The thing about tonight’s Archer Vice is it’s all about the machismo! It is an episode obsessed with the mucho masculinity it takes to be Sterling Archer and just how much blessed, semi-charmed stupidity walks hand-in-hand with it. For like a jungle tiger, Archer’s undeniable manliness is a mythical, intangible object that no one else can see, but Sterling’s fascination for it will undeniably get everyone else killed. At least there’s a good chance that Ray will end up in wheelchair again. But that is for next week, as tonight’s “Smugglers’ Blues” have never sounded groovier.
It all begins because Sterling is convinced that he can make the sale of 900 kilos to Colombian drug dealers by stealing it from Mallory, and forcing Ray and Cyril at gunpoint to help him move the coke. Because nothing is as manly as trying to show off for mother! From there, it is just a hop, skip, and a barroom brawl into the ridiculously loving (and BDSM) arms of the “godmother,” a character who is more than she appears. When it is revealed that she is actually undercover for the Colombian government, and that Sterling and company are headed to a prison where they will likely soon be killed, it is a cliffhanger for all to come. Will they escape prison? Will they survive with a fully mobile Ray? And will Archer finally see his damanable tiger?!
That premise of Sterling, Ray, and Cyril trying to survive a South American prison makes this rather standard Archer episode different. Not unlike previous “boys’ club” episodes where these three get into high jinks—like last season’s superior “Once Bitten” yarn that revealed the root cause of Sterling’s fear of alligators—this episode is built on Sterling showing off his surprising academic knowledge to a dumbfounded Ray and Cyril while he blows things up real good. Yet, save for some witty banter, not much happens as the wheels turn for the cliffhanger. Sterling being captured through one of his actual vices, this one involving him being tied up with leather rope, also should bring a smile to any fans’ face, but there is not much to differentiate this episode from the gang’s Isis days, despite the cocaine of it all. The episode may have been served better with a stronger B-storyline back in New York, but save for the always perfectly delivered cell phone voice mail trick being played on Mallory yet again (this time via Ray’s phone), there is also not too much going on in the Northern hemisphere. However, anyone, especially socially conscious Lana, couldn’t help but fall for Mallory’s earnest plea for aide when she realizes Sterling is in trouble.
What the episode did have in spades was Archer being a first-rate idiot and a much-needed reintroduction of the term “phrasing” in the Isis lexicon. That has to be worth half a star at least. And hopefully a tiger next week!
Quotes From the Danger Zone:
-LANA: I’m pregnant!
CHERLENE: It said, baffling medical science. [Lana slaps her]. Giggles.
-ARCHER (trying to pilot the plane): Goddamit, what could go wrong?
CYRIL: You could crash it, just like you crashed the damn space shuttle!
ARCHER: Oh my God, right? Remember that? Ray, you remember? You got paralyzed [Laughs]. How do you not remember that?
-RAY: Don’t compare what we do now to intelligence work.
ARCHER: Don’t worry, I won’t! Because selling cocaine to cocaine dealers doesn’t really compare to helping overthrow democratically elected governments like the U.S. did in Guatemala, Chile, Nicaragua, uh, oh Iran! Because spoiler alert: those didn’t work out so great. But that’s okay, because I’m pinning my next big hopes on the next big shipment of stinger missiles to that ragtag bunch of Mujahideen heroes in Afghanistan!
-CYRIL: I’m coming as fast as I can!
ARCHER: Guys, we really need to talk about getting phrasing back in the rotation.
-ARCHER: Are we seriously done with phrasing? I mean, not right then, necessarily, although “tongue” and “gaping hole” were kind of begging for it [Laughs]. Tongue, gaping hole, begging for it? Eh.