The fifth season of “Archer” has been pretty heavily serialized, but a little lighter on jokes than in previous seasons.
At least until “House Call,” which is by far the funniest of the first four episodes of “Archer” Season 5. Running jokes, sight gags and great character moments were all in the mix. The story was a little thin, much like Pam (Amber Nash) herself. But it’s hard to care about that when the comedy on this show is working.
At the top of the episode, Cyril Figgis (Chris Parnell) uses cock charts thermometers to illustrate how the former ISIS crew has already lost part of their massive stash of cocaine without anything to show for it. Ineptitude played a large role in that, but so did Pam. Not only did Pam’s actions require a cocaine payoff to the Yakuza, she’s also taken to eating the drugs. As a result, Pam now has her dream body and an insatiable appetite for cocaine.
As the former ISIS team attempts to stage an intervention of sorts, Pam escapes just in time for FBI Agent Hawley (Gary Cole) to drop by unannounced in an attempt to prove that the team is doing something illegal. And if you listen to Hawley’s comments, you’ll note that he’s oddly specific about what they’ve been up to. Which means that someone has been talking to him.
I think we can eliminate Ray Gillette (Adam Reed) from the list of suspects, given the reception he gave Hawley. Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler) also seems to be off the list of suspects because she contemplated making her own deal with Hawley and didn’t go through with it. I would say that Cyril would make an obvious suspect, except he’s horrible at subterfuge and he gave a great performance while demanding that Hawley leave.
That leaves Ron Cadillac (Ron Leibman) as the most likely suspect. Ron even hints at his turn when he walks out on Mallory. And over the mere mention of Len Trexlor! I loved that callback to season 2 and I hope that Jeffrey Tambor reprises Trexlor in the future.
Hopefully Ron won’t be out of the picture for long, as he’s been a fun addition to this cast. But the MVP of the episode was Dr. Krieger (Lucky Yates), who kept managing to top himself with insanely comedic moments throughout. My favorite Krieger bit came when he opened his jacket to reveal multiple tranquilizer guns. The reveal that Krieger has been neglecting to reset Ray’s cyborg legs was also priceless.
Surprisingly, the heartfelt moments in this episode came between Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) and Lana, when he urged her to leave them for her own protection and she tearfully said that she couldn’t abandon him. It’s questionable whether Archer was actually being sincere, since he also floated the possibility of Lana doing a few sexual favors for him before leaving. But I think that Archer really does care for Lana (as much as he can). Why else would he memorize a list of potential pregnancy problems that she might face?
After wasting Woodhouse (George Coe) in the first few episodes of the season, “House Call” finally put Woodhouse in play with the rest of the cast. Naturally, this led to some funny situations, including Woodhouse’s knockout blow to Pam, his reaction to Cyril’s photo suggestion and his relief at getting hit by a tranq dart.
The best running joke of the episode was Archer’s unfamiliarity with the various porn fetishes, as well as Krieger and Cyril’s intimate familiarity with them. The metric system gags were also very amusing. Additionally, I enjoyed Gary Cole’s performance as Agent Hawley in this episode. Hawley may not be a formidable foe or very intelligent, but he was funny
On the Pam front, her “Queen Kong” antics with Cheryl Tunt (Judy Greer) was great, but I’m kind of tired of Pam the coke-fiend. Still, I loved the hilariously selfish choice made by Krieger and Cyril. Instead of slipping Pam the microchip that could have cured her addiction (and helped her regain her normal weight), they use the chip on Cheryl to transform her into future country music sensation, Cherlene. And Cherlene appears to be just as crazy as Cheryl is, judging by her open threats to burn down her own mansion if she doesn’t get what she wants.
My only real complaint about this episode is that it’s over far too soon. When “Archer” is on fire, I never want it to end.
Before we wrap up, here are your “Archer” moments of the week.
Lana: What is it with your family wearing ghost costumes to scare black people?
Cheryl: What is it with you people making tit-bondage pornos in my ancestral home?
Archer: No, I meant pounds.
Archer: Exactly, as in Doctor Who money.
Cyril: How do you not know the different types of porn?
Archer: Because I have sex with actual women, Cyril. My girlfriend's not equal parts the internet, a tube of Kentucky jelly, self-loathing and a sock.
Lana: Just making sure you're not into prego-porn.
Archer: Oh God Damn it, that can't be a thing!
Lana: It is absolutely a thing. And do you just not have the internet?
Archer: Firm 12. You know, as in inches. Jesus… .3048 meters. "Hi, welcome to Nazi Canada. [He pantomimes fellatio] Eh?"