Episode Title: "Lo Scandalo"
Writer: Adam Reed
This week's episode of "Archer" was a murder mystery of sorts, told almost entirely in one location. If this was a live action series, "Lo Scandalo" would have been called a very clever bottle episode. Instead, we can just call it a brilliant installment.
The opening moments capture a real sense of nervous terror on the face of Mallory Archer (Jessica Walter), as she sits in the dark holding a gun and an alcoholic drink. She's alone except for the Prime Minister of Italy, who happens to be sitting across from her strapped down in a bondage chair while wearing a skintight zentai. Oh… and he's also got five bullets in him.
Naturally, Mallory calls in her son, Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) — who was apparently devising a new punishment for Woodhouse (George Coe) on a Friday night — and Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler); neither of whom appreciate being drawn into Mallory's apparent crime of sordid passion. Mallory claims that three assassins broke in and killed the Prime Minister, while she returned fire with three wild shots that hit the wall by her door. But it isn't until Mallory shows them that she was shot in the arm that Archer and Lana finally believe her.
Not that it matters. In Archer's world, getting rid of a dead body isn't as easy as you might suspect… although I'm sure that Archer would argue that coveralls would disguise their movements. So, Archer brings in Dr. Krieger (Lucky Yates); who hilariously takes morbid pleasure in his task, to the point of posing with the corpse pre-disposal for his camera phone.
Under false pretenses, Krieger also invited all of the main players from ISIS: Pam Poovey (Amber Nash), Cyril Figgis (Chris Parnell), Cheryl Tunt (Judy Greer) and Ray Gillette (Adam Reed) just so he would have enough people to smuggle the body out of the building in pieces and hopefully dispose of it at different locations to create a smiley face on the map if police ever manage to track down the entire body.
To complicate matters, Police Detective Murphy shows up at Mallory's apartment after receiving an anonymous tip that the Prime Minister had been killed there shortly before the detective's arrival. Clearly, the killer must have done this to frame Mallory for the crime.
At this point, the episode kicked the comedy into high gear, as Archer and the ISIS gang "borrowed" Mallory's fancy clothes and pretended to be guests of an "elegant dinner party," with Lana as the reluctant French maid, Calpernia. Judy Greer was in particular high form as Cheryl's fake snob voice was unbelievably funny, as was Archer's. But Ray may have topped them both with an effete accent that managed to insult Cyril with something that may have been true.
There's even some great tension as Mallory considers killing the detective when he gets too close to finding the body, only to learn that Krieger was eerily efficient in dismembering the Prime Minister's corpse. Clearly, this isn't the first time that Krieger has done this. As a parting gift, Krieger even kept the dildo that had been stuffed in the dead man's butt… presumably before he died. Did I not mention that the scene discovered by Lana and Archer was so depraved that Sterling went a tirade about never being able to eat spaghetti and meatballs again… right before trying to make spaghetti sauce?
One of the best things about "Lo Scandalo" was that it gave most of the main characters a chance to remind us of who they are at their core. When his mother is facing a life or death situation, Sterling is preoccupied by how hungry he is. But that's not to say that Archer doesn't care about his mother. Why, he even volunteered to rough her up to better sell her "self-defense" argument. Mallory also showed us that her sex drive hasn't slowed down in her later years, and I dare you not to laugh at her last line of the episode: "Bow chica bow bow, ahuh huh!" Most of all, we learned just how devious that Mallory can be.
Because even after constant verbal abuse from Archer while she was dressed as Calpernia, Lana still figured out that Mallory killed the Prime Minister and tricked them all into helping her dispose of the body. Mallory even called the cops herself with the tip about the body, so that when the real investigation into the Prime Minister's disappearance begins, the official record will show that her apartment was clean and that she had several dinner guests who could act as her alibi.
So, why did Mallory kill her annual lover, the Prime Minister? Her motivation actually stems back to one of the core questions of the series: who is Archer's father? We still don't know for sure who that is, but the man that Mallory describes does sound a lot like Archer… except for his willingness to speak out against fascism in Italy during Operation Gladio; a cold war initiative that actually existed! Nice touch, Adam Reed.
The Prime Minister was involved with the death of Mallory's one-time lover, and so she held a grudge for years and only spared his life until now because the sex was very satisfying… before the Prime Minister's sexual fetishes finally turned her off. In her own twisted way, Mallory really did want to avenge someone who had been close to her. And although Mallory is a well-known liar, only the Prime Minister learns why she killed him, so it lends her story a little more credibility than usual.
The story of "Lo Scandalo" was really well done and I loved the random callback jokes like Mallory's hatred of the Irish, potatoes and the king of Italy. When "Archer" is on its game, it's easily one of the funniest shows on television. And this was one of the best of the season so far.
These are your top "Archer" moments of the week.
Lana: "So Mallory, what happened? Can you walk us through the crime?"
Archer : "Just the crime of murder, not the crime of sodomy by rubber eggplant."
Archer: "Self-defense, mother. It's your only shot. We've got to uncuff him and de-dildo him. Obviously, we'll smash the furniture like he was chasing you around all rape-y. Fortunately, he's Italian, so that shouldn't be too hard to sell."
Lana: "So, we've got a dead Italian Prime Minister in the living room, which-"
Archer: "Which sucks! I'll be he knew how to make sauce."
Lana: "Which will be hard to explain, especially given the circumstances leading up to his death… which were-"
Archer: "Eh… a potato, a dildo.
Archer: "I have a question, mother. Why does this chair have no seat? And what is in his ass?!"
Archer: "Well, you definitely nailed it. I mean, if this doesn't just scream romance!"
Archer: "What, Lana?! What's more romantic than a dildo party/murder?!'"
Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.