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TV Diary | Archer: “The Limited”

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TV Diary | Archer – Episode 3.06 – “The Limited” – Original Airdate: 2/2/12

Episode Grade: A-

Seems like a good number of people, most notably The AV Club’s Todd VanDerWerff, felt that “The Limited” was one of the best episodes in Archer’s three-season run. My initial instinct is to differ with them a little bit in that regard. While it was most certainly yet another in the run of incredibly strong season three episodes, I can’t help but feel like “Honeypot,” “Movie Star,” “Placebo Effect,” or “The Man From Jupiter” might have something to say about “The Limited” being included amongst their company. Still, “The Limited” was a top-notch installment from beginning to end by largely focusing on both Archer’s lifelong dream of fighting on top of a train [1] and on his obsession with Cheryl’s ocelot, Babboo [2], first introduced in last season’s “El Secuestro.” Having the ISIS team escort Bilko, a Canadian terrorist [3], back to Canada via train was an excuse to get all of the cast members out of the office and into the same setting, but Adam Reed and his writers did it through amusing means – by drawing once again on Cheryl’s obscene wealth, which was revealed at the same time as Archer’s love of Babboo in season two. Watching Malory (typically) go out of her way to belittle Pam’s attempt to get onto the train to – in her mind – scam a free trip on ISIS’s dime only to have it revealed that Pam was accompanying Cheryl and Ray on the trip because Cheryl OWNED THE RAILROAD and had her own cars [4] attached, forcing Malory to grovel after realizing how Spartan her own quarters were, was entertaining. Still, not as entertaining as Archer’s unconditional love of Babboo, who he’s much more concerned with finding after he disappears than he is Bilko after he escapes from Cyril’s watch [5], his methods of finding him including carrying a dripping, raw steak down the train’s hallways, leading to a miscommunication where Bilko thinks that Archer has killed the train’s African-American porter and a wealth of hilarious “Americans are racist” jokes from the Canadian terrorist. In watching “The Limited,” perhaps it’s because of the train setting and the spy background of the series but I actually got a strong sense that this was a From Russia With Love-esque episode, albeit one with typically over the top edgy humor which, more than anything else, is Archer’s calling card. I also liked the fact that – again, in typical Archer fashion – the mission was blown to hell by the incompetence and arrogance of the ISIS team and resulted in their burning of another bridge with a law enforcement entity [6]. Soon, they’re going to have precious few agencies from which to receive jobs and that could be an interesting theme for the show to explore as the season progresses. Actually, the more I think about this the more I realize that maybe “The Limited” should be mentioned with some of Archer’s best episodes after all. Well done, Adam Reed. Well done.

[1] Set up so nicely in the teaser (and spoiled in FX’s promos, for that matter) by Archer revealing this dream to anyone within earshot and by this great exchange between Archer and Bilko, the Nova Scotian separatist that ISIS was tasked with returning to his native Canada discussing the possibility of his being rescued while aboard the train: “Well, if I know my boys you may just get your wish, big guy.” “Oooh… thanks, Freddy Foreshadowing.”
[2] Characterized here by Ray as “that piss-reeking ocelot.”
[3] Who blew up a donut shop as a protest. Wonder if it was a Tim Horton’s.
[4] Which included a car with a bathtub, two sleeping cars, one private dining car, and one “with just a teeny-tiny skating rink.” Naturally.
[5] Cyril’s back to being a bumbling moron this week because we can’t really have a world where he’s an actual adept spy, now can we?
[6] In “El Contador,” it was the DEA. Here, it’s the RCMP. Who’s next? I’m sure Archer could do a rollicking episode on immigration control, in all seriousness.

Miscellany:
*OK… one small criticism. As a non-drinker, a lot of the alcohol-based humor in this episode flew way over my head. But, again, that’s a small criticism.
*I’d also echo something that VanDerWerff noted in his review – I’d love to see George, the train’s porter, return at some point in the future. His consternation in having to deal with the insanity around him was a highlight of the episode. I also agree with his opinion that going deeper into an exploration of Cheryl’s wealth would be fertile ground for the show to mine in the future.
*Lana derisively calling Cyril “Newb Gingrich”? Classic. As is Cyril thinking he’s been blinded because his sweater’s been pulled up over his eyes by Bilko.
*Is it just me, or did anyone else think the head Mountie sounded suspiciously like Terrence and/or Philip from South Park?
*The fact that Ray has to share a car with Babboo as he sprays piss is delightfully awful.
*”Is that why you blew up a donut shop?” “Allegedly. If you believe Canada’s illegitimate and so-called government.” “I’m pretty sure we do.”
*”Sterling, are you drunk?” “WINNER!”
*”Who is this guy? And please tell me he’s a renowned chicken and waffles chef because I am STARVING.”
*”Most people fly so your days of Southern superiority are over.” “I have no response to that.” “They never do.”
*”IS THAT BABBOO?!!”
*”LANAAAAA!!” “What?!” “HE REMEMBERS ME!!”
*”Maybe they’re together, although Babboo’s more of a loner like Paul Newman in Hud, if Paul Newman had constantly sprayed piss all over um… what was her… oh man… uh… what was her name? Patricia Neal! Who I hate.”
*”Ugh… those crazy Tunts.”
*”I treat all servants the same. At worst I’m an elitist, not a racist.
*”Oh my God… we might break the record run. You guys probably don’t understand that because you don’t own a railroad but it’s actually a pretty big deal.”
*”Yeah, apparently my great-grandfather was nuts for skating. That and the Klan.”
*”So when you pass the dining car, have the porter bring me a Cobb salad.” “Before or after we locate the dangerous terrorist?” “Before.”
*”They look just like prints from a housecat only bigger and AWESOMER.”
*”I can tell you never played hockey. Probably too busy running around shooting black guys.”
*”Get ’em up, Dudley Douchebags!”
*”Please tell me that’s a smoke grenade.” “OK. It’s not though.”
*”Wait… how am I a racist?” “Really?” “Shut up and… come on and shut up.”
*”When will you not suck at this?” “When you don’t suck at… shut up.”
*”I am going to fulfill my lifelong dream.” “Meeting Mr. Greenjeans?”
*”ALL I WANT TO DO IS FIGHT ON TOP OF A TRAIN! IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?”
*”Do you have a helicopter?” “Mm… no. Just a gun.” “It’s empty, dickhead.” “Yeah… nice try super-dickhead.” (Click) “You fired eight rounds, ultra-dickhead. Am I the only person who ever keeps track of that?”
*”Au revoir, sweet man-whores of Montreal.”
*”Yeah… whatever, Dudley Douchebag.” “Plus, you already used that one.” “Hey… it was good enough to merit seconds!”
*And, finally, Archer’s final monologue to Babboo after he’s been arrested by the RCMP for “Attempted Murder Of A Black Guy” and for violating a wildlife import act is too good not to reprint in full:
“You hear that? They called you exotic. Which is just people-talk for awesome, which is what you are, which is why I was happy to save your life, buddy. Oh, don’t worry. Probably just thousands of dollars in fines and a little jail time, hopefully just probation. Totally worth it. No, Babboo, that was all sarcasm.  YES, ALL OF IT YOU FOX EARED ASSHOLE!”
* Am I going to start referring to anyone who annoys me as “fox-eared asshole?: You’re damn right I am.

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Written by jeremylikestv

February 15, 2012 at 4:30 pm

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