Archer season 4 episode 7 review: Live And Let Dine
It's Archer meets Hell's Kitchen this week. Here's James' review of Live And Let Dine...
This review contains spoilers.
4.7 Live and Let Dine
Sterling Archer comes up against a foe who can match even his own gigantic ego this week, in the form of celebrity chef Lance Casteau. A Gordon Ramsey-style culinary maniac, Casteau fronts his own kitchen reality show, Bastard Chef, from within the confines of his highly pretentious restaurant 16, pronounced Seize, naturally.
A threat to some visiting Albanian diplomats has caused ISIS to replace his staff, something Casteau is none too pleased about, declaring in an opening POC that his establishment has been invaded by “the shithead squadron.” So what we have this week is essentially Archer meets Hell’s Kitchen. It’s a different field trip for the ISIS crew and one that’s not without its share of laughs, including a simple, wordless gag about the sound a bowl makes when it falls to the floor.
Sterling himself seems to be enjoying himself immensely this episode, under his chef alias of Randy Randerson, and getting a kick out of pot boy Cyril Figgis having to call him “Chef” throughout. Sterling’s identity crisis , all long stemming from his upbringing at the hands of his mother and absence of a father figure, comes to the fore again as he now decides that cooking, rather than spying, might be the career for him. Of course, by the end of the episode when everything has been revealed, Archer’s dream is once again left crumbled and beaten. There’s a nice moment along the way though between Lana and Sterling where she gleams yet another insight into the man behind the ego.
Even though she’s technically supposed to be back with Cyril, season four of Archer continues to build on the long running arc of Lana trying to break down Sterling’s defences and get to the real man inside. It’s a thankless task, and one that is probably doomed, but it’s one of nice sidelines of the show.
Elsewhere this episode, Lana continues her descent into downtrodden hell by being constantly instructed to answer the restaurant phone, a job “even a monkey could do”, which leads to some spectacularly good monkey impressions from Cheryl. Meanwhile Cyril continues on his own path into bullied insanity. Cyril’s always been on the nastier receiving end of ISIS’ bungles but this year it’s a wonder he hasn’t been committed. Perhaps it’s his, also probably doomed, desire to prove to Lana that he’s just as much of a man as Archer that keeps him going.
No Archer episode would be complete without turns from Mallory, Pam and Cheryl and they’re all on fine form here. Mallory, much like she did with the transatlantic blimp mission in season one, faked the restaurant threat just so she can get a table ahead of the ten-month waiting list, though she probably would have enjoyed it more if she wasn’t eating with her husband Ron (a welcome return to that relationship) and Pam and Cheryl, both affecting a weird, British accent.
There’s some great Pam and Cheryl stuff this week with the aforementioned monkey impression leading to a great banana joke and the pair finding themselves in one of their awkwardly public situations with Rodney, the armoury guy. It involves Cheryl wearing a rubber glove. Ew.
Live and Let Dine has a neatly done twist ending and is a reassuringly madness packed episode of Archer. It’s similar in its premise to the Skytanic episode in season one but the kitchen setting gives ample opportunity for many unique laughs from these characters. Another decent offering from a season that’s only supplied us with one dud so far.
Read James' review of the previous episode, Once Bitten, here.
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