Let’s get one thing straight, cancer is not funny. There is nothing mildly humorous about someone losing their hair and toenails trying to beat cancer. As we know, Archer has been diagnosed with breast cancer and even after successfully having a tumor removed he found out that the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes. Now in this weeks episode, “Placebo Effect,” We see Archer a few weeks later and how he is dealing with his latest challenge.
The episode opens with Archer talking to Dr. Krieger about how good he feels since starting his cancer therapy and how there have been no side effects whatsoever. Krieger is very suspicious of this and Archer just chalks it up to being a badass. Just to be sure though, Krieger takes Archer’s meds and tests them. To Archer’s shock and horror, his pills are really suger pills and his IV is full of Zima. This does not sit well with him at all and he enlists Lana’s help in filming his subsequent rampage. He starts at the pharmacy where he was getting his bogus drugs (except the medical marijuana, which was real) and finds out from the pharmacist that the Irish Mob is behind the switcheroo. So the pair take off to a warehouse where Archer snipes the guards and ties up everyone inside, He decides to play a very high stakes version of “Family Feud” with the Irishmen. This leaves two of them dead (sans kneecaps) and one of them having pissed himself. Archer now has his real Cancer medication which Lana tells him it is probably not a good idea to take during his rampage, but he doesn’t listen and winds up severely weakened and hairless the next day.
The info Archer got from the warehouse takes him to a back room card game at a butcher shop. Now that he is bald and puking everywhere (and high as a kite), Lana has to help him walk and carry the camera. This is why they make such a beautiful couple – she kicks the door in and Archer blows the guard’s head off. Unfortunately, the sawed-off he used was right behind Lana’s head so she is not deaf. Archer remarks that while he is sorry, that is payback for when she did it to him (see ep 207, “Movie Star”). Just like the warehouse, the mobsters try to act tough and say they will never give up their boss. They tell Archer that he and his “bull-dyke” girlfri- and somehow Lana heard “bull-dyke” and guns them all down save one. Now everytime you think this episode cannot get darker, it surprises you. Archer handcuffs the sole survivor to a pool table, takes his pants off and says “I’m gonna assume you know the difference between an M26 and a Mark II fragmentation grenade.” Yeah, he jams a grenade up the man’s ass and pulls the pin out. Now tight butt cheeks are all that keeps him alive. Of course the guy tells Archer where his boss lives and they leave him there like that. Unfortunately, the guy hears Archer say it was just a smoke grenade….it wasn’t. The explosion now leaves Archer and Lana temporarily deaf.
Archer’s madness has finally brought him to the doorstep of Francis Delaney, boss of the Irish mafia. Lana covers his bodyguards in a very hungry and slightly paranoid state thanks to all the weed Archer has been smoking in her car. Archer tells Delaney that they are going to take a walk but since Delaney is wheelchair bound, he’ll settle for a roll or whatever. Archer takes the camera with him and sets up in a heavily wooded area of Delaney’s compound. Delaney is not scared at all; he remarks at how Archer is an ISIS agent and will not shoot an unarmed man. He also told Archer how he had 3 days of freaky sex with his mother in Thailand. That combined with the fact that the whole drug swap scheme killed his friend Ruth who also had breast cancer sends Archer to the dark place one last time and that’s all she wrote for Delaney. The final scene shows Archer back in office three weeks later, cancer in remission, forcing everyone to watch his exploits which he titled “Terms of Enrampagement.” It’s a working title.
This was a huge departure from the normal episode of Archer. It’s not like Archer has never killed anyone before, but it has been in self defense. We have never seen him go on a rampage and despite the hilarity, one has to admit how truly twisted he was. The other big change in Sterling was that he once again showed a shred of humanity. Part of his rampage was the fact that his friend Ruth (above) also had breast cancer and was also taking the same bogus medicine he was. He actually spent a good deal of time with her as her condition deteriorated and when he heard she had died, that was the last straw. If she had the real meds, odds are she would have survived. Archer’s rampage was really revenge for his friend.
Then we have to take a quick look at what was going on back at home base during the rampage. Cyril finds out that Krieger may have Nazi ties and reports it to Malory. Malory shrugs it off and tells Cyril that nobody likes a snitch. It seems that Sterling’s is not the only childhood that Malory has screwed up. Malory was responsible for the death of Krieger’s (probably adopted) father and reveals that Krieger is very possibly a genetic clone of Adolph Hitler. Kinda hard to determine which story here is more messed up, isn’t it? Next week’s episode looks like it might be filler, but the preview looks pretty funny so we will wait and see if there is any more German influence as the season wraps up.