Archer has two basic types of episodes. The first, like we saw during the first episode this season, is a parody of spy and action tropes full of big action and set pieces. The second type is a basic office sitcom, and that was on display this week. As much as I loved every episode of the first season, this toned down episode did not do it for me.
My problem with the episode can be seen in the cold opening. We have Archer coming in to discuss with his mother the mind-control chip that he found in his brain. As Chekov said, and I paraphrase, “if there is a mind controlling chip in the first act, it has to be implemented and drilled into someones head during the third act.” But more on that later. Archer and Malory then set up the rest of the episode when she admits she wants to sell ISIS to ODIN because she has run out of money. All they did is talk, and while the jokes were there, they weren’t that great. It’s a testament to the strength of the supporting cast when an interaction between the two main characters isn’t the most interesting part of the episode.
Then things get going. Odin targeted Malory because Len says he’s in love with her. Lana is targeted because ODIN promises her Malory’s old position. Therefore it’s left to Archer and the rest of the office to stop ODIN. It’s pretty obvious that Lana is the only fairly competent member of ISIS and by having her removed from the group it creates an interesting dynamic of a group of misfits. Archer is left to devise a plan (his first plan is to crowd source the plan), which in the end involves the mind control chip he found earlier. Told you it had to come back.
Anyway, the gang comes together and carries out their plan. Lana gets locked in the mainframe after being tricked by Carol and Ray. Krieger drills the mind controll chip into Len. Pam distracts all the ODIN agents with her Jamaican weed (oh yeah, she went all Rastafarian for this week). And in the end, ISIS is saved from being taken over by ODIN with everyone keeping their jobs.
It wasn’t a bad episode by any means, but it wasn’t a great episode. They relied on a lot of call backs to the first season (ants on the floor, a tinfoil wrapped duck, ODIN, etc.) that weren’t sticking and it didn’t go big enough. Last week we had Archer on a snowmobile escaping down a mountain with a topless girl on his back. This week we had Pam in braided hair. It just wasn’t a strong episode.
But don’t get me wrong. A weak episode of Archer is still full of funny moments. Krieger is quickly becoming my favorite side character in the show and the sight of him topless, tripping acid, and wielding a cordless drill was hilarious. I don’t know if there are awards for voice work, but if there is H. Jon Benjamin should win them all. He had the funniest line in the opening simply by saying “No?” Also, any show that incorporates an Of Mice and Men reference is good by me.
Sam Morgan sells roadside memorabilia on the way to the Danger Zone. You can reach him at his twitter after the beep. Beep.