Archer Review - Pam's Big Episode Isn't About Pam

Marshall Lemon | 30 Jan 2015 12:17
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Of course, at just the right time (when the coffee is perfect and he can leave), Archer finally admits he can't abandon Pam and starts talking to her. This is where the "one-step-forward-one-step-back" mentality starts to creep in: Ideally, this should be the emotional development part of the scene, since you know, Archer isn't supposed to be an asshole anymore. But when he can't understand a word she's saying after ten seconds, Archer returns to his usual fallback: Slapping Pam to her senses.

Sadly while that's consistent with past episodes, it does kinda kill some of the scene's character building. Yes, I get that it's part of his established routine, and reflects classic spy movies where heroes casually slapped women. (Seriously, go and watch Sean Connery's James Bond. It's super weird.) But like I said, we're supposed to actually like Archer after six seasons. Are the casual beatings really the best way writers can move the scene forward now?

To its credit, Archer gets back into the flow of things pretty quickly. Pam reveals that her sister Edie is getting married and has made her a bridesmaid. But that's not good news - Edie made Pam's high-school rival Maid of Honor as part of a long-running campaign to spite her. Basically, going back home for the wedding is going to be a full day of horror where Edie is terrible and Pam won't even have a date to spend company with. And here's where Archer steps up his game: Without even being asked, he offers to be Pam's date to make things easier for her.

However, there are two problems. First, Archer promised to take care of AJ for the weekend so Lana could do survivalist training, and leaves without telling her. (Unrelated note: AJ is so much easier to say than Abijean!) But the bigger issue is Barry the cyborg planned to kill Archer that weekend, and after spotting Archer and Pam at the airport he can now follow them directly to the wedding.

Oh hey, Barry the cyborg, Archer's arch-nemesis! Long-time fans will get a kick out of seeing him again, and it's another great callback to the pre-Archer Vice days. But if you're wondering "Wouldn't this derail the entire wedding plot the episode is named after?" Why yes, yes it would. Before Archer and Pam even get to the rehearsal dinner, Barry kidnaps Pam as a hostage and takes her to an old grain elevator. Now what should have been a weekend of awkward conversations with Pam's relatives is dropped in favor of an epic showdown between Archer and Barry. Not that I'm against epic showdowns but... isn't the best place for that showdown at the actual wedding? You know, the one the episode is named after? Archer could even make jokes about the last wedding Barry wrecked that way. (Too soon?)

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