Archer Vice: Arrival/Departure Review

The season finale of Archer Vice ends the drug and gun running craziness just in time for Sterling to settle down for the big one.

And with that Archer Vice is no more. Like a cloud of Colombian pure, it drifts in the wind (or Pam’s nostrils), and the departure both feels too soon and too necessary as it closes with what will undoubtedly be one of Archer’s biggest additions.

Yes, Lana had a baby, and by less than happenstance, the little girl belongs to Archer. For a moment, I thought that Sterling’s tinnitus really was the cause of him missing news of her birth (a season with Archer deaf?!), but no he is as shell-shocked as Cyril’s former capital building. But aren’t we all?

Undoubtedly, Archer becoming a dad for real—we all love Wee Baby Seamus, but Archer is as much a father to him as he is a member of AA—creates new storytelling possibilities, and Archer Vice proves that Adam Reed is willing to explore those in surprising and long-term ways. However, Vice might also demonstrate the pratfalls of it the next time around.

I very much liked the idea of Vice. Besides being a gateway drug into the excess that is the 1980s, and the most brilliant use of Iran-Contra this side of Tom Clancy, it was ambitious to take Sterling and company outside of their comfort zone. Yet, while certain episodes during this fifth season hit it out of the park, namely “A Kiss While Dying,” “House Call,” and “The Rules of Extraction,” it also led to plot heavy humor that carried over from week to week. These just were not running gags, these were running story threads, and a number of them fell flat after three or four weeks. For example, the recurring theme of Juliana becoming First Lady for one usurper after another seemed like it was building to more tonight than her walking out on Cyril’s own Brutus, simply because he did not want to get bombed by the Americans. Similarly, as awesome as “Slater” was, it might have been best to set a whole episode around the inclusion of Christian Slater in a cameo role. Still, I will concede the underhanded randomness of the running background player still serves Reed’s subversive wit too.

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The point is that if they are going to pursue Archer as the responsible father in Season 6, hopefully they can comically milk the premise more successfully back in the cradle of workplace espionage than they did the drug running, gun running, and finally nation running. All of which was funny, but scattered to the wind like all those Cherlene “Outlaw Country” records the marines are about to trample over.

Quibbles aside though, the episode like the season, still maintained much going for it. And personally, I hope that Pam the Cokie Monster continues to be a running joke in the post-Vice seasons, even if it is only to see how she has overcome her addiction to the white powder.

Sterling is a papa, Isis is reborn, and Krieger has his very own bomb of nerve gas snuggled into his passenger seat (like he’d really give the CIA the good stuff?). All around it is a win, win for everyone, including us. Their cocaine days may be over, but Archer still gives fans the consistent high every week.

By the way, I think we are totally going to gloss over when Lana tried to shoot Archer in the face….and phrasing too, right?


-MALLORY: As God as my witness.

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PAM: Pfft, God hates you.

-PAM: You old bitch, now move that big fat smelly ass you, hear. A Day No Pigs Would Die? Anybody? Not a big Robert Newton peck crowd, huh.

-CHERLENE: Ahhh, all the gardeners are running away.

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3 out of 5