Archer 5×08 ‘The Rules of Extraction’: They eat everything, and fear is their bacon bits

Archer

Archer, Ray and Cyril go from the frying pan of a Colombian police car into the fire of a dense jungle, and they must find a way to escape unscathed. Meanwhile, in New York, not much happens. We’ll discuss the latest episode of Archer’s fifth season after the jump.This episode was not as chock-full of good lines and strong storytelling as other episodes this season, The plotlines containing Archer himself are never not entertaining this season, with any combination of characters there to react to his continuous cycle of horrendously bad luck and ridiculously good fortune. I’m not sure I find Ray’s decision to fake his paralysis believable, but at least it means he isn’t back in a wheelchair for the rest of the season. And, a definite plus to this installment, the Pam-loves-coke gags are few and far between this time.

Malory complains that they aren’t doing more to help Archer, Cyril and Ray and then the ladies proceed to…go on a spa day. Malory used to be an operative herself! Why isn’t she going after them?  I thought that’s where they were headed when she began to have a bit of a nervous breakdown early on in the episode. And I was under the impression they wanted to switch things up in a big way this season. But the writers decided to resolve that by having Lana, Pam and Cherlene try to take her mind off of her son’s possible demise. It’s conceivable that these characters need to stay in New York for events later in the season, and it certainly makes sense for Lana to be more concerned with keeping her unborn baby from harm than with saving Archer, but the way the writers are going about giving the female protagonists free agency is very strange. I’m pretty sure this episode failed the Bechdel test – none of the female characters talk about anything but whether Sterling is safe and how Malory is at the end of her rope because of him. At least advance the Cherlene subplot enough to justify keeping them in the episode at all.

A few other points:

The sequence where the jeep falls through the jungle, over a cliff, through more jungle, over another cliff and onto the ground is nearly a minute long. A great and very silly/cartoon-y way to open the episode.

  • I’m glad the characters are addressing where the metric ton of cocaine came from. Malory suggests it was Archer, but isn’t sure how he gained possession of it. My guess: he got it during his fugue state where he became Bob from Bob’s Burgers.
  • More epic voicemail tomfoolery from Archer. Rigging the Tunt Manor intercom to provide a techno rave dance party when Lana gets his voicemail is just….brilliant. Unlike “Phrasing!”, I hope this running gag never becomes a meta joke about how the joke isn’t used anymore. I also am going to predict that it will be the final gag of the entire series in a truly over-the-top fashion.
  • Archer’s significant knowledge of all forms of alligator are on full display as he, Ray and Cyril drift down a river on a raft. He doesn’t have a ton of luck with boats and gators though. He also lost the boat he was taking through a bayou in Season 2’s “Pipeline Fever.”

Finally, as always, some highlights.

Ray: I resent how you never take anything seriously because you assume everything’s going to work out for you!
Archer
: It almost always does! Case in point!
(They’ve stumbled upon an airport with a working plane.)

Cyril: Hey, do you think those guys are Doctors Without Borders
Archer: Yes, Cyril, I do. I bet those assault rifles shoot polio vaccine.

(Lana opens the door to the “spa” for Malory. Cherlene is in an old-fashioned dress. Pam is dressed up like an old-timey doctor complete with glasses.)
Malory: What the…why are they dressed like that?
Lana (sighs): That was the only way they’d do it.
Cherlene: Strip!
Pam (claps): Yayyyyyyyy

Archer

Source: FX

Lana: Where would Archer get that much coke?
Malory: Who knows with him? Maybe wherever he got that new kind of VD none of the doctors had ever seen before.
Lana: When was that?!
Pam: Yeah, when was that?
Cherlene: Seriously, was…?
Malory: Trust me, if you had it, you’d know.
Lana, Pam and Cherlene: Whew.
Lana: Ugh, I loathe knowing I had sex with the same person as you two.
Pam: Pfft! You had sex with me!
Lana: No I….(gasps) Oh my god that’s right.
Malory: Ha!
Pam: What are you laughing at?
Malory (realizing, gravely): Oh my god that’s right.

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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