Archer Vice: Southbound and Down (5×05)
Summary: When Cherlene gets a gig on Travis County Limits, the former ISIS team pulls a Smokey and the Bandit to get to Texas in 24 hours.
This episode was so Southern, it was beautiful. It probably even biases my view of the episode some.
Slowly coming to terms with the fact everyone around her is terrible at selling cocaine and that Ron has left her with nothing, Malory is banking all her hopes on Cherlene getting a record deal. Which, of course, is easier said than done. Especially with this motley crew of assholes.
Still, she manages to get her newest pet project on a public cable show in Texas called Travis County Limits the next day. However, Cherlene is now insisting that she doesn’t fly, despite the fact she has MANY times in the past as Cheryl/Carol. Even Pam brings up the blimp choke sex from season one. Is this a part of the brain chip? It doesn’t really matter though because as soon as Archer hears “doesn’t fly” and “Texas in 24 hours,” he goes right into planning out his Smokey and the Bandit fantasy with a Trans Am and a tour bus. Never change, Archer.
Like a true Sterling Archer plan, however, it starts going tits up from minute one. Because instead of Lana riding in the blocker car with him, it ends up being Pam. And Pam being Pam, she manages to knock Archer out to drive the car, enjoys herself across multiple truckstops to the point she earns the trucker name ‘Snowball’ (remember Clerks? It’s like that), tells a bunch of truckers that Archer put 100 pounds of cocaine in Cherlene’s bus to the point it gets back around to a bunch of bikers, and loses Archer’s gun in a game of Craps. All in about 12 hours! Go Pam!
…Wait. No. No go Pam.
Cherlene also thinks the bikers want to kidnap her even though she’s not even famous yet. No one is surprised that the chip in her brain did not take away the crazy.
Lucky for the rest of ISIS, Lana is willing to do some creative driving to get the bikers off their asses because it’s certainly better than letting a tired ass Cyril do it and endanger her unborn child. It leaves them with one blown out tire and two hours to get 100 miles. Archer nearly rats out Pam for everything, but decides to give her a break and take the blame himself.
Of course, the cops appear on the bus’s ass 10 minutes before curtain and through a running joke of no one knowing how to use the radio, the ISIS team finds out that Archer put cocaine on the bus. However, Pam reveals that she put the cocaine back in the blocker car. The bus goes off to the show and Pam and Archer initiate a chase with the cops all while having a discussion about irony and a rather after school special style discussion about Pam’s addiction to cocaine being rooted in her desire to be liked and seen as beautiful. Because how is Archer going to bang Pam if she dies of a heart attack? This is all set to Cherlene covering ‘Eastbound and Down’ from Smokey and the Bandit. Only Archer could get away with having discussions like this during a high speed chase.
After realizing that the cops are crooked cops from another county associated with the bikers, Archer and Pam decide to bail the coke, escape in the aftermath, and plan to have sex later. Meanwhile, Cherlene decides to only perform one song on the show they traveled all this way for because of a whole thing about personifying “Outlaw Country.” I don’t think Cherlene even knows what that means, but like it matters because she’s immediately scoped for a record deal. Perhaps things will be looking up for the ISIS crew. All’s well that ends well.
Except for Pam revealing that they bailed the coke.
While not a major mover and shaker episode, this one was just a whole lot of fun. I loved Archer’s Smokey and the Bandit fantasy going wrong thanks to Pam. I loved Cherlene being crazy in the name of Outlaw Country. I loved how damn Southern this episode was without really trying. I loved the smart jokes slipped in, like Lana wondering if she has aphasia when words continue to escape her about the tour bus and Malory being stupidly conservative. I can’t wait to see more of how Cherlene’s career shapes what’s going to happen for the ISIS crew.