“I swear to God I had something for this.” (Episode Summary)
A simple premise became complicated before returning to its very basic roots in this week’s excellent edition of “Archer.” Asked to babysit his child while Lana went away to “spend 24 hours sweating in a yurt” with her “spirit animal,” Archer quickly breaks his promise to not drink just as an injured Slater busts in with a gun and a new asset. Introduced as a Pakistani intelligence agent looking to defect, Farooq (voiced by “Silicon Valley” star Kumail Nanjiani) becomes the second person under Archer’s care until he announces himself as a double agent and takes father and baby hostage.
Farooq forces Archer to take him to his company’s office where they discover the rest of the agency playing a weekly, partially nude poker game. The concerned agents quickly discover Farooq’s true identity — after he lies and tells them he’s the new manny named Manny — and try to help Archer and AJ escape. One problem: the only gun left in the office has been locked in a safe (for the players’ protection), making an armed Farooq the only one in control. Pam, in an act of astounding instinctual aggression, saves the baby while Archer and the male office mates try to flee a trigger happy Farooq…that is, until Lana and Mallory show up and reveal the whole thing was part of Lana’s plan to test Archer’s parenting skills. Bravo, Lana. Bravo.
“Bloody Mary, full of vodka, pray for me now…” (Best Drinking Reference)
In what may be one of the more racist-sounding bits on a show admired for its deft handling of touchy verbiage — Reed and his writing staff are as good at joking about racism as they are acknowledging it — Archer’s tequila and coffee liquor cocktail, “The Black Mexican,” is also one of our hero’s simplest and most disgusting alcoholic concoctions. “What? No, that’s not racist,” Archer answered a crying baby AJ. “That’s what it is. If we added milk it would be a White Mexican, but all we have is breast milk — ew — which would make it a Rusty Krieger.” Our alcohol expert agreed with Archer’s analysis — who called it “mierda,” which is Spanish for “shit” — saying it’s normally called “Mexican Coffee” but is less commonly referred to as Archer’s chosen title. “It tastes okay,” our expert said. “It’s like spicy, syrupy coffee.” I can see why it wouldn’t be Archer’s first choice. Stock the bar, Woodhouse!
“Danger Zone!” (Most Action-y Action Sequence)
“Archer” fans will forever think of time in new designations: Before Pam’s King Kong impersonation and After. Everything before now seems amplified by knowing what’s to come, and everything after…well, everything after is yet to be seen. Will we ever see Pam do anything as intense, surprising, accurate and magnificent as when she saved baby AJ from the clutches of an improv actor? Will we be able to look at her as anything other than the most glorious human gorilla she became in “Sitting”? Will Adam Reed and the “Archer” scribes ever revisit this instantly iconic transformation? We’ll have to wait and see, but the “Archer” universe and our own is a much better place now that King Pam exists.
“Black Mexican?” – Pam
“Tactleneck” (Archer Innovation)
Lana actually wins this week’s innovation crown for her elaborate test of Archer’s fatherly affectations. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I, like Archer, set aside the idea of trickery after Archer called out his baby momma’s evil ploy early in the episode. It seemed too staged, but then that’s exactly why it hoodwinked at least one viewer. The payoff came a bit too quickly for my liking, as I would have preferred to see more of King Pam and perhaps a rooftop incident, but the kicker — Dream the Improve-able Dream vs. Improv-able — came close to landing Best Quote and, realistically, Lana wouldn’t have let the danger to her child escalate much further than the bullets flying throughout the office. She deserves all the credit in the world, as well as the admiration of mothers everywhere.
“That’s like killing a unicorn!” (Best Quote)
“Can’t or won’t?” (Analysis)
Other than the aforementioned ending, which needed a few more minutes of foreplay before climaxing (phrasing!), “Sitting” proved a worthy successor to the best episode of Season 6 (last week’s “Vision Quest”). Reed, the credited writer for this week, progressed the Archer/Lana family plotline smoothly while introducing welcome new elements like the gang’s weekly poker night, Kumail Nanjiani’s improv actor and, of course, Pam’s version of King Kong (which, no, we’ll never stop talking about). Who knows if any of these additions will become recurring segments on “Archer,” but regardless they fit in perfectly for an episode looking to be a bit more expansive than last week’s bottle episode without losing too much of the gang’s interactive strengths. The cast works best when bouncing off one another in large groups, as can be seen with tonight’s best phrasing and quote winners, and Nanjiani’s presence worked to bring more of them together rather than driving its own singular story. If anything, the last two weeks of “Archer” have proven the show capable of ascending to heights equal (or greater) to those reached in the early seasons without resorting to extreme changes as seen in “Archer Vice.” Keep ’em coming, folks.