Archer: “A Debt of Honor” (Episode 5.03)

TV Reviews
Archer: “A Debt of Honor” (Episode 5.03)

Following last week’s failed cocaine deal, “A Debt of Honor” finds the former ISIS crew in the Tunt mansion as they try to figure out a way to recover some of their losses.

Pam, making a cocaine-influenced decision on her own, decides to reconnect with the Yakuza to trade their counterfeit money for amphetamines. Of course, once they realize it’s fake, they demand a debt of honor—Pam’s head for her betrayal—and show up at the Tunt mansion looking for her.

Meanwhile, Ray has fallen apart and appears to have sunken into a sudden alcoholic depression, as we see him piss himself while passed out in a chair, half naked. Woodhouse, again, plays the role of the neglected one here, being left alone in the gymnasium, trapped under a medicine ball all episode. Cyril’s around mostly for advice and ideas, while Krieger features briefly with his holographic girlfriend.

Aside from Pam, Cheryl gets more time than any of the secondary characters this week. Telling stories about her uncle, she hooks her friends up with guns and a secret underground tunnel to take the wounded Ron Cadillac to a hospital, giving Archer enough time to surprise Mr. Moto and confront him with a gun to his face.

Just as Ramon returned last week, we saw Mr. Moto (George Takei) again as the head of the Yakuza. Not only that, but both Spirodon Skorpio and Conway Stern were mentioned as well, one having been blown up, the other flying off in a helicopter after having his arm torn off. If these first few episodes are any indication, we should expect to see more characters from past seasons brought back.

The fifth season of Archer, while enjoyable so far, hasn’t quite hit the same level of awesome that we’ve come to expect. It’s not that it’s disappointing. It would be unfair to criticize this show too much based on how impressive its first four seasons are. But, when a show so consistently achieves a certain level, and then suddenly dips even just a tad, people notice.

The Price is Right horn and Cheryl’s stories about her uncle were hilarious, but overall this didn’t stand out as a particularly funny episode. More importantly, last week’s story was more interesting, and while I had hoped for a bigger step forward last night, I like that “A Debt of Honor” continued immediately after the end of “A Kiss Before Dying,” confirming suspicions that this season may have more of a cohesive, long-term story arc rather than 13 stand-alone episodes. For this reason, I’m more than happy to remain patient with Archer and trust that the long term pay-off will make up for the season’s slow start.

Carlo Sobral is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste.

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