This Archer review contains spoilers.
At the conclusion of last week’s “Vision Quest,” Archer, Lana, Krieger, Cyril, Cheryl and Pam are all in various states of undress and battling one another, having been trapped in an elevator for, oh, a few hours. When Mallory arrives to “rescue” them they ask her if this had been her plan for a team-building exercise all along: to trap the office workers in an elevator and make them work out their differences. She replies: of course not! She just wanted to get together and watch Vision Quest.
Near the beginning of “Sitting” Archer asks the Pakistani cyber spy holding him and baby AJ hostage if Lana put him up to this as an elaborate test of Archer’s babysitting skills. “Of course not,” the spy Farooq Ashkani (played by comedian Kumail Nanjiani) replies, “that would be ridiculous,” before shooting Archer in the shoulder for good measure. But wouldn’t you know it, turns out it is all an elaborate ruse to test Archer’s baby-sitting skills.
This two-week run of “Vision Quest” and “Sitting” represent Archer at its best. When running with a full head of steam, Archer is the kind of show that can dismiss one idea as preposterous one week only to indulge it the very next. And the TV landscape is all the better for it.
The first half of “Sitting” sets up a much different episode than it eventually becomes. Lana drops off Baby AJ for Archer to babysit while she goes to live in a yurt for a bit. Woodhouse is on his yearly three day vacation (generous boss that he is, Archer let one vacation day roll over from last year) so it’s just Archer, AJ and the only cocktail Archer can dream up, a Black Mexican.*
*Tequila and coffee liqueur. Don’t confuse it with a Rusty Krieger, which has breast milk added.
No sooner than Lana leaves, Slater bursts into Archer’s apartment sporting a bullet would and a Pakistani agent. The C.I.A. is looking to bring Farooq into the fold but Slater supposedly sustained a bullet wound in the process. “Aren’t the U.S. and Pakistan on the same side?” Archer asks. “Ehhhhhhh,” says Slater.
Slater tells Archer his bank account will be $100,000 fatter if he agrees to babysit Farooq until things blow over. Of course, that’s not the course the episode takes. Farooq immediately takes hostage Archer and hostage and instructs Archer to bring him to the C.I.A. so he can hack into the mainframe with tracking software. “Ehhhhhhh” is right, Slater.
At this point, 50% of this review could end up being parentheticals or footnotes of different lines of dialogue as the Archer “b-team” of Cyril, Cheryl, Pam and Krieger are so hilariously on point during Farooq’s occupation of the office and that’s not even referring to Krieger’s uncommon intuition. These are lines you want to write down in your journal like a high-schooler hearing Black Flag for the first time.
“Enjoy Atlanta! I hope you get hate crimed.”
“So the only thing that keeps you from murdering each other is a lack of firearms.”
“Works for Canada!”
“Nothing works for Canada.”
“That lesbian au pair has a gun.”
“What should we do?”
“Nothing, until we consult the Ouija!”
“I love poker night.”
“This is exactly how Brett died.”
“I wish he was with us so he could suck up some of the bullets.”
Even Farooq’s consistent refrain of “re-loading” during the firefight is hilarious. Through sheer repetition, Nanjiani is able to separate himself from other high-profile voice actors who have appeared on Archer and not been able to outshine the animation.
Despite losing points for letting Pam try to feed AJ kielbasas, Archer actually passes Lana’s test. Archer as a character is fundamentally hapless. He’s a pin-cushion for bullets and consistently drunk. But “Sitting” is a helpful reminder that when called to action, Sterling Archer can offer “8 times the ass” he usually does.
I blew through so much of my favorite dialogue in the main review but “You drive like a gaping dickhole” deserves a shoutout.
Rodney was such an unbelievably minor character but I’m so happy he’s fulfilled his destiny as a vicious arms dealer in international waters.
“Why would I bring you beer?“Because you don’t want me drinking liquor?”
Cyril is so good at branding. “Improv-ible Dream” is absolutely the best name for an improv troupe.