Archer Review: “The Wind Cries Mary” (Season 4, Episode 2)

Archer so rarely introduces new characters, and does away with them in one way or another so quickly, that I’ve learned not to get too attached to anyone besides the major players. There’s the occasional exception, such as Barry, but Reed knows better than to try and tinker too much with the dynamic he has going. Even when new characters are allowed to enter the fold, Reed keeps the focus squarely on ISIS, using those characters as the impetus behind their in-house conflicts.

Why couldn’t Luke have been one of the exceptions, though? Imagine this. Luke fakes his death… again, then spends the rest of the season plotting to bed Archer, while Barry simultaneously aims to kill him. Come the finale, their paths could converge on Archer, Luke mistakenly believing Barry also is gay for – ahem, has a singular, same-sex attraction for Archer. Then the two could vie for an unwilling Archer who, at this point, would most likely have been tied up by one, or both, of them.

Naturally, Archer would escape while Luke and Barry were in heat – ahem, in the heat of battle, and come to Luke’s aid, seeing Barry as the more imminent threat and not wanting to turn on his best and only friend. Together, they would finish Barry off for good before joining in a celebratory embrace that soon turns awkward and sexual, finally drilling into Archer’s head what he must do: kill Luke. Except, while he struggles in his search for the perfect quip, Lana saves him the trouble, shooting Luke full of holes and making a joke about his “spray and pray” remark as she does.

I know better than to question the writers of Archer, and one can never write off the possibility of a character reappearing down the line; however, I think Luke is rather definitely dead, especially having been voiced by Timothy Olyphant (who I failed to recognize, not knowing in advance of his guest spot), and I wish it weren’t true because there’s so much more they could’ve done with his character.

If Barry weren’t trapped in space at the moment, he might’ve been able to make a cyborg out of newly dead Luke and used it in his plans. Then again, if not for him being temporarily stuck outside the Earth’s atmosphere, Luke’s every action in this episode likely would’ve been by Barry’s design, so I doubt his presence would’ve increased Luke’s life expectancy all that much.

Though I wouldn’t have minded him showing up. It’s nice to be reminded that Archer is working towards the resolution of an overarching plot. Does it necessarily need to tie its episodes together into some larger narrative? No, but it certainly doesn’t hurt and it sets it apart from (and above) many popular animated shows, most of them going the easier route by sticking primarily to episodes that are self-contained and almost entirely lacking continuity.

Hopefully Barry will check in again soon and we’ll see what progress he’s made towards returning to the Earth’s surface and/or doing away with Archer. But I’m getting the sense that Barry will remain Archer’s Moriarty, his Joker, so to speak, for the duration of the show. The two of them need one another, in a sense; both are driven by the desire to be rid of the other, yet neither can, and neither probably ever will. At least not until Archer wraps up, whenever that is, which best not be anytime soon.

Stray Thoughts:

  • Did Archer abandon “Mulatto Butts” as his ringtone already? Better question: what is that he changed it to? My guess is “The Wind Cries Mary” by Jimi Hendrix, given the title of the episode. A choice that came rather out of left field, I must say.
  • Wonder if Cyril got to turn in that evaluation after all. Or if he lost it in all the craziness and snow.
  • Come to think of it, Lanis a lousy shot. Always unloading on someone with an automatic weapon and missing nearly every shot. Can’t believe I didn’t notice this already.
  • This episode could’ve used more Cheryl, but it was balanced out by an extra helping of Krieger. My favorite part was his mourning of the pig that, in an ironic twist, actually had gone and died in the break room, despite Malory saying it wasn’t fit for even that.