Back to IndieWire

Review: ‘Archer’ Season 6 Episode 12, ‘Drastic Voyage: Part 1,’ Is All Set-Up & No Payoff

Review: 'Archer' Season 6 Episode 12, 'Drastic Voyage: Part 1,' Is All Set-Up & No Payoff

PREVIOUSLY: ‘Archer’ Season 6 Episode 11 ‘Achub Y Morfilod’ Finds Maturity (And Matthew Rhys)

“I swear to God I had something for this.” (Episode Summary)

The CIA hires the entire office — because, by now, everyone knows Pam, Cyril and Cheryl will get involved anyway — to go inside a doctor’s brain in order to save his life. No, they’re not training to be doctors (not even Krieger, who never went to medical school). They’re getting shrunk down by an amazing new procedure to fit inside a needle and be injected into the comatose doctor’s bloodstream. 

As the gang gears up for the dangerous task, Lana prods Archer about his mortality now that there’s a baby in the picture (not to mention Lana, who is now officially romantically attached). He doesn’t seem to think any differently, but whether that bodes well for the mission is yet to be seen. Before they could get into the nitty gritty of things, Dr. Krieger interrupted the delicate procedure in a jealous, vengeful rage, causing the needle to be inserted in the patient’s foot rather than his neck.

Can the team find a way to the tear duct before they expand back to normal size? Is 60 minutes enough time to laser the clot and escape? Will the team be blacklisted from the spy game after another failed mission? Or, in a worst case scenario where Archer and Lana don’t make it back, will Mallory somehow finagle her way into legal guardianship over AJ? The horror, the horror…

“Bloody Mary, full of vodka, pray for me now…” (Best Drinking Reference)

Another episode where “Archer” very nearly didn’t have a drink, except for another early save in the conference room during a mission briefing. Though I’d forgotten about Archer’s early cocktail by the time the episode wrapped, perhaps I’m framing this incorrectly. Instead of complaining we didn’t learn of a new, impossible-to-drink cocktail, maybe I should be focusing on when Sterling drinks instead of what. I mean, only a true alcoholic would need a cocktail while they played around with a laser turret/”imaginary T-16.” But during a morning meeting? At the office? Good Lord, everyone needs a drink for that, but only Archer can get away with it. Good for him. Sad for us. 

“Danger zone!” (Most Action-y Action Sequence)

Cheryl’s speech about the wonders of science may have been used merely to set up her comment about buying an orphanage to burn it down, but the spinning rings speeding around their ship were pretty awesome to behold, animation-wise. The overall look of the episode was top notch, as well, but this scene in particular stood out, especially given the action-light half-hour (even if the memory we’re left with is a lot of homeless children — at best).

(Best) “Phrasing!”

“Why the hell would this guy have an oil can in his—” (Archer)
“Elbow grease.” (Lana)
“[laughs] Wow. It’s ‘pun’ for the whole family.”
*Slater smashes the game.*
“You know what I don’t have time for?” (Slater)
“Shopping for clothes?” (Archer)

“Tactleneck” (Best Archer Innovation)

Sooooo…about this miniaturization device, or, as Pam calls it, “this crazy shrink ray.” I get that this is a parody of “Fantastic Voyage,” with the pun-y episode title being the most subtle comparison (even Dr. Krieger as the mission’s saboteur, Dr. Michaels, is right on the nose), but isn’t this a tad…extreme for the somewhat straightforward parameters of “Archer’s” action-adventure universe? While it works as a nice foil for the heavy conversation Lana tries to have with Archer about death — a topic I hope is explored further next week — the shrinking of all these characters lends itself a bit too close to science fiction for what has otherwise been a world somewhat closely linked to reality. Sure, Archer might have been died a long time ago, but at least he would have died doing something closer to James Bond than Jerome Bixby. 

“That’s like killing a unicorn!” (Best Quote)

Though there were a few good quotes this week — mainly in the above-referenced Archer/Slater exchange(s) — the best aspect of the episode hasn’t been released yet: a .gif of Archer jumping up and down, expecting weightlessness in the bloodstream. I promise to get this added as soon as it becomes available Friday morning.

“Can’t or won’t?” (Analysis)

During its six-season tenure, “Archer” has never shied away from delivering multi-part episodes. From Season 3’s “Space Race” to the the pre-Season 3 “Heart of Archness,” Adam Reed & Co. have had a helluva time extending their format to twice its normal length and throwing our heroes a few missionary (phrasing) curveballs along the way. 

“Space Race” saw a classic switch-a-roo from good guy to bad. “Sea Tunt” made liars out of Cheryl’s family — as if they could be anything else — relating to the purpose of their journey. This week, we’re confronted with two major, possibly linked thoughts for the Season 3 finale: Thanks to Dr. Kreiger, the ex-ISIS crew is facing perhaps their most dangerous mission yet, and Lana is making it a point to remind Archer of his mortality now that he has a child.

Certainly, Archer isn’t going to die. Even after an episode about humans being shrunk down to fit in the pin of a needle, it seems a bit far-fetched to imagine Archer in the afterlife (though a dream sequence could be fun). But will he make a drastic life choice after this mission? Will he set either his baby or his profession above the other? Or, even more terrifying, will someone else in the group actually die (please, not Lana)? “Archer” has always enjoyed taking risks with its story, and the mortality of its characters may not be off limits after pulling off the most elaborate structural realignment yet in Season 5, “Archer Vice.”  We’ll find out next week if the follow-up year wraps on a similarly daring note.

Grade: C+

READ MORE: H. Jon Benjamin on Drinking ‘Impossible’ ‘Archer’ Cocktails & What It’s Like to Work With Louis C.K

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged , , , , , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox