Archer Vice: “Southbound and Down” Review
"Ol' Smokey's done it again!"
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
“Southbound and Down” opens shortly after the last outing, with Krieger aiming to improve Cheryl’s singing by putting a mind-control chip inside her. He did this to improve her singing voice which lead to her renaming herself “Charlene” and acting like a total diva (so, basically still Cheryl, but more Country). Naturally, Malory decides the next step is to go to Texas to have her perform on a Country music show the following day. Of course, despite doing so several times over in the series, Cheryl refuses to fly there and insists they drive (I guess Krieger’s chip made her afraid of flying?). Seeing the potential to reenact “Smokey and the Bandit,” Archer invites himself along and soon the gang is pulling an all-nighter to get there in time. Plus, just so things don’t go too well, Archer’s hidden 100-pounds of cocaine in Cheryl’s tour bus.
“It’s Texas. Someone’s bound to want it so they can forget they live there.”
The banter between characters was great here, with lots of great quotable lines. The real star of the show this week was Archer and Pam driving ahead of the bus in Archer’s Bandit-style car. With Pam’s newly acquired cocaine addiction going deeper, she has been fun to watch this season. She has become thinner, crazier and an absolute joy to see in action. To see her in an enclosed space with Archer brought tons of great material, as well as every possible “Smokey and the Bandit” reference, although the episode does stay away from a full-on parody of it.
Things really began cooking when Pam tells bikers at a truck stop that they’re hauling 100-pounds of cocaine. Things get even crazier as an unarmed Archer has to keep them off of the tour bus until they reach the TV station. This actually led to what might just be a genuinely sentimental moment between the two, as Archer confronts Pam about her escalating addiction. This happens while Pam snorts cocaine and a biker gang chases them; this is “Archer,” after all. While the Archer/Pam pairing was great, the tour bus group didn’t fare as well, providing a few chuckles, such as Cheryl immediately offering herself to the attacking bikers.
In the end, this ended up being a pretty fun outing for the “Archer”crew. Although Archer and Pam clearly got the better end of the plot, series creator Adam Reed still showed his mastery of the one-liner and managed to give us a rare character growth moment. Season 5 has been a delight so far, and if this episode is any indication, the worst thing that could happen to the show now is an episode that’s merely good, not great.
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