Another episode centered mostly around the Tunt mansion, “Baby Shower” addresses Lana’s pregnancy in a way that gives the episode the most interesting character beats this season. The mission structure here is very familiar to anyone who has seen much Archer – and, indeed, Sterling and Pam get paired up once more in favor of going with a different duo – but rather than feeling repetitive in any way, “Baby Shower” comfortably nudges the viewer along on a journey that could have been straight from the ISIS days. In fact, more than any episode since the season premiere, Sterling is stuck thinking about the top-notch field agent he used to be compared to the wandering, functional alcoholic he is now. Because Lana is out of commission for any kind of active duty, Pam is definitely the right partner for him this time around, because she is the other character who is most actively avoiding the issues that have come with no longer having the stable instability of working at ISIS. Going back into the field, in some way, gives their characters relative purpose and even though Sterling doesn’t come out and say it directly, you can tell he’s having a lot of fun doing the kinds of things he’s used to doing (he refers to his ability to track how many bullets someone has fired as just one of those things he does, showing how natural he is in the danger zone).
And, as stated, Lana gets the best material in “Baby Shower” that she’s been given this year. Continuing with her passive aggressive dismissals of everyone else for how stupid and offensive they are (such as Malory wondering if Lana is still planning on keeping the baby this late in the game), a much less cynical and much more human side of her comes out by the episode’s end. She takes some of the strange baby shower presents in stride and has a genuine reaction to Sterling’s present, courtesy of Woodhouse – Sterling’s old baby crib. Cyril makes a pathetic pass at Lana after handing her a check for eighty dollars, but it takes literally no effort whatsoever on Sterling’s part to win Lana over, suggesting that the two are entirely done with each other on a level beyond platonic. Of course, Sterling actually does put in a lot of effort for Lana, but it isn’t the fruits of those labors that get her to tear up and warm to him. In fact, she doesn’t even know who Kenny Loggins is, let alone that “Danger Zone” is an actual song and not just one of the random things Sterling says to her occasionally. Oh, well. Loggins’ cameo is fantastic nonetheless – specifically his bits during Sterling and Pam’s attempted infiltration in which he’s carrying around a briefcase of what might be plutonium or a human soul and nearly falls off a poorly constructed pool many stories up one of the Tunt-owned hotels.
The other scenes in “Baby Shower” – including the flawless cold open – are, at the very least, hilarious. Krieger has embellished a plan to get rid of the all the drugs the crew is still holding, but any plan in which Krieger is a part typically goes wrong (especially when his virtual wife is supposed to be doing the packaging). Cherlene and Loggins’ exchange before their duet is similarly wonderful to witness. We don’t have any indication of how successful Cherlene’s one-hit-one-performance wonder was, so it’s looking like the second half of the season will be tracing her path to stardom. Hopefully, that also means the other characters who haven’t had much to do this season – mainly Cyril – will get a chance to enter the spotlight. And now that the baby shower has been handled with as much care as anyone could expect out of Archer, that’s probably got most of us excited to see how everything turns out once Lana’s baby is born. Not a dull moment in Archer Vice.
[Photo via FX]