04 April, 2012

Guest Review of ARCHER Season 3: The Final Four


Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I present to you this site's first ever GUEST REVIEW, by Shawn Mahone. Written because I became super lazy at some point and kept putting off writing reviews for a show I love very much (hi, NEW GIRL!).

The final 4 episodes of season 3 form what can be seen as an arc of Archer learning that at times his narcissistic tendencies have dire consequences and to that end there are periods of him actually being a decent human being. Letting Jackoff die just so he could have the best fuck of his life hit him and I like that he let Katya go and be happy, he refused to fight Barry in the space station so that everyone could survive and so there were elements of serialization taking place akin to last season's Archer Cancer storyline. But of course Archer being Archer he quickly goes back to being a dick with the most funny moment having him crash the Intrepid and being the only one not injured, hehehe and taunting Ray, but more on that later. So let's Jump in to each episode and see where it takes us and just how much fun we can have.

Crossing Over
I love all the Archer characters but Pam's attitudes and actions will always put me on team Pam! All the characters have their faults...Pam is a gossip, Cheryl a nymphomaniac who has kinky sex and says the shittiest and nastiest things, Archers an asshole, Cyril a sex addict, Krieger is just a plain weirdo and Malory is just an awful mother, Ray is superficial and Lana is quite vein too but Pam I mean she just goes for what she wants, says what she wants and does what she wants and has no reservation or shame for being who she is and that is just fucking awesome!

So an episode that is Pam centric and also pays off in a wonderful way that she grew up on a farm gets at least a 90 for me! Pam and Archer hookup and it turns out that Pam is great at having sex, the two of them have great comedic chemistry and watching the combined shame and pure enjoyment of Archer doing the nasty with her had me in stitches every time they were on screen together. The fact that she said Archer's penis was not exactly big enough was funny as fuck simply because no other character would have the nerve to tell him that.

Bringing back both Jackoff and Barry shows that even for a cartoon Archer is fantastic with serialization and it picks up right where those two characters stories left off. The show keeps on teasing who Archers father is and I like that they addressed that in this episode (I personally do not care if they ever actually figure out who it is because it is so much fun not to know) and were going for it and they had the balls to kill off a character. Archer's conversations with Jackoff were both touching and fucking funny especially Archer noting that he is glad that he looks nothing like a fat and ugly slob like him, the hug was a nice touch. The moment Jackoff died you could see that Archer had regrets and it was a nice moment for the show to take seriously because it helps fans invest in something, Archer does care and can be more than just the season 1 asshole.

Barry has been doing a lot of damage to Archer lately, both physically and mentally. This will carry on in to the next episode but for this particular episode he starts to carry out this master plan which we do not find out about and kills Jackoff as a way to not only get rid of a threat at work but also to fuck with Archer. I am not sure what to think of Barry I mean his talking to himself as a third person never not gets a laugh or too but there seems to lack a depth to him apart from being Archers victim.

Stray Observations

- Cheryl getting strangled was hilarious as was her forgetting who Barry was, dynamite.

- Elaborate phone prank! still funny how Archer puts so much effort into doing those and the reactions of both Malory and Lana was fantastic.

- 50 I mean 40 thousand dollars! great call back from Tragical History by Ray. Those greedy/corrupt ISIS bastards that I love!

- “It's absinthe and milk.”

-“Whoo! I'm Pacman Jones!”

- “That's 150 gallons of Pam's hot, dirty, ball-slappin'...”

- “How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm, after they seen Pammy?”

-“You make me sound like some kind of Chupacabra, but for dicks.”

-“It's a DVD, a box of wine, some Hot Pockets, and off to bed.”

- “What? C'mon! You were pushin' rope!”

- “Who hunts dogs?” “Orientals, duh!”

Rating: 92/100

Skin Game
Skin game was ARCHER just being all out fucking weird! Starting off with the biggest weirdo being Dr Krieger's apartment, man was that place a shit hole and had all these odd and creepy experiments as well. So amid this plethora of nightmares was the bad Dr bringing back Archers dead fiancée back to life as a cyborg, so Archer being Archer dumps Pam and starts the process of remarrying Katya and having weird and kinky sex with a vagina that has great suction and vibrates, yikes!

The way the episode ended with Barry returning and having sex with Katya when they fight and then just having Archer accept it and go off in a Graduate style parody seemed all to nice and easy and so left me a little disappointed. I know that Barry and Katya had to leave so they could come back and so the show had to work something out but as a nice moment as it was for Archer to learn from the previous episode...I could accept Archer letting Katya go with someone else but Barry?

Other stuff happened but it mostly involved a lot of office bitching so no need to go into that.

Stray observations

- Will Krieger ever figure out how to play the drum part of Rush's "YYZ"? tune in next season to find out!

- Remember when I said that Archer being a human being is good and all? well him drinking Cyril's grandfathers scotch gotten from Frank Sinatra shows him at his most glorious and assholly.

- Bear Claw Monday!

- “I don't really have a roadmap for my ex finding your robo-gina in the sink.”

- “Bone... dancing.”

- “RoboCop: Pro or con?” “Neither!”

