Smell my fingers.
Archer Dreamland continues its streak of excellence. “Jane Doe” concluded with Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) and the wacky Charlotte Vandertunt (Judy Greer) escaping jail along with the Dreamland quartet. This resumes with Mother (Jessica Walter) meeting with Vandertunt and Archer.
Mother and crooked Detective Figgis (Chris Parnell) both concoct the same idea: use Vandertunt’s disappearance as a means to blackmail the Vandertunts for a portion of the vast Vandertunt fortune. However, Mother insists that Archer bring a finger along to convince the Vandertunts. Archer objects, and when he arrives, Charlotte’s brother Cecil Vandertunt insists that Archer bring a finger.
“Ladyfingers” references cult classic The Big Lebowski with its onus on obtaining a finger. In The Big Lebowski, there’s a subplot of getting a toe to make a kidnapping seem more believable. In “Ladyfingers,” it’s a finger instead. Charlotte’s elderly father even features the game garb, wheelchair, and blanket as the millionaire Jeff Lebowski from the Coen Brothers’ film.
I appreciate the Dreamland atmosphere, and how it’s delving into several subplots. Notably, Dr. Krieger (Lucky Yates) gains fleshed out the backstory. He’s not just the bartender at Dreamland, but he’s a World War II veteran with a penchant for robotic prosthetics.
Pam Poovey (Amber Nash) and Archer once again team up. Archer and Poovey gel like the best of buddy cop duos. They’re as enjoyable to watch as Riggs and Murtaugh, or Axel Foley, Rosewood, and Taggart.
Running gags in “Ladyfingers” include constant hot dog eating, and throwing food. Introducing Krieger’s backstory not only lends an even more hallucinatory and twisted element to “Dreamland,” but also recalls the non-Dreamland Krieger’s history. In “Dreamland,” Krieger was brought up by a former Nazi scientist. Eventually, Dobermans killed his adopted father, a throwback to The Boy from Brazil. In “Dreamland” lore, Krieger was a mad scientist working in WWII and dabbling in robotics. There’s a scene where he sets his robotic Dobermans on a pack of Nazis.
I like how Archer Dreamland throws in references to events and happenings from the non-“Dreamland” Archer universe. This lends a cohesive element that unites the dream season with its real-world events. Plus, it’s fascinating watching characters’ personalities and backstories incorporating into the Archer Dreamland canon.
This segment harks back to “Bionic Barry.” The sort of alternate history and steampunk vibe of these flashbacks was delightfully campy. Archer Dreamland excels with its cultural references. Season eight featured episodes based around Weekend at Bernies and The Big Lebowski and despite its dream setting, maintains throwbacks to Archer canon.