Archer's sixth season is almost over, with the first of a two-part finale seeing the blundering super spies and assorted hangers-on being miniaturized and injected into a comatose scientist. "Drastic Voyage: Part One" (blorp!) mixes high-stakes danger with goofy references ... a classic Archer recipe for success.

Spoilers. Seriously!

We open, as almost always, at the office, where Gary Cole's Special Agent Hawley is letting everyone in on their next mission. And we do mean everyone, since Pam and company "all stow away somehow anyway, so this time they're going along so they can be contained." Hah. Ray is still whining about his new, racially incongruous hand (allowing for a "Handingo!" joke), but everyone sits up taller when they hear what's in store: in order to save the comatose Dr. Zoltan Kovacs, they're going to have to laser out the blood clot in his very valuable brain. To do this, they'll be "miniaturized to the size of bacteria" and injected inside of him. If they succeed, they'll get a million bucks apiece. If they fail, they'll either be destroyed by weird science as part of the experiment, or they'll be blackballed from ever working in espionage again.

"Is there some reason you can't do regular surgery without a shrink ray?"

"Yes. There is."

That's about all the additional info they get once they arrive at the CIA's lab in New Mexico, where Slater nearly pummels Archer, who can't resist antagonizing him, to Cyril's annoyance ("Cyril ... are you jealous? I'm gonna make it up to you, buddy!" "Please don't.") A crisp female CIA scientist with a complicated name (and Carrie Brownstein's voice) makes sure everyone knows that "Dr. Kovacs and I are lovers" before revealing the vessel they'll be piloting through Kovacs' bloodstream: the Nereus, a submarine that more resembles a spaceship.

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Archer would like to be captain (his qualifications include having seen the following submarine movies: Operation Petticoat, Das Boot, The Enemy Below, Run Silent Run Deep, and Yellow Submarine), but Ray gets that gig, and Archer has to content himself with the laser turret. There's a wonderful if WTF interlude that includes the phrase "Oh my god, Slim Goodbody!" (seriously though, that was my exact reaction too) and "TV's Michael Gray" (who makes Archer go full fanboy for an adorable moment).

And poor Krieger, for whom there's no "Leonard H. 'Bones' McCoy type of role .. a irascible onboard medical officer!" Instead, he'll be in the operating theater with CIA doctors who raise their eyebrows at his enthusiasm for ear candles and phrenology ("Who are you, George Combe?")

And even poorer Ray, who despite getting to captain the bloodstream-surfing submarine, is having a crisis of confidence about his hand. "I'm a monster," he wails to his co-pilot, Cyril, who assures him it could be worse ... much worse ... imagining a scenario in which "the hand gets a taste for killing, and it's only a matter of time before you're out there, strangling male prostitutes, then posing them in grotesque, horrific parodies of Mentos ads. You know. THE FRESHMAKER!"

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Meanwhile, as miniaturization approaches, Lana's trying to get Archer to talk about what happens if they both, uh, die (cut to: AJ hanging with Malory, breathing in cigarette smoke from every corner), but Archer isn't going to hear it, because he's pretty sure he'll be able to jump out of the Nereus before anything bad happens ("It's this new thing called cat-like reflexes...")

Of course something goes wrong, because this is an Archer mission, and Krieger's sudden desire to stand up for himself causes the shrinky-dinked ship to be injected into the patient's foot, instead of right next to his blood-clotted brain. Will the ship make it to his head before their 60 minutes of miniaturized time are up? Will they succeed and get the millions, or fail and be banned from spying ever again? Part two wraps up the season next week.

Best two lines. I can't decide.

  • Cheryl's epic speech about the wonders of scientific discovery, which name-checks the likes of Hippocrates and Arthur C. Clarke, and miracles ... before her revelation to Pam that she doesn't need the million bucks, but if she gets it she'll "buy an orphanage and bulldoze it, for shits, and giggles ... and screams" (Pam's matter-of-fact reaction: "Well, maybe she'll die")
  • OR: "What's more important than blasting imaginary womp rats in my imaginary T-16 back home?" What, indeed?

Image via The Work Print