ARCHER 2.11 ‘Jeu Monegasque’

Archer and company head to Monaco and the hot streak is over.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "Jeu Monegasque"
Writer: Adam Reed

No TV show can ever be expected to hit a homerun every time out, but I think we may have been spoiled by the last few episodes of "Archer" which elevated the series into darker and more hilarious territory. Coming off of that streak, almost anything would have been a let down. But this episode felt particularly disappointing compared to the rest of the series.
Which isn't to say that there aren't some bright spots and good jokes along the way. This week's episode finds Mallory Archer (Jessica Walter), Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler) and Ray Gillette (Adam Reed) in Monaco during the Grand Prix to make a secret exchange with $4 million in Bearer Bonds, most of which Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) manages to lose within 20 minutes on the casino floor. Meanwhile, back at ISIS, Cyril (Chris Parnell) and the rest of the gang learn that Mallory stole their 401k money and they go to extreme measures to get it back.
Weirdly enough, this was almost a showcase episode for Ray despite not being directly about him. In the second season, Ray's been treated more like a main character, but he hasn't really been able to get his own story yet. Here, Ray is the first person to discover what Archer did and he becomes Archer's reluctant wingman in attempting to get it back despite the constant verbal abuse from both Archer and his mother.
When Lana finally gets involved, the plan hinges upon Ray's ability to impersonate Mallory, in full drag. And when he gets a chance to change out of the outfit, Ray turns it down, leading to some funny shots of Ray as Mallory for the rest of the episode. The only downside to Ray's appearance here is that he kind of leaves Archer and Lana in the lurch during the car chase/helicopter battle by pretending to have car trouble. Sure, it might have been an astute move to survive, but it's hard to respect that.
As bad as Archer himself is (and Mallory sums up his flaws pretty succulently early on), he isn't a coward and his moves during the chase sequence were action hero worthy. His antics in the casino were also pretty amusing, from his constant demand for whores and bath towels folded like swans to his quick collapse at the dealer's table. I also loved his brief flashback to himself as a child, dressed as Charlie Chaplin… who he now assumes was actually Hitler. Mallory as Elvira was also appropriately funny. Nice to see that her parenting skills haven't changed much. 
I did like the callbacks to earlier this season, with the reappearance of Archer's back tattoos from episode 8 and the reminder that Cheryl is a formerly secret millionaire. And for once, the ISIS subplot actually did have a reason to exist because of the Mallory's actions in the main storyline. Dr. Krieger (Lucky Yates) seemed kind of eager to sell his inventions to the gang bangers… almost as eager as Pam (Amber Nash) was to blow them!
But in the end, it just didn't come together as well as the earlier episodes this season. Hopefully, a new streak will begin next episode.
Here are your top five "Archer" moments of the week:

Archer: "You can't tell her. Or Lana… They'll think less of me."
Ray: "And I won't?!"
Archer: "i don't care what you think!"
Lana: "Then, having retrieved your mother's disgusting sextape…"
Archer: "Umm… allegedly disgusting… Although, probably disgusting."
Ray: "No, I'm sharing it with you and it's the last [room] in the hotel. No view, but it's got two queens."
Mallory: "Where's the other one? Greasing up in the bathroom?"
Mallory: "Don't worry, Nosey Parker, you won't. But it's a lot more interesting than my afternoon. You'd think that Duke had never been with a woman before!"
Archer: "Would vomit, too tired."
Benoit: "Madam, the only way you will have this suite is over my lifeless corpse. Perhaps that will teach you to [respect] the proud people of Monaco! Now, if you will excusez moi, I must go find fresh towels… and a whore."

Crave Online Rating: 6.5 out of 10.