'Archer' Review: "Filibuster"

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Archer’ season 5 adds a bit more ‘Vice’ in its latest episode “Filibuster,” as Archer fights his way out from under Cyril's reign as San Marco's president, while Krieger attempts to prevent his clones from launching a missile strike against the world.

Previous ‘Archer’ installment “Palace Intrigue, Part 2” saw Archer and the gang desperately attempting to flee the mansion of Gustavo Calderon (Fred Armisen), before the man's wife Juliana ('The Walking Dead''s Lauren Cohan) can reveal her affair with Sterling, so does “Filibuster” keep the changes rolling? Is ‘Archer’ season 5 headed right into the danger zone?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Archer’ season 5 episode 12, penultimate installment “Filibuster!”

Three weeks after Cyril became the (surprisingly competent) president of San Marcos, Lana visits a bearded Archer in the dungeons, who seems to have lost track of time along with the similarly-incarcerated Calderon and Julianna. Upstairs, Malory and the others seem relatively content with their new San Marcos lifestyles, even as Pam begins to admit she might have a problem with cocaine. Lana reminds Cyril that Malory is simply using him as Vader to her Palpatine, but Cyril ignores her to flirt with Julianna, and has Cherlene locked up in her place downstairs.

Excited though she is to have her “Outlaw Country” credit, Cherlene produces a key from her shorts and frees both Archer and Calderon with the intent to join the surviving rebels. The three escape in one of Calderon’s expensive cars, though Archer makes a detour to Calderon’s personal zoo when he learns it contains a tiger. Meanwhile, Krieger attempts to dissuade his three clone brothers from launching a nerve gas missile at an unknown target, but the three clones quickly turn on him. Meanwhile, Cyril exercises his power to marry Julianna, though no one but he seems particularly excited about it.

Upon finding the tiger “Shane,” Archer and Calderon debate the source of meat to feed it with, while Cherlene brazenly opens the cage. The tiger immediately attacks Calderon, mauling him to death as Sterling and Cherlene opt to leave the gruesome scene behind. Meanwhile, Krieger fights with his three clone brothers, killing two before the final activates a 180-minute countdown, and knocks the real Krieger over the ledge with him. A while later, “our” Krieger awakens and seeks out Cyril and the others to alert them to the missile, irritated that they haven’t noticed his absence for three weeks.

Archer and Cherlene arrive at the rebels’ airport base, quickly getting knocked out by the guards. Meanwhile, Malory theorizes that the launch could likely point to the East Coast, for which Lana reluctantly presses Cyril that they’ll need Archer’s help to defuse the situation. The team finds that Archer and Cherlene have gone missing from the cells, though Cyril refuses to negotiate with the rebels, and Lana takes the mission on for herself.

Finally, Archer awakens to find that the leaders of the rebels are both FBI Agent Hawley (Gary Cole) and the smuggler Slater (Christian Slater), both men secretly working for the CIA and masterminding the rebels. Lana too is taken into the office and brought up to speed, though her shock over the revelations is tempered by her water breaking.

OUR REVIEW:

This fifth and most experimental season of ‘Archer’ has been somewhat hit and miss across the board, depending on how you view the series. On the one hand, the chemistry and humor are as sharp and quick-witted as ever, layering callbacks upon callbacks and ongoing gags, though those of a mind for more serialization (like us) have been somewhat disappointed with the meandering nature of “Vice.” Last week’s non-ending made it seem as if the two-part “Palace Intrigue” wouldn’t have much overall impact as a lasting story, but we were pleasantly surprised to see things beginning to come full circle after all.

Amusing as  it is to see Cyril take over as a competent dictator, effectively putting Archer in his most strung-out position of the season to date, it’s a shame we’re only given mere minutes to see the dynamic unfold. It’s a hefty burden to place on the final installment of the season next week, but fortunately “Filibuster” gave us enough to enjoy in the meantime that we’ll go into the finale with a renewed sense of optimism. After all, Sterling finally got his tiger, Christian Slater and Gary Cole returned in cahoots, Krieger finally got the better of his clones (or did he?!) and even Pam seems to have made some progress with her coke addiction.

It’s difficult to see how the finale might balance Lana’s impending birth with a return to status quo of sorts before the sixth season, but we’re glad to see ‘Vice’ back on track at last.

Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of spy-spoofing ‘Archer’ action? What was your favorite gag from “Filibuster?” Tell us if you’re on board for ‘Vice,’ and join us next week for all-new ‘Archer’ recap of final season 5 installment “Arrivals / Departures” on FX!

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