If any network has earned a self-indulgent crossover between two of its shows, it’s FX. Almost every series on the network has built its own believable, satisfying universe, and any two shows would produce a brilliant collaboration with each other. Think of the It’s Always Sunny gang brushing up against marijuana empires in the Harlan County of Justified. Or better yet: American Horror Story: Louie.
As it stands, Archer and The Americans represent as fine a choice as any as “Achub Y Morifold” depicts.
If you’re having trouble spotting the crossover in “Achub Y Morfilod” don’t worry, because it’s not technically a crossover. The behind the scenes story for “Achub Y Morfilod” begins during last year’s Super Bowl (the one the Seahawks won, not lost). The Americans lead actor and real-life Welshman Matthew Rhys met Archershowruners Adam Reed and Matt Thompson at an FX event, and entertained them with the real life stories of bumbling Welsh domestic terrorists.
Reed and Thompson enjoyed Rhys’ stories so much that they decided to incorporate them into a future episode, and let Rhys appear in it as a Welsh terrorist. So, technically speaking, it’s not an Americans crossover, and Rhys is not depicting his Americans character, Philip. Still, his Archer character Lloyd looks exactly like Rhys and has to adopt a near perfect American accent; he also has a penchant for looking great in a wig.
Ironically,* this FX in-joke is the weakest part of “Achub Y Morfilod.” But that ends being quite alright as Reed and Thompson have a good sense of just how much time they can devote to Americans references that the audience may or may not care about. Instead, they turn in what ends up being one of the season’s funnier episodes and also one of its only that constitutes a completed emotional arc…or as emotional as Archer can get.
I would not have believed last week that I would come away from an Archerepisode more impressed with Lana and Archer’s relationship than Matthew Rhys’ accent-play, but here we are. Archer brings Lana to The Shire Wales against her wishes. And instead of just dragging out a farcical plot that isn’t working, the relationship redeems it.
Something about Archer’s ability to bro out with any new men he meets while being at least slightly respectful is charming. His behavior is, as always, abominable, but he always knows the right thing to say or has a general concept of the rules. He knows that “drugging a woman is always wrong” he says to a woman he just drugged to take on a romantic getaway. And Lana has all the natural talent and supreme eye-rolling ability to tolerate this.
At this point, the Archer and Lana relationship makes a little more sense and, more importantly, is keeping together two characters that play off each other well. Just look at how quickly things escalate on their mission. Lloyd and his brother turn up injured and not 20 minutes later there is an unconscious MI5 agent in their idyllic Welsh kitchen. Of course, that’s in part thanks to Lloyd’s general incompetence (“Is it possible you two were followed here by MI5? “MMMMMMMM Yeah. What? They’re quite good.”) but Lana and Archer’s own dysfunction deserve a fair amount of credit. By the time the Welsh threat is dispatched and Lana is shooting down Archer’s best idea ever for magnets in cars, it seems like this could just work out after all.
An unintended consequence of Archer and Lana’s burgeoning romance is that the supporting office characters are more on an island than ever. This season has had undoubtedly fewer full group interactions but “Achub Y Morfilod” is one of the few episodes for the B-Team that I haven’t found this to be a problem. As Cyril, Krieger, Pam, and Cheryl gather around Ray to reattach his hand, they’re chemistry is as sharp as its ever been thanks to spending basically the whole season together. Krieger and Cyril’s impromptu lesson about black characters on M*A*S*H is excellent, the reveal as to why they had black actors on the mind is absolutely sublime callback humor.**
By and large “Achub Y Morfilod” succeeds because the Archer and Lana pairing finally starts to succeed. And if it starts to lag at the end of the season, Archer can always crossover with its other FX cousins: You’re the Worst and Man Seeking Woman.
– “A fairytale where the heroine is drugged and kidnapped?”“You realize that’s like every fairytale.”Holy crap, Archer is laying down the truth.
– I would love to see more fourth-wall bending humor like Archer’s Glencoolie endorsements. Why not? This season has already introduced aliens.
– “We’re not shooting an MI5 agent. That’s like shooting a cow.” “Cows are our friends…they may be our best friends.”
– “Nurse, would you close for me?” “You already closed.” “Well, would you open for me?” The only thing better than pervy Krieger is dad-joking pervy Kreiger.
– Ok, so Lana explains why magnets in cars wouldn’t be a good idea to prevent car accidents but why don’t we just make car bumpers out of rubber like actual bumper cars. It wouldn’t do anything to prevent severe accidents but it would cut down on fender benders, right? Drinks more Glencoolie!
*Ironic in the sense that I just spent 250 words on it because I’m a shameless FX partisan.
**That’s got to be Conrad’s hand attached to Ray’s arm, right?