Archer: The Complete Season 4
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Swing back into action with Sterling Archer -- the world's greatest spy -- and the agents of ISIS for another hilarious season of cocktails, carousing and animated awesomeness! Follow the team around the globe, from the mysterious Bermuda Triangle all the way to the Vatican, as they bicker, backstab and bumble their way through assassination plots, an ill-advised marriage, an unexpected pregnancy, and a venomous snake bite in a very, very bad place! Packed with terrorist threats, sexual shenanigans, and all things inappropriate, Archer Season Four comes fully loaded with outrageous top-secret extras!
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If you've never watched Archer, jump right in. Although there are inside jokes that build through the series, the episodes are largely self contained. Archer is a drunk spy... there, you're up to speed. You can jump into any season or episode and enjoy it. You will also have the overpowering urge to then start the series from the beginning, so you won't miss anything. The show, though a cartoon, is definitely not for kids. At all. Even more so than something like Family Guy, though if you like Family Guy you will probably also like Archer.
So basically if you like offensively adult cartoons, and the idea of a drunk misogynist spy blowing stuff up sounds like good fun, this show is awesome and you have been deprived by not watching it sooner. This show, much like a Will Ferrell movie, is just as funny (often funnier) the 2nd through 100th times through. This makes it a good pick to actually buy on DVD or Bluray, as you'll find yourself watching it over and over, unlike something like Entourage or Lost that you watch once and then it sits.
If you've seen Archer's first 3 seasons, season 4 simply continues the trend. Same crazy schemes, same dysfunction, same jokes. Nothing about that should imply a bad thing. This is simply the same great level of humor that we've come to expect (nay, deserve).
The storyline centers around Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) who is the sort of spy Reed had imagined, only with a few extra character `flaws'--he is pretty much a sociopath. Despite bearing the codename Duchess, Archer is considered the world's most dangerous spy; were he not absorbed with promiscuity, alcoholism, expensive toys and tactlenecks, he might also be considered the world's best spy. Archer works for his self-centered and emotionally distant mother, Malory Archer (Jessica Walter), at the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS) based in New York City. Fellow ISIS employees include agent Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler), comptroller Cyril Figgis (Chris Parnell), agent Ray Gillette (Adam Reed), HR Director Pam Poovey (Amber Nash), Head of Applied Research Dr. Algernop Krieger (Lucky Yates), ISIS whipping-boy Brett Buckley (Neal Holman), ISIS armory `librarian' Rodney (Andrew Donnelly), and nut-job secretary Cheryl Tunt (Judy Greer). Other recurring cast-members include: cyborg KGB leader Barry Dylan (Dave Willis), cyborg KGB leader Katya Kazanova (Ona Grauer), and Archer's valet, Woodhouse (George Coe; Roy McCrery in flashbacks).
Season 4 Guest Stars: ODIN agent Lucas Troy (Timothy Olyphant), Malory's husband Ron Cadillac (Ron Leibman), "Bob's Burgers" owner Bob Belcher (H. Jon Benjamin), Bob's wife Linda Belcher (John Roberts), "16" owner Lance Casteau (Anthony Bordain), Coyote Mercedes Moreno (Carla Jimenez), mechanic Mr. Ford (Bobby Ford), mutineer and eco-terrorist Captain Murphy (John Hamm), stalker Ruth Anne Litzenberger (Judy Greer), Cut-Rate James Mason/Turkman Leader/Archer's father (Peter Serafinowicz), Border Patrol Agent (Nick Searcy), Cardinal Giancarlo Morelli (Rene Auberjonois), the Pope (George Coe), Cheryl's brother Cecil Tunt (Eugene Mirman), and Cecil's girlfriend Tiffy (Kristen Schaal).
ARCHER: THE COMPLETE SEASON FOUR--kicked off in January of 2013. The fourth season carries some of the long-running jokes from Seasons One-Three, but also begins to show a more sensitive side to Sterling Archer (for brief moments, he almost borders on `mature'). Some of the continuing themes include: Who is Archer's father? Why does Archer hate crocodiles? Will Brett finally die? What is Barry's master plan? What will Katya do as the new head of the KGB? Will Lana and Archer get back together? What is to become of the rivalry between Barry and Archer? Who will Lana choose as the father of her baby?
SPECIAL FEATURES: [13 Episodes/2 Discs/286 min.] Fisherman's Daughter and Archer Live!
