“I swear to God I had something for this.” (Episode Summary)
The scenario is simple: Archer and Lana hop on a plane to visit her parents because they have yet to meet their grandchild. Sure, some awkward conversations and unfortunate circumstances are bound to pop up in a worse case scenario, but the expedition as a whole is nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing, however, is ever that simple for Archer.
First of all, despite what Archer doesn’t remember, he has met Mr. and Mrs. Kane before — and it did not go well. That means when he shows up at the doorstep, half in the bag, the Berkeley-based couple with a preference for science over swordplay is predisposed to dislike Lana’s baby daddy. And they do — not like him, that is. Throw in an objectively horrifying but subjectively hysterical misunderstanding in the hot tub (more to come on that incident soon) and this meet-and-greet has reached a Ben Stiller-esque level of disaster.
For once, though, it’s Archer’s brash decision-making that saves the day. After masked robbers break into the Kane’s house and steal Lana’s father’s life’s work (so many possessives), Archer quickly, thoughtlessly, and yes, impressively kills the driver with a long range shot using a short range weapon. A chase ensues — in none other than the Mustang from “Bullitt” — and Archer again saves the day with some Steve McQueen-esque maneuvers. It turns out the CIA was behind the burglary, and Agent Slater gives Dr. Kane the good news about his bank account right after Kane gives Archer the good news about his inclusion in their family. A happy ending for all.
As for the rest of the crew, Pam summed in up nicely when she said, “Honestly? Don’t care.”
“Bloody Mary, full of vodka, pray for me now…” (Best Drinking Reference)
The above-pictured image is certainly amusing, but I’ve got to give the nod to Archer’s six — count ’em — six (!) flasks for the airplane. As Lana goes over what’s about to happen for both Archer’s benefit and our own, AJ’s father empties six classically cut flasks into the airport security bin. Seeing as they were empty — based on the sound and that Archer would never throw away booze banned from a plane — he must have downed all six on the way to his flight. What a liver that cartoon man has on him.
“Danger zone!” (Most Action-y Action Sequence)
From here on out, I will be operating under the assumption any criticism leveled against Season 6 of “Archer” prior to “The Kanes” was one expected to be told to its creators. Any mistake, missed opportunity, or even cookie cutter plot lines (only one comes to mind) were all accepted casualties in a war waged to make this episode utterly perfect, and, more specifically, to accurately recreate the car chase from “Bullitt.”
Consider it all worthwhile. Every camera angle, framing, animated movement, character and edit were absolutely spot on, making fans of Steve McQueen’s classic feel like they were racing through the streets of San Francisco all over again — just like Archer did. Was it a little ludicrous for a microbiologist from UC Berkeley to own the Mustang from “Bullitt”? Sure. But so was everything else about the dynamic between Archer — a hard-drinking secret agent with a knack for noticeable violence — and Lana’s parents — left-wing liberals whose careers are devoted to science and feminist issues. That made this one commonality, and massive gift to Archer, so fitting and oh so very funny. A well-deserved tip of the hat goes out to the “Archer” team.
We got a genuine phrasing this week! Okay, so Archer had to ask for it, but the joke landed just as it did before the recurring verbal jab was retired. After Archer took off his swim trunks in the hot tub with a totally nude Dr. and Mrs. Kane, this happened:
“There, now, that’s not so hard is it?” – Dr. Kane
“So… do you guys do ‘phrasing,’ or…?” – Archer
“Tactleneck” (Best Archer Innovation)
I’m going to hand out an honorary “tactleneck” award this week, both because Archer mentioned the titular invention of this section and because it’s unavoidably applicable. When our hero first drove the classic Mustang out of Dr. Kane’s garage, he said, “But speaking of McQueen, if there was ever a time for the tactleneck…” Later on, when forced to find a quick way to stop the robbers’ escape, he referenced “the pit maneuver” used by his hero in “Bullitt” before using the same one himself. It may not be Archer’s creation, but he’s done it a million times before. Okay, maybe three times.
“That’s like killing a unicorn!” (Best Quote)
“Sorry I tried to spit roast your mom.” – Archer
“Can’t or won’t?” (Analysis)
“Archer” episodes don’t always end on the strongest notes — I often feel the writers’ ideal ending would be a bad pun, making you second guess everything unquestionably great you’d just been shown — but boy did they nail the kicker this week. As reiterated in the above quote, Archer’s final words to Lana bring back the episode’s most significant scene via imagery I’m sure not just Lana wish they didn’t have.
As blunt as it is obscene, Archer’s final words wrapped up an episode built on similar adjectives. One could argue — as I did last week — that “The Kanes” was designed around one goal: to reference “Bullitt.” The rest helped progress the season’s plot, but it all seemed secondary to the animated glory of that car chase. Yet what made “The Kanes” different (read: better) than “Nellis” was the relevance of what was being referenced. As we mentioned in our epic wishlist of action heroes to guest star on “Archer,” Steve McQueen holds a special place in Archer’s heart. So when he gets giddy — making that adorable “meep” noise while sitting behind the steering wheel — so do we. Last week may have been fun, but this week was inspired.