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TV Diary | Archer: “Crossing Over”

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TV Diary | Archer – Episode 3.10 – “Crossing Over” – Original Airdate: 3/1/12

Episode Grade: A-

When you think about it, it’s almost surprising that Archer hasn’t thought of putting Archer and Pam together uh… sexually before “Crossing Over” but after watching how the episode and the pairing played out, it’s obvious that the show held this unholy union off for just the right opportunity. That Archer’s addictive personality (and raging alcohol habit) would lead him towards a night of torrid sex with the – let’s face it – repulsive Pam and then continue to draw him back due to his assessment of said love-making as “the best sex he’s ever had” makes perfect sense. However, that it simultaneously lead to his shirking his ISIS duties, ultimately leading to the death of the man who may be his father is generally a heavier weight than the show is used to carrying. But damned if, like almost everything else in this note-perfect third season, the show didn’t pull it off like gangbusters. Archer has experimented with story arcs in the past [1] but the show’s largely been one-off storylines with little or no carryover from episode to episode, save for numerous running gags. From a pure storyline standpoint, though, there aren’t often repercussions nor does the show usually get much into weighty issues like death and loss so “Crossing Over” is a bit of a departure for Archer and it’s a look that the show wears well. Predictably, the Archer/Pam pairing was aces. After getting trashed at the wake for a deceased ISIS agent where Archer drunkenly hits on the widow and eventually ends up downing chicken and waffles [2] while imbibing Green Russians (absinthe and milk) with Pam at a strip club, he does the unthinkable and brings Pam home and bangs her. Worse? He LOVES it. Calls it the “best sex he’s ever had” before opening the bathroom door to find Pam on the can taking a dump [3]. The fact that Archer entered into [4] a sexual relationship that he’s desperate to keep secret – “If anybody ever finds out about it will literally – Pam, look at me – I will literally murder you.” – with someone who’s been well-established by the show as the least secret-keepingest person in the show’s universe is note-perfect. As is the two of them jumping each other in the elevator on the way to work the next day, along with Archer’s amazement at how good Pam is in the realm of the sexual arts [5]. The plot that dispatches with possible Archer daddy Nicolai Jakov [6] is a little more intricate than Archer usually goes for, but it works well and seems to be something that’s going to impact future episodes which is always welcome. Just a completely solid episode all around – the Archer/Pam scenes were constant gold and the jokes that came out of them landed hard and with purpose, while Archer both directly and indirectly being the cause of his possible-daddy’s death [7] is going to resonate, which is evident from the somber note the end of the episode strikes… until Pam chides Archer for “pushing rope” in bed, of course. “Crossing Over” is yet another highlight in a white-hot run of episodes for Archer.

[1] Speaking specifically about the Katya storyline from the end of season two that lead into the three-part mini-season (or beginning of the third season, depending on your outlook) that was “Hearts Of Archness.”
[2] In a nice little callback to his hangover food of choice from “The Limited.”
[3] After checking with Woodhouse – whose heroin he’d promised his conquest – and finding that she was still in the apartment (and not realizing yet that it was Pam), he yells through the door trying to back out of the heroin teaser, only to recoil at the sight of Pam on the toilet as she says, “Heroin? That’s the last frickin’ thing I need. I’m bound up tighter than Dick’s hatband.” Archer passes out. Pam farts. Classic.
[4] Haha… “entered into.”
[5] As she notes, she *did* grow up on a farm. No, I don’t want to know either.
[6] Cyborg Barry somehow assumes control of the KGB and stations Jakov to a Siberian outpost as punishment, only to have Jakov defect to the US with the help of his manservant Boris. This then sends Barry to New York where he worms his way into the safe house where ISIS is stashing Jakov thanks to Carol’s indiscretion and blows the place up.
[7] He bails on his post at the safe house watching Jakov in order to get home to sleep with Pam. Again.

Miscellany:
*Gotta hand it to Barry – it’s kind of ingenious how he decides to kill Jakov by turning the gas up in the safe house while simultaneously putting a fork-in-block-of-ice in the apartment’s microwave. Not only does it make Jakov go boom, but it also destroys the chance of any DNA test to prove the validity of his Archer paternity. And THAT’S not even his master plan, or so he says. Looking forward to seeing that play out (and likely fail) in the next episode.
*I’m a sucker for storyline continuity so I loved the mention of how Malory is still apparently dating Burt Reynolds. That Archer and Lana already forgot about it was perfectly meta, too.
*Nice little touch: The way Aisha Tyler actually sounds hung over when she delivers Lana’s opening line in the scene where she and Archer are talking with Malory about how much they’d had to drink the previous night at the wake.
*Another great line reading? The way Jessica Walter delivers the, “Mmmmmmmaybe,” line when Jakov mentions that they possibly share a son.
*Carol apparently gets false memories. “Like, a lot.”
*We got even more voicemail jokes, a gag that keeps on giving and giving and giving. Frankly, this kind of ongoing joke stream is one of the things that Archer does best.
*”For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary, full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails.”
*”Some dry toast?” “Yeah… or you could just skip a step and feed me some dried vomit.”
*”Lana and Cyril bailed… triflin’ bitches.”
*”That’s 150 gallons… of Pam’s hot, dirty, ball-slappin’…”
*”And also possibly Archer’s father.” “How do you know about that?” “Because I’m part of everybody.”
*”I’m sorry but if anyone ever found out I’d die of shame.” “Well how do you think that makes ME feel?” “I don’t care, Pam. Now having said that, would you please come in this dirty toilet stall and have sex with me.”
*”Et tu, Brutus?” “Et me, buddy.”
*”Who hunts dogs?” “Orientals! Duh!”
*”I promise myself I not cry. Promise broken.”
*”Well, I assume he’s in New York with those shitbitchingassbastard Archers.”
*”I’m serious… you are literally draining the life out of me.” “Come on… you make me sound like some kind of chupacabra. But for dicks.”
*”But, like, it has to be your place because mine reeks like ocelot piss.” “I have no response to that.”
*”Pam, don’t take this the wrong way but you’re not nearly as stupid as you look.”
*”Hahaha… leave it.”
*”And this? This is your master plan?” “Huh? Oh, no, no. This is a whole other awesome thing. This is just a goof. Later, tater.”
*”But then he strangled me which at first was hot because he is, like, super-strong but then I was floating towards this really bright light and some guy with a beard…” “Jesus Christ!” “Or Richie Havens.”

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