Episode Title: "Heart of Archness, Part 1"
Writer: Adam Reed
If there's a dream team of animated character crossovers, Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) and Brock Sampson from "The Venture Bros." would be one of my top choices. But in last night's episode, we got the next best thing.
Picking up where we left off in the spring, we see a flashback to Archer's disastrous wedding as his his fiancee Katya lay dead at the hands Archer's nemesis (and recently turned cyborg) Barry Dillon (Dave Willis). Three months later, Archer has vanished and only his mother, Mallory (Jessica Walter) seems broken up about it; while the rest of the ISIS members note that morale is better without him and the company is even turning a profit. There are also some very funny insinuations from Archer's co-workers that he may have skimmed millions from his ISIS expense accounts to disappear forever or that he might have killed himself out of grief.
With her own agents proving to be useless in the search for her son, Mallory turns to Rip Riley (Patrick Warburton) an adventurer (and former lover of Malory's) who locates Archer almost immediately on a tropical island tending bar and breaking up marriages. And when Archer refuses to leave with Rip, the older man proves to be more than a match for his young counterpart.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that Rip might actually be Archer's father. There's no shortage of candidates for that role, thanks to Mallory's constantly shifting lovers. But this was the first time that I could actually believe in the potential parental connection. Benjamin and Warburton also had some amazing comedic chemistry as the perpetually clueless Archer put both of them in danger. Archer's 1930's voice while mocking Rip was particularly amusing.
Stuck on a plane with Rip, Archer quickly turns the tables and restrains the older man until the plane runs out of fuel. Archer obviously didn't realize that the auto pilot wouldn't know when to land and refuel. Once freed, Rip almost manages to pull off a safe landing on the water… until Archer releases the landing gear and causes the plane to break apart.
But for every stupid thing that he does, Archer usually gets at least one back by doing something incredibly cool. This time, Archer rescues an unconscious Rip, tries to save the booze and he even shoots a charging shark in the face. Yes, that's right. Archer shot a shark in the face… and it was awesome.
With Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler) and Ray Gillette (Adam Reed) on the way to rescuing them (and abusing Mallory's limitless Black Titanium credit card in the process), Archer and Rip are taken captive by a group of pirates, whose captain has a hilariously shaky take on the English language. Soon enough, Archer murders the hell out of the captain and most of his men before he is declared the new captain by the pirate slave (David Cross). And once Archer sees all of the beautiful women waiting for the pirates back at their fort, he immediately says that he's never going back to ISIS… because he's the new Pirate King!
As a way to bring "Archer" back before the third season in January, "Heart of Archness" is almost a defacto "Archer" movie that's going to play out over two additional episodes. For an introductory chapter, this covered all of its bases and gave us a great new character and guest stars to play with for the rest of the story. If anything, it's going to be hard letting "Archer" go away again after reminding us that it's still the best comedy series on FX.
And now because it's been too long, here are your top five "Archer" moments of the week:
Archer: "Two personal records! For breath holding and number of sharks shot in the frickin' face!"
Barry: "Is that how you crash a wedding? Yes it is, Bionic Barry. Yes it is."
Fat Annalist: "That's just great. Now I get to deal with this as my hot meatball sub congeals into a big fat disappointing blob of s***!"
Thin Annalist: "Nobody's going to touch that?!"
Archer [in a '30s radio announcer voice]: "Hi, it's the 1930s. Can we have our words, our clothes and s***y airplanes back? Call you back, 1930s. And hey, watch out for that Adolf Hitler, he's a bad egg!"
Archer: "I'm a grown man whose fiancee was murdered in front of his eyes. Excuse me for taking some time to grieve!"
Rip: "By tending bar and banging newly weds?"
Archer: "Apparently that's my grieving process!"
Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.