Archer Review: "Tragical History" (2.6)
Last week’s Archer explored the storied history of Sterling’s faithful butler Woodhouse. The week before, Lana took the forefront. Continuing the trend, this week is Cyril’s turn.
After a night of humiliation at the hands of his ruthless co-workers, Cyril finds himself in the grasp of George, a handsome, smooth-talking software engineer with a bikini-clad ninja escort. Charming him into his web, George convinces Cyril to install a “harmless” virus into the ISIS computer system, giving him the anti-virus to appear the hero. Unfortunately for Cyril, everyone deems him too incompetent to help at all, inadvertently causing the virus, (a damningly catchy digital pirate chant), to ravage through the ISIS system.
Naturally, the “harmless” virus is not so harmless after all, taking root inside the system and breaking its way into the ISIS mainframe. Once inside, its goal is to access the ISIS cover list, a document that would expose every agent’s secret identity—one worth $50 million on the black market. Cyril, finally admitting his blunder, confesses to Sterling who must save the day with his incompetent awesomeness. The pair break into George’s penthouse, a situation that rapidly erupts into a samurai sword fight—well mainly because they gave Sterling a sword and wanted it to happen. Either way, Sterling is largely distracted by the sexy bikini ninjas and ends up pinned to the wall.
Finally Cyril has the chance he’s been waiting for. He manages to get the one gun and has a chance to save the day. All he needs to do is not miss. Unfortunately, his accuracy was proven terrible in the opening scene, and all signs point to a massive choke.
The main problem with this episode was taking Cyril out of his element. As the most level-headed of the ISIS bunch, Cyril acts mostly as a background character, providing a jumping off point for the rest of the cast’s zany antics. As the central-plot character, though, Cyril remains too flat to draw much interest, ultimately taking away screen time from the rest of the office. In this week’s case, it distracted from Kreiger’s obsession with his virtual wife.
Regardless, “Tragical History” was still a solid episode. Mainly because the best thing about Archer is not the overall plot but rather the little details. The way Cyril says “hello” to the bikini-ninjas, Krieger’s Planet of the Apes quote when his virtual bride is destroyed and—my favorite—the list of processes seen in a quick glance at one of the ISIS computers. This screenshot shows off all sorts of tiny easter eggs and callbacks to previous episodes (the tontine from last episode, Kill Bang Marry from last season and many more.) It’s these little flourishes that make Archer great.