Archer: S. 5, Ep. 2
Matt McMahon | Saturday, January 25, 2014
For the majority of tonight’s episode, the first in the series officially given the title “Archer Vice,” the show’s proceedings feel like necessary set-up. A lot of exposition and groundwork, both at the new house, and on the way to and in Miami, seem to be setting the table for some elaborate plots later on in the season. Therefore, the first 15-20 minutes are not the most face-paced or packed in Archer’s history. But in closing, the pace picks up immensely, and the meaning of “set-up” used to describe the episode changes dramatically.
“Archer Vice: A Kiss While Dying” opens with the cast settling into Cheryl’s mansion. With a lot of the employees’ assets—including Archer’s penthouse—owned by ISIS, I suspect the group may have to rely on the Tunt fortune even more heavily this season. Still, Cheryl’s fortune isn’t stopping her from wanting to pursue a career as a country singer. The “Deliverance”-esque cutaways to her practicing, while an increasingly irate Ray coaches from across the room, are particularly brilliant.
At the mansion, we find out Malory has already hooked up a deal in Miami for Archer, Lana, and Pam to sell 20 kilos of their cocaine stash. Transporting the cocaine inside a full body cast on Pam is such a wonderful concept. Undoubtedly, it’s a very careful gag to execute, but it’s so absurd it totally works and can be played fully for laughs. Two days into the ordeal, Pam’s already addicted to cocaine, consistently seen eating the cast made out of the contraband, which takes the deal down to 19 kilos instead of 20. Jittery, “coke strong” Pam is as crazy as any other Pam seen throughout the series, and I hope—as awful as that sounds—this becomes a running trait for her character
Malory’s contact in Miami, which looks gorgeous rendered in the show’s animated fashion, is Ramon, the gay Hispanic spy Sterling got involved with in Season 1’s “Honeypot.” Ramon confirms that the guys they will be selling to are “cool,” but they asked that Archer, Lana, Ramon, and the very high Pam come to the exchange without any guns — even Archer’s underwear gun. It turns out the buyers are Charles and Rudy, the leaders of the gay hit squad from the aforementioned Season 1 episode, because everything must be connected in some way. Thomas Lennon, voicing the two hit men, returns here in a predictable role, but kills like he always does when showing up in a guest spot.
In those last few minutes of the episode, in a string of quick, complex turns, the deal goes sour. The hit men stick up the gang and steal the coke, then the gang heads to the hit men’s home to take back the money they were due, only to presumably kill them and find out the cash was counterfeit. Also, Ramon and the hit men faked their deaths, seemingly to enjoy the coke (which they already had before the death-faking) in peace.
This is where the second definition of a set-up comes into play. Everything is as confusing and frantic as it sounds in these final scenes—which are fantastically intensified by Cheryl’s actually beautiful singing and guitar work—and, while the rest of the episode’s a bit underwhelming, the closing minutes help establish more absurdity for coming episodes.
I was hoping we would get some new theme song and animation for the opening, but the old spy-style theme song remains, only adding an 80s-adjusted “Archer Vice” graphic at the end of it.
Krieger to Malory, who asked him if he could create a way to transport the cocaine undetected, “Oh, you were serious?” And then swiftly as he ran away to do so, “SOMETIMES IT’S HARD TO TELL WITH YOU!”
“This smells like a kennel, but for dogs that are poor,” Archer about Pam’s cast, which she wore for just six hours.
“I’ve got the whole house wired up, bathrooms, bathrooms, other bathrooms.” Lucky Yates addition as a regular cast member this season is very welcomed. Krieger had, hands down, the funniest lines this episode.
By the end of the episode, we discover Cheryl has a beautiful singing voice, when she thinks nobody’s watching or listening. Malory is quick to write up a contract to cash in on Cheryl’s talent, as her manager. Yet, she continues to refer to her as Carol, so I wonder if the contract is even valid?
So, Ramon’s whole scheme just boiled down to wanting to steal a kiss from Archer…
“It was muy complicado, Lana!”