TV Recap: Archer, ‘Un Chien Tangerine’

joel wosk eats a tasty tangerine …

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On this week’s episode of Archer, we find Lana and Sterling together again on a dangerous ISIS mission, and as usual Lana is already exasperated with Archer before the mission has even begun. In the opening scene, we see a Middle Eastern landscape that we soon learn is the city of Tangiers, where Lana and Archer are on a mission to extract a Moroccan agent codenamed, “Kazak.” Lana is extremely agitated for several reasons, mostly because she can’t sleep due to Archer’s incessant snoring and farting throughout the night while he takes the only bed for himself, relegating Lana to the floor of the hotel room.

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After gathering their gear, Lana and Archer get into a car and follow their GPS beacon that has been set to locate the whereabouts of Kazak. However, while driving through a crowded marketplace, Lana observes that they have been spotted and have picked up a tail. When she attempts to relay this information to Archer, he completely misunderstands the context of the message, and instead bemoans the fact that he doesn’t have an actual tail. Although, he does confess that if he were to have a tail, it would bring him that much closer to being just like his favorite animal with a prehensile tail, Nightcrawler (aka Kurt Wagner) from the X-Men. Sadly, this will probably never happen. Anyway, back in reality, the mysterious vehicle behind them pursues Lana and Archer through the marketplace. After some careful maneuvering, Archer is able to lose the tail and they arrive at the location on the GPS.

Once inside the building, they find the apartment where Kazak is staying, according to the GPS. While Lana prepares to discreetly knock on the door, Archer instead kicks it open full force, setting loose an enormous dog that immediately pounces on Lana’s chest. The dog is obviously very angry at this disruption, but they soon realize that he only becomes angry when he sees a gun, which they quickly holster. After a quick tour of the apartment, it becomes apparent that there is no one home. It is at this point they read the nametag on the dog’s collar, which to their surprise reads, “Kazak.” Lana tries to call Mallory back at ISIS for confirmation, but Mallory refuses the call. Mallory assumes that Lana is only calling to complain about Archer’s behavior and the fact that he is always trying to push her buttons.

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Archer, Lana, and Kazak all pile into the car and head for the harbor where they are set to board a totally sweet hovercraft that will extract them to Spain. But before that, Archer had to make a special stop in order to get some Moroccan street food for Kazak, which has now made the dog horrifically gassy. To make matters worse, upon reaching the harbor, they see that a roadblock has been put up which now makes boarding the hovercraft impossible. They decide to turn around and drive through the desert instead, in the hopes of securing a secondary extraction location.

The ride through the desert with Archer and a profoundly flatulent dog proves to be more than Lana is able to handle. Then comes the last straw, when Kazak throws up all over her. Lana promptly quits the mission and leaves on foot through the desert, only to be quickly apprehended by the armed men from the harbor roadblock who have now followed them into the desert. Archer begins to drive away, sulkily, only to quickly realize that Lana has left without food, water, phone, or weapon. She will surely die in the desert if he doesn’t rescue her, and so he turns the car around and doubles back down the road to save her.

Upon catching up with Lana, he sees that she has been captured and is currently in the back of a moving pickup truck with two guards holding her down. After exhausting all of his ammo, Archer gets in very close with the car, whereupon Kazak leaps from the moving car, into the flatbed of the truck, and attacks the two men subduing Lana. Meanwhile, Archer is able to take out both the driver and the passenger. Lana is saved and thinks Archer is about to propose to her when he produces a small black box. The box contains a small roll of microfilm, containing nuclear secrets, thus explaining why they were being chased in the first place. This comes as little consolation to Lana, who angrily punches Archer across the face.

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I have enjoyed and appreciated the attempts of the show’s creators to make an effort to humanize the character of Sterling Archer over the past season. In several episodes, we see Archer confronting his past and attempting to understand himself on a deeper level. He often times comes painfully close to self-realization, but usually is distracted by something before he can reach a complete understanding. In this episode, Archer confesses that the reason he is such an ass to Lana all the time is because he still has deep feelings for her, and her constant rejection and belittling of him causes him to act out. If anyone is to blame, it’s probably Mallory, his mother. As evidenced through various flashbacks and off handed comments by his fellow co-workers, Archer’s relationship with his mother has been turbulent to say the least. I think these moments give a much-needed balance to the show. Without them, at this point in the series, Archer’s personality flaws would probably get to be too much to handle. He is consistently so obnoxious and self-involved that without the personal details, we’d probably hate him.

Check out Archer Thursdays at 10pm on FX. All images credit FX Networks

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