Hey, Archer-fans (is there a word for that fandom yet?). James here. I’m taking over for Colin this week, because he’s, I don’t know, dead or something. Or working hard at grad school, or whatever.
“A Debt of Honor” picks up pretty much where ”A Kiss While Dying” left off, with everyone lamenting the fact that the money from their first drug deal turned out to be counterfeit. Pam is still addicted to cocaine, Mallory thinks they’re ruined, and Cyril thinks they should get guns. Y’know, to deal with the other drug dealers they’ll presumably run into. In short: not one of these people has any idea how to run a drug cartel.
Efforts to hunt down an arms dealer don’t go to well, since the only contacts they have are Scorpio and Conway Stern. That’s right—more callbacks to earlier seasons. Unfortunately, that plan gets sidetracked when Pam takes all the counterfeit money and uses it to buy amphetamines from the Yakuza. Oh hey, is that another callback villain from an earlier season? Yes. Yes it is.
Naturally, Pam has been sleeping with some Yakuza enforces, and naturally, she left detailed directions to the mansion on the door of her now-abandoned apartment. Turns out the Yakuza–led by George Takei’s apparently not dead character from one of the weaker episodes of season 3–want Pam’s head. Not metaphorically speaking. They surround the house, and Cheryl shows up just in time to point our favorite former secret agents to her grandfather’s armory of old-fashioned guns. While everyone is arguing about how to deal with the siege, a Yakuza sniper gets trigger-happy and opens fire. The one person he manages to hit is Ron Cadillac, who has only just finished calling out Mallory for not appreciating his constant support during all the, uh, super illegal stuff she’s been up to. Fortunately, Cheryl shows up just in time to reveal that her great-great-great uncle built a series of tunnels leading into the city so he could catch freed slaves on the Underground Railroad and “sell them back to their rightful owners.” Looks like our heroes have an easy way out of this kind-of-siege!
While Pam, Cyril, Ron, and Cheryl use the tunnels to get to a hospital, Lana and Mallory watch as Archer uses a service tunnel to sneak up on the Yakuza limousine. They have a nice chat about motherhood, and Archer gets the drop on Mr. Moto and begins bourbon-fueled negotiations. Long story short: Pam gets to keep her head, but they lose all of the pills and cocaine. Drug dealing is hard, you guys. Edit: Apparently, it wasn’t all of the cocaine. God, I’m such a tool.
Woodhouse: Oh, dear God. Telephone clanging away, and me trapped! It’s a good servant’s worst nightmare!
Ron: Smoked a reefer cigarette, once.
Lana: Lemme guess. With some Negroes?
Ron: As luck would have it!
Archer: Man up, Ron. I’ve been shot, holy shit, 26 times? That can’t be good for me.
Lana’s stifled laughter after Archer’s: “That was Woodhouse’s phone!”
Favorite Part of the Series:
H. Jon Benjamin’s voice, obviously. I want to pour it in a mug and drink it on a cold winter’s day. Maybe with a shot of bourbon.
I have mixed feelings about “A Debt of Honor.” On the one hand, it’s funny. So it’s got that going for it. On the other hand, it’s pretty much a filler episode. It doesn’t feel like Archer Vice is fully capitalizing on its new premise. Maybe they’re just easing us into the whole cartel thing, but I would have preferred a cannonball to a tentative dip in the pool. Less set-up, more Vice. I have faith, though. If the montage at the end of episode one was any indication, things are going to pick up later on. One more thing: As much as I enjoy a clever call-back—something Archer usually excels in—it’d be nice to see some new antagonists. As Colin said last week, not every returning bad guy is as funny as Barry.
So what did you guys think? Did “A Debt of Honor” live up to the Archer Vice name? Do you miss the ISIS of old? Let us know in the comments.