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October 24, 2014

'Archer' Season 2, Episode 13 Recap (Season Finale)

by Maureen Ryan, posted Apr 22nd 2011 10:30AM
['Archer' - 'Double Trouble']

What a terrific ending to the second season of 'Archer.' It was as if the whole episode were designed just for me.

We had the whole gang together trading quips and barbs furiously, we had actual stakes for Archer (his real love for Katya threw everyone at ISIS off balance) and we even had an extra helping of Krieger and his anime girlfriend.

What more could anyone want?

Ryan McGee and I talked about 'Archer' in this week's Talking TV podcast, noting all the ways in which the show pleased us in its strong second season, and 'Double Trouble' gave us many examples of that satisfying progress. It was actually credible that Archer fell sincerely, head-over-heels in love with Katya, because, as we've seen, he is kind of a jerk but, as his bout with cancer taught us, he's not always caddish and selfish and mean. The stakes were real for him, which gave the story (and some of its comedic moments) that extra zing.

It was equally credible that the ISIS gang would band together against Archer to get rid of this Russian menace in their midst -- she had persuaded ISIS' top agent to stop drinking, for God's sake. She was dangerous!

It turns out the Russian escapade was, as I thought, mainly setup for this week's episode -- it gave Barry yet more reasons to want Archer dead, and it brought together those star-crossed lovers, Katya and Archer. Truth be told, I'll miss Katya, because a love-struck Archer is something we haven't seen before and seeing him in puppy-dog mode was pretty amusing. That may be the real accomplishment of season 2 -- the show didn't just rely on a formula each week. Some week's were more surreal or pop-culture-saturated or serious than others, but they all had that unmistakable 'Archer'-ian voice.

Which comes up with hilarious lines like, "It's okay, it was just cancer sex," and the great Krieger line, "That was my van."

Oh, the Krieger van was even more creepily delightful than I could have imagined. From the Rush-inspired painting to the chain-link steering wheel to the projection of his girlfriend in the back seat, it was a thing of stalkerish beauty. As you probably know, I can't get enough of Krieger (that's a disturbing phrase, isn't it?), and the running subplot about his canceled wedding was genius. There's no doubt that if Krieger had married an actual human woman, her head would have ended up in his freezer at some point. At this stage, his anime bride should be glad that Krieger-san is content to merely bicker with her like half of an old married couple.

But several of the supporting characters got moments to shine, from Pam, for whom hard partying is not only a way of life but a physical danger, to Ray, who just happened to be a licensed minister. That's not so surprising, actually. I just wonder if his minister days were before or after the "pray away the gay" era in his life.

As for Archer, who knows how he'll take the death of Katya in the long run. Will it be an event that carries over into the next season, or a mere blip that sends him into the arms of the nearest escort? I think it'll be the former rather than the latter. I don't know about you, but I'm convinced that the ISIS team needs to hunt down Bionic Barry and take him out. He always ruins everything!

In any event, the episode certainly was the explosive climax I was hoping for.

....Wait, I had something for this.

Here's my final season 2 bullet list of notes, observations and favorite quotes (as always, feel free to add yours in comments):

• Loved Archer's Cyril-like, "Hello!" when discovered with Katya in his mother's office.

• "What in the name of prepaid venereal disease are you doing here?"

• "It's OK, we can hear from out here." "With our earballs!"

• "Krieger-san, my cherry blossoms are wilting!"

• "Something about stripes and solids...."

• "Oh, you are just your mother all over again!!"

• Bad planning on the Russian's part -- you'd think they'd have put some kind of control chip in Barry's software so that he would do what they wanted. Ah well, the KGB agents got what they wanted in the end.

• "I bet mother was hitting star again."

• "Hang on, hasty pudding."

• "Reset the [expletive] meter!"

• Archer may have been scarred for life when he was spanked with a ping-pong paddle, but did you notice a ping-pong paddle in his bedroom, in the background of one of his Katya scenes?

• "Dude, this van's, like, rolling probable cause."

• "We will talk about it in the van!!"

• And that's all for 'Archer' until it returns in September alongside 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.' Three episodes will air then, and the rest of the third season will air in early 2012.

• If you really need some more H. Jon Benjamin before then, you can always check out 'Bob's Burgers' on Fox, which, as many critics have noted, has gotten more amusing than it was when it debuted a couple of months ago. The animated show, which has Benjamin voicing a hapless dad who runs a burger restaurant, is actually pretty good these days. It's no 'Archer,' but it's worth a look.


Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

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Wade Kwon

An homage to the end of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," yes?

April 24 2011 at 1:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cgeye

Yes, it was a great episode, but it's a damn shame they killed off Katya so soon....

After the cancer arc, it was a luxury to see Archer as both less of a douche and through the eyes of someone who truly accepted him, as his chemo friend and Katya did. The deep characterization under Archer's facade? No one not controlled by his mother has ever really loved him, and Archer knowing the depths of mindgames Malory has played has damaged him, almost permanently. Seeing someone *not* controlled by Malory think he's worth treating as a human -- calling him on his crap but also giving him the benefit of the doubt, douche-wise -- is so rare in his world that I'd like to see that a little more.

But, we takes what we can get. the future ex-Mrs. Dr. Krieger, in a regular episode, would be enough....

But, Barry? He wasn't funny, to me. His suffering at the hands of Archer never was, and now that he's a bionic freak working for the other side? Meh. He used to function like Ray, as a critic of Archer's worst behavior, even though his macking on Lana was distasteful (yet expected, in that environment).

And, I missed a minute or two (watching the Sidney Lumet retrospective, God rest his soul....) Did Krieger explain why his wedding was off? I thought with his beloved returned, everything would be jake....
Now, he's a Big-Bad plot point, which is sad -- and you'd think Malory, having seen his metal chest, would have known to go for the headshot? Mebbe she met her goal of ruining her boy's wedding, after all....

April 22 2011 at 2:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cgeye's comment
cgeye

(I meant to switch the order of the last two paragraphs, and *Barry's* a Big-Bad plot point... sheesh.)

April 22 2011 at 2:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cgeye's comment
Mo Ryan

Krieger said society "couldn't handle" the idea of him wedding his anime bride.

Agreed about Barry, he isn't my favorite character either. But at least we didn't have to spend the whole episode with him. I was surprised they killed off Katya, but I also agree it's good to let Archer have real emotional stakes sometimes.

April 22 2011 at 3:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

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