Fantastic, drastic voyage!
In Archer Season 6 Episode 12, Adam Reed and the folks of Archer give us a brilliant homage to Fantastic Voyage, one of the most fascinating science fiction movies ever.
As in the movie, the Archer gang has to save the life of a Russian scientist with a blood clot in his brain, and they do so by shrinking into microbial size to destroy the clot from inside his body.
I love when this show does homage and parodies on this kind of scale. There's an obvious love and appreciation for the source material, but there's all the irreverence and self-awareness that makes Archer great.
If you ever need to show someone what the best things are about this show, the first minute of the episode pretty much encapsulated all of it. In 60 seconds, we got an incredible punchline about selfies, a brilliant joke about Ray's hand and his conflicted racial awareness and a hilarious Julia Louis-Dreyfus zinger, all topped with an acknowledgement of how insane it is that all the non-field agents somehow end up on the biggest missions.
There was something foreboding about this episode. For one, the subject of Archer's perspective of his own mortality was brought up again. It has both been implied and explicitly stated that Archer has no regard or consideration for his own mortality. It's what makes him take unnecessary and foolish risks; he doesn't actually consider the notion that he could be killed.
However, Archer's perspective is exposed in the light of almost everyone else discussing mortality in some regard. Lana has legitimate concerns about the mission. Kreiger's hilarious meltdown is spawned by the fact that he thinks Dr. Kovacs is actually a murderer.
Cyril has a brilliantly disturbing monologue about how Ray's hand may turn him into a blood-thirsty serial killer. After Cheryl makes a particularly heinous joke about bulldozing an orphanage, Pam thinks, "Well, maybe she'll die."
I can't help but speculate whether this is foreshadowing an impending death on the show. Adam Reed was willing to shake things up during the Archer Vice, so it's not unimaginable that he would kill a character off. Besides, Fantastic Voyage was not without casualties. I wonder. If that's shocking to you, so be it.
Anyway, on to more fun stuff. There was plenty of the kind of organized chaos that this show does so well. During the briefing, the show continues to be a spot-on homage to Fantastic Voyage, while throwing in seemingly random (but not really random) characters like TV's Michael Gray!
Archer's excitement about Michael Gray was probably the funniest thing about this installment. The fanboy in Archer is strong, and when he pops his head out, it's both cute and hilarious! Also, his one-liners to Slater were genius! Then there was the fact that he thought they'd be weightless, even though he's seen every submarine movie known to man. Archer was on fire.
Krieger's rant was also quite epic, for lack of a better word. For one, he was standing up for himself to Malory and everyone that ever put him down. Two – the med school in Grenada quip was hilarious (because it's so true – it's everyone's back-up plan). Three, the Hitler clone debunk was just so swift it made my head spin. All delivered with such anger and gravitas. Lucky Yates knocked it out of the park this week.
Then there was all the biology talk that made my little biology nerd heart happy. When Dr Sklodowska talked about traversing the occipital lobe and fearing phagocytosis by polymorphonuclear leukocytes, I was in TV heaven. I'm really looking forward to next week. There's more biology to be had!
Some Drastic Voyage vs Fantastic Voyage notes:
- Both have a defected Russian scientist working on miniaturization, and in both cases, the Russian scientist was harmed during an attempted kidnapping with a high-speed chase.
- Blood clot in brain and coma. We covered that.
- In the movie, there was one female engineer on board, whose presence was hotly contested by the military officer in charge, simply because she was female. On Archer, the female scientist ran the show. Bless you, Adam Reed.
- In the movie, the ship was called "Proteus." On Archer, the ship is "Nereus". Both names are of Greek aquatic deities.
And in references:
- TV's Michael Gray played "Shazam", based on the comic character who was able to change his size from child to adult. Fitting.
- Slim Goodbody – A character created to teach about the human body; the actor that plays him wears a flesh colored leotard with the human body on it. Also fitting.
- So very many submarine movies.
- George Combe – the godfather of phrenology. Also wrote The Constitution of Man.
What did you think about this episode? Remember you can always relive the one-liners and catch all the references when you watch Archer online!