Archer 5×05 ‘Southbound and Down’: Why does anyone trust Pam?


The ISIS crew heads to Texas by bus to pursue a golden opportunity for Cherlene’s singing career, but Archer’s plan to sell some of the cocaine mixed with the presence of Pam throws a wrench in the works. It’s a funny but nitpick-worthy return to Archer after an Olympic hiatus, that we’ll discuss after the jump.

I know that this episode was a pure Smokey and the Bandit homage, complete with the Pontiac Trans Am “blocker car.” I also know this is an FX cartoon and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. But I would have enjoyed it more if the internal logic made sense. Pam has proven herself unworthy of trust. Two episodes ago, she almost got all of the main characters murdered at the hands of the Yakuza. Why would Archer a) tip her off to the contraband he’d stowed in both vehicles and, for that matter, b) allow her to come on the trip at all? You can say “Well then there wouldn’t be conflict!” And, OK, that’s true, but that’s not good enough. You could even make the argument that Archer secretly enjoys Pam’s company, or at least enjoys having her around for more selfish reasons, but that doesn’t explain why he spills the beans about having 100 kilos of her drug of choice. It would be one thing if he slips up and tells her accidentally, but he blurts it out almost immediately. Archer can be very un-self-aware and that’s fine, but I cannot abide characters creating major problems for themselves out of whole cloth.

The same goes for Cherlene, who decides out of nowhere that she doesn’t fly, even though (as the characters point out) we’ve seen Cheryl fly a lot in the past 4.5 seasons. Again, this is a situation where this episode can only play out as it did if the ISIS crew can’t fly to Texas, but there are other ways to take away the flight option besides “this insane character doesn’t want to cooperate.”


Source: FX

Despite those problems, the episode is certainly entertaining and full of the kind of hilarious dialogue we’ve come to expect from this show. Krieger rebooting Gillette’s bionic legs and immediately taking advantage of his ability to control Gillette was a great addition (and fills in one of the more amusing images from Archer’s vision at the end of the season premiere.) Anything with Pam and Archer was gold. Overall, a very funny episode with some frustrating plot and character motivation choices.

A few highlights:

Pam: You mean you got a buyer lined up in Texas and everything?
Archer: Well not exactly, or at all, but Pam, come on. We’re talking about Texas. Somebody somewhere wants enough cocaine to forget they live there.
Pam: Yeah, but not 100 pounds!
Archer: Maybe we’ll get lucky! Find an entire town that wants to commit suicide.
Pam: Wonder if there’s a statewide database of towns with sucky high school football teams cross-indexed with towns a black person just moved to.
Archer: Jesus, Pam, I was kidding.
Pam: Duh, me too, lickbag.
Archer: Well, but, see if there is one just for shits and giggles.

Malory: Cherlene!
Cyril (covering his ears): Ow! Come on!
Lana: Seriously! Thanks for the deaf baby.

J.P. Laub

is a pop culture connoisseur, politics wonk, sometimes gamer and consummate nerd. To give you some idea, he is an avid reader of Wikipedia entries about fictional and theoretical faster-than-light drives. Seriously, he once saw a random Dune reference on a website and spent 45 minutes reading about the Holtzmann effect and related entries.


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