‘Archer’ Season Finale Review: “Arrivals / Departures”
‘Archer’ season 5 adds the last dash of ‘Vice’ in its season finale “Arrivals / Departures,” as Lana's impending birth sends Archer into a panic, while the former ISIS team attempts to flee the imminent destruction of San Marcos at CIA hands.
Previous ‘Archer’ installment “Filibuster” saw Archer fighting his way out from under Cyril's reign as San Marco's president, while Krieger attempted to prevent his clones from launching a missile strike against the world, so does “Arrivals / Departures” keep the changes rolling? Does ‘Archer’ season 5 conclude its run in the danger zone?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Archer’ season 5 episode 13, season finale “Arrivals / Departures"!
Archer begins timing Lana’s contractions, as Hawley and Slater admit that they’ve been the ones providing Malory and Archer with cocaine to monetize for the CIA, in turn providing weapons to Calderon to fight the rebels that they themselves have spearheaded with Iran, all to utilize their government’s budget. Slater calls in an air strike for the palace while Lana chokes Archer, though Archer insists he had nothing to do with it. Meanwhile, Ray and Krieger continually fail to defuse the nerve gas rocket, while Malory orders Cyril and Pam to strip the palace of valuables before they flee.
Prepping Lana for her delivery, Archer tasks Cherlene with handling the actual birth, though she finds the entire process disgusting. Meanwhile, Krieger has an idea that they simply remove the nerve gas from the otherwise inert missile, as US bombers arrive overhead. Malory, Pam and Cyril flee the palace in expensive fur coats, while Cherlene leads Hawley and Slater to Calderon’s plane to begin the escape. Elsewhere, Juilliana casts off her latest conquest, just as US bombers destroy Calderon’s palace.
After catching up with Cyril and Krieger out on the road, nerve gas canister included, Malory and the others arrive at the airport to find Lana in the throes of delivery, which Pam and Malory take over, sending Archer out of the room. After a painful birth, Lana’s baby girl arrives, though the group remains uncertain of the father, before loading up on Calderon’s plane. Lana tells Malory she’ll never forgive Archer for lying about the cocaine, but Malory reminds her that she’s never been honest with Sterling about their business dealings.
Hawley and Malory bicker over their mutual business plans (including Hawley’s earlier visit) costing them $50 million, for which Malory produces one of Calderon’s paintings to even the deficit. Malory proposes that seizing the nerve gas will buy Hawley enough of a promotion to reinstate ISIS as a private firm handling CIA spy work, something Hawley bitterly accepts.
Lana finally allows Archer to see the baby, before finally admitting that she’d used his sperm sample from before his cancer in a moment of ethical weakness. Archer nearly goes deaf from the shock of the news, continually wondering if he’d spent the months up to that moment in a coma, before Archer finally accepts the news and greets his new daughter, Abijean.
No one can fault 'Archer' for taking such a broad leap with its fifth (and certainly not final) season, as the 'Vice' setting took more risk than we've come to expect from most major dramas, let alone animation, which can run indefinitely on the same premise with no end in sight. By and large, the experiment has been successful, transplanting the always razor-sharp 'Archer' character interactions to a new setting rife with possibility, though in certain spots of the season it almost felt as if the writers forsook serialization solely for the sake of it, and as such, occasionally proved frustrating.
Last week's "Filibuster" undertook the long road toward tying up the many loose ends of the season, and while those looking for Bionic Barry to pop up once more as the mastermind behind it all, "Arrivals / Departures" proves surprisingly elegant in accomplishing its task. Not only does Hawley and Malory's CIA operation help tie a neat ribbon around some of the more straggling stories (neatly sidestepping Hawley's earlier investigation of the team), but the finale offered more heart than we can honestly recall through all four seasons prior. Lana has her baby, with some diligent tough love from Pam and Malory, while Archer (somewhat) predictably finds himself amenable to accepting the responsibility.
We're already guaranteed another two seasons to 'Archer' at least, and it was at least nice to have ISIS firmly established to return by the next season, while near of the entire cast got their moments to shine tonight. Even Cherlene got her saccharine realization that she had the country talent within her all along, unless the Krieger we're left with (aside from the name flubs, note how often he downplayed the importance of identity) made up his revelation on the spot.
And that's all she wrote, really, as far as evaluating the comedic and dramatic merits of 'Archer' season finales go. The emotional threads all paid off with a surprising resonance (the father's identity notwithstanding), while our year-long vacation from ISIS will undoubtedly set up a markedly different return next season, without ever losing its biting sense of humor.
Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of spy-spoofing ‘Archer’ action? What was your favorite gag from “Arrivals / Departures?” Tell us what you thought of the ‘Vice’ season, and join us next year for all-new ‘Archer’ recaps of season 6 on FX!