Lana takes Archer to Berkeley, California, to re-meet her parents, and to help introduce them to AJ. Archer puts on his best behavior for as long as he can before burglars break into the Kanes' beautiful Bay Area Craftsman home and steal something precious from Lana's parents (voiced by Keith David and C.C.H. Pounder). Malory and Milton are off minding their own business, while the rest of the team, on their way to bowling night, becomes stranded in a city they're unfamiliar with. You could say a recurring motif in this episode is cars.
The Highlight Reel
On the flight to SFO, Lana makes it abundantly clear that Archer is not tagging along because he’s family. He’s not her boyfriend or her husband. He’s just there to help with AJ and make their child-rearing operation look semi-normal, because technically he's the father. Both are nervous because the last meeting didn’t go too well (and Lana is pretending to be a student pursuing a Ph.D. in environmental science at Columbia because both her parents are esteemed, judgmental academics):
Lana: You remember Archer?
Lemuel: Yes, of course. We’ve got the mashed potatoes just the way you like ‘em: 98.6.
[+2 points to Lem for making a science joke without even hesitating — nothing says intimidating like, I know the precise number in degrees Fahrenheit of the human body's average/healthy temperature — and for being a welcoming host; +1 to Archer because he’s definitely put his junk in mashed potatoes, and if that’s not being a little Evel Knievel with your genitals, I don’t know what is.]
Quick fun fact: Archer’s earlier drunk line comes from this party record excerpt, which was sampled by the Beastie Boys. Yes, it’s kind of lame to explain how or why jokes work on a show, but in this case, this Reddit user is right. Sometimes explaining it reveals multiple levels of comedic brilliance.
The first conversation doesn’t go very well with Claudette and Lem because Archer acts cheeky and Claudette is having NONE. OF. IT:
Claudette: Oh, Lana, you’ve made a beautiful baby.
Archer: Well, we sort of both would agree with that statement.
Claudette: Lana can speak for herself.
Claudette: When on Earth are you planning on finishing your dissertation?
Archer: Yeah, Lana.
Claudette: Don’t do that.
Lem: Well, algae is always challenging.
Archer: Yeah, just ask a flip-flop.
Claudette: Don’t do that.
Claudette: His research is going extremely well.
Lem: And in the near future you may be spending a lot less time and money at gas stations.
Archer: You’re buying us motorcycles?
Lana: No, Daddy’s been working on—
Lana: Mom, it’s fine, Archer is … um…
Archer: Lana, it’s okay, you can say "family."
Lana: I thought I could, but I honestly don’t know if I can.
[+3 to Claudette for keeping Archer in line and putting his figurative balls in her figurative purse (it's uncomfortable watching Archer unable to retort though — well, for now); +1 to Archer for trying out dad jokes with Lana’s dad (bold, new territory for Archer humor-wise); -1 to Lana for ostracizing her baby's daddy.]
Cyril, Krieger, Pam, Cheryl, and Krieger’s hologram girlfriend are in Brownsville, where Krieger’s bitchin’ new van runs out of gas. Surprise. Pam lugs them up a hill. Really, this is what happens with these people for 90 percent of the episode. We'll check back with them later.
While Lana feeds AJ, probably in her old bedroom (aww), Archer gets stuck in a hot tub with her naked parents. After some coercing, Archer’s swim trunks come off, too. He gets the wrong idea:
Lem: There, now that’s not so hard, is it?
Archer: So … do you guys do phrasing, or?
Claudette: And now that we’re all sky clad, as they say, we have something very special we’d like to share with you.
Lem: But just between us three. There’s no reason to tell Lana about it.
Claudette: No, she might not approve.
Archer: Oh, God. Okay, but just so you know: I’ve never worn a condom. Ever. And obviously, Lem, the implicit agreement between you and I is that at no time will our penises touch, and I’d also appreciate it if you didn’t make eye contact with me during … did I misread the … ?
[+1 to Archer for phrasing; +1 to L&C for trying to invite Archer to their family reunion; +100 to Archer for assuming a threesome was about to happen and doing everything in his power to be accepted into this family for AJ.]
