Archer Recap: Axis Power

Episode Title
The Archer Sanction
Editor’s Rating

The Story
Archer, Lana, and Ray climb a deadly, 15,000-foot peak to assassinate an assassin (a.k.a. perform an extra-judicial killing to prevent other assassinations). The problem, as usual, is that Archer doesn’t know who the target is. He didn’t read the mission dossier and left it at home on the back of his toilet; all he knows is that the target — of which there are potentially four on-site — is from a country that was an Axis power in World War II. Back at HQ, the gang is celebrating Cheryl's birthday by bingeing on watermelon-flavored booze and ceviche. Malory is supposed to be babysitting AJ, but no one can find her — because she got her apartment bug-bombed and is just having a Grandma-AJ personal health day. (If this sounds like they didn’t have a good B story mapped out for this week, it's because they didn't, but it worked really well nonetheless.)

The Highlight Reel
As Archer, Lana, and Ray approached their destination, the episode kicked off with one of the best recurring Archer jokes (they can bring something semi-old like this back at the top of every episode this season, the well is so deep):

[+1 point to Archer for reviving this sans guns; it was the ultimate #tbt.]

Given the fact they were basically going to climb a Swiss Alp, Archer, the MacGyver of mixology, put his genius to work:

Archer: OH MY GOD! You have to try this: hot cocoa, dark crème de cacao, hint of crème de menthe, and peppermint schnapps. I call it a Peppermint Patty, here.
Lana: ...
Archer: Wow, that is your major loss.
Ray: Ohhh, can I try it?
Archer: No. How hard is it to remember gum?

[+1 to Archer for adapting to the new environment with his mind, body, soul, ... and vices, and +1 more for disciplining Ray with negative reinforcement.]

Except it turned out Ray did bring the gum, and so began a wonderful mini-foray into his dysfunctional family background:

Ray [unwrapping a hidden piece of gum by himself in the backseat of the car]: Just like every car trip I ever took with Mama and Daddy, only I’m not getting whipped with a fan belt.

[+1 to Ray for being so blindingly honest with us — it was almost an overshare, but how can you (a) be mad at Ray for anything, and (b) be disappointed at that gem of a Real World–esque confession? I mean, this is a fan belt. Just looking at it kind of makes your butt hurt, right? Somewhere Cheryl's kinky senses were tingling, and she was yelling, "SPLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!"]

At the lodge/whatever-it-was, Archer and Lana met their Canadian-Irish guide, Crash McCarran, who was obviously way too model-y and beard-y to be just a normal guide. Also, WHAT A NAME, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Crash: I thought there were three of you?
Archer: One of us is weeping in the car.

[+1 to Archer because yes, tears and trauma can be funny, too.]

Although Archer forgot who the target was, he did skim the mission dossier:

Lana: Well, what’s this crucial detail you remembered about the target?
Archer: The target was from a country that in World War II was an Axis power … Ray forgot the gum!

[+1 to Archer for not letting go of the real travesty at hand; also, it should be noted that the three sketchy hikers (who were not Crash) introduced at the lodge were purportedly from Japan, Italy, and Germany.]

When Crash described how he got his name, we saw the first hints of a truly jealous Archer, a.k.a. real potential for a loving father and husband/partner figure. Talk about character development — every episode this season, we've gotten more and more of this in small doses, and it should be cherished.

Lana: How’d you get the name Crash?
Crash: Oh, it’s a long story about me saving the lives of eight other climbers right after an avalanche.
Lana and Ray: SPLOOSH!
Crash: Sorry?
Lana: Is, I bet, the sound an avalanche makes.
Crash: Uh, no, it’s more like a freight train full of tornadoes, which are in turn full of smaller freight trains.
Archer: Which are in turn full of shit.
Crash: Sorry?
Archer: She just had a baby.
Lana: You know—
Ray: I didn’t!

[+1 to Lana for the nice SPLOOSH save; +1 to Crash for being Canadian and abusing the word sorry; +1 to Ray for being outgoing and proactive; and +1 to Archer for cock-blocking in the name of love and paternal responsibility.]

