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Archer Vice – House Call Review: A Fun Set-Up

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On the latest installment of Archer Vice, “House Call,” the former ISIS gang now turned amateur drug dealers face yet another hitch in their un-masterful pursuit when FBI agent, Holly pays an unwelcome visit to the Tunt mansion and sends everyone into panic, ‘hide the cocaine’ mode.  Like last week’s installment, the narrative consists of mainly one story and takes place entirely inside Cheryl/Carol’s “ancestral home” as she would say and once again we are treated to some great ensemble material and fun character interactions.

What other show has running gags about the metric system and internet porn in the same episode? And they are both equally hilarious. It doesn’t make sense, yet Archer is able to pull it off wonderfully. This episode just goes to show how well Adam Reed established a brand of humor as well as style for the show and manages to keep up with it and avoid it getting stale. Archer’s repeated amazement and disgust of all the weird fetish porn genres never gets old and builds up to reveal that Archer prefers Minitel to the internet, which is just an amusingly obscure, weird joke.  And every time someone reluctantly employs the metric system it is not only funny that they are so proficient in their conversions but also they add something to the initial gag, like Malory’s, “…2.27 kilograms then. Who are you Thomas Corwin Mendenhall?” and Archer’s delightfully vulgar BJ joke. Not to mention the return of “phrasing,” or should I say the end of it? Is this truly the demise of the beloved, long running “phrasing” gag? If so, I am heartbroken, the series always got a lot of mileage out of that very simple but always fun joke. “House Call” again takes advantage of all the characters being in the same setting to build these running gags and keep up an admirable pace.

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While all of the action is restricted to the confines of the mansion, the characters branch out into their own little groups and create little mini-threads that all tie back to the larger storyline of the episode. This gives us classic pairing like Cheryl/Carol and Pam being ridiculous together. These two have always been a great duo, Cheryl/Carol’s outrage at the thought of them killing Pam and her love for “Queen Kong” only emphasize their endearing bond and relationship. It is quite nice to see them two being idiots together, just like the good ol’ ISIS days. But it wasn’t just Pam and Cheryl/Carol that got some one on one time. After backing off for a while, the show delves into the always complicated, often sweet and hilariously contentious relationship between Lana and Archer.

As always, Archer reveals a surprisingly caring side of himself, but quickly covers it up with his general immature douchey-ness and Lana pretty much admits that she can’t live without him. Whoah. Of course the heartfelt moment doesn’t last long, but it is there. While I thought that much of the relationship material in the fourth season was somewhat repetitive and boring and even uncharacteristic at times, this season’s take on their bond is more interesting. Especially now that Lana is pregnant, she has more than just herself to take into consideration, and is battling those crazy hormones, cannot wait till she gives birth which will surely complicate things further. And it hasn’t been touched on in every single episode, as long as it continues to be this more sporadic approach, then I look forward to the development of theirrelationship.

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As one pair makes moves towards closeness another falls apart. Ron has officially had it with Malory’s shenanigans and leaves. This is definitely a good move because; while Ron is occasionally funny (last week’s episode was a good showing) there isn’t much of a role for him in this narrative. And as a partner for Malory he always seemed too safe and boring, he is a Cadillac salesman after all and all he had to do in this new scenario was complain about the constant insanity. There is no place for that in this show, you either add to the insanity or get lost. Last week we saw how Malory’s priorities aligned and Ron is not first up on the list, so I don’t think she is particularly heartbroken (though she does seem concerned for her furs), plus it will be fun to have a single Malory again as her inappropriate sexual adventures were always a source of great material, much to Archer’s chagrin.

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“House Call” definitely works as a set up episode, not much in story progression, but certainly introduces stuff to come. It is the introduction of Agent Holly that creates the most impact as it provides us with a clear antagonist for the rest of the season and ultimately encourages Malory’s decision to send Archer around the world and try to “sell out to an international cartel.” Also, Krieger decides to inject Cheryl/Carol with his mind control mini-chip, which introduces us to the fabulous Cherlene, country singer extraordinaire. Now Malory can finally manage her career. So two very strong narrative threads, which will likely follow through the entire season, are established with this installment. As much as I love the bizarre craziness of the Tunt mansion and having everyone together all the time, it is time they get out of there and see some action out in the world. Looking forward to it.

 

Final Thoughts

  • Now that Krieger has disclosed that Ray’s spine just has to be reprogrammed we can look forward to more Ray stuff, right? He’s just been so pathetic lately, I want to see him out in the field again.
  • “No I meant pounds… exactly, as in Doctor Who money.” A bunch of Whovians went apeshit for this.
  • “I swear to God, if you send me to freakin rehab, I’ll go right to the cops!” Amber Nash’s line reading was absolutely sublime, the voice actors on this show are sooo good, this was full of seriously crazed emotion. Pam does not want to go to rehab.
  • “This is only somewhat like that old gypsy woman said!”
  • Love Pam’s Bruce Banner purple pants.
  • Cyril the lawyer is surprisingly knowledgeable.
  • “I’ll do it, I have a camera. Dibs!” Krieger weirdness all over this episode, its pretty great. “God knows he’s a little GILF.”
  • No, you definitely smelled a skeleton.”
  • Woodhouse was a feisty little one this episode.
  • We won’t be getting a new episode for three weeks. Not cool, FX.
Rating
8.8
Pros
  • Hulk Pam
  • Country Cherlene
  • New objective and clear antagonist
  • So many great running gags
  • Fantastic Pacing
Cons
  • Not a lot of story progression
  • Ray is too sad and pathetic
  • Gone for three weeks!

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