Apparently nobody needs Archer and Co. to do any freelance work, because Malory orders the gang to gather at HQ at 7 a.m. for a mandatory team-building exercise. Ray, Cheryl, Pam, Krieger, Cyril, Lana, and Archer cram into an elevator to avoid Malory’s wrath — if anybody is absent or tardy, they'll face grave consequences. In the process, Ray or Archer or both pisses off the Laundromat elevator and everybody gets stuck. While Malory takes her sweet time getting to work, the group formerly known as ISIS simultaneously drums up ways to escape and infuriate each other.
The Highlight Reel
Since this entire installment took place in the confines of an elevator, it was essentially 20 minutes of snappy repartee. It might’ve looked like a cheap bottle episode, but the reality was full of hilarity, throwback jokes, and Milton. As usual, it began with everyone a little curious of Krieger (or one of the Kriegers), wondering what sketchy thing he's been up to. He clutched a thermos of human soup from start to finish.
Cheryl: Our bodies are aswarm with microscopic organisms, Pam. Literally, aswarm.
Krieger: Wait, what have you heard?
[+2 points to Krieger probably bringing all his clones back with him and for all of these experiments. If Krieger is still alive and brought back his clones, think of how productive he’s been. Between Bearjangles and the poop ray, something epic is in the works. Here’s to hoping they’re all related.]
Pam had a ball of a time subtly reminding a lot of people in this episode that she’s had sex with them.
Lana: Keep your panties on.
Pam: One step ahead of you — or am I?
[+1 to Pam for not wearing panties to a team-building because bonding is best done over Pam’s private parts.]
Archer almost missed the elevator, and maybe broke it by forcing the doors open with a broom.
Archer: Dammit, Ray, hold the frickin’ door!
Ray: Oh, no, it’s maximum overdrive all over again.
Ray: Oh, good, you made it.
Archer: Look Ray, one is red, one is green. What are you, color-blind?
Ray: I am, actually.
[+1 to Ray for yet another maximum overdrive — they are always golden; +1 to Archer for being insensitive.]
Lana wouldn’t use her massive bear hands to open the elevator doors, which seemed like a missed opportunity, but don’t worry, everybody let her know. Then, when the doors opened, the gang realized they were stuck between floors. And at risk of plummeting to their deaths.
So the crew did what any group of panicking millennials would do and pulled out their phones, only to realize there was no service:
Krieger: Yeah, you’re not gonna get a signal. I installed an RF jammer on the roof.
Cyril: Of the building?
Krieger: No, of the elevator.
Lana: And for what possible reason?
Krieger: So people would quit staring at their phones and talk to each other.
[+5 to Krieger for wanting people to be human and talk to each other. The irony of this, coming from a clone, made it all the more cute. Also, side note: This episode felt like a response to anybody’s who’s ever said, "We need more Ray," or "We need more Krieger."]
While certain individuals were busy trying to get out of the elevator, Archer was preempting people’s suggestions, and it was the stuff of delicious, candy-coated hopes and dreams.
Archer: Trapdoor! Ray, open the trapdoor!
Archer: Elevator phone! Cyril, try that!
[+2 to Archer for being a huge tool.]
The elevator phone in this episode was problematic. First, it was sticky. Then, it didn’t work. Then, it received Malory’s phone calls. (Note: That last part was semi-confusing. Did Archer just rig Malory’s phone — or people’s phones — to have the calls forwarded there? The voice-mail setup implies so, but it didn’t seem like Archer knew they’d all be stuck on the elevator together. Maybe that’s what’s funny about it, but it wasn’t entirely clear. If you have any theories as to what happened with that, put them in the comments, because I’m curious as hell and, I guess, admittedly, a little confused.)
Cyril: Gross! This phone is all sticky.
Pam: Yeah, mine at home gets bad sticky.
[+1 to Pam for realizing you can do anything if you try hard enough.]
Archer tried to get Ray to interface with the elevator, and Ray gave him a brief lesson in cyborg anatomy.
Archer: Okay, Ray, interface.
Ray: I'm sorry?
Archer: With the controls. Beep, boop, boop, boop. C'mon, cyborg. R2D2 it.
Ray: R2D2 it?
Archer: Yeah, probe around in there and whatever, shut down the tractor beam.
Ray: With what? My dick?
Archer: However you normally do it!
[+1 for Ray respecting his penis and having standards.]
The return of MILTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! was brief, but glorious:
[+1 to Cheryl because she would be the only one who could communicate with Milton.]
Everybody turned into borderline Hannibal Lecters when food started coming out. So Archer shot his gun to retain a sense of order in the elevator, and everybody MOPPED like crazy.
[+1 to everybody for developing tinnitus; a team that develops tinnitus together saves the world together.]
