Thus far, “Archer” Season 5 appears to be more heavily serialized than the previous seasons. Each episode has picked up on plot threads from the previous installment and “A Debt of Honor” continues that trend.
After Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) was duped into kissing a man and escaping with a million in fake money, Cyril Figgis (Chris Parnell) points out that the counterfeit money is almost good enough to pass as real money outside of a bank. This means that the ISIS drug cartel may actually have money to buy new weapons and ammo.
It would have meant that, if Pam Poovey (Amber Nash) hadn’t already taken all of the fake money to buy amphetamines from the Yakuza. And the Yakuza aren’t exactly happy when they discover the deception.
It’s only been two episodes, but I’m tired of cocaine addicted Pam. That gag’s shelf life has already expired. That said, Pam does get some funny moments in the episode, including the way she catches the amphetamines in her mouth like a dog treat and her sexual conquest of three Yakuza members in flashback. The detailed directions to her new home in stately Tunt manor (and the selfie pic) that Pam left behind at her old home was also a nice comic touch.
Some of the other great comedic moments included a few names we haven’t heard since the early days of “Archer,” a self-referential joke about the continuity of the show when Mr. Moto (George Takei) of the Yakuza turns up a live and an anecdote about one of Cheryl Tunt’s (Judy Greer) crazy great, great, great uncle’s plan to catch slaves which had a surprisingly hilarious payoff a few scenes later when Cheryl puts it back in context. That was also one of Cheryl’s more lucid moments on the show.
There were also a few gags that didn’t hit. A repeat of last week’s trapped Woodhouse (George Coe) felt especially lazy and Dr. Krieger (Lucky Yates) was wasted in this episode with barely more than a cameo. Ray Gillette (Adam Reed) also doesn’t get much to do besides cry about being a cyborg and pissing himself while he’s asleep.
Ron Cadillac (Ron Leibman) made his first appearance this season as he stood by Mallory Archer (Jessica Walter) for everything except a shooting war with the Yakuza. When Ron takes a bullet, there’s a brief moment where the episode actually has stakes for the characters. However, that feeling is quickly brushed aside in favor of a few jokes that were not that strong.
Of course, Archer ends up saving the day while screwing up at the same time. Unfortunately, Archer’s confrontation with Mr. Moto is so anti-climactic that I was honestly surprised that Reed had nothing else up his sleeve to make this into a solid episode.
“A Debt of Honor’ also had the weird duality of being extremely quotable while suffering from a lackluster story. Just in terms of plot, this was one of the weaker episodes of “Archer.” It just didn’t hold up to the high standards of the show. Adam Reed and his team can do a lot better than this. “A Debt of Honor” felt like the creative team was just marking time to fill out an episode.
Still, there were enough jokes that worked; which helped salvage “A Debt of Honor” from being a subpar episode of “Archer.” But this was pretty far from “Archer” at its best.
That said, here are your “Archer” moments of the week:
Archer: My point, unless Pam ate it, is that things could be worse.
Mallory: What, were the Hell's Angels busy?
Pam: Busy being pussies! You know, relatively… when compared to the deadly and terrible Yakuza.
Cheryl: And since I can't write a genre defining country song with you people screaming about a horde of Chinese daylight vampires, who are probably scuttling up the drain pipes even as we speak, go out there and kill them!
Cyril: With all this, your great whatever uncle must have really wanted to catch some slaves.
Cheryl: Oh, it bankrupted him. And the crazy part, is that was like 1890!
Mr. Moto: What do you know about being Japanese?
Archer: I guess only the clichés, really. Karaoke, pachinko, subway frottage… tentacle porn, those vending machines that sell used schoolgirl panties…