EPISODE SUMMARIES (contains spoilers):
Episode 1: "Fugue And Riffs"--Thanks to Barry (still trapped on Horizon and tracking Archer's every move), a KGB hit-squad mistakes Bob Belcher, family man and owner of "Bob's Burgers," for Sterling Archer. To protect his wife and children, Bob goes into hiding (at a luxurious spa). In reality, Sterling has amnesia and, for the past few months, has been living as Bob. Attempting to promote situational recall, Krieger and Cyril pose as KGB agents. When the real KGB shows up, Lana, Bob, Cyril, and Krieger find themselves cornered; Lana calls a "Code Zulu," but Ray pretends he didn't hear it. Archer finally remembers what triggered his identity crisis: Malory has married Ron Cadillac.
Episode 2: "The Wind Cries Mary"--Item 5 of the agenda: following an ant infestation, Malory closes the ISIS break room. Item 6: Pam's peer-reviews. Item 7: ODIN agent and Archer's beloved BFF, Lucas Troy, was undercover as a nuclear scientist in a mission gone-bad. Troy is believed to have stolen the cash and uranium stores; all of the agents on the operation are dead, including Troy (who's `body' is found among the wreckage of a getaway plane). Lana and Cyril tail Archer to Vermont where he has rendezvoused with a rogue Lucas Troy. To better control ISIS inventory (and irritate ISIS employees), Malory hires Rodney as the new armory `librarian.'
Episode 3: "Legs"--Now that Ray is for-real paralyzed, he struggles to cope with being handicapped. Dr. Krieger convinces him to be fitted with bionic legs. In fear that Krieger might be creating a "gay terminator," Archer attempts to shoot through the operating-room door; Brett, despite being nowhere in the vicinity, is somehow shot in a "magic bullet" scenario. Because Rodney denies him the proper equipment for infiltrating Krieger's lab, Archer is left to spend the weekend crawling around in the ISIS ventilation ducts.
Episode 4: "Midnight Ron"--Archer calls for an extraction from Montreal. Since Malory and Ron are having a marital dispute, Ron jumps at the chance to retrieve his stranded stepson. In order to evade border patrol, Archer (and a suitcase full of dirty money) is smuggled in Ron's trunk. When a gang of robbers ambushes Ron's car, the Cadillac ends up totaled. A few dirty truckers and one cargo-train later, Archer manages to get Ron back in time to see "Carmen" with Malory.
Episode 5: "Viscous Coupling"--A desperate and dateless Archer makes a brief but convincing attempt to get back together with Lana; when Archer receives a call from his ex-fiancé, Katya Kazanova, he quickly recants his play at Lana and rushes to Katya's apartment. To Archer's dismay, Katya is actually just seeking help in locating her beloved Barry. Knowing that Barry is still trapped on Horizon, Sterling agrees to help--hoping Katya will be so grateful that she'll dump Barry to get back together with him.
Episode 6: "Once Bitten"--Sterling, Cyril, and Ray are on a mission to blow up an oil pipeline in Turkmenistan. Amid nothing but desert, Archer takes a potty break and receives a curious bit from a Caspian cobra. His insistence on continuing to drink only worsens the poison's effect, leading to dream-like hallucinations that take the form of Archer and James Mason visiting important moments from Sterling's past. The journey through his memory exposes the root of Archer's inner torment.
Episode 7: "Live And Let Dine"--Lance Casteau, TV chef and owner of the restaurant "16/Seize," is hosting dinner for U.S. and Albanian diplomats. Due to a vague security threat, the ISIS team is brought in to pose as restaurant staff. Archer (Randy), Lana (Mitzi), Cyril (Chet), and Ray (Gilles) become the stars of this week's episode of "Bastard Chef."
Episode 8: "Coyote Lovely"--The ISIS agents are sent to the South Texas border to capture a Coyote named Moreno. After intercepting the Coyote's truck full of illegal immigrants, Archer discovers that Moreno is actually a beautiful señorita; he quickly betrays Cyril, Lana, and the rest of the mission to run away with Mercedes Moreno. Attempting to cross into Mexico with a station wagon full of aliens, Archer is routed by the border patrol; he takes two bullets in the back before Mercedes can subdue the border agents.
Episode 9: "The Honeymooners"--A team of North Korean agents plan to make a cash exchange for enriched uranium at the Tuntmore Towers Hotel. Archer and Lana go undercover as newlyweds--enticing Pam, Cheryl, and Cyril to follow along on a colleague-spying venture. While scaling the building, Lana slips and makes a free fall, giving Archer the opportunity to make a heroic rescue (after which, Lana makes an important decision). When Lana and Archer fall into Korean custody, Cyril leaves his peeping-post to rescue them.
