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September 4, 2015

'Archer' Season 2, Episode 4 Recap

by Maureen Ryan, posted Feb 17th 2011 10:50PM
['Archer' - 'Pipeline Fever']

Sterling Archer's mission in the bayou country was the best of times, and it was the worst of times.

He got to pilot an airboat with the smokin' hot Lana Kane by his side, but once the boat's engines blew out, he was stuck in a swamp with a very angry 'gator.

Nobody said this spying business was easy.

The highlight of 'Pipeline Fever' had to be finding out what Acher's top three fears are: alligators, crocodiles and brain aneurysms, in that order. Hmm. I'd have thought "finding an, er, device in mom's desk drawer" would rank pretty high on that list, but perhaps that came in at No. 4. Let's hope a rival spy agency doesn't find out what Archer's weaknesses are, or the staff of ISIS could find their offices overrun with a 'gator invasion.

Wait a minute, 'Gator Invasion' sounds like the movie that Burt Reynolds was born to star in. Someone make that happen a.s.a.p.

I got the impression that 'Pipeline Fever' was more or less an excuse for 'Archer' to pay tribute to Burt Reynolds, Jerry Reed and the good ol' boy action films of the '70s and '80s. I have not seen Reed's performance as Bama McCall in the 1976 film 'Gator,' a situation Thursday's episode of 'Archer' made me want to rectify immediately.

As for Archer, he can be a weird, twisted guy, but it's not always about hookers and mommy issue for him. Sure, it's mostly about hookers and mommy issues, but his pure, juvenile enjoyment at revving an airboat through the swamp was infectious. And for once, the vacation/mission brought out his considerate side. I mean, he packed the boat with grilling supplies and beer for him and Lana to enjoy out there. Sure, Lana burned her hands on the dry ice, but a little appreciation of his extensive planning for the mission would have been nice.

Also nice: Finding out that Lana once rocked an Angela Davis-Sweet Lou Dunbar afro. It was a hot look for her, but in other ways, she was the same old Lana. It wasn't a surprise to learn that, even in her younger days, she tended to get involved with people she worked with, including a professor/budding ecoterrorist. It's a pattern, Lana. Look into that.

If there was a very slight weakness to the episode, it was the Lana-Archer bickering on the boat. I tend to like stories that involve the whole ISIS team; when that dysfunctional crew is all together, the opportunities for odd interaction are almost limitless.

Last week's episode, which was ably reviewed by Ryan McGee here, had such fast and furious dialogue that felt like an enjoyably filthy tribute to Preston Sturges' screwball comedies. It's a distinct pleasure to see these weirdos react off each other and the timing of those frisky, strange conversations can be sublime (I think my favorite part of last week's episode was Krieger's offscreen voice shouting "Me too!" every few minutes). Lana and Archer just firing irritated insults at each other, on the other hand, can get a little wearing at times.

I also wonder what people made of the environmental themes woven through the episode, from Malory's efforts to get ISIS those "freebie socialist tax credits" to the efforts to save the wildlife refuge (so that the big corporation could keep on making money from pumping stuff through it). Don't get me wrong, I don't think 'Archer' was trying to make some grand point about the environment, but occasionally, amid the flying bullets and general insanity, sincere moments do happen on this show, and that's cool with me. I think Lana really does have a soft spot in her heart for wildlife. Especially if one of those wild animals threatens to bite one of Archer's appendages off.

It's time for a bullet list of great lines and minor observations:

• Looks like we'll have to add Krieger's "Also, yes" to the list of awesome 'Archer' catchphrases.

• I always find it amusing how 'Archer' mixes aesthetic styles and eras more or less on a whim, yet it all makes sense together. The flight attendant on Archer's plane had a '60s-era beehive and dress, yet later a giant cordless phone from the '80s was in use.

• The pop-culture references were flying thick and fast, as usual, but the one I enjoyed most was the reference to "one lousy Lorax."

• "Everything out here wants to either eat me or give me malaria."

• I love that nobody told Pam that there is a women's restroom. And that apparently the guys didn't mind her using their facilities.

• "Burt Reynolds is my spirit guide."

• "Suck it, Samwise."

• "Well, if you like the collar, you're going to love the cuffs."

• "You ruined the moment!"

'Archer' airs 10PM ET Thursdays on FX.

Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

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Isaiah Bradford III

Yeah, that was a great episode and they never fail to disappoint. Knowing Sterling's greatest fears was hilarious as was his constant reverence/reference to Burt Reynolds, Gator and White Lightning. Like you, those two have immediately jumped to the top of my Netflix cue.

Not letting Pam use or know about the women's bathroom was brilliant. Where did she think Cheryl, Lana and Malory went to the bathroom? The best line was when Cyril said what she did in the bathroom "should be considered a war crime".

I really love this show. It's wrong, violent, offensive, graphic and fraking hilarious. And I've discovered something:

Kreiger is to Archer
Creed is to The Office

February 18 2011 at 2:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Katie S

I was worried after the last two episodes that Archer might fallen from its peak of hilariously orchestrated absurdity, but this one has quelled my fears far better than that crossbow quelled the gator

February 18 2011 at 10:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bitchin' Brad

For God's sake Pam! Have you no sense of decency?! That bathroom's like a... a war crime!!

February 17 2011 at 11:56 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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