Post–Archer: Vice, post-Archer-just-found-out-he-is-a-father, we find our hero with a gross pierced-ear infection, waist-deep (not literally, but essentially) in hookers and cobra whiskey, indulging in a six-week bender before he picks up the honorable mantle of fatherhood. Malory gives Archer
ISIS's their unnamed and evolving international-security organization’s first freelance mission with the CIA: His task, aside from making it back to headquarters and his daughter AJ, is to find a crash-landed American spy plane in the jungles of Borneo, retrieve a computer, and destroy the aircraft. Meanwhile, back at the old ISIS offices, where everyone is moving back in, the crew has the task of getting reacquainted with their old/new surroundings, as Pam and Cheryl unveil the redecorating they’ve done.
The season premiere began with a tried-and-true throwback: Malory calling Archer and thinking she’s reached one of his elaborate voice-mail greetings:
Malory: Then what is the square root of nine?
Archer: Negative nine? … Ha, elaborate …
Malory: God damn it!
Archer: I’m kidding, it’s three and also me!
[+1 point to Archer for math and rhyming.]
The room Archer woke up in looks worse than sin itself, like something from the bowels of a Hangover nightmare. There is, however, an adorable woodland creature hanging out with Archer and his hookers, which begs lots of questions — namely, what the hell is it?
First instinct says maybe a capybara, but that is obviously completely wrong. It is probably some sort of Thai fawn, but honestly, who knows. What’s most important is it’s cute as all hell, and Archer bonded with it over the course of six weeks and learned how to feed it bananas. [+1 to Archer for making friends abroad, in honor, probably, of Babou and his love for exotic animals.]
Lana confronted Archer about his paternal absence:
Lana: Why’d you run away when you were so excited about becoming a father when AJ was born? Did reality set in?
Archer: Wait, was that rhetorical? Because the next time you decide to use somebody’s sperm to impregnate yourself, then maybe that decision should include that other somebody.
Lana: Who? That other somebody who runs away at the thought of responsibility and, as we speak, is up to his eyeballs in Cobra whiskey and lady-boy hookers?
[+1 to Lana for being a psychic and totally nailing this — are you surprised? (If you are, how dare you.)]
After Archer ended his self-pitying bender and met up with the CIA transport for the Borneo mission, he asked some hard-hitting questions about the Agency’s customer service:
Archer: Final offer: 10,000 baht, some of which has blood on it.
Hank: For the millionth and last time, we do not have mini bottles.
Archer: Well, then, this isn’t a real airline.
Hank: No, it’s not. It’s a CIA front.
Archer: Still, though …
Hank: Why don’t you go read the damn dossier. Read about the Communist insurgency.
Archer: I don’t do dossiers. Besides, I’m not a CIA schoolgirl, this is a cakewalk for a real spy. I punch the coordinates into the GPS, get the computer, blow up the plane with C-4, and so then do you guys pick me up, or?
Co-pilot: But mini bottles, that’s not a bad … I’m sorry, Hank, I forgot you were working the program. Inappropes.
[+1 to Archer for showing that despite a new season and a new year, nothing has changed; +1 to the co-pilot for bringing back “inappropes.”]
HELLO, PAM IS FAT AND COCAINELESS AGAIN:
[+1 to Pam — RIP, old Pam.]
Malory holds no punches when she tells Ray why she let Pam and Cheryl do the interior decorating for the not-ISIS offices reopening:
Malory: Because I had a very specific vision, and it wasn’t Japanese whorehouse.
[+1 to Malory because she had no idea what was coming.]
The new ISIS (they are apparently changing the name, and obviously for good reason, but who is not going to keep calling it ISIS?) is a thing of beauty, the eighth wonder of the world, even, with its all-white interior and sleek, futuristic furnishings. Until—
Cheryl: It’s exactly like it was! We redid everything exactly like it was before!
Malory: Jesus, God, I’m having a stroke.
Cheryl: Oh, man, the look on your dumb face.
Malory: No, it’s a stroke. I smell toast.
—everybody realizes the getup is a fake hologram, and ex-ISIS HQ looks exactly like it did before they left/before the FBI sting. The one new thing is a copier machine that can make toast, named Milton. [+1 to Cheryl and Pam for being huge assholes; +1 to Malory for not going on a homicidal rampage.]
When Archer landed in the jungle, his love-hate relationship continued down the same unhealthy path it always has:
Archer: Thanks, jungle, eat a buffet of dicks.
[+1 to Archer for this very Louis C.K. line.]
In Borneo, Archer met a Japanese World War II soldier named Sato who thought WWII was still going on and briefly tried to kill Archer. It took Archer a while to put the pieces together:
Archer: Wait a minute, do you mean cool Honda, Scrambler Japan, or super-uncool Pearl Harbor Japan?
