I didn’t realize that Adam Reed and company were serious about the new status quo for “Archer” until I saw the scene with Pam Poovey (Amber Nash) in a body cast made entirely out of cocaine… which was used in the montage at the end of last week’s episode. Presumably this means that every other scene we saw in that sequence will also come to pass.
But for all of the noise about how different “Archer” is going to be this season, “A Kiss While Dying” wasn’t a big departure from anything that we’ve seen before. The former ISIS team goes out on a mission and they botch it up pretty badly. That’s pretty standard fare for this show.
One of the few big changes in this season is that everyone (except for Mallory) is living together in one of the mansions owned by Cheryl Tunt (Judy Greer). So, “Archer” can basically become its own reality show parody if the core team ever stays home for an episode.
The one-off gags in this episode were terrific, including the brief aside of Woodhouse (George Coe) stuck in the swimming pool and the hilariously creepy placement of hidden cameras throughout the mansion, courtesy of Dr. Krieger (Lucky Yates). I don’t know who would want to spy on someone from a camera inside of a toilet bowl, but I guess that’s Krieger for you.
Before the credits, Pam actually seemed sympathetic as she was in obvious distress over the full body cast made with cocaine that Krieger had created for her. But it’s not long before Pam decides that she loves cocaine and she begins eating her body cast and getting increasingly out of control. Pam even overpowers and badly injures Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) at one point. After that, even Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler) seems reluctant to challenge the coked up Pam.
To sell of their cocaine, Mallory Archer (Jessica Walter) sets up a meeting with Ramon Limon (Ron Perlman), a minor “Archer” character whom we haven’t seen since the first season. It’s a good callback to Archer’s earliest days, and his man-crush for Ramon seems to have expanded in the intervening years. Archer shows a lot of affection for Ramon while missing the obvious signs that Ramon is working against them.
The biggest red flag for Team Archer is the return of Charles (Thomas Lennon) and Rudy (Ben Garant), the gay hitmen who tried to kill Archer and Ramon back in the first season. Archer isn’t suspicious enough when Ramon insists that they leave their weapons behind for the drug handoff or when he introduces Charles and Rudy as his friends.
Predictably, Charles and Rudy take the money and the cocaine, leading Archer to reluctantly realize that this was Ramon’s fault. However, Archer doesn’t figure out that Ramon was in on the scam the entire time until Charles spells it out for him and Ramon is left fatally injured.
And here’s where the episode gets its name: Archer makes out with Ramon as his dying wish, only to later realize that Rudy, Charles and Ramon faked their deaths to escape with the money and the drugs. As villains, the Cuban trio weren’t very compelling. But there is something inherently hilarious about the idea that Ramon set up the entire thing just to get Archer to kiss him.
Lana didn’t have a lot to do in this episode besides catch Archer in the act of slipping another man some tongue. But Lana did have one very human moment as she begged her unborn child to forgive her before thrusting herself into danger to save Archer.
On the homefront, I’m kind of bored with the “Cheryl becomes a country singer” subplot… and it’s barely begun. The harsh tutelage Ray Gillette (Adam Reed) was funny the first time, but it was an overused gag in this episode.
For a show that’s always placed comedy first, “Archer” tends to have some genuinely good action scenes. But the very minor gunplay of this episode was oddly subdued and not as funny or as entertaining as it should have been. This wasn’t a bad episode, but it wasn’t great either.
“Archer” at half capacity is still a pretty funny show. I just want something new out of “Archer Vice.”
Now then, here are your "Archer" moments of the week.
Cyril: Only if you promise to periodically micro-manage it and emasculate me.
Mallory: Cyril, I would have thought that goes without saying.
Archer: Potato, Pa-treason. Whatever.
Lana: You name it kid. Savings bonds, a puppy, breast feed you senseless. Just forgive me for what's about to happen.
Archer: Ramon's Latino, so he's comfortable expressing affection. It doesn't make him gay!
Ramon: Although I am.
Archer: So go ahead, Lana. Judge away!
Krieger: I've got the whole house wired up: bedrooms, bathrooms, bathrooms, other bathrooms. Oh… the swimming pool!