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Archer continues its trend of character-based flashback episodes with this week’s “Tragical History”. Today’s episode focuses on the (alleged) sex addict, comptroller Cyril Figus. You could tell right off the bat that this was going to be tragic, not only because of the title, but also because everyone at ISIS hates him. The episode’s main plot focuses on Cyril giving in to pressure and uploading an virus to the ISIS mainframe just so he can look like a hero. What he didn’t expect was people to hate him so badly that they wouldn’t even let him help.
Even though we have good reason to hate everyone at ISIS, they’re all so funny that we want to hear what they say next, but Cyril doesn’t have anything funny to work with. He’s the straight man. If you go back and look at all the other episodes of Archer, Cyril has had no brilliant one-liners like the others. He is simply there to make everyone else look funny and set up jokes. Making him a “sex addict” has provided a great source of humor, but again, it is at his expense. Even though he does eventually get around to saving the day, he doesn’t do anything to make you like him in anyway. They give you a brief flashback of his father being disappointed at the regional spelling bee, but we already knew he had father issues. The whole time he’s on screen, he provides set up material for Archer.
The secondary plot, as usual, focuses on the other members of ISIS that didn’t get the spotlight for the week and the hilarity they get into as a result of the main plotline. While these sub-plots have never been bad, they usually pale in comparison to the main stuff. This week, the main plot was actually better than the stuff we were getting with Cyril and Archer. Why? Because of Krieger of course. It’s no secret that I absolutely love Krieger and every time he’s on screen, I end up hurting from laughter. This week was no different. We’re given a glimpse into the stupid stuff the Krieger has done for ISIS. We also learn the love of his life turns out to be a realistic-looking anime hologram. In fact, the hologram is so real that the state of New York is allowing them to get married. It’s pure gold and it’s good to know that the writer knows that Krieger is a small dose character in episodes that don’t focus on him. Still, I cannot wait for the next episode that focuses on him.
What can they do to fix all this? Change Cyril’s character slowly over the course of the season. Show him change into something that we never would have thought he could be. Then we have some great jokes, a new character to love and some genuine character development — something that animated comedies tend to lack nowadays, save for Venture Bothers.
Overall, this episode was fairly entertaining and Krieger was absolutely hilarious, but if you’re going to pull a “Lost” and focus on a character’s history for the whole episode, he has to be entertaining to watch. If Archer hadn’t been with him for the episode, I would have given this episode a much lower rating.