Archer Vice: House Call (5×04)
Summary: Bad luck keeps racking up for the ISIS team as they’re paid an unexpected visit by FBI Agent Holly while Pam is having a cocaine freak out. Krieger improves upon his mind control chip, leaving the team to decide whether to use it to help Pam or to get Cheryl over her stage fright.
Oh my GOD, this episode was so much fun! It’s kind of everything I love about Archer to the point it makes it hard to recap it like I usually do. Not to mention it kind of starting to roll the plot for the season.
So, the basic plot run down is that Pam’s cocaine addiction has reached the point that she’s lost a dangerous amount of weight (except in her boobs) and she keeps finding ways to get into the stock. The team wants to send her to rehab, but she refuses and ends up kidnapping Cheryl and carrying her around the back tunnels of the house. Right when this happens, FBI Agent Holly comes a calling and begins to sweep the house when he hears Cheryl’s screaming. The team scrambles to find Pam and Cheryl as well as make sure that Holly doesn’t find the cocaine.
Oh, and there’s a thing about Krieger updating the mind control chip that he used on Len Trexler and Malory wanting to use it on Cheryl to get her over her stage fright. And Ron leaves Malory, which was a long time coming.
Well, what’s exactly clever about this plot?
For one thing, the writing is sharp as hell. Archer is just dropping pop culture references left and right (he calls British Pounds Sterling “Doctor Who money”) while managing to be completely ignorant about all the porn that exists on the internet. Seriously! I know he’s not a sex addict like Cyril or a creep like Krieger, but I at least thought Archer would at least know about bondage porn or something. It’s kind of hilarious to see him be so ignorant about porn. He also tries to establish “Said Ripley to the android Bishop” as the new “phrasing.” It kind of works in a strange way, but not always. His knowledge of Scooby Doo also manages to save the day. In a more subtle way, Adam Reed managed to get in an Arrested Development reference when Malory insists that they can’t get a husband and wife to testify against each other. Nice attempt at a Lucille Bluth there, Miss Archer.
The writing isn’t just pop culture references though. The episode also does an amazing job of showing just how wrong the characters can get. Malory plots to kill Pam by making her OD on cocaine, Krieger reveals that he’s known for ages how to get Ray’s legs to work again but just decided not to in some twisted Krieger logic that makes Ray be completely depressed, Cheryl enables Pam’s coke addiction because she gets off on being carried around by her, Holly is kind of insane for an FBI agent, and Cyril ultimately decides he wants a mind controlled Cheryl over a healthy Pam. Because boobs. It’s so freaking wrong all around to the point it manages to become so goddamn right.
However, there’s also those brief moments where the characters are actually somewhat decent people. There’s a scene where Lana is by herself and contemplates making a run for it, but she doesn’t know what kind of future that would hold for her baby. Archer comes in using Woodhouse for a shield against tranquilizers (which Krieger just so happened to have) and starts talking to Lana about her thought process. He reveals that he’s actually looked into pregnancy complications because he was worried about her. When Lana breaks down crying over the possibility of serving time in prison and never getting to see her baby, Archer sweetly offers her a head start to leave and jokingly suggests that she give him a blow job first. She starts laughing and says that she can’t leave him.
I really do love those moments between Archer and Lana. They are so rare, but that’s what makes them perfect in the context of the show. Because it shows that despite all the bickering and trouble they’ve had, they really do care about each other. A lot, actually. These characters are awful people, yes, but I love that Sterling Malory Archer will be a decent human being for Lana Kane, even if only for five seconds at a time.
Which is about how long that moment lasts before Lana is beating Archer again.
Also, in a moment I didn’t expect, Ron walks out on Malory. I always thought he’d either die or she’d divorce him. I may have not really liked his character, but good on you Ron! I just wish it had been fueled by her previous misdeeds and not the invocation of Len Trexler. I’m not a fan of jealously plot lines.
The episode ends with Pam still addicted to cocaine, Holly hot on the team’s trail, Archer contemplating going abroad to find buyers, and Cheryl completely transforming into Cherlene thanks to the mind control chip. I am so psyched for the rest of the episodes that you don’t know how sad it makes me that the next episode is three weeks away.