[+1 to Archer for his nuanced cultural awareness.]
He also pointed out that at least half of this episode was going to be like that old Six Million Dollar Man episode, in which a very similar plotline goes down:
(The Archer episode, however, is just more of an "animated apology to Japan.")
Back at HQ, it took the staff (really just Malory) a while to stomach the new/old look:
Malory: I just wanted it to be all white.
Cyril: Jeezy-Pete’s! This drawer squeaks exactly like the old one did!
Lana: And is this Brett’s blood?
Cheryl: Ugh, no, just the same type. We had to fudge it a little on the stains. Some of which actually were fudge.
[RIP, Brett Bunsen. +1 to Cyril for keeping his beautiful lameness alive; +1 to Cheryl and Pam for historical accuracy.]
Pam had an amazing Pam moment shortly thereafter:
Pam: I’ll catch up, I gotta run in here and get some urinal cakes.
Ray: Why the hell do you need urinal cakes?
Pam: For my shower at home.
She did not get urinal cakes. She went to the office's hidden Japanese onsen, where she found potential-clone-or-still-just-kind-of-badly-concussed-and-forgetful Krieger:
Pam: So I gained the weight back, sue me. Look, my therapist says everybody’s gotta hole that needs to be filled. Some people fill it with drugs, some fill it with work, some fill it with between-meal snacks and liquor and their therapist’s cock.
Krieger: I was actually looking at your pubic hair.
Pam: Oh, yeah. It’s a lightning bolt, but I guess the letters could use a touch-up. It’s supposed to say "TCB." Takin’ Care of Business.
[+5 to Pam for, wow.]
Archer and Sato were able to bond (kind of) over toughing it out against the jungle and its resident gunmen, who would’ve happily killed them both.
Sato: Is that medicine?
Archer: Painkillers, mixed with candy: They call them Mike and Vics.
[+1 to Archer for his dire craftiness.]
Also, Archer gave Sato a history lesson and tried to make him forget about life when Sato finally learned the war was over — and after what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki:
Archer: America is not your enemy. Japan has no enemies. You’re like — I wanna say a platypus, but I’m not sure if that’s an accurate analogy.
Archer: Good morning, Ken, do you know how to make Eggs Woodhouse?
[+1 to Archer for world-class nonchalance, patience, and creativity. -1 to Archer for making us think of Woodhouse, whom we miss dearly.]
When Archer and Sato reach the plane, they have one of the best — definitely the best — “phrasing” moments of the episode:
Archer: Not yet, I gotta blow this thing.
Sato: Then blow it, and then come!
Archer: I mean, really, it’s like, why even?
[+1 to Archer and Sato for phrasing — and don't worry, we're happy to say it for you.]
When Archer reunited Sato with his wife and daughter via satellite phone, everybody’s jaws hit the floor and their hearts grew not three, but six, sizes larger:
Archer (to extraction transport, and then to Sato): We need a minute, Captain Shitnuts! Tell her I said hi.
[+1 to Archer for Shitnuts, and another +1 for the surprisingly selfless act — contrary to what Malory said at the beginning of the episode, Archer shows he is potentially capable of evolving and changing. And, exposing this soft spot for family, he's absolutely capable of "parenting the shit out of" AJ.]
Back at HQ, Daddy reunited with Lana and AJ. The dysfunction poured down like an overdue rain during a drought:
Lana: No, no, nuh-uh, no. You don’t disappear for six weeks, and then just waltz in here like you never left, and casually say hi.
Archer: First of all, Lana, I didn’t waltz in here, not with nine broken ribs, a punctured lung, severe penetration trauma to my foot, and poop-related septicemia … and also crabs — I assume from the jungle.
[+1 to Archer and Lana for keeping TV's weirdest non-couple alive and well.]
Archer also revealed to Malory he may or may not have been the true mastermind behind the ISIS redecorating:
Malory: You knew about this?
Archer: Yeah, I was on the planning committee, I’m not a huge fan of change — except for you, Milton!
Pam did the best she could on the homefront, but obviously it's Archer. Welcome back, hero. America's hero. Thanks for showing us that things are (kind of) going back to normal on your show. In what was an otherwise boring episode, it was at least good to get the housekeeping out of the way and see that the sky, from here, is the limit.
- Google and Facebook probably have Miltons in real life. They should be standard requirements for every office, no matter the line of work.
- Seriously, Woodhouse, we miss you, we hope you are well, and we hope to see you soon.
- All-white ISIS would’ve been too much to look at every week, thank all that is Holy and Sacred for that hologram.
- Confession: It’s great to have Cheryl back, too, but part of me absolutely misses Cherlene. Never forget.
- Fortunately, Archer didn't run into any crocodiles in Borneo.