'Archer' Review: "Palace Intrigue, Part 1"

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Archer’ season 5 adds a bit more ‘Vice’ in its latest episode “Palace Intrigue, Part 1,” as Archer and the gang arrive to the palace of San Marcos dictator Gustavo Calderon (Fred Armisen), before Archer finds himself in hot water with the man's wife Juliana ('The Walking Dead''s Lauren Cohan).

Previous ‘Archer’ installment “On the Carpet” saw Archer, Cyril and Ray returning to New York to bring Malory up to speed on their latest criminal complication, running afoul of a CIA operation and a South American President along the way,so does “Palace Intrigue, Part 1” 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 10, “Palace Intrigue, Part 1!”

On a stormy plane ride to the country of San Marcos, Pam and Cherlene predictably make their presence known hiding inside a crate as the group debates their ‘Breakfast Club’ identities. Hostile forces demand Ray identify his plane over the radio, to which Ray uneasily suggests they were sent by Slater. Meanwhile, Archer suggests to Lana that he’d been cutting back on drinking and anonymous sex in hopes of being a godparent to her child.

Despite the security approval, the San Marco armed forces quickly surround Archer and the others upon their landing, flanked by President Gustavo Calderon. The president and his men curiously observe Krieger, before Calderon instantly recognizes Cherlene from her country career, inviting the entire gang into his palatial estate. While the groups settle in, Archer finds himself confronted by a buxom maid, who promptly disrobes.

While the group continually mistakes the palace for a hotel and sets off in search of towels and an ice machine, Malory attempts to barter her way into the weapons trade that Calderon has been maintaining with the CIA in exchange for cocaine. Meanwhile, Krieger enters a restricted room and is shocked to find multiple clones of himself working, before the men all notice one another and scatter.

While Malory and Calderon continue to negotiate an arms deal, Archer learns that the woman earlier dressed as a maid was in fact Juliana Calderon, the leader’s wife. Archer flees to find Lana, instead running into Pam, Cyril and Krieger, who are attempting to track down the clones. Pam and Cyril lose interest, before the clones all pull Krieger into a room. When Archer finally finds Lana, she cuts him off to ask about supposedly cleaning up his act, before learning of his misunderstanding with Calderon’s wife. Believing he’ll never change, Lana punches Archer in the groin.

Cherlene finds Archer and drags him to Calderon’s dinner, wherein the dictator reveals that Cherlene’s album has gone platinum, not mentioning he bought all the copies himself. Suddenly, rebels opposing Calderon’s rules break through the lines and attack the mansion with mortars, exciting Cherlene.

OUR REVIEW:

This season of 'Archer' has definitely been slow to get going, and where recently it seemed like things had been picking up with the trips to Columbia, and trading up the cocaine racket for arms dealership, "Palace Intrigue" gave us our most movement yet in relocating the ISIS gang to a foreign dictator's mansion. Of course, apart from the scenery change (lot of mansion art this season, no?) it felt a little off to find that so little actually happened, other than to showcase Fred Armisen's awkward comic timing, and introduce a few Krieger clones.

It wasn't exactly a low point for the season, just a bit awkward and disjointed for a season that has spent so much time spinning wheels, without any real sense of what to invest in. Is Archer really trying to tone down his behavior to get in Lana's good graces? Does Pam still have a cocaine problem? Will ISIS finally ever get a business off the ground? We'll bet that next week will see things really picking up, but "Palace Intrigue" proved surprisingly literal in its plot, and all the more plodding because of it.

Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of spy-spoofing ‘Archer’ action? What was your favorite gag from “Palace Intrigue, Part 1?” Tell us if you’re on board for ‘Vice,’ and join us next week for all-new ‘Archer’ recap of “Palace Intrigue: Part 2” on FX!

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