Posted by: pop-break | February 16, 2013

TV Recap: Archer, ‘Viscous Coupling’”

joel wosk is vicious…

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I rather enjoy the fact that two of my favorite shows chose to use their Valentine’s Day episodes to illustrate just how unlovable their protagonists are. In this week’s episodes of Workaholics and Archer, viewers got an in depth look into the emotional sides of the main characters and were allowed to see exactly where they have faltered and why they have found themselves alone on Valentine’s Day. On this week’s episode of Archer, the plot focused on the complicated relationship between Archer, Katya (Archer’s cyborg ex-wife), and Barry. For those who need refreshment, Barry is Archer’s nemesis/Katya’s new beau/the cyborg head of the KGB who was marooned on a space station following his failed attempt to kill Archer in the season three finale. Wow, that was a mouthful. There was also a promise of an epic robot battle between Barry and ISIS Agent/recent recipient of bionic legs, Ray. So, that’s exciting. But that comes later.

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The episode begins with Archer repeatedly being rejected by everyone in the office on Valentine’s Day when he goes around asking people to hang out with him. Pam and Cheryl both have dates with firemen. In the past, it has been suggested/shown that Cheryl is a major pyromaniac, and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the host of psychotic disorders Cheryl suffers from. From her prodigious intake of toxic chemicals to her masochistic proclivities, Cheryl is basically the poster child for the DSM IV. Every other person in the office has previous plans for the evening, leaving Archer feeling very lonely and depressed. Suddenly, his phone rings and he answers it. To his surprise, it is his ex-wife, Katya, and she is beside herself with grief. For the past the several months, Barry has been trapped in space after his spaceship was destroyed by Archer in the season three finale. Meanwhile, Katya has been under the impression that Barry has been away on business in London and has simply not come home. Archer seizes the opportunity to try to win Katya back by attempting to make it look as though Barry has been cheating on her. However, this will require help from a few key players: Pam and Dr. Krieger.

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First, Archer rushes back to the ISIS building and convinces Dr. Krieger to help Barry repair his spaceship. He accomplishes this by promising Dr. Krieger that if Barry returns to Earth, Ray and Barry will end up locked in epic robot mortal combat. The idea of this kind of match-up gets Dr. Krieger all fired up (in the most disturbing ways imaginable), and he agrees. Archer’s ulterior motive for doing this is to get Dr. Krieger to read a prepared dialogue to Barry in order to get Barry to say a number of key phrases. Those phrases will then be edited together to make a recording that falsely proves that Barry has been cheating on Katya. Archer plays this recording for Katya, and she flips out. She now wants to get even with Barry for what he’s done to her. Archer has Katya exactly where in wants her, but in his haste between running back and forth between ISIS and Katya’s apartment he forgets to tell Dr. Krieger to stop helping Barry. He arrives too late and Barry’s spaceship has been repaired. He is now heading to Earth, presumably to exact his revenge on Archer.

This whole episode came together rather quickly and had a shorter story arc than some of the others. It is essentially a bridge episode that links previous storylines from past episodes together. It furthers the whole Archer/Katya/Barry subplot that has been going on for quite a while now. More than anything it illustrates how lonely Archer is. He has no one who wants to spend time with him, so he goes out of his way to try to ruin other people’s lives in order to level the playing field. I feel that if Archer were a live action show, Sterling Archer would be such a deplorable character that I actually might hate him. His saving grace is the fact that he’s a cartoon. A very funny cartoon.

Check out Archer on Thursdays at 10pm on FX

ARCHER: Archer, a new half-hour animated comedy series airing on FX

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