- “I had Korean barbecue for lunch. I cannot look at a Dr. Moreau pig-baby.”

Rating: 88/100

Space Race Part 1
Ok we finally made it to one of the best episodes the show will ever do and I firmly put this episode up with El Secuestro, Stage 2, The Limited, Lo Scandolo among others as what Archer does when it is cooking and man was this episode fucking cooking!

When a show brings in a famous guest star like Bryan Cranston the best episodes know how to use their guest stars effectively and cater the material specifically for them. Any Geek/Nerd with a pulse knows about Breaking Bad. The show is about a man's path into oblivion and how the people around him suffer mentally or physically or a combination of the two. Bryan Cranston plays Walter White, the man who finds out he has cancer and decides to partner up with a former student and cook drugs to provide for his family and I will not bore you with the details and assume as geeks/nerds know the rest...The episode "Fly" best demonstrates this in a beautiful moment, Jesse (Walt's partner) is standing on top of a ladder that is incredibly unstable trying to swat a fly while Walt is passing out, it is basically what the whole show is... framed beautifully...some poor bastard risking life and limb on one of Walt's half assed notions of spotting a fly in the lab that could contaminate their product. Everyone character on Breaking Bad basically does crazy stupid shit because Walt White wants to feel important, who wants to have things his way because he refuses to compromise because he is a petty vindictive and evil bastard (all be it a magnificent bastard) and this show has had some wonderful moments of clarity when Walt shows his true colors and lets us marinate in the moment..."Stay out of my territory", " I am the one who knocks!", "I Won!".

So all of this is to say remember everything you know about Breaking Bad because in their own way ARCHER paid a tremendous tribute to a wonderful actor and a wonderful show in a balls out fucking funny as shit episode. So here we go!

First of all let's just get it out the way and say it! Step aside "Stay out of my territory", know your place " I am the one who knocks!" and just bow down "I Won!" because there is a new kid in town and that is "Welcome to the DANGAAAAA ZONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" . All episode long Archer tries to get Cranston (Drake) to say Danger Zone and all episode Drake just ignores him or acts like he does not know what the fuck Archer is going on about. It is only when Drake reveals his plan and purses his lips and lets out the Danger Zone that we finally realize that he has been playing Archer and the whole ISIS gang all along, it is a glorious line reading and considering that Archer has been saying Danger Zone for 3 seasons they saved it for the best guest star they have ever had to Danger Zone Archer! PERFECT! That moment makes me hope they never top the moment because it was so beautiful.

Ok in the beginning of the episode an urgent message from Captain Kellogg on the Horizon (the space ship) that they are under attack and need help. So Cranston is there to ask ISIS for help in taking the ship back from the mutineers. The opening salvo lets you know just how great this episode is going to be, there is a great callback to how Archer really is a racist (Boondocks!), how every American probably hates the French (Badum Bum...sorry, I thought French was a joke!), Space exploration being a Boondoggle (waste of time and money) and the start of the great running gag...READ A BOOK! the dialogue is witty and brilliant.

So we now know that like Walter White, Drake is taking the ISIS crew into space on one of his half assed notions of creating a living environment on MARS! I still cannot believe they did this, totally fucking awesome.

After the opening credits Dr Krieger has one of the funniest scenes ever where he basically gives Archer like 12 Enemas just for his own sick pathology. Once I found out what an Enema was I cannot watch that scene without being in tears, good times!

The vomit comet was brilliant, H Jon Benjamin was fantastic in saying "Space Weightlessness!" and him riding Cyril through the vomit was awesome! Lana not being good at something was good for a great laugh. Archer admitting accidently that he spent 15 years in boarding school was priceless. Already people (mostly Lana) are starting to suffer from Drakes single minded need to get what he wants and it only gets better. Lana admits that she cannot go to Mars because to be honest she cannot physically handle it and Drake just over rides her (because that is what Walt and Cranston does so well!) and sets up the perfect line for an amused Archer..."That s too bad Agent Kane because you're going!", Archer "To a zone, one of danger, ha ha" The excitement in Benjamin's voice sells just how much this amuses Archer.

The launch of the Intrepid was fantastic including two great visual gags. The first being Malory being too small for her suit and only seeing her bulging eyes during takeoff and then Drake switching off Archers Oxygen supply and basically calling him out for being an asshole. I loved how all episode long Drake did not take any shit from Archer and called him out for it and maintained that single minded drive to get to Mars.

Once in space the ISIS crew realize that they are off course because Archer stowed away Pam and Cheryl (basically Pam's weight causing the issues and Archer wanting her around for sex). Archer shooting Pam and Cyril with the stun gun was fantastic and I assumed he had an erection.

The attack on the Horizon mutineers was great especially Archer kicking space pirates ass! They make it to Captain Kellogg (the first black astranaught!) and we come to the greatest line reading in Archer history where we learn that Drake and his crew are the mutineers and they bought Lana along to create a new world on Mars. Welcome to the Danger Zone indeed!

