'Archer' Review: "Live and Let Dine"

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Archer’ season 4 cooks its seventh episode of the year “Live and Let Dine,” as the ISIS staff goes undercover at the exclusive restaurant of "Bastard Chef" Lance Casteau (Anthony Bourdain) in order to stop a threat to the Albanian ambassador, but quickly find the situation isn't at all what they expected..

Last week’s ‘Archer’ episode “Once Bitten” saw Sterling bitten by a snake while out on a mission, sending him through a number of visions as Cyril and Ray race through the desert for help, so how does “Live and Let Dine” taste?  Is ‘Archer’ season 4 preparing its most classic season yet?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Archer’ season 4 episode 7, “Live and Let Dine!”

Speaking into the camera for his TV series of the same name, “Bastard Chef” Lance Casteau gripes about having to open his exclusive restaurants to Albanian diplomats, while the incompetent ISIS staff replaces his usual workers to cover a “credible threat” to the ambassador. Not realizing the event was to be televised, Lana questions the wisdom of staging a mission for all to see, as off-screen Archer disrupts the proceedings by dropping a slippery bowl.

Taking advantage of Cyril’s cover position, Archer forces the put-upon accountant to clean up the messes while Lana worries about the mission souring relationships between the US and Albania. More humiliatingly, Casteau puts Lana on phone duty, revealing that the constantly-ringing phone is a decoy for a real number he gives to more exclusive guests anyway.

Speaking of which, Malory has Cheryl repeatedly call the restaurant attempting to book a table, having believed that the mission would buy her way in and get the agency in with the state department as well. As Cheryl grows increasingly frustrated, Malory threatens Pam’s prize fighting fish should they fail to get her a table.

Meanwhile, Lana begins to question why Archer seems to enjoy the mission so much in spite of the “credible” threat, to which Archer reveals he has a hidden passion for the more “real” job of being a chef. Even Casteau praises Archer’s work and berating of Cyril, while ordering a frustrated Lana back to the phones.

Archer terrorizes Cyril by forcing him to prepare the traditional Albanian sheep’s head dish, while Pam and Cheryl continue trying for a table to save Pam's fish. The pair seek the help of armory supervisor Randy to procure a gadget that would isolate the restaurant’s hidden phone number, to which the supervisor eagerly agrees…in exchange for a hand job from Cheryl.

Cheryl's deed done, Casteau agrees to a table of four for “Vernie Kennedy” and her party, while preparing his staff for the diplomat’s arrival. Ray serves the Albanian ambassador wine, while Malory, Ron, Pam and Cheryl lament the poor service of the ISIS staff and the solely Albanian menu for the evening. Lana continues to worry about the possible threat, but quickly realizes Malory was the one to issue it in the first place, having been unable to get a table at the exclusive restaurant for months.

While Ron embarrasses Malory bringing crackers for everyone to snack on, Archer accidentally drops his soup and is forced to prepare the entrees earlier, without help from a disgruntled Lana, Ray and Cyril. After Casteau toasts the Albanians, the chef has Archer and the staff rush out Archer’s main dish to the tables. The dish appears to be a rousing success, pleasing Archer, but the Albanian ambassador promptly dies after taking his first bite.

Confused by the man’s death in light of the fake threat, and everyone else’s survival eating the dish, the gang realizes that Casteau himself was the one to poison the ambassador, coating the inside of his glass with cyanide. Having escaped via helicopter, Casteau explains over the phone that he took a payoff to finance a traveling cooking show, and berates Archer’s chef skills after all.

As Lana wonders who would have spent $6 million to make ISIS look like idiots, we see that Barry and Katya are the ones to pilot the chopper, which a bitter Katya rolls to dump Casteau out the side. Barry laughs at the man’s predicament, but Katya quickly reminds him that he could be next.

No one had previously thought 'Archer' to be on the bubble, but this week's earlier season 5 renewal couldn't have come at a better time than "Live and Let Dine," one of the better episodes of the season. Concept episodes and one-offs can be somewhat hit and miss for an arbitrarily serialized show like 'Archer,' but the inclusion of Anthony Bourdain and the tightly-written script feel very much on-game, adding just a dash of serialization with Barry and Katya at the end. The mocumentary format certainly lends itself to 'Archer' as well, even if the idea doesn't make it through the entire episode. All in all, a finely-prepared 'Archer' to toast (cyanide-free) to the season 5 renewal.

What say you? Did you get your fill of spy-spoofing ‘Archer’ action?  What was your favorite gag from “Live and Let Dine?” Join us next week for another all-new ‘Archer’ episode recap of “Coyote Lovely” on FX!

Filed Under: Anthony Bourdain, Archer, FX
Categories: TV News, TV Reviews
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