Episode Title: "Placebo Effect"
Writer: Adam Reed
It hasn’t been a good month for Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin), but it’s been great for "Archer" the series.
Following up on last week’s episode, Archer still has breast cancer… but he’s feeling remarkably well considering the chemotherapy and drugs he’s been taking. Archer’s lack of symptoms make Dr. Krieger (Lucky Yates) suspicious and he soon learns that Archer’s drugs are nothing more than sugar pills and Zima.
Thus begins one of the darkest episodes of "Archer" to date as he goes on a self-described "rampage" with Lana (Aisha Tyler). And when I say it gets dark, I’m not kidding. Archer casually mows down Irish mobsters left and right, shoves a live grenade up someone’s ass and ultimately kills an old crippled man… who happens to be the Irish mob boss behind the cancer drug swap.
Archer at his most kickass can be pretty funny by itself. And his overwhelming anger alongside some surprising wit gave Sterling the majority of the best lines this time out. I loved Archer’s Richard Dawson impression as he played "Family Feud" with some captured mobsters. This episode also played to Archer’s rarely seen humanity, as he developed a real friendship with Ruth; a fellow cancer patient who was also victimized by the lack of real cancer drugs.
The proceedings get a little ridiculous when Archer starts his real chemo treatment mid-rampage and suffers from the immediate physical affects. And I get the impression that the ending was too dark for even Adam Reed or FX, as the pullback reveals that Archer was in remission for his cancer for three months while making his colleagues watch the footage from his rampage edited into a film he called "Terms of Enragement." If the episode had simply stopped after Archer blew Freddy Delaney
away it would have been a masterful way to end it, even if it wasn’t exactly a happy ending or a cure for Archer.
The subplot at ISIS didn’t add a whole lot to the episode itself. Basically, Cyril (Chris Parnell) figures out that Krieger’s father was a German scientist hiding out in Brazil after WWII. Mallory Archer (Jessica Walter) later reveals that Krieger himself may actually be the genetic clone of Adolf Hitler; which is funny for a few moments. But it just stopped there and didn’t affect Archer’s story at all. Ultimately, it just seemed like a way to keep the supporting cast involved, but it felt like a waste of time.
Regardless, this was a really strong episode of "Archer" and I’m not sure how the rest of the season can top the last two episodes. If anything, I’d love to see "Archer" go even darker this. Who knew that this show could go "Charles Bronson" and still be hilarious?
Our top five "Archer" moments of the week are:
Archer: "Hmmm…. C*** flavored spit. Well… you never know what’s gonna be on the board!"
Cheryl: "Duh! I actually have no idea."
Pam: "No s***."
Cheryl: "Yeah, I don’t know why I do that."
Archer: "Thanks, Woodsy…. The drug owl. Now, shut up and kick in the door for me. And do it bad ass like I would if I still had toe nails."
Lana: "You’re just going to leave him with a grenade up his ass"
Archer: "Yes, Lana! I’m on a rampage! And also kidding, it’s a smoke grenade."
(the very real grenade then blows up)
Archer: "Cry havoc and let slip the hogs of war."
Lana: "Dogs… of war."
Archer: "Whatever kind of farm animal of war, Lana! Shut up!"
Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.