Episode 10: "Un Chien Tangerine"--After acing the ISIS Field-Agent Aptitude Battery test and proving her weight in combat, Pam requests to be trained as a field-agent. Sterling and Lana are in Tangier, Morocco, to extract agent Kazak--who turns out to be a very large and smelly Mastiff. Lana has finally had enough of Archer's antagonism; she quits ISIS and storms off into the desert (without her GPS, gun, sat-phone, or life-saving water). When Lana gets kidnapped, Archer and Kazak team up to rescue her.
Episode 11: "The Papal Chase"--Cardinal Giancarlo Morelli contracts ISIS to protect the Pope from Swiss assassins. Lana is upset to learn that Malory has chosen Sterling and Pam as the undercover agents (a priest and a nun, respectively) instead of her. Because the Pope bears a striking resemblance to a certain valet, Lana is put in charge of bringing Woodhouse to Vatican City for use as a decoy. As it turns out, Cardinal Morelli hired ISIS believing they would blow the operation, making him next in line for Popehood.
Episode 12: "Sea Tunt: Part I"--A B-52 carrying a hydrogen bomb has crashed into the Bermuda Triangle; Malory plans to recover (and later ransom) the bomb before the Russians can get their hands on it. Because they need use of his submersible vehicle, ISIS agrees to bring Cecil Tunt and his girlfriend, Tiffy, along for the mission--only Lana is skeptical of Cecil's reasons for involvement. On their way to the research vessel, Cecil prods the ISIS team for testimony on his sister's `idiosyncrasies;' Cheryl discovers that Cecil is actually gathering evidence so that he can be granted conservatorship over her share of the inheritance. When they reach the Tunt's ship, Cecil confesses that the bomb was a hoax; he tricked ISIS into the mission in hopes of using them to regain control over his rogue underwater research laboratory. Captain Murphy (the mutineer, lead scientist, and eco-terrorist) is threatening to launch VX-Nerve Gas missiles into the U.S.
Episode 13: "Sea Tunt: Part II"--Knowing Murphy is seeking publicity for his `save-the-ocean' cause, Cecil disguises Lana, Archer, Cyril, and Ray as a news-crew for admission into the Sea Tunt. While in the submersible vehicle (DSV), Lana becomes nauseated and Ray gets a bloody nose; since Lana doesn't have any tampons and Archer replaced the onboard first-aid kit with alcohol, Ray's nose is just left to bleed. Lana is noticeably agitated, but refuses Archer's boozing offer. Back on the surface vessel, it is revealed that Cecil (along with his inability to manage funds) has blown his share of the inheritance. Once they arrive at the Sea Tunt, Lana's interviewing skills lead Murphy to reveal that he doesn't actually have any missiles and that he is just doing this for attention. During a standoff, Archer shoots a hole in the observation glass; pods 1-6 flood almost immediately (since the sea-lab is insured at 3x actual value, the Sea Tunt's demise makes Cecil rich again). When it is discovered that there are only three scuba suits (and that Lana is pregnant), Archer volunteers to drown so that Lana, Cyril, and Ray can make it safely back to the DSV. After reaching the submersible vehicle, Lana succeeds in restarting Archer's heart by use of a defibrillator; in full celebration-mode, Archer accidentally defibrillates the CPU for Ray's bionic legs, rendering Ray--once again--paralyzed.
I've been an Archer fan since first catching episodes via Netflix, and already have the DVD versions of the first three seasons. While I do think that some parts of season 4 weren't as strong as, say, The Heart of Archness (S3) -- and nearly all of season 3 was great -- season 4 still has several of what I consider classic episodes.
And my definition of 'classic' basically translates as, "Do I want to see it again?"
Among my favorites:
- Legs: Ray gives in to Krieger's nagging and allows himself to be fitted with bionic legs, much to Archer's panicked consternation.
- Once Bitten: Archer is bitten in his perineum and suffers intense hallucinations.
- The Papal Chase: Archer and the ISIS team try to prevent the Pope from being assassinated...and it so happens the Pope looks -exactly- like Woodhouse. Look for Archer disguising himself as a very familiar and iconic Italian-American priest from SNL, right down to the mustache and tinted oversized glasses.
And of course the season finale: Sea Tunt (parts 1 and 2) -- a crossover episode that does everything but specifically mention "Sealab 2021," a cult show from the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. With Captain Murphy voiced by 'Mad Men' actor Jon Hamm, doing a terrific job of copying the original Harry Goz's voice and mannerisms. (In short, he's as crazy as Cheryl.) In this one, note the name on the toppled soft drink machine...
Anyway, I'll have this on pre-order, but figured there was no harm in writing a review on the episodes themselves for folks considering whether to get it or not.