TV Review: Archer Vice, ‘Debt of Honor’

Written by Scott Clifford


“A Debt of Honor” is not the most action-oriented episode. In fact, the pacing of the episode is really slow. However, I believe that this episode was necessary in order to highlight how dysfunctional Archer and the rest of the gang really are without ISIS. Everyone may have been terrible at spying but they at least understood the structure of the profession. Now they have abandoned their servants (Woodhouse) and are ridiculously racist. They don’t even have bullets to shoot people with to protect them from the things that they are saying. This episode is executed like a family drama. It is a play that happened to be animated instead of a normal television show. It’s a bold experiment for the writing team but does it pay off?

Photo Credit: FX Network
Photo Credit: FX Network

Pam gets things going by taking on an amphetamine addiction along with her cocaine use. Archer tries to explain that things could be worse but the Malory doesn’t see it that way. Archer then suggests that the counterfeit money they obtained from the last episode is good enough to be faked. The suave ex-spy suggests that they both buy ten thousand packs of gum at different delis to get real change or follow Ron’s example and open a car dealership in order get real currency. Cyrill shuts down the deli idea as Ray sleeps in his underwear in a drunken stupor while Ron refuses to go along with the car dealership idea. Ron then reminisces about how he used to smoke “reefer cigarettes” with African-Americans (he doesn’t say African-Americans) in jazz clubs.

We’re about halfway through the episode when Pam finally gets around to confessing to the situation that she has put them in. She acquired the amphetamines from the Yakuza, whose leader is played by George Takei, by giving them one million dollars of the gang’s counterfeit money. The Yakuza find out where Pam lives due to her leaving a detailed map of the place after sleeping with three Yakuza gang members. The Yakuza are bound by honor and refuse to accept Cheryl’s offer to pay them off with a “gillion billion” dollars in exchange for their lives. Finally, there’s going to be some action.

Photo Credit: FX Network
Photo Credit: FX Network

Everyone convenes in another room of Cheryl’s mansion where she has every weapon fully loaded from World War I and before. A Yakuza sniper shoots Ron through a window and the gang is forced into action. Cheryl explains that her great grandfather bankrupted himself by building a vast underground tunnel network underneath her mansion in order to catch runaway slaves. Lana overlooks this terrible reveal in order to suggest that they use one of the tunnels to get Ron to a hospital. Pam and Cyrill do that while everyone else stays to support Archer as he figures out a way to get the Yakuza off their backs.

Archer decides to dress up as a gangster by wearing a black suit and slicking back his hair before breaking into the limousine of the Yakuza leader. Archer drinks a lot of booze and shoots his antique shotgun in the air in order to deafen the Yakuza leader and get his way. Archer is able to save everyone’s life in exchange for five million dollars worth of cocaine. They also find out that Ron is going to live through his gunshot wound. Everyone considers these turn of events to be a win-win except for Malory. She breaks Archer’s cell phone in frustration but he laughs at her actions instead of being upset. The cell phone she broke was Woodhouse’s, who is still abandoned in a gymnasium inside the mansion.

Photo Credit: FX Network
Photo Credit: FX Network

I honestly did not like “A Debt of Honor” when I first watched it. It was too slow and boring for me. However, I watched it again and find myself liking it more. I picked up on some classic jokes such as Cheryl’s grandfather wanting to “dress up as a ghost” when going after runaway slaves and I noticed more and more details that were subtly placed throughout the episode. It’s nice to see Adam Reed and his team try different things with a mainstream show that is a huge hit. However I don’t think that this strategy is sustainable. Archer Vice needs to figure out how to get the ball rolling or viewers are going to watch something else.

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