TV Recap: Archer Vice: ‘ A Kiss While Dying’

Written by Scott Clifford

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The writers of this show continue to subvert the expectations of their audience in the second of the fifth season. “A Kiss While Dying” shows us that Archer and the rest of the ex-ISIS gang are now going to be drug dealers and country singer managers. Best of all, everyone is going to be even worse at their new occupations then they were as spies. Who else would decide to go to Miami to sell cocaine without knowing who the buyers are? Who else would let Pam out in public?

Photo Credit: FX Network
Photo Credit: FX Network

Ray finds himself unable to teach Cheryl how to sing when Malory sends Archer, Lana, and Pam to Miami in order to complete their first drug deal. They’re able to smuggle it through customs by forcing Pam to wear a cocaine body cast. Naturally, the cocaine seeps into her skin and causes Pam to become an addict. Archer and Lana have to try to stop her from eating more of the body cast when they get to the hotel. Pam knocks out Archer as he tries to stop her. Lana first realizes that they have don’t know who the buyers are.

This question is answered when they pull up to Ramon’s restaurant. Ramon was a client that Archer had to pretend to be gay for in order to get his attention in season one. Now he’s the middleman of drug deals in order to get enough money to buy the greatest Cuban club in Miami. Pam continues to eat cocaine as Archer convinces Lana to follow Ramon’s suggestion to not bring any guns to the deal. This is when they meet with Charles and Rudy, Ramon’s assassins from season one, and it goes horribly wrong. They steal the coke and keep the money with them.

Archer convinces Ramon to show him, Lana, and Pam where Charles and Rudy live in order to get the money back. Ray blacks out due to drinking so much as Cyril figures out how to launder the gang’s money operations. What follows is a great sequence where Ramon dies shooting Charles and Rudy while Cheryl sings. Lana apologies to her unborn child as she rushes into the house in order to save the day. Instead she finds Archer kissing Ramon’s bloody corpse on the lips. Then again is Ramon really dead?

Photo Credit: FX Network
Photo Credit: FX Network

The gang finds that they all of the money is counterfeit. Lana theorizes that Ramon, Charles, and Rudy used blood packs and blanks in order to fake their deaths. The audience is treated to some dramatic irony as the gang wonders about Archer’s sexuality. We see Ramon, Charles, and Rudy doing cocaine in a Jacuzzi. Rudy explains to Ramon that his plan to fake his death was completely unnecessary. Ramon agrees. Even the bad guys are terrible at their jobs. They’re just not as bad at it as Archer is.

“A Kiss While Dying” is a good episode. It subverts expectations while the jokes keep coming. Cheryl’s development into a country singer is going to be really interesting and I hope that the writers show Cyril’s ineptness at laundering the gang’s money as the season continues. My only caveat is that Pam is too one-dimensional. This entire episode is filled with jokes about Pam being addicted to cocaine. It was funny this time but it will get old very fast unless they give her character more depth. All in all, it’s nice to be able to look forward to Mondays again.

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