|Archer's latest episode recaptures the most exciting part of Skyfall: the scenes where they filled out paperwork.|
Every Wednesday in "5-Piece Cartoon Dinner," I dine on five of the week's most noteworthy animated shows. The episodes are reviewed in the order of when they first aired.
After Archer's entertaining crossover with Bob's Burgers, the FX cartoon sort of crosses over with another show I love, FX's Justified, by borrowing its star (Timothy Olyphant) and one of its staff writers (Chris Provenzano) for "The Wind Cries Mary." Olyphant, whose comedic chops on Justified are frequently overlooked (even at the A.V. Club, of all places), blends in quite well with the twisted Archer universe while voicing eternal frat-boy Lucas Troy, Archer's previously unmentioned best friend and an operative from ISIS' rival agency ODIN who may not be as trustworthy--or as straight--as Archer deems him to be.
I love it when a show suddenly introduces some important buddy from the main character's past who's never been brought up by the lead before, and then after one episode or, in the case of Steve Buscemi's Tony Blundetto on The Sopranos, an entire season, we never see his ass again. The original Star Trek did it all the time, Jim Rockford would be frequently visited by war buddies we'd never hear from again (and not even on that answering machine of his), that beloved teammate of Sam Malone's who came out of the closet in a tell-all book he promoted at Cheers never dropped by the bar again for another beer and so on. I wish "The Wind Cries Mary" would have poked a little more fun at this old trope of the previously unmentioned BFF, besides making this bestie turn out to be gay for Archer (and no one else). But as usual on Archer, there are so many killer lines from cold open to finish (and also, welcome back, workplace humor that's been absent for a couple of episodes) that whatever gripes I have about the episode end up--like "the life that lived" in the Jimi Hendrix tune this episode cops its title from--dead.
* Ringtone gags in sitcoms always suck, but somehow, only Archer manages to make them work. Archer's choice of "Danger Zone" as his ringtone is as predictable as his frequently ridiculed choice of sidearm.
* I enjoyed this line Archer utters to himself because I once considered enrolling in the two-year Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont and then Googled small-town Vermont and thought, nah, that hood's not for me: "Vermont has liquor stores, right? Yeah, they have to. It sucks there."
* Pam: "So why are these damn peer reviews so hard?! Only like 10 people work in this whole goddamn chickenshit outfit!" That'd be dope if Pam punctuated one or two other lines this season with mic drops, using the same battered-looking mic she dropped at the end of that "chickenshit outfit" line.
* Archer: "There's, uh, there's kind of a lot of blood down there." A dying Lucas: "Said your mom."
* Lucas: "I only did it because I wanted us to be together. Forever." Lana, off-screen: "Called it!" Off-screen, two-to-three-word asides about someone's sex life have been a favorite comedic device of mine ever since NewsRadio once built a great running gag out of Catherine thinking Lisa was trying to seduce Dave for new office supplies, so she continually goaded Lisa on to shake her stuff for Dave.
* Whoever drew Lana's expression during the episode-closing awkward ride home after Luke's half-finished deathbed confession deserves some sort of nod for Outstanding Achievement in Animating Appalled Expressions.