Archer season 4 episode 13 review: Sea Tunt Part 2

Review James Stansfield
19 Dec 2013 - 17:48

Archer series four bows out on a high note, no thanks to Channel 5's scheduling. Here's James' review...

This review contains spoilers.

4.13 Sea Tunt Part 2

I don’t want to end this review of what was a very fitting season finale for Archer on a down note, so I’m going to get this out of the way first. I think I speak for every UK-based Archer fan when I say that Channel 5’s treatment of this season has been nothing short of a disgrace. Monday at 10.30pm was a perfectly reasonable slot, even if it was on one of your sister channels, but to do no promotion and then relegate the show to a different sister channel at 2.30am on a Wednesday morning after one week of disappointing ratings was baffling. If that wasn’t bad enough, Channel 5 couldn’t even show the episodes in a continuous run with sometimes over a month between them, which meant that even some of those who did make an effort to track it down, soon gave up. So a plea to Channel 5, if you have by some miracle secured the rights to show season five of Archer, either give the show the chance and respect it deserves, or let someone else have a go with it.

Right, small rant over because Sea Tunt (Part 2) was a very funny and very tightly scripted finish to Archer’s fourth outing. When we left ISIS they were at sea confronting underwater, eco-terrorist Captain Murphy and his platoon of nerve gas missiles aimed at the several United States cities. In a piece of legendary casting, Murphy was voiced by John Hamm from Mad Men and proved to be extremely funny in the opening minutes of this episode. Gag level wise, Sea Tunt (Part 2) probably had one of the best opening sequences of this season as Sterling, Ray and Cyril disguised themselves as a TV camera crew in order to infiltrate Murphy’s deep sea base. Due to communication fuzziness, Murphy believes that Lana might be Oprah Winfrey. Extra points went to the episode here purely for allowing Sterling to say the immortal words “Danger zone”.

This episode didn’t stray too far from the regular Archer path for the most part. The staples of the show of Lana getting frustrated while on a mission with Sterling, their always entertaining bickering, Archer’s jibes at Cyril and Ray and Sterling enjoying the drama that comes with him facing certain death (his joy at sliding down an escape pipe as if it was a water slide was an excellent moment) were all present. While on the surface of the ocean, Pam, Cheryl and Mallory kept up the dysfunctional office bonding side of the show, in as awkward fashion as ever. There perhaps could have been a bit more Cheryl and Pam this week but they have given us so much gold this season already.

The big twist in this finale was that Lana is pregnant, even if this revelation was almost upstaged by the brilliant Captain Murphy. As to whom the father is, we didn’t get to find out. Only that it’s not Cyril, and he is not happy about it. There was a real mean streak shown with Cyril Figgis in the closing moments of this season and perhaps a hint that this might be the one thing that finally pushes him over the edge. It’d be a nice way for the show to go if Cyril became the number one bad guy in Archer, and would give them a new adversary so they didn’t have to keep bringing Barry back all the time.

Archer did produce one of its rare, touching moments for this finale when Sterling potentially sacrificed himself for the good of Lana. All season we’ve seen the relationship between these two grow and get steadily closer and this was a nice pay off to all that work. The notion that Sterling did what he did so Lana could be a better mother than the one he had was a really well done showing of what makes up the Archer character, a mess of mother issues but with a heart buried somewhere very deep that Lana may yet still have a chance of properly uncovering.

Season four of Archer ended on a high and triumphant note and was in keeping with a run which hasn’t been perfect with an odd dud in the mix but has kept up the exceptional quality of this massively underrated programme. Archer is one comedy that really lends itself to many repeat viewings, thanks to its detail, wit and strong cast and characters and it looks set to continue doing so.

Read James' review of the previous episode, Sea Tunt Part 1, here.

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