Something probably nobody saw coming, but something that needed to happen eventually, finally happened in this episode:

Malory: What?
Archer: Mother, hey, it’s me, quick question.
Malory: Let me guess.
Lana: Oh, how’s AJ, because if the rash came back—
Archer: Shut up, please. Although, actually, yes, how is AJ?
Malory: That’s why you called?
Archer: Uh, no, actually I’m calling because—
Malory: You haven’t the foggiest idea what it is you’re supposed to be doing.
Archer: I know what, Mother, I just don’t know—
Malory: Let me speak to Lana.
Archer: Who?
Malory: Lana!
Archer: No, I meant—
Malory: Sterling, let me speak to—
Archer: No, because you’re going to tell her she’s agent in command, so that when she’s not pathetically trying to make me jealous by hitting on this idiot beard-face sweater model, she’s gonna lord it over me and Ray, who, by the way, forgot to bring gum!
Malory: Are you finished?
Archer: Yes.
Malory: Good, because …
Automated Voice: The voice-mail box of — elaborate voice-mail hoax — is full. Good-bye.

[+1 to Lana for being the cutest mom-assassin ever; +1 to Archer for still not losing sight of the gum problem, and for the sick Crash dis; +100 or something to Malory for dishing out the incredible, long-overdue voice-mail hoax karma dick-punch.]

Over at HQ, Cyril, Krieger, and Pam were helping Cheryl celebrate her birthday the only way they knew how: drunk and naked, with watermelon-flavored alcoholic concoctions.

Cheryl: Watermelon’s red?
Cyril: Yes, how do you not know that?
Cheryl: Who am I? Charles Fredric Andrus?

[+1 to Cheryl because holy crap what an educational reference; +1 to Milton for being a blender stand like a goddamn champion in the background of this scene.]

Also of note, they were in the secret onsen-bath-slash-party-jacuzzi with one of Krieger's (or clone Krieger's) weird experiments:

Krieger: Don’t make any sudden movements, bowel or otherwise.
Cyril: Why would we make a sudden bowel movement?
Krieger: Meh, don’t worry about it.

This is why, Cyril:

[+1 to Krieger for being this weird at a co-worker's birthday party. We've all been there. Was this supposed to be a present gone wrong or something?]

It didn't take long for people to start dying on the peak:

Crash: Lookin' good, guys, lookin’ real good.
Ray: Oh, this old thing.
Crash: Keep walkin'.
Crash: Sat phone?
Lana: Yeah, sorry, I was just —
Crash: Keep it handy. I’m gettin’ a majorly weird vibe from, well, one of the other climbers.
Lana: Oh, yeah, no, just tell him you’re not interested.
Crash: No, not him. One of the others.
Archer: Yeah, what’s up? What’re we doin'?
Crash: Besides jeopardizing the entire rope line by being out of position?
Archer: Yes, obviously besides that.
Lana: Crash has a bad feeling about one of the other climbers.
Archer: Oh, he’s harmless, just tell him—
Lana: Not Ray!

Best scene cut on dialogue was this moment right here:

[RIP, Michiko. +1 to Ray for never giving up hope; +1 to Lana and Archer for both not having Ray's back.]

There was a peculiar reveal about Malory and her girls that maybe we saw coming, but maybe we didn't:

Pam: I got a key, ya skimp nuts!
Cheryl: Oh, yeah, me too.
Cyril: Why do you have keys to her apartment?
Cheryl: Ron gave 'em to us when they were doing that weird open-house thing.
Pam: Open marriage.
Cheryl: Oh, well that explains that.
Cyril: You both had sex with hopefully Ron?
Pam and Cheryl: Don’t worry about it.
Cheryl: But I just want to say, breaking into Ms. Archer’s apartment to hopefully find a crying baby clinging to her dead and shriveled body is the best birthday present I’ve ever gotten. Except for that Formula One team. Dibs on snacks.
Pam: Looks like Pam’s lucky night — because of the snacks, ya dickholes! Although ...

[+1 to Pam for skimp nuts because obviously; +1 to both Cheryl and Pam for sharing the love; +1 to Cheryl for the overshare about what sounded like a Guinness Book of World Records–type, legendary birthday.]

Archer got increasingly more jealous basically every time Crash opened his mouth. Crash insisted he try to save Michiko (yeah, right), and Archer mocked the hell out of him:  

Archer: I’m gonna plap ploerp plobbatop dobbabeepborp, check out my beard.
Lana: Little jealous?
Archer: Little bit yeah.
Crash: No, no, no, dammit! Guys, be ready to pull on my command, and we gotta hurry. A storm's comin'!
Archer: Um, should somebody call the Ghostbusters?
Lana: Will your feelings be super-hurt if I bang him?
Ray: YES!

