Episode Title: "Heart of Archness, Part 3"
Writer: Adam Reed
When we last left Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin), his time as Pirate King turned out to be a disaster. He ended up in the pirates' dungeon alongside Rip Riley (Patrick Warburton), the pirate slave, Noah (David Cross) along with his would-be rescuers, Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler) and Ray Gillette (Adam Reed). Of course the entire situation was Archer's fault and he attempted to hide his tenure as Pirate King by knocking out Rip and intimidating Noah.
It's a testament to the strong personalities of the "Archer" series that most of the action can take place within a single room and still manage to be one of the best episodes of the season. The tone was set early on when everyone stared intensely at Noah when he attempted to use the bucket to defecate. Nobody seems to like Noah, but Archer earns everyone's hatred and a massive beating when Rip finally reveals that Archer had been there voluntarily until the end of his reign.
For his part, Archer makes it clear that the only person in this group that he cares about is Lana; whom he awkwardly describes as his only friend. During a tense moment late in the episode, he even voices concern about her even though two others in his party have much more severe injuries.
Which brings us to the hilariously gory escape attempt about half way through the episode. When Bucky (James Hong) makes the mistake of getting too close to the cell to let Archer speak to his mother, Mallory (Jessica Walter) over the Sat phone. While struggling with Bucky, Archer has the presence of mind to lie about Rip's feelings for Mallory just to annoy him. But he doesn't stop Bucky from hitting both Ray and Lana with stray bullets. And when Archer orders Noah to attack Bucky with his spoon, he accidentally puts out Rip's left eye.
Again, out of all of the injuries, Archer only really reacts to Lana's. But it's Ray who appears to be fatally injured and Lana seems to care more about saving Ray's life than anything else. When Archer is distracted by the news that his Lacrosse team made the finals of his intermural pirate league, he almost abandons the escape attempt to go to the game. Lana essentially blackmails him into leaving with them by threatening to end their friendship forever. And for a second there, I thought that Archer went to the game regardless of what she said.
The helicopter escape had some genuinely exciting and funny moments as Archer shouted coaching orders to his lacrosse team while they tried to blow him out of the sky. The other characters also turned on Archer and Lana for their ongoing sexual tension, with Rip suggesting that they shut up, screw and then kill each other.
Back at ISIS, Cyril Figgis (Chris Parnell) woke up after a blackout and he immediately regretted two things: sleeping with Pam Poovey (Amber Nash) and embezzling all of ISIS' money without remembering the banking passwords to "unembezzle" it. Mallory barely bats an eye to Cyril and Pam's naked fling, but she does suggest that he reevaluate his life after he produces the money. Cyril does eventually find the money again, but only after getting hammered and sleeping with Pam... again.
Another running subplot was the idea that Mallory always got Archer out of trouble. Archer kept yelling the name "Columbia" as an example of something that he got out of himself. I won't spoil what it turned out to be, but that was one of my favorite jokes.
After the finale, I don't know how likely it is that we'll see Rip and Noah again, but I loved both characters. It also looks like some permanent injuries may carry over for Ray and Rip, which is kind of impressive for a satire series. But in the end, Archer is back at ISIS and ready for action again. That's all we need until season 3 in January.
For the last time in 2011, here are your top five "Archer" moments of the week:
Mallory: "For God's sake, woman... where is your pride?"
Cheryl: "In my work?"
Mallory: "... That may be the funniest thing you've ever said."
Archer: "No mother, I'm captured by pirates. Oh... and Riley says he no longer finds you attractive because you're too old."
Rip: "What? You little..."
Archer: "Who knows? Maybe he had a brain aneurysm."
Noah: "No! He..."
Archer: "It's the silent killer, Noah! Not unlike a metal spoon sharpened to a razor's edge and used to slit an anthropologist's bird-like throat."
Cyril: "Archersucks... No... KillArcherDie... No!"
Cyril: "Just trying all my usual passwords."
Pam: "Way to not give him the power."
Cyril: "Thank you."
Archer: "Your exact words. Pam. 'Doctor Charles Drew or I will eat a bag of dicks.'"
Pam: "Bring 'em!"
Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.