After a two-week hiatus, Archer Vice came speeding back like a crisp, cool Rocky Mountain silver bullet. That’s right, this episode isn’t about honoring all the pop culture white gold that exists around the coke trade—the subject du jour of the first five Archer episodes this season—instead, we’ve taken a break to Archer’s favorite fantasy: Burt Reynolds and cross country trucking!
It seems that Mallory, Krieger, Cyril, and pretty much everyone’s choice to have Cheryl realize her true potential as Cherlene, a comely “outlaw” country singer, has paid off, because she’s now a musical comedy gold mine, and Pam remains one herself as the Isis cokie-monster. Both were on full display in “Southbound and Down,” a wink to Smokey and the Bandit (not the Kenny Powers show, y’all). When Mallory books Cherlene for a Public Access-ran Travis County Limits venue, it is a mad 24-hour dash from New York to Texas to get on the stage—it’s because Cherlene, unlike Cheryl, refuses to fly. Bless her heart.
Cue getting an RV truck with a custom paint job displaying Cherlene’s (ahem) talents, and Archer finally getting to don the Burt-approved ‘stache and hat, letting the fun really begin. All that was missing was Archer saying to Woodhouse that he can go to hell, for they have gone to Texas!
“Southbound and Down” is a great road trip episode that utilizes the cocaine-frenzied energy of the “Vice” era of Archer while simultaneously doing something new. Because as Mallory said within Archer’s hearing on the C.B. radio, he has been a lousy international spy, an even lousier cocaine dealer, and now he is about to make for a lousy Burt Reynolds impersonator. Sterling could barely 10-4 that one. Sorry, if the truth hurts, old buddy. But there is a reason that once again your dreams are dashed when the only Isis lady willing to do snappy dialogue with you, underscored by sexual attraction, is the one who could pass for a truck driver herself. When Pam rides shotgun with Archer in his Pontiac Trans Am, she proves far more apt for this sort of lifestyle when she tranquilizes Archer and gets them 10-4 nicknames with other truckers at stops across five states. It’s time to say goodbye to Pam and Archer, and say hello to Snowball and Lickbag. Archer’s Lickbag, because he was unconscious when she ruined his C.B. reputation before it began; Pam’s Snowball because…well, that’s not cocaine OR cupcakes on her lips when Archer comes through. Nor is it toothpaste on the trucker she left behind. See Clerks for more context.
Any episode the heavily features Pam and Archer bouncing off one another is a win (see below quotes section for more), and few have been as funny as the smooth ride of Snowball and Lickbag. Lick stashed 100 pounds of cocaine into the vehicles to sell to Texans who need to escape living in Texas (it makes sense), and Snowball was spewing more than one thing from her mouth when she told every trucker in the Southeast that they had only so many Florida snow flakes aboard. Together, they escape the crooked law, and have a nice musical montage chase timed to Cheryl’s one-and-only debut number. It is a comedy breeze that speeds by clunkers like Mallory’s incoherent rant about the dangers of PBS. There is even a nice heartwarming moment where Lickbag tells Snowball they don’t want her to die…especially if he is going to have sex with her again. It’s a real tear-jerker.
The episode moved the needle forward as well. Besides the Isis gang having wasted now nearly their first thousand pounds of cocaine, Cherlene for all her glue and whiskey drinking proved she was more outlaw than anyone in Travis County by building her mystique off a one-and-done set. She has a record deal coming and more storylines as bizarre as her kidnapping fetish. Wanting to be holstered off by a group of greasy bikers and forced to do sick, degrading things? Sounds like Cheryl is alive and well in Cherlene after all. Ain’t that nice.
Oh, and Krieger made Ray walk again. Sadly, it’s only at doing the Nazi goosestep right now, but that’s still better than a baby step, right?
Quotes from the DAAAAANGGGGER ZOOOOONEEEE:
-MALLORY: I will never understand his idiotic fascination with all this Burt Reynolds, Smokey, trucker nonsense!
LANA: I think part of it is because you didn’t get him that C.B. McHaul toy truck he wanted for his birthday.
MALLORY: What? He was 30!
-CHERLENE: Hey, Treabird! Take me with you! You can do unspeakable things to and/or on me!
-ARCHER: Where is my gun, Pam?! What, did you spit it into some trucker’s mouth too?
-ARCHER: But Pam, c’mon. We’re talking about Texas. Somebody somewhere wants enough cocaine to forget they live there.
PAM: Yeah, but not a hundred pounds!
ARCHER: Maybe we’ll get lucky. Find an entire town that wants to commit suicide.
PAM: I wonder if there’s a statewide database of towns with sucky high school football teams cross-indexed with towns a black person just moved into.