Episode Title: "Stage Two"
Writer: Adam Reed
Mallory Archer (Jessica Walter) has a breast cancer scare this week, throwing ISIS into turmoil. But while her diagnosis turns out to be a false positive, Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) not only has breast cancer himself (thanks to his incredibly careless handling of radioactive materials), he also has a personal epiphany of sorts… before backtracking into the a**hole we know and love.
One of my favorite aspects of this season of "Archer" are the occasional hints that Archer himself has some deeper personality traits than his usual boorish persona. Like his almost self-aware speech to Anka in the season premiere to his brief realization that Woodhouse was his defacto father a few episodes back. Cancer it seems, brings out the best in Archer’s personality. Sterling goes out of his way to try to make amends with his loved ones "and some other people."
Archer even reaches out to the Wee Baby Seamus, who even Trinette openly admits isn’t his son. But that doesn’t stop Archer from getting Seamus’ name tattooed on his back, or the reverse on Seamus’ back.
Of course, Archer is still a fundamentally selfish prick and that side also comes through hilariously as he uses his cancer to manipulate the people around him. Archer’s long suffering butler, Woodhouse reluctantly gives him an all expenses paid trip to Vegas with his long lost brother, Dicky. The photo montage of Archer and Dicky’s Las Vegas misadventures was one of the best sequences in the show to date. Archer and Dicky even get into some hot water with the law, which leaves Dicky missing in Mexico and the police on the trail of Archer’s alter ego, Cyril Figgis.
But even worse, Archer uses the situation to get Lana to sleep with him by declaring his love for her. And for most of the episode it seems like he might be sincere when he thinks that he’s dying. But as soon as he gets the all clear from his doctor, he takes a call from a girl in front of Lana.
The real Cyril (Chris Parnell) gets an amusing subplot as he deals with the legal fallout from Archer’s Vegas escape. The mugshot of Archer holding up Cyril’s name cracked me up every time it showed up on screen. Even in his most conciliatory moments, Archer only offers to give Cyril his "Chet Manley" identity… which causes the increasingly crazy Carol (Judy Greer) to mistake him for an entirely new person.
Surprisingly, the episode ends on a dark note with word that Archer’s cancer has spread. However, it wraps that revelation in a classic sitcom trope of multiple calls from Archer’s doctor confirming then recanting his diagnosis for Archer… before asking Mallory out. Naturally, she accepts. Hey, Archer had to get those personality traits from somewhere! Weirdly, this leads to the first cliffhanger ending in "Archer" history and a storyline that will probably play out in the next episode or so.
But if the rest of the cancer related episodes are this funny, then "Archer" is going to keep its status as one of the best comedies on TV.
These are the top five "Archer" moments of the week.
Archer: "Looking for this? Or perhaps the lead container I probably should have left it in?"
Mallory: "If I cared about what you do on the weekend, I’d stick a shotgun in my mouth and pull the trigger with my toes."
Woodhouse: "God knows when I’ll be able to see Dicky again… Or where…"
Archer: "Yeah, Mexico is pretty big."
Archer: "Lana, I’m in love with you."
Lana: "…You are also s***faced."
Archer: "I can be both!"
Trinette: "You can’t tattoo a freakin’ baby!"
Archer: "That’s what the tattoo guy said. I had to slip him an extra hundred."
Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.