[+1 to Crash for sounding way too serious; +1 to Ray for the pleading yell for sexual loyalty, even while on the verge of death; +1 to Lana for asking; +2 to Archer for the grade-A mocking and channeling Ivan Reitman.] 

Amid the blizzard, everybody got naked together. Look at Archer’s ass: 

Lana: I’m not riding bitch in this tent.
Archer: You have to, it’s the only way to keep Ray’s genitals away from mine.
Ray: Oh, as if!
Lana: Uh, uh, no, nooo, Ray is the DMZ.
Ray: Oh, please, I oughta be worried about your dirty ol’ junk touching mine.
Archer: Ray, if I ever have sex with a man, it’ll be a man who remembers the gum, and not that it matters, also black.

Observe the cutest backhanded cuddle-nuzzle of the 21st century and promptly melt in your seat, please:

[+1 to Archer for that cuddle and for still not dropping the gum issue; +1 to Lana for comparing genital concerns to drama involving North Korea.]

Lana: What the hell happened to them?
Crash: Hypothermia.
Archer: No shit, they’re naked in the snow.
Crash: It’s called paradoxical undressing. You see it sometimes with severe hypothermia. The poor bastards rip off all their clothes and run out into the snow.
Ray: With belts on their necks?
Crash: Yeah, man. That hypothermia. Make you do some pretty crazy shit.

[+1 to Crash for the nonchalant non-save.]

It took almost too long, but Archer finally deduced that Crash was the assassin all along. He shot him to save Lana but caused an avalanche that swept everybody, including Crash, away. Which obviously means there could be more Crash somewhere down the line, à la Barry or Conway.

But take a look at this avalanche; it's so good, it almost rivals what you see in Force Majeure:

Lana didn't understand (rightfully so) how Archer could have messed up his history so badly — as neither Canada nor Ireland were Axis powers:

Lana: Where did you get Axis power?
Archer: Ireland?
Crash: Again, I’m actually Canadian.
Lana: And Ireland was not an Axis power.
Archer: You sure?
Lana: They were neutral, you asshole!
Archer: Ohhhhhhhhhhh, that’s right.
Crash: Gaping asshole.

[-5 to Crash because thanks for the unnecessary visual.]

— and then again:

Lana: How could you possibly be that excited to be in an avalanche?
Archer: I have kind of a weird bucket list.
Ray: No. 3: Bang Joe Frazier.
Archer: Really regret sharing that with you.
Lana: But seriously, how in the hell did you think Ireland was an Axis power?
Archer: Oh my God, I think this whole time I was actually thinking of Romania, but only as an inevitable consequence of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the Soviet invasion of Bessarabia.

[+10 to Archer because that joke honestly took about 15 minutes to pay offalso, some points for what sounds like a national treasure of a bucket list.]

As a good-bye-until-next-week gift, here's Lana ruining (out of love, probably, because how cute and unhealthy is this relationship!) Archer's Peppermint Patty:

This week it's an unceremonious tie between Ray and Archer, as the former carried the first half of the episode and the latter punched up the end. Pam, as always, put in a good bid, but her meanness toward Cyril ultimately hampered her chances at taking home the hardware (not really, just looking for an excuse because there has to be an All-Star-caliber Pam episode coming up). Maybe next week, Pam (but probably not because it looks like Barry is coming back).

Extra Splooshes

  • This episode is apparently an homage to a weird 1975 Clint Eastwood movie with a similar title. Go figure.
  • Repeat: It looks like Barry is coming back next week!!!!!!
  • Someone please check on Woodhouse, I am beyond worried and miss him almost as much as I miss Kobe Bryant (too soon?).
  • Archer was so jealous in this episode, and it probably hit both you and Lana right in the feels. 
  • Missed opportunity: Ray not getting paralyzed again in the avalanche.
  • This week's animation was superb.
  • Remember when Archer said, "P.M. dawn," and then Ray, said, "Set adrift on memory bliss"? Enjoy.
  • Krieger was the only one not sick by the insecticide. Hmm.