Archer Vice has become a curious anomaly for turtleneck enthusiasts everywhere. Like that throat-clinging garment, it has built a new support around the superspy formerly of Isis, as well as created the most plot-driven season of Archer to date. However, with the news that a faux soft re-reboot is imminent, it does feel like all of this plot has led to a circular motion. While this is no doubt the comedic intention of Adam Reed about the banality of existence, as an Isis employee or otherwise, it still feels like it is rushing through a golden opportunity set-up by the Vice premise: these co-workers just don’t get to be bad at their jobs; they get to be bad in their jobs.
Take for example tonight’s episode “Palace Intrigue Part 1,” which instantly notifies viewers that the plot building over the last three episodes will be going into next week as well (that is certainly a record for the series). The Isis gang has left cocaine behind in favor of gun running in a fictional Iran-Contra setting that takes almost as full advantage of the series’ new 1980s-ish setting as the fact that they have all seen The Breakfast Club. And sorry, Lana, Cherlene would have counted as Molly Ringwald because of her red hair and insulated wealth even if you weren’t preggers.
I know now to really savor these few episodes of Mallory being the worst gun running negotiator since “Ollie” North when she tries to make a deal with Fred Armisen’s crazed South American President Gutsavo Calderon. I also know that the Isis crew trying to scam the CIA while funneling weapons to fight a South American civil war is an absurdly evil money-grab that we can all appreciate before we turn back to the spying trope used for four seasons. At least Archer proves to be the same guy in whatever vocation he has discovered. He may covet brownie points with Lana to become her baby’s godfather (or just plain father), but cleaning up his doesn’t mean eight to twelve drinks during a flight are out of order. Indeed, he is a very critical thinker on these issues, as we learn his nuanced definition for the words “anonymous sex.” In short, no more freaky Eyes Wide Shut styled trips to the porter potty for him!
The episode also introduced us to a nation-sized Isis when President Calderon confirmed that he is as incompetent a leader as they are spies, cocaine dealers, and drug runners. Buying that Mallory is CIA, he will not raise the money to pay for four tanks to combat the rebels on the battlefield of his country, but he will apparently buy one million copies of Cherlene’s latest album (it went Platinum in a day). Woot for Outlaw Country! In fact, it appears the president may be an outlaw in his country too when the rebels get a hold of him. It’s really no wonder that his wife—The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan putting on a sultry-ham English accent—pulled an Alexandra Breckenridge from the first season of FX’s American Horror Story when she seduced Sterling. It looks like the gang will be tap dancing their way out of an execution next week. Oh well, at least phrasing is back in the rotation.
Also, Krieger has an army of clones marching around. This is very bad news…for everyone else once they join forces for an ambitious new experiment. I only hope it is as Outlaw Country as the rest of this season has been!
Quotes from the DAAAAAAAANNNNGGGGEEERRR ZOOOOOONNNNNE!
-PAM: Which Breakfast Clubber am I?
ARCHER: I guess the janitor everyone thinks is gross but turns out to be cool.
-CHERLENE: Goddamit, who the hell drilled my box?
ARCHER: So, we’re just done with phrasing. That’s not a thing anymore?
-LANA: Woah, back-up. What is your definition of anonymous sex?
ARCHER: I don’t know, bird masks? Or a woman you literally bump into on a train, or the ferry, or in a porta-john at the Preakness that one time, but not somebody who works directly for a president, I can tell you that.
-PRESIDENT CALDERON: Yes, yes, yes, yes, come, come, come, because I’m pulling out.
CHERLENE: Phrasing, boom!
ARCHER: Thank you.