24 February, 2013

Review - ARCHER 4.06: 'Once Bitten'


Another guest review. -- HGF

During pre-season interviews, Adam Reed emphasized that ARCHER was going to concentrate more on serialized storytelling. This season has explored Archer's mommy issues, friendships (or lack thereof), daddy issues, relationships (past and present) and his innermost fears. The previous episodes touched on these topics in a humorous and light beat fashion. This episode went deeper.

Once Bitten provided us with an emotional and in-depth analysis of Sterling Archer while paying homage to a wonderful book called The Natural which tells the story of a baseball player named Roy Hobbs. Like Hobbs, Archer lives a lonely existence where he has no friends and no one to loves him.

This season has gone to great pains to paint a picture of Archer being lost in his own inadequacies. It is easy for the show to rely on these traits as a source of humor, but when they take the time to explore what made him into the man he is today, it can be a breathtaking journey that changes everything we know.

Paralleling Roy's history with Archer's enables the show to dig deep into the psychosis of a man who is simply not just an alcoholic womanizer with mommy issues. They provide Archer with a pathos, and allow us to empathize with a man who deep down is a scared child, who craves a maternal/paternal figure who will choose him over everything and everybody.

I will never look at Archer in the same way, and I have a greater understanding of why he hates alligators.  Alligators are to Archer what baseball is to Roy Hobbes: daddy.

Excellent episode.

Grade A

Stray Observations

- So, Lana's dream is to run ISIS? Hmmm, interesting.

- The lengths this show goes to hurt Ray are becoming epic. Please keep going.

- Cyril, when are you going to not suck at this field work?

- Cheryl/Carol: way to go with the insight, even if you did not know what you were saying.

- Mallory Archer is an evil bitch, and if there is any redemption for Sterling, I hope he quits ISIS.

- Turkmenistan people are funny, with all their weird words that mean the same thing.

-- Shawn Mahone

15 comments:

  1. I just thought this episode was really funny with archer being out of it for most of the episode. The situations that everyone else where dealing with

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    1. It was a funny episode Greg, on one level. I suppose like the Community episode Critical Film Studies, where you needed to know the film My Dinner with Andre to appreciate the emotional beats, here you needed to know the novel The Natural. If you have time give it a read, it may answer all of Archer's daddy issues or maybe not.

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  2. This is my last review, thanks for having me.

    Shawn Mahone

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    1. Thanks for your submissions! May the Force be with you.

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    2. You're welcome. I may post another review somewhere on the Internet, I do not know where, yet.

      Cheers for letting me do it on your site.

      Shawn Mahone

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  3. This was one of the best Archer episodes yet. Not only the Natural, but if you've seen Heaven can Wait, this is one that merits re-watching.

    SpyTV

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    1. Which one? There are two movies. One in the 70's and another one I think in the 40's. This episode basically did a play by play of the first chapter of the Natural, lol. I may need to see Heaven can Wait to see which one applies.

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    2. Heaven can wait is the remake done in the 1970's. James Mason plays Mr. Jordan (The original movie was titled "Here comes Mr. Jordan"). Warren Beatty starred in the remake, wore a sweatsuit, and played the clarinet (badly!). Where did you think all the references to James Mason (and the pretty good voice impression) came from ?! That scene where Archer is at the waystation playing the clarinet in the clouds is directly from Heaven can Wait (except the part where he whacks Buck Henry with the clarinet!). Nice review.

      SpyTV

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    3. Well, we learn something new everyday! Awesome spot SpyTV!

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  4. Archer got a 1.1 for this episode in the key demo. It has gotten at the lowest a 0.8 and I think since it is on par with shows that are more expensive to produce it may be renewed...I hope.

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    1. It is in no danger of being cancelled.

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    2. I wonder why they have not renewed it already? I mean, they have renewed the Americans, which has far worse ratings in the key demo, at this moment in time.

      Plus, I think FX already has a deal with Adam Reed's animation firm, to do at least 1 more season of work.

      Then again, FX does leave some renewals late, like Justified.

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    3. I don't think the question is "Why haven't they renewed ARCHER yet" but "Why did they renew THE AMERICANS so early?"

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  5. JUST AS I PREDICTED:

    ARCHER RENEWED for a 13 episode 5th SEASON!

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  6. Yeah, cool. In the key demo it is outperforming a lot of FX's other shows, so I was not suprised. Great news.

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