tallest and the Brains.
- However, as "The Trial" was never produced, technically their position as superior to the Tallest was never made canon, so it's possible that Jhonen could have reimagined how he pictured them and made that canon instead.
|Advisor • Almighty Tallest • Control Brain • Irken Elite • Fast Food Drone • Frylord • Irken Invader • Janitor • Navigator • Service Drone • Soldier|