FX’s Archer returns for a special three-part episode between seasons. The final part of “Heart of Archness” just aired, and here’s what happened. Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) is devastated by the loss of his fiance, so he runs away. Malory (Jessica Walter) sends former love and employee Rip Riley (Patrick Warburton, Family Guy, The Venture Brothers, Seinfeld) to find her son, but Archer wrecks Rip’s plane. They are rescued / captured by pirates, and Archer kills their leader, becoming the Pirate King. Until the pirates turn on him, and capture his second rescue team.
It is unclear why FX granted Archer this special short run, but it is extremely welcome. The spy / workplace comedy is hard to get enough of, and “Heart of Archness” continues that same spirit, staying within the continuity of the series. Archer’s exploits are completely typical of himself, and pinning the whole thing on a fleeting emotion he feels for a girl is brilliant. Of course, by the end, Archer doesn’t even remember why things started. He has feelings, but they’re not deep. As Archer tells Rip, he doesn’t plan, he just goes with the flow. And that somehow always works out for him.
The pirate plot is ripe with riffs for Archer to go on. First, Archer doesn’t even believe pirates exist any more. Then he completely misunderstands their lifestyle and the need to plunder. Stangely enough, he also starts a lacrosse league. Archer lives in the moment, but doesn’t have the ruthless streak that real pirates do. For them to have an island stronghold may be a bit of a stretch on reality, but it’s much more entertaining than setting the story in the slums of a poor, African city.
Besides the great Warburton, there is another fantastic guest star in this trilogy. David Cross (Arrested Development, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret) voices Noah, a slave to the pirates, and soon, Archer’s first mate. In true Archer fashion, bad luck befalls both Rip and Noah just by being around him. Even if the two never return again, though, it’s been wonderful to have two such talented performers associated with the series, especially in multiple episodes. Even better, Archer continues to play on a long mystery by inquiring if Rip might be his father, a tempting, if unlikely, idea. Considering how many men Malory has slept with, this is one question that might never be answered.
“Heart of Archness” does briefly touch on the ongoing Archer / Lana (Aisha Tyler) romance. As Lana comes to rescue Archer, Ray (Adam Reed) observes her seriousness and worry about her co-worker. Archer usually treats Lana like crap, which is why they aren’t together, as despite Lana’s feelings for him, she won’t put up with his behavior. But in this episode, Archer shows a fondness for her, admitting she is his only friend. That’s probably true, since Lana is the really the only one at ISIS that has ever seen a nicer side of Archer. Their relationship is complicated and sometimes subtle, changing the typical “will they? won’t they?” formula. It’s pretty cool that Archer does this, but a little sad that it takes an animated cable series to find this combination.
In the B plot, Cyril (Chris Parnell) gets trashed and embezzles all of ISIS’s money. He also sleeps with Pam (Amber Nash). When they wake up, he can’t remember the password, and on Pam’s suggestion, they get drunk and have sex again to remember it. While funny, it’s really unnecessary to see Pam’s naked body multiple times in this episode. Once is more than enough. A strategically placed blanket could have avoided nightmares for many fans. But this proves once again that Cyril is kind of a slut, so either way, it’s incredibly hilarious.
Thank you Archer for this three week diversion! Archer will return for a third season this winter on FX.