Thieves snatch Lem’s research because he’s worked with algae to create an effective alternative to fossil fuels, which sounds good, but it could make the entire world (specifically the Middle East) go bananas because there would be less of a need for oil from the region. A good old-fashioned car chase, in the vein of Steve McQueen’s Bullitt, ensues:
Lana: No, Daddy, Archer should drive. He’s actually pretty great at it ... When he’s not busy ejaculating.
[+1 to Archer for jizzing his pants; +1 to Lana for complimenting him.]
The Bullitt car takes a beating, so Archer gets a little crazy and makes an off-the-beaten-path joke:
Archer: This is an American icon! You philistines! Hey, I know, let’s teabag Dr. Seuss. Yeah, great idea, I’ll hold him down!
[+1 to Archer for using a major SAT word in front of Lem; -1 for saying that weird shit about Dr. Seuss, though. No need to ruin our childhood with that visual. But then maybe +1, because if you get over the depravity of it all there are myriad terrible things you can do with Dr. Seuss book titles, like One Fish, Two Fish...]
The car chase is amazing and basically looks like the original (also, like this), so everyone is having a dangerously good time:
But then Lem gets mad at Lana because she has to whip out her guns to give Archer ammunition. Dad reveals Lana's middle name, as well as a bad habit nervous little Lana used to have, before attending science fairs:
Lem: Lana Anthony Kane!
Lana: After Susan B.
Archer: Oh, right, after our ugliest president.
[+1 to Archer for having such an interesting relationship with history; +1 to Lana for having big hands even as a kid, as well as for that projectile prowess.]
Over in Brownsville: Cheryl ditches the bowling balls from the van to make Pam’s load lighter. In the process they make some unfriendly people veer off course and crash their car in the middle of the street. For a brief second, it looks like the gang might be in trouble, but then it turns out Pam knows them — but hold on, I'm done here. This story line was completely random from the get-go, and what the hell was the point of it? Nothing. Happened. For what it's worth, aside from Cheryl dissing Krieger’s girlfriend, we get one funny moment from all this, i.e., Krieger agreeing to fix Pam’s friend’s car:
[+1 to Krieger for balancing his science experiments with bowling and dance classes. A true renaissance man, this one.]
Back to the action, turns out the thieves are the CIA, and Slater stole the research because Lem's alga is compromising the country’s national security (again, think oil). Slater pays off Lem to keep quiet, so Lana's dad becomes a sellout, but at least he's a happy one. The Kanes can buy a dozen more hot tubs, no problem, and invite all their naked academic friends over. The world is now Lem's jacuzzi oyster, which is arguably better than a Nobel prize. Happily ever after, basically. On the flight home, Lana apologizes to Archer for hurting his feelings and finally dubs him family. Then:
Archer: Sorry I tried to spit-roast your mom
[+1,000 to Archer for the apology of the century; +2,000 to Lana for putting up with this guy and basically loving him unconditionally.]
Nothing has been more confusing and unfulfilling than the weird B stories we've been getting this season, so unfortunately that disqualifies half the cast from grabbing the award. That said, the bulk of the episode, having to actually do with the Kanes, was excellent. And given everything that happened, this week's award is Lana's. We got our first hint last night of a normal relationship bubbling between these two. Of course, normal for Archer and Lana is actually spelled T-O-X-I-C for any other sane person, but hey, they are doing their best. Consider this: It would be tough for anyone to admit Archer into their family open-heartedly. The fact Lana did makes her a saint, and definitely acquits her of any wrongdoing from the Pakistani intelligence officer episode.
- Nice new Rush van, Krieger.
- Did you see the dicky tattoo?
- Archer’s head shot was amazing.
- The Archer team did an all-around fantastic job with this episode: the one-liners, the animation, the car chase, and the use of the word whom in this episode were all in near-perfect shape.
- Some amazing gladiator of a human being put the spit-roast line on Soundcloud for you to download and keep forever.
- I wonder what Archer thought OPEC stood for?
- Next week looks fun! See ya then.