Archer Recap: ‘Pipeline Fever’

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Let’s talk about the comedy of expectations. We’ve had roughly a season and a half of really great Archer episodes so we’re fairly certain what a good episode should look like. Archer will get himself into some insane situation and whether it be through dumb luck or through the help of the rest of the cast, he pulls through. Throw in a few egotistical sexist remarks and boom — you got an Archer episode. This week’s Archer did none of that.

That’s not saying it wasn’t funny, because it definitely was, but this week’s episode just took our normal expectations and threw them to the crocs, if you will.

Take our main story — Archer and Lana are sent off to the swamps of New Orleans to stop an ecoterrorist nicknamed Gandalf. After getting to the only above ground section of the pipe (how convenient!) they sit around and wait. Of course, they get into their usual bickering contest and things seem fairly normal. But then Gandalf shows up and… nothing happens. Well, Lana runs off with the guy (who she used to date) and leaves Archer alone on the gas rig, but there was no big action scene despite everything leading up to it suggesting there would be a huge explosion of some sort. Be it metaphorical or an actual natural gas pipe exploding — I thought something was going to go BOOM.

And that’s the beauty of the show. A joke’s power comes from the arrival of the unexpected, whether it be a punchline, clever insight, or unusual situation. With Archer we’ve come to expect big dick-swinging action set pieces while Archer shouts crazy things over the roar of gunfire. But today we only got dry ice bombs exploding. Is it possible that Adam Reed is playing with us? Teasing us with giant explosions and giving us character back story so we start to care about these characters instead of seeing them as joke delivery machines? We know Archer has a Burt Reynolds fetish, this week continued that running gag, but we also found out he’s afraid of alligators and dying unexpectedly. Add that to the new baby he had last week and we know a hell of a lot more about who Archer is on the inside. If Reed can continue bringing the hilarious jokes and humanize the characters even more for us, this show will become an even stronger comedy.

Meanwhile, back at ISIS, Malory discovered green tax initiatives and decides to make the office more ecofriendly. Perhaps FX instigated a “green” policy for the show, because I can’t understand why they would do a story like this one. It was fairly weak for an ‘Archer’ subplot, but, there were two very funny parts to this story. Pam’s bowel movements and the female office workers keeping her from using the women’s restroom was hilarious. Pam is becoming the office whipping mule, but when she talks about flushing Dachshund puppies down the toilet she brings it upon herself. The other hilarious bit was Krieger’s human clones dying due to lack of power. Oh, creepy Krieger never change. I’m not sure how it could happen, but if Creed from The Office and Krieger ever teamed up for a buddy sitcom, it’d be the strangest show ever filmed. Or it’d be Tim and Eric.

All in all, it was a good episode for ‘Archer.’ We learned a lot about the characters and it was hilarious; you can’t really ask for more. Next week we’re supposed to get a better understanding of who Woodhouse is and I, for one, cannot wait.

Sam Morgan sells roadside memorabilia on the way to the Danger Zone. You can reach him at his twitter after the beep. Beep.