Picking up right where last week’s “Smugglers’ Blues” left off, “The Rules of Extraction” begins with Archer, Cyril and Ray as captives being driven through the jungle. Once again, those three carry the episode, in terms of both plot and laughs, as the crew back at Tunt mansion does very little worth noting.
Aside from another hysterical, over-the-top voicemail prank from Archer on Malory, most of the action at Tunt mansion remains tame. Lana, Pam and Cherlene set up a spa day for Malory to take her mind off Archer being gone. Krieger features briefly, trying to figure out Archer’s thinking process for the voicemail prank, but no more. This really was another episode to explore Archer’s character, and Cyril and Ray make two great companions to do it.
One common theme for the majority of this season so far has been Archer screwing up and being mostly responsible for the former ISIS crew’s cocaine losses. Sterling used to impress in the field, and that had been absent for a while now.
The focus of “The Rules of Extraction” revolves around Ray wanting Archer to admit he doesn’t take things seriously and just screws around with people due to his “utter contempt for his own mortality,” as Ray puts it. Archer always expects things to be easy because he’s accustomed to not having to try. Now that he’s in unfamiliar territory, situations become more unpredictable. Even as they try to escape, Archer suggests they take off with a plane full of cocaine, even though he fully acknowledges that none of them can fly the plane since Ray is once again handicapped. But, he’ll worry about that later.
Of course, once Archer finally admits to Ray what he wanted to hear, we get a well-executed twist I’ll admit I did not see coming. Archer has put more of an onus this season on developing characters, and this two-part episode into Colombia certainly accomplished that with not only Archer, but also Cyril, Ray and even Malory.
Perhaps the most laughter spawned from Cyril wanting to feel important. First, he points the assault rifle at Archer and tells him he is taking charge, as Archer and Ray burst out laughing. Later, Archer gives Cyril a wooden stick in the shape of a pistol, telling him, “the only limit is your imagination.” Nice to see the chemistry between the three of them, and I hope to see them together in the field more often.
So, in the end, Archer, Ray and Cyril fly off from Colombia with a plane full of cocaine. Their first victory of the season! It will be interesting to see if they’ve only neared breaking even or if they’ve actually turned a profit at this point. Judging by the looks of the back of that plane, they will be ahead, and with five episodes left in the season, I look forward to seeing whether they can continue to reverse their previous misfortunes or go back to failing like they did most of the season.
Carlo Sobral is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste.