Alas Archer Vice, we hardly knew thee. For while Mallory promises some new hair-brained scheme about gun running, the sad truth is that thanks to the machinations of one ever so cool (Christian) Slater and a shady, maybe, kind of Iran-Contra scheme involving a creepily earnest Fred Armisen voice—not to mention Hunt For the Red Krieger—Isis is finished in the cocaine business. If an illegal drug cartel goes out of business without selling a single candy cane, did it ever truly exist?
This episode makes the third installment in a row that Archer had a bit of recurring plot, which may be a breakthrough for the series. Opening well after the fact, an all-dolled up Mallory not so favorably passes judgment on her failed staff, particularly her returned son and his two hostage/sidekicks who look much too worse for wear. The three former Isis agents, who had spent two weeks in Colombia while failing to sell 100 pounds kilograms whatever Euro-gibberish gutter glitter they had brought with them, came back with nothing but empty hands and big dreams.
It appears that since we last left Ray and Cyril, the latter’s nasal anxieties (which Pam sums up beautifully in “On The Carpet”) from the previous episode were somewhat founded when their plane started running out of gas right above Florida. Instead of landing in the swamp ruled by Sterling’s greatest fear, they decide to gently set her down right in the midst of the coke dealers/gun runners they were stealing from in the first place. Archer would rather for Ray to crash the plane into the ocean instead of face an environment with alligators? I hate telling you this Sterling, but sharks are apex predators who survived the K-T too. Unless, like a stuffed animal given by a mystery father, there is more to this phobia than just what is stuffed gators’ insides…
Anywho, they run into an overly friendly drug dealer named Slater who takes the cocaine and sends them on their merry. Only after the fact do they realize this is about a fictional Iran-Contra set-up with the U.S. government and a weak-kneed ally. The decade setting makes proper sense, however I must admit that the revelation the other half of the cocaine was explosively sunk by Dr. Krieger and his failed submarine experiment felt like a cop out. I was totally on Mallory’s side about emasculating the good doctor, if only Woodhouse could be useful once in his junkie life and get her that damn mirror!
It is an unstated mandate that Isis has to suck at the cocaine business, but I am genuinely disappointed that it only lasted nine episodes for the gang. Much like their shoddy, second-rate New York offices, this is a group of also-rans. Nonetheless, Sterling was actually a competent spy when he half-heartedly tried and even better when he cared even less (other than his new undiagnosable STD that is). Seeing a few more episodes of Archer going back to Miami and running that town like Al Pacino with an offensively hammy accent offered too much comedic white gold not to fully explore. But beyond the perfect use of Pam the Cokie Monster, the show never fully embraced the new setting and environment to its potential. While Sterling getting embroiled in the fudgy world of Gipper foreign policy is also intriguing, the cloud of ambivalence that was the cocaine days makes me not nearly as excited about what is to come. Save for Pam’s withdrawl. That’s going to be awwwssssomee….
However, the episode still had a few saving graces. First of all, Cherlene’s budding career as a country star has led to the most patriotic album cover this side of a Lee Greenwood LP. And just like the patriotic colors witnessed this night, Cherlene would know exactly where to put that music.
Also, Pam freebasing on whipped bah-say while Mallory and Ron go into an open marriage? God bless this country, indeed.
Quotes From the DAAAAANGGGGGEEERRR ZOOOOONNNNNEE:
-PAM: It’s actually whipped cocaine.
MALLORY: That explains where some of it went.
CHERLENE: Ooooh and the tingling numbness of my nipples!
-MALLORY: And why are you dressed as the whore the rest of the trailer park finally decided they had to stone to death?
-CYRIL: Alligators or your mother?
ARCHER: What’s the difference? They’re both cold-blooded, prehistoric monsters!
-CYRIL: Because you are a timid man, Cyril.
CYRIL: What?! No, I’m not!