Stray Observations

A fantastic episode that was not only masterfully plotted and executed but was beautiful to look at. I know that I have been basically kissing ARCHERS ass for like 3 episode reviews but respect must be given to a show that is this funny and this well planned out and this well executed and just this fucking awesome. Shows like Fringe never attempt to get their characters right or their plot or their narrative, it is disjointed and shitty and frustrating as hell. Whereas Archer (for a cartoon) pays incredible attention to detail and actually has respect for their fans intelligence and sense of taste. Archer lives in the past and present the references could be from the 60's (slide rules and Tang) or current (Space exploration in this economy?) and yet they respect us enough to just expect us to understand what is going on, there is no need for shitty dialogue that plagues lesser shows like Fringe or other network bullshit out there. The read a book line at the end was great because ARCHER does put in some obscure references (see they expect us to have the intelligence to understand said reference, SEE, Respect!) and so Archer calling the guy Davenport the father of Eugenics was brilliant especially when the guy did not know what it meant.

Bryan Cranston is fucking awesome as one would expect and him being here just shows how much respect he has for this show and the people on it, if you read any of his interviews or listen to any of the Breaking Bad podcast you will know that he can be very picky on what roles he takes on. He likes hard working actors and a crew that knows their shit and is very dedicated to what they do and him being here tells you that I am not alone in knowing that Archer has had 2 bordering on 3 banner seasons of television.

Rating: 99/100

Space Race Part 2
This episode is only slightly down on the previous one but only slightly. Cranston is again terrific in showcasing Drake going more and more insane (ala Walter White) in trying to live his crazy assed dream of colonizing Mars and he keeps on saying crazier and crazier shit and ultimately kills himself when he knows his dreams are dying. Archer knowing what Animal Farm was is brilliant and yet again it is a moment where the show is referencing the 60's/70's and yet being in the present that tests a fans intelligence in the best possible way. When Archer goes on and on about Kellogg being the first black man in space I kept thinking that it is 2012 and that is not a bid deal but they could be commentating on America's poor history with regards to African Americans in the 60's and before so that was awesome. Cheryl hating babies is never not funny especially if they have to crawl out of their vagina's, her being just as crazy as Drake is a treat because at its heart all of ISIS are fucking assholes and are unaware just how well they fit into Drakes plans. Archer with a towel shows that being from a boarding school has its advantages as does the payoff to Cyril knowing how to land the intrepid.

Malory did not have a huge part but that is fine. I loved that Archer for a moment put his ego aside to let the ISIS crew escape and this Barry lives to fight another day. But of course Archer being Archer has to be an asshole and tries to land the Intrepid and it made me laugh that when he realised that he had fucked up he let Cyril take over and blamed him for the crash. Malory being Malory stopped health benefits and Ray is back in a wheel chair, wonderful. I for selfish reasons hope that Ray is out of the chair next season because he is an excellent character and is great in the field. Archer noting that Ray already had a chair and need not be pissed was fantastic and had me in tears. Archer is such an asshole, but him being an asshole is what makes us root for him that much harder.

Stray Observations

There is an argument that this season has been just as good as season 2 and far be it for me to disagree. The limited was an episode that will go down as one of the best episodes of 2012 due to it being top to bottom awesome. The pirate episodes were fantastic as was Burt Reynolds starring role, production values have been fantastic and one can tell that Reed and Co have been given a bigger budget this season and they have used it well. The space episodes were beautiful, the train episode was wonderful and the massive car chase in 3.04 was just balls out cheesy and wonderful in every aspect. What I love about Archer is that it can embrace its owns idiocy and cheesiness and say fuck it and go all out and that is best exemplified in a great Burt Reynolds car chase. When a show looks at all the things critics and network execs say will kill a show (smart dialogue, serialization, asshole characters that an average fan would not root for) and looks death in the face and says whatever man! you know they are on a path to greatness and Archer is up there for me with Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Homeland, Justified, etc. This is a lesson to all TV execs out there and thank fuck for FX, take chances and go for it people you will not be disappointed in the results, put your heart out there and let everyone enjoy the wonders that are Sterling Archer and co...you may never know this but a fan will give you his heart back!

Rating: 95/100

Season Rating: 98/100

HGF: Thanks, Shawn! I now may have to fire one of these lazy bastages who normally write for this site, trend setter!


5 comments:

  1. Your welcome! Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I thought the final two episodes were the best of the series.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just watched the final episode and I cannot believe I missed Cranston saying "Lets put a pin in that" aka the same line he used in one of the funniest scenes in Breaking Bad's history (Kitchen scene with Walt and Jesse (episode 747 season 2)). Also the whole slave situation and how Archer could not believe the Black guy was not offended. Finally Lana's tits and for a cartoon they were not drooping!

      Delete
  3. I forgot to mention that Adam Reed told Mo Ryan and Ryan McGee on their podcast that one main character would die this season and no main character died so maybe he was playing on words and meant Jackoff. It does not bother me I can accept him changing his mind since he may have had a chance to work out a better deal when FX renewed ARCHER for a 4th season and he was allowed to keep all the characters on full time.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great review, not very objective since you mentioned you love the show but still fantastic. I would put the finale at 97 out of 100 but otherwise good stuff. I should have known it was a guest review since it is a little wordy :)

    ReplyDelete