Review: Archer: 1999 “Road Trip”

Can Archer mix up a cocktail in time to save his crew?

Overview:

While searching down a distress beacon on a derelict planet, Archer causes the ship to crash.  Stranded on an alien planet, Archer treats the side quest as a vacation, certain everything will work out.  Exploring the new world, the crew comes across another crashed ship.  As they investigate, they discover that the team of this ship is identical to themselves.  A message left by the dead crew shows that their Archer was a noble leader who appreciated his friends.

As they attempt to return to their ship, the crew comes across the doppelganger Krieger who is quickly eaten by a giant space beast.  The group ends up being split up, and Archer makes it back to the ship with the parts he needs.  Surprisingly, instead of escaping, which would be entirely in his character, Archer uses the ship to save his friends.

 

Our Take:

Archer, himself, is probably one of the worst ship captains ever to lead a spaceship.  Honestly, thinking back at some of the classics Han Solo was rough, but he got things done, Peter Quill may be an idiot, but he has a certain level of competency, Archer just kind of flukes his way through.  It is a good thing that Lana is the true leader.  Archer literally causes his ship to crash in the middle of unexplored space, and his priorities lay with his cocktails.  Not saying this is a bad thing, it makes for quality humour.  Though, in the theme of science fiction, the idea that everything just kind of works out for him is a new concept.

Blind luck is the theme that drives this episode.  From the moment that they survive their crash from space to the fact that they make it off of this alien planet.  It’s a theme that drives this and many- nearly all- television sitcoms.  So, in place of riding the blind luck concept, it is put in the focus as we see what could, or should, truly happen to these characters.  The strange thing is, the deceased Sterling Archer was highly capable, which begs the question: if the doppelganger Archer is competent, then his crew must have been less so; therefore it must be the crew that has kept them alive.

What makes Archer: 1999 such an exciting season to watch is that each episode takes a spin on a science fiction cliché.  This episode takes on a few including being stranded on an alien planet and doppelgangers.  Watching this season has been like reading vintage pulp fiction comic books.  Except, while all of the clichés are there, they take a modern spin, or will acknowledge it and go a different direction.  Where more classic stories would have made the doppelgangers a cause of some time warp around the planet, Archer: 1999 throws in another spin at the end, revealing that they were in fact clones.

There were so many twists and turns throughout this episode; it is impressive that they managed to cram it all into the short timeslot.  A crash, clones, an alien planet, a giant lizard monster, and a story about Archer’s true loyalties, all in a matter of twenty-odd minutes.  The tenth season of Archer came to play, and play with a whole sandbox of space adventure and science fiction.  So far, this episode is the best example of what Archer: 1999 can do.  If there was any episode from the season thus far to recommend to someone who wants to get an idea of what it’s about, this is the one.  It has just about everything you could want, though, with all of the turns the humour does take a hit compared to previous episodes.

 

Jesse Bereta

Jesse (Green Onion) Bereta is a chef of words. Classically trained in the kitchen, Jesse changed careers in ‘015 to pursue his passion of writing (and being a full time pop culture nerd). Aside from his work as a freelance writer, Jesse also operates his own website, podcasts, and is a father of two budding sprouts. The Green Onion headquarters is located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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