Archer 5×11 ‘Palace Intrigue: Part 2′: If I had to do it over, I’d be a dictator

Archer

Faced with oncoming rebel forces and Archer’s liaison with Gustavo’s wife, the ISIS gang decides to cut their losses and return to New York. Before they can depart, however, all hell breaks loose, and Pam gets shot! Meanwhile, Malory sends Cyril out to find transportation, and boy does he ever. It’s the antepenultimate episode of Archer’s fifth season, AKA Archer Vice, and we’ll discuss it all after the jump.After the manic-but-muddled pace of last week’s episode, this was a pleasant followup. A lot transpired, but it was generally easier for me to absorb the central plotline without a bunch of extraneous conversations happening at the periphery. It was hard for me to really enjoy the shock of Pam being shot after jumping in the way to save Archer, because the character is so integral to the show. It was still done with aplomb, including a great gag making fun of slow motion “Noooooo” sequences, so it more than compensated for the predictability there.

The development in the Archer-Pam relationship has been one of my favorite parts of this season. Archer seems genuinely upset when he believes that Pam has died to save him. Of course, all is back to normal when she steals his thunder making a joke about Cyril in the final moments of the episode, but even these small glimpses of affection between two characters that have traditionally been at odds is refreshing and welcome. If they keep that going, they may make up for making Pam a one-joke character for most of this year.

As for Krieger, I think it’s a safe bet that he’s going to be the figurative ace in the hole that will save the group in either the next episode or the finale. Even though Cyril has a tank at his disposal, it’s not difficult to imagine that advantage quickly evaporating. The Krieger clones are building a weapon for Gustavo to use on the rebels that may or may not involve a half-man, half-frog. I’m going to predict that he sabotages it in some way at the 11th hour.

The Cyril/Malory interplay this episode was also fun. It’s rare for Malory to be the receiver of others’ rage. Usually she’s doling it out, and for the first four seasons, her position as the head of ISIS limited the amount of frustration others could show with her (besides Archer). Cyril had to be sitting in a tank to do it, but he stood up to her (and Archer, with the tank’s main gun). It’s enough to make you feel proud of Mr. Figgis.

Archer

Source: FX

Two more small points.

  • Cyril’s impersonation of Malory is classic. It’s like Jessica Walter with a little Katharine Hepburn thrown in for good measure. I humbly request more of this impersonation from Chris Parnell.
  • Obscure reference of the week: Cherlene asks “Who are you, Dave Frishberg?” after Gustavo finishes describing the legislative history of the 22nd Amendment. Dave Frishberg is noted as having written the music and lyrics for the Schoolhouse Rock! song “I’m Just a Bill.”

And finally, my top three pieces of dialogue from this episode:

Archer: Lana, in case you haven’t noticed, this place is crawling with rebels.
Pam: And not the good kind you get drunk with in Myrtle Beach and cruise the strip in the boat of their monster truck with a big rebel flag on it, flinging empty longnecks at people.
Lana: Yeahhhh, those aren’t actually the good kind either.
Pam: Now who’s racist?
Archer: Those guys, Pam. Those exact same guys you just described.
Pam: Oh. Well now I feel like an asshole.
Malory: When do you not?
Pam: Almost always. I really like me.
Malory: Baffling.

Cyril: We’re dead. You’ve killed us!
Archer: Me?! ….I did not have a follow up…to that.

Julianna: And I will tell you the same thing I told your father. I will never give you a divorce.
Gustavo: Tell that to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Oh wait! You just did.
Cherlene: Wait, you can’t be both!
Gustavo: Your William Howard Taft was.
Cherlene: Not at the same time!
Gustavo: He absolutely was.
Cherlene (to the ISIS crew): Is that true?
(They aren’t sure. (It isn’t, obviously.))
Archer: Wow, we get home, we are binge-watching Schoolhouse Rock.
Julianna: You can binge-watch it in Hell!
Archer: Well, if anything, that’s Heaven…

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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