Archer ‘Legs’ review: This episode is still learning to walk

Last night’s Archer was… something. The trouble is, I’m still having trouble thinking of what it was. When I say “Legs” got weird, you have to consider the show that I’m talking about here. Remember Piggly, anyone? Or Piggly 2? Yup, “Legs” was almost weirder than the two combined.

Source: FX

I guess part of that is because the episode (and its title) was dedicated to some of the unsung heroes at ISIS, namely Ray. Ever since the infamous “M as in Mancy” incident back in season one of Archer, I’ve been a fan of Ray. However, last night, it occurred to me… I’m not sure if we were ever meant to spend an entire episode with him. It’s not that he isn’t funny, because he still delivers that cattiness perfectly, but too much time with him is… well, it’s kinda sad. I mean, the entire cold open is pretty much dedicated to how much his life sucks. Thankfully, Archer and Mallory are there to take the edge off with some of the “you’ll hate yourself, but you’ll laugh” style humor that makes Archer so irresistible. Still, Ray’s storyline is a shared one with Dr. Kriger, who proposes bionic legs to allow Ray to walk again. It’s a solid enough premise, but there’s only so much weirdness you can take from Kriger before it just becomes exhausting. Luckily, when Ray is down, Kriger typically has Pam to balance him out. In the end, it’s kinduva random plot to leadthe episode, but everyone at ISIS, including its lesser-seen supporting cast like Ray and Brett, works overtime to make the joke land.

Source: FX

Still, despite the episode’s title, the show really belongs to the Archer B-plot. Most of the story revolves around Archer trying to get a rocket launcher from the armory. It sounds like a weird B-plot to react so positively to, but there’s something about it that works. I think a lot of the episode owes so much of its humor to Rodney, the sycophant armory worker who is constantly at odds with Archer. Like I said earlier, Archerdoes well with its supporting characters. Plus, “Legs” gives just about everyone an opportunity to interact with him. I think my favorite moment is between him and Cheryl when she goes to ask him for medical supplies. (Side note and fun fact for our hearing-impaired fans, the closed captioning puts “Cheryl/Carol” whenever Judy Greer speaks… remember her frequent name changes from season one?)

The whole episode comes together when Archer, who has a bad history with robotics, tries to stop Kriger at all costs. “Legs” is rife with Terminator references, so for all the other sci-fi nerds out there, that’s at least something to keep an eye out for when you’re watching. The only thing that sorta disappointed me in this segment is that there were plenty of nods towards Katya, Archer’s former bride-to-be, but not a single mention of Barry! I mean, have we forgotten about the end of the first episode of this season entirely? Hopefully, Archer will see the return of Barry soon (alongside “Other Barry”) but who knows? Also, considering the time Archer spent in the HVAC ducts, I was hoping for at least a passing reference to Die Hard but no such luck.

Ultimately, “Legs” isn’t a bad episode of Archer. Correction, there is no such thing as a bad episode of Archer. “Legs” is just an anomaly in the show. Kind of like after an extensive surgery, the jokes in this episode might not be strong enough to stand on their own, but the amazing cast and the spot-on references still place this show much higher on my list than most animated sitcoms.

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About the author: Calhoun
Calhoun
Calhoun Kersten is unofficially over-educated and unemployable. he is currently finishing up his Masters thesis on horror films from DePaul University, but now resides in Hell on earth aka Los Angeles. When he's not writing, he enjoys being a grown man who still watches Arthur on PBS, singing along loudly to Three 6 Mafia, and spending time with his dog, Karl Marx.

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  • Monika Alem

    Definitely agree with your review! This episode felt a little off and I think you pinpointed the problem perfectly by saying maybe we weren’t meant to ever spend an entire episode on Ray. There were plenty of funny moments with Krieger, but everyone else’s jokes fell a little flat, imo. And when did Mallory start dating a car dealer?? OH, but big points for the glimpse of Conway! I’d been wondering when we’d see him again

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1433160170 Calhoun Kersten

      Yeah, it was definitely slightly off this week, but I don’t think we’re gonna get another episode like that… at least, I hope not… although I could definitely handle more Rodney. Oh, and the Conway bit was the best!

      As for the car dealer, he showed up at the beginning of thsi season, I think partially causing Archer’s amnesia from the trauma of his mom getting remarried or whatever

  • Pellinore

    I loved the Bob’s Burgers crossover in the first episode of season four. As well as the irradiated ants reference in episode two. Oh how I miss Frisky Dingo. Didn’t so much like the ending of that episode though.

    Regarding this episode, it seemed very all over the place. So I definitely agree with your review. Ray’s surgery should have not lasted the entire episode. Nothing really happened. There could have been some conflict between him and Archer after he got his new legs. But maybe that’s something the writers will explore later in the season.

    They should have kept the side jokes to just two or three. It was cool they kind of referenced the party scene from the first or second episode, with the dead pig and disgusting break room. But overall this episode was somewhat off.

    I look forward to seeing Barry and Conway in future episodes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1433160170 Calhoun Kersten

      I love Barry almost as much as I love Barry talking to himself as Other Barry… as for Conway, I’m sooo glad there’s at least the HOPE that he might come back.
      Fingers crossed!

  • John

    This episode DOES pay homage to Die Hard, though in an obscure way. The saw used on Ray, and the music from the scene where Krieger’s about to cut into Ray, is the same as when Theo begins to cut into the vault. Something about that scene gave me pause, and it finally clicked. I agree a reference in the HVAC ducts would have been good.