Cyril’s cashmere sweater-vest became the center of attention for a little, and it felt like we were all finally addressing a deep-seated anxiety, fear, and guilty pleasure, all at the same time. But first people wanted to use it as a picnic tablecloth, and that was harder than it sounds.
Archer: It puts the vest on the floor, we put food and drink on the vest!
As long as we’re running with Hannibal references, remember this guy:
And then Archer realized using the sweater-vest as a tablecloth was like asking a double amputee to play baseball:
Archer: Well then it’s official, the sweater vest is literally good for nothing.
Cyril: Hey, ya know what?
Archer: Besides how to dress like an adult?
Cyril: Well, that’s the only thing you do like an adult.
Archer: Yeah, total burn. I hope I don’t start crying later when I’m driving an automobile to and from a bar.
Cyril: After having sex with a prostitute.
Archer: Which is the most adult thing a person can possibly do!
[+1 to Cyril for earning a real moment here with his wardrobe decision; -1 to Archer obviously being jealous — I hope he wears a sweater vest ASAP.]
Pam is one of the whitest people we know, and she reminded us of that this episode, when she whipped out some beer:
Pam: This a fawty shawty!
[+1 to Pam for being Eminem's spirit animal. P.S.: Remember Rastafarian Pam? Same. Good times.]
Cheryl had a few breakthrough moments in this episode. One was when she realized she was a mind-reader, a.k.a. good at picking up on common sense:
Cheryl: Okay, you want to drink, you want to lecture us, you want more bear claws, you want to smoke, you want to masturbate, and you're scared that we're going to figure out you're actually just a Krieger clone.
[+1 to Cheryl; +1 to Krieger for KRIEGER CLONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]
Watching Cheryl explain the suicide pact was like when you were in grade school and you would try convincing your parents to buy you the newest Ludacris album, but you knew it wouldn't work:
[+1 to Cheryl for being the rebellious spirit in all of us.]
Cyril was his usual informative self in this episode, spouting a lot of information about elevators and diphtheria. Which probably prompted people to make fun of his need to masturbate and have a boner all the time. (But seriously all the information about the elevator was impressive.) When asked if they would survive a drop in the elevator shaft:
Cyril: Worst case is we die.
Cheryl: Impaled on your boner.
Cyril: I do not have an erection.
Archer: Well, maybe not now, but say you get a severe head injury on impact?
Pam: Boom! Priapism!
Cyril: Meanwhile, your bodies are smashing around in here like crash dummies until one at a time you are each impaled on my priapic erection.
Pam: Like meat at a Brazilian steakhouse.
[+1 to Cyril for having the king boner; +1 to everyone else for making fun of it.]
As Archer pointed out, the one true flaw with this episode was the lack of PHRASING. It’s one of those situations, though, where, after Archer points it out, you can rewatch it and say it to yourself (if you aren’t already). And then it’s like all is right in the world. One good thing about this episode, though, was we learned the difference between a hero and a villain:
Before the phone incident:
Ray: Hang on! What are you, deaf?
Archer: What are you? Color-blind?
Krieger: Too soon.
Archer: ... she said, flapping her wildly unkempt vagina at her co-workers.
Pam: Oh, please. We've all seen it.
[+1 to everyone because nothing says team-building like bonding over who's seen whose privates.]
The episode was called "Vision Quest" because obviously they were going to watch Vision Quest on VHS as the team-building exercise:
[+10 to Malory for the ultimate #tbt.]
Cyril was finally masturbating at the end.
[+1 to Cyril for being the people's hero.]
I kind of want to give everyone an award because this episode was all-around fantastic. The dialogue was clever at every turn, everybody got their time in the spotlight, and amid all the retro jokes and gags, the writers still snuck in some gems for us to relish down the line. (Nothing ground-breaking happened this episode, except for the clone revelation, but honestly, the jokes were endless. The highlight reel doesn't do it justice, so rewatch it over and over, and cherish the one-liners and how well the people at Archer were able to sync the animation, voice acting, facial expressions, and gestures. These kinds of episodes usually spell doom, but this might be my favorite one this season.) That said, if we have to dole out awards, it's probably a tie between Archer for being Elevator Boss and Cheryl for having so many subtly hilarious moments on the BIG ELEVATOR.
- Ray is color-blind. It is official. Also, he apparently sounds like a ma'am on the phone, which was wonderful.
- Cheryl was yelling a lot in this episode. Also, good to know she's claustrophobic.
- Wait, so we just don’t know what happened at Lana’s survival camp? Did Cyril make a move?
- Archer apologized to Cyril. Archer apologized.
- There were a lot of Soviet Russia jokes in this episode, but they didn’t feel right without anybody from the KGB.
- Was Woodhouse babysitting AJ? Who knows, but it looks like AJ has a blast next week.