Archer fans got double the fun this week, thanks to a clever crossover with Conan. The latest episode, "The Archer Sanction," nods to the 1975 Clint Eastwood movie The Eiger Sanction with both its title and mountain-climbing assassins plot. Spoilers follow!
The story is structured very similarly to last week's episode, with Archer and Lana (and Ray) heading out on a CIA-sponsored mission, while Malory and the office crew make their own trouble back at HQ. This week's exotic destination is "the Swiss goddamn frikkin' Alps" for the purposes of performing an "extra-judicial killing" of a dangerous assassin. Trouble is, not only did Archer not bring the dossier, he barely read it ("I skimmed it!"), so the trio has no idea who they're supposed to be taking down. Archer's only recollection is that the target is from a country that was one of World War II's Axis powers ... a tidbit that proves useless when the other climbers are revealed to be from Germany, Italy, and Japan.
Their host and guide is hunky Crash McCarran; Archer, of course, identifies him as an "idiot beard-faced sweater model," while both Lana and Ray swoon. While Archer slurps down a variety of drink concoctions (a hot cocoa-minty booze thing he dubs a "Peppermint Patty;" a comically huge blue tropical cooler served in a fish bowl), Crash schools the climbers on their destination, "the peak of death," offering "15,000 feet of some of the most dangerous climbing in all of Europe." This dramatic moment is easily dismantled by a little Archer humor.
Crash: "We head out at dawn!"
Archer: "And that's AM?"
Crash: "As opposed to...?"
Archer: "PM Dawn?"
Ray: "Set adrift on memory bliss? Come on, buddy."
Inevitably, the mountain claims the three Axis-country climbers, and it's revealed that Crash is actually the assassin, a twist that's so obvious it feels like an afterthought to what's mostly concerned with being balls-out fun and deploying lines like "Eat a dick, blizzard!"
Far more surprises occur out of the field, as the remaining gang (minus Malory, who's AWOL with AJ) gets schwasted in honor of Cheryl's birthday. The party involves taking a dip in Krieger's hot tub (where one of his out-of-control experimental animals happens to dwell), eating ceviche (even though Cheryl doesn't know what it is), and drinking watermelon-based cocktails (leading to what's probably the episode's best, most obscure reference).
Reluctantly doing the frantic Lana a favor, the group stumbles over to Malory's apartment in search of AJ, allowing a blissful Cheryl to point out that "breaking into Miss Archer's apartment to hopefully find a crying baby clinging to her dead and shriveled body is the best birthday present I've ever gotten!" Alas, all they find is pain, as the empty apartment is being bug-bombed and the chemicals make everyone hork up watermelon-red rivers of terror. Malory, of course, has taken her grandchild to stay at the Plaza.
"The Archer Strategem" doesn't do much to advance any ongoing plotlines; it's just kind of a standard split between mission and office. But it does contain one of the series' most convincing "elaborate voice mail hoax" pranks, the revelation that getting caught in an avalance is one of Archer's bucket-list items, and Archer's completely serious reaction to a menacing approaching storm: "Should somebody call the Ghostbusters?"