Archer Review: “Legs” (Season 4, Episode 3)

I should have known this would happen eventually. Kreiger’s brought back the dead, so un-crippling Ray provides him no challenge whatsoever. It’s easy to forget about Ray, though. Of all the members of the main cast, he’s the one we know the least about. Even Kreiger, enigmatic as he is, is less of an unknown quantity than Ray.

Which is why it was refreshing to see Archer turn the focus on him for once, as well as bring him back into the world of the able-bodied. No longer will he be the tertiary character, confined to his wheelchair, well away from the action. Now he too can join in on ISIS missions – if Malory allows it, and Archer doesn’t somehow do the impossible and cripple him a third time.

Plus, it’ll be a treat to see how Archer handles working around, and with, him and his new cyborg body. Because, as we were reminded this week, Archer doesn’t get along with robots (or vacuum cleaners).

But, to be honest, I’m more concerned with whether or not Archer did, in fact, break a record with his inadvertent ricochet shot, the one which left Brett lying in a pool of his own blood at the bottom of the ISIS stairwell. Poor Brett, ISIS’ professional bullet magnet, was on what seemed like a record streak of days without incident; unfortunately, it had to end this week, and in glorious fashion.

Maybe Kreiger can fashion him into a cyborg, as well. Then he’d be impervious to Archer’s bullets, and positioned well for a bit of revenge. If it would mean more Kreiger, then I say have at it, Reed.

Returning to characters we’re only just getting to know, Malory’s husband is going to take some warming up to, at least on my part. He adds a new dynamic to the show, but can somewhat of a Buzz Killington at the same time, his character striking me as rather, for lack of a better word, stuffy. More time around ISIS could be just what he needs to loosen up and acclimate more to his surroundings.

However, as much as I like the change-of-pace new characters bring, he is one I wouldn’t mind going the way of Brett, which is to say MIA for an indefinite length of time. Conversely, I hope to see more of Rodney in coming weeks. And I mean that literally. Brett got his chance to be more than a disembodied voice, so why not let Rodney step out from behind his counter at the armory?

Or he can continue verbally sparring with impunity. Whatever happens, I hope he sticks around, because the show needs someone to be the voice of reason, what with Archer more unpredictable, and destructive, by the second. Without Rodney to contain Archer and his RPG, Archer might end up doing Barry’s job for him by blowing ISIS up and dying in the process. If Kreiger were to survive this hypothetical blast, however, Archer could become the show’s fifth cyborg, making his eventual showdown with Barry that much more interesting.

Stepping back away from the hypotheticals, I have but one other petty squabble with “Legs,” which is Archer never gets the opportunity to go on a rampage proper. We’re three episodes into season four and have yet to be treated to even a momentary rampage on his part, not even in a situation which calls for it, like Kreiger making Ray into a cyborg.

Thus far, he’s been largely neutralized. In the premier he, quite literally, wasn’t himself. The following episode, he was pacified to an extent by Luke. Then, this week, he spent the majority of the episode cooped up at the armory or in the ISIS heating vents. Surely we won’t be allowed to go an entire season without one of Archer’s trademark rampages.

That aside, I can’t help but respect an episode that breaks new ground, as “Legs” does. Archer tends to treat its characters as dispensers of its special brand of snark, but “Legs” takes a breather, albeit a brief one, to humanize one of its characters, in this case Ray. While I pitied him before this episode, for living a life in which he’s been crippled twice over, it didn’t hit home until this week the toll Ray’s condition had taken on him. Beneath that catty exterior is a wounded animal longing for the days when he was the king of the jungle, so to speak.

If we’re lucky, the rest of the cast will get the same treatment… with a rampage, or two, or three sprinkled in there somewhere.