TV Recap: Archer, ‘White Elephant’ (Season 5 Premiere)

Written by Scott Clifford


It’s nice to see that the writers of Archer have traversed a perilous zone of danger in order to create a fantastic season premiere. Most television shows tend to decline after the third season. The writers cling to their initial premise in order to satisfy the fans until the show is worn out to the point of irrelevance. This is where Adam Reed shows all of us how it’s done. It turns out that ISIS has been an illegitimate spy agency all along and you know what? I’m not surprised.

Photo Credit: FX Network
Photo Credit: FX Network

An opening musical sequence of Archer walking through the office with a bed of roses ends with the FBI storming ISIS headquarters. After a hilarious Muppets joke caused by Cyril getting flash banged, the Feds explain to Archer and the rest of the crew that they’re under arrest for pretty much everything under the sun. Malory then proceeds to tell everyone to keep their various mouths shut from the back of a FBI van. Obviously, everyone starts to reveal every dirty secret that ISIS has. The dead bodies, the kidnappings, the weed farm, and the fake hydrogen bomb are just a fraction of what ISIS has done to screw the USA over the years. Things get to a climax when Lana and Archer argue over Lana’s “unique” looking genitalia in order to break out of the FBI interrogation room. Archer then asks Lana to marry him. Lana says that she’d rather not have the baby. It’s a surprisingly heart-wrenching moment for a show that is completely over the top.

Archer and Lana free everyone only to see Malory sign away their rights to work at ISIS ever again. Now everyone is unemployed and without health insurance and don’t know what to do with their lives. No one knows what he or she wants to do besides being a country singer, an underground fighter or a defense attorney. Luckily they have successfully hidden away a ton of cocaine in the ISIS building. Obviously it’s time to form a drug cartel.

Photo Credit: FX Network
Photo Credit: FX Network

Archer relishes in the possibilities in his head. It’s a montage meant to keep the fans interested in the rest of the season. We see cocaine, tigers, alligators, Cheryl singing at country music concerts, gun fights, political coups, car chases, tigers, more cocaine, explosions, Pam carrying people while only wearing a bra and panties, and Lana’s water breaking. Oh yeah, don’t forget about the cocaine. It’s a hefty montage that lasts for four minutes which is normally not a good thing to do when writing a television episode. Archer, the show not just the character, doesn’t seem to give a damn about normal though and I’m okay with it.

The structure of this episode is wonky at best and yet I found myself watching the episode a few times because I enjoyed it so much. The characters of Archer have become family to me. A dysfunctional family that you want to be around no matter what they’re doing. That is why this show is still my favorite. Even when Bret dies doing what he loved. Which is getting shot in the face.

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