Archer Review: “Coyote Lovely” (Season 4, Episode 8)

After last week’s Bourdain-centric episode, Archer widened its scope with “Coyote Lovely,” introducing enough one-off characters to fill up a station wagon. As is often the case when you busy things up to such an extent, there will be drawbacks.

What bothered me about the episode is much the same as what didn’t sit well with me about Toy Story 3; with so many characters vying for screen time, it left precious little time for the most memorable of them, and caused many more to feel like set dressing. Was the image of that unusual assortment of characters squeezed together inside a station wagon worth a chuckle? Yes, but I don’t know if it was worth the issues brought on by having so populated an episode.

Even with the rest of ISIS again taking a backseat to Archer and co., there simply wasn’t enough time to go around. As a result, only the veterinarian and who I guess we’re to assume is Mercedes’ daughter are allowed to have any sort of presence.

The rest, such as the gun and grenade toting old woman, are there to move the episode along and give Archer someone to play off of. Which is a shame, because I think Woodhouse and that old woman would’ve made an adorable couple; Archer could’ve smuggled her back with him and made her his honorary grandmother.

However, I mostly wanted less of Archer’s femme fatale; like Katya, she’s all boobs and no brain. Alright, she has a leg up on Katya (in Archer’s fantasies), but the two are still comparable. Both look vapid when placed alongside the assortment of characters on Archer that could talk circles around them.

It’s the same with Ron, who only works as a change-of-pace character; “Midnight Ron” got me thinking we’d seen the beginning of a new Ron, but he was right back to being his usual dull self last week. Thankfully, though, his screen time was kept to a minimum.

The same cannot be said, however, about Archer’s temptress. She was a tool used by Malory to line her pockets, and she never really steps beyond that role. There’s very little personality to her; she exists in order to give Archer a mouth to try and make into a dick-holster, to use Pam’s term.

At least she didn’t stop Krieger from rejoining the show after being conspicuously absent last week. He wasn’t exactly in top form, his actions characteristically creepy yet not as darkly comedic as usual. He does nothing as an ISIS employee dies, inadvertently murdered by Malory, upping her body count by one more, and then later he’s found sneaking around with the guy’s body.

Maybe it’s just a set-up for a grander joke that’ll play out in the coming episodes. He could use him to create another cyborg, making the showdown between Barry and Ray into a threesome. But, with Kreiger, who really knows what he’s up to at any given moment?

Speaking of characters who’re unpredictable, I wonder what Barry is up to. Apparently, he’s playing the long game with Archer, and just occasionally treating him to some sort of minor inconvenience, like last week. I’d rather he stay out of the picture altogether, only to make a triumphant return in the finale, than waste his time pulling what amount to childish pranks by his standards.

In addition, I’d prefer he also do away with Katya, since she seems to be the one influencing him to do these things, since she’s a bit of a drag, and since it would probably mean a battle of the cyborgs, which I’m sure Krieger would find some way to be ringside for.

Which gives me a thought I’ll end this review with. What if Malory continues disposing of ISIS employees, and Krieger uses their corpses to create a cyborg army which, in the finale, goes all rise-of-the-machines on everyone? It’d be worth it for Archer’s reaction alone.

Stray Thoughts:

  • Last week Krieger was the forgotten one, and this week it was Cheryl who, outside of not especially memorable line or two, got nothing.
  • Likewise, Pam wasn’t given much, and what she did get was not up to par. I think they’ve reached the point of diminishing returns with Pam’s eccentric extracurricular activities. Either that or they just whiffed in this case.
  • Will Mercedes’ daughter return at some point? They left the door open, but I surely hope not.
  • Malory is entirely without morals this season. She’s almost become a bigger villain than Barry at this point. She’s gotten to the point where she’s willing to risk her own son’s life for a quick payday. Now this isn’t the first time she’s put Archer at risk, but it’s probably her most callous display yet.
  • I think my favorite thing about the entire episode was that the two guys from the Border Patrol were handcuffed into a hug. It’s the tiny details like that that are why I love Archer so much.

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