Last week, Archer left us with a bit of a cliffhanger, as Sterling, Ray and Cyril got into trouble in Colombia.
The story arc continued here, as Archer Season 5 Episode 8 brought us one of the funniest, wittiest and character-strong episodes this season.
When we left off on Archer Season 5 Episode 7, Archer, Ray and Cyril had been arrested by the police in Colombia for drug trafficking and were being taken to jail. However, it was pretty clear that they were going to be killed before they even made it to there since the undercover cop playing "La Madrina" wasn't about to get her cover blown.
Thankfully, nature always has it out for Archer. Their jeep falls down a precipice for 45 whole seconds (in a fantastic animation sequence), leaving Ray paralyzed yet again; and Archer and the gang with no choice but to raft on a river full of crocodiles.
Eat a dick, jungle.
This episode was not what I expected at all. When I learned that there were crocodiles involved (one of Archer's three worst fears), what I expected was an installment where Archer would be a complete mess, with Ray and Cyril having to get him through the crocodile-infested waters.
Instead, what we got was so much better. In the face of one of his worst fears, Sterling not only kept his head on straight, his improvisation skills and sheer luck proved invaluable to their survival.
He was unfazed when the crocodiles actually did attack. On the other hand, Cyril and Ray were almost completely paralyzed by their fear.
Last week, Cyril made a crack at Archer about going into the field as an agent with a complete dossier. Archer retorted that he never read those - and that was pretty evident this week as Archer went from situation to situation, surviving on nothing but his wit and training.
Cyril, conversely, proved incapable of being useful the field without preparation or a plan.
Ray's annoyance with Archer reached new heights, as his disdain for Archer's ways had him faking paralysis for the entire episode just to get back at him. However, it's this disdain that gave us insight into Archer's character that I honestly had never thought of:
Ray: How long will it take you, Archer, to admit that you dick around every time we're in danger, just to screw with everybody, because of your complete - no, your utter contempt for your own mortality?!
Archer: I mean, yeah. Duh.
I've always attributed Archer's flippancy and nonchalance in the field to arrogance and narcissism. It never occurred to me that Archer just doesn't think his own mortality is worth considering. It's not that he thinks he won't die; he doesn't care enough to think about it.
That's probably why he's so willing to improvise - he doesn't consider anything he has to lose. That's kind of badass, but also kind of sad. But I guess with a mother like Malory...
Speaking of Malory: back at the Tunt mansion, Lana and Pam try to throw Malory a spa day to lift her spirits. Honestly, I could have lived without this part of the episode; the Colombia story was so excellent that it made this story unnecessary.
If it was an attempt to humanize Malory, it really lost me. Especially since we found out earlier in the episode that Malory's the one who bought all the cocaine in the first place!
This episode was fantastic with character exploration and it was equally as great with the humor.The dialogue was the sharpest and wittiest it's been on Archer Season 5. We got Ray breaking into song in the middle of conversation, Cyril suppressing fire and the most elaborate voicemail setup Archer's ever done.
In addition, pretty much EVERYTHING that came out of Archer's mouth this week was hilarious (did you know fear was a crocodile's bacon bits?) and I could not stop laughing when he handed Cyril a stick gun:
Archer: The only limit is your imagination! Pew-Pew!
Outside of the Tunt mansion side story, this was my favorite episode of Archer so far this season. I sincerely hope that next week gives us another adventure in the field - who knows where they're going to be able to land that plane...
- Archer's love for animals is so strong that he can't even bring himself to kill a crocodile - his worst fear.
- As usual, Archer's esoteric knowledge is astounding. He knows about the Orinoco drainage basin, the K-T extinction and the trophic levels of crocodiles - and he flunked college!?
- Pop Culture Reference: BJ and The Bear. You've got to look this show up to believe what it's about.
- Reference: Huckleberry Finn - Ray calls Archer this when Archer makes a (non-racist) comment about wild Indians.
- Bless these writers. The episode closes with a song with the words "I'm coming" - immediately following Archer's rant about missing "phrasing!"