Archer: The Papal Chase, Review

Has Archer found religion? Is he suddenly Catholic? Methodist? Just a jerk? Find out.

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Hallelujah, Archer found his Catholic religion tonight! Technically it was crushed under what looked to be a 200-pound papal mirror, but by God it was still breathing.For the penultimate episode of Archer that airs before Good Friday, the day that the Church says Jesus was crucified and killed for our sins, the merry band of Isis screw-ups do everything in their power to ensure that the Pope follows suit. And it is clearly for their sins, which includes vanity, greed and whichever of the seven deadlies doping up on the tail end of the dragon counts as.When the show starts, Lana is steamed that she is being ignored for another mission because of her African heritage. Mallory, who has received intelligence that members of the Swiss Guard intend to whack the Pope, has decided to send Archer and Pam of all people to Italy for protection service. Yet, when Lana proves she is the only one who can speak Italian and knows something about Catholicism that is not taught in exorcism television, she is promoted to team leader. Her first insight into the mission is how much the current Pope looks like Woodhouse.It is good to see poor, sweet Woodhouse in an episode again. When we last saw our favorite dirty spoon addict, he was eating a bowl of spider webs as punishment for abandoning Sterling in Canada. While Season 4 has been nearly flawless in comedy wins this year, there is no denying that Archer’s Bi-curious surrogate father and whipping boy is itching for more deserving screen time. Unfortunately, he is so crazed for a scratch of his needle this week that he barely even recognizes he is in Italy.Unsurprisingly the mission goes FUBAR when Pam drops a giant mirror on the sleeping Pope and almost does the job for the dirty Swiss traitors. Fortunately, their mission from God is a blessed one and they are able to convince the resilient Pope to go on a wild car chase with them through the streets of Roma in a Smart Car (the other choice was Vespas, which is just a bridge too Gay for Archer). By the episode’s end, the bad guys are street pizza and the Pope is safe. It is such a success that the Cardinal who invited them to Italy, in hopes they would fail and get the Pope killed, is flabbergasted that Isis did not live up to their incompetent reputation. Oh and Woodhouse passed out either from the bullet wound or the heroin. Sometimes, it is hard to tell.What a fortuitous episode. Only weeks before its airing, and likely months after its script was finished, the implied Pope resigned and left the Vatican in more Argentinian hands. Perhaps this was the real reason? After a car chase through narrow streets and a bout of bonding with Lutheran Pam and junkie Woodhouse, Pope Benedict XVI wanted to see the world with his new Isis BFFs? It is a nice thought because it would make this episode less immediately dated and also a bit funnier.It is not that there was anything wrong with the show. It is a fine 30 minutes of Isis tomfoolery with a very Catholic angle (bonus points for the Cromwell joke!). Yet, I would be lying if I did not say the thought of the Pope in a car chase with Archer could have led to more storytelling possibilities. What would the Holy Father think of the son of such an Unholy Mother? Could he convert Archer or would Sterling’s debauchery force the Pope to give in and do something as strange as resign from a job that for the past 600 years has been a lifer? The possibilities were rich, but the episode is simply a laugh. Not that there should be anything wrong with a gag about Cyril’s fear of women dressed as nuns.

Quotes from THE DANGER ZONE:

“Good, you saved me the embarrassment of an incredibly homophobic remark.” Mallory to Ray when he walks away from an argument.“What, like they don’t have black nuns?!” A defiant Lana upon hearing she is not on the mission. “…Although, I’ve never seen one but that’s not…like a rule. Is it?”“Is there some amount you can shoot up without you getting all Trainspotty?” Lana to a Woodhouse in need of a fix.“Nice job, Oliver Cromwell.” Archer to Pam after she “killed” the Pope.“Are you kidding?” Archer when asked if he ever lets Woodhouse take vacations. “I didn’t even let him go to his brother’s funeral…[He] probably would have been sad if I told him about it.” Archer