The wordily titled “Comparative Wickedness of Civilized and Unenlightened People”, the seventh episode of Archer: Danger Island, saw Adam Reed’s anarchic brainchild at peak levels of madness.
The latest episode of Archer: Danger Island, “Comparative Wickedness of Civilized and Unenlightened People”, which is so wordy that it’ll likely mess up the site’s formatting, reached what can only be described as peak Archer. Not just for this season, either, which has spent most of its time thus far building anticipation; for a fabled idol, that still hasn’t been seen, and for the violent collision of broiling geopolitical viewpoints. No, I’m talking peak peak Archer. It all came to a head this week with Cyril Figgis, high on meth, climbing into a robotic exoskeleton and setting about a cannibalistic native tribe while screaming, “You want Fuchs? This is how you get Fuchs!”
If that isn’t peak Archer, nothing is.
The beauty of something like this is that it hardly even matters that Cyril has been recast in Danger Island as the mouthpiece of Nazi imperialist domination, because really he’s still just dorky, big-dicked Cyril Figgis. He literally has a different name this season, and I’m still referring to him as Cyril. Why wouldn’t I? The reason Archer can survive all these soft reboots is that really, fundamentally, it hasn’t ever stopped being Archer.
And when Adam Reed’s anarchic wit is really allowed to run wild, what you get is a seamless 20-minute episode full of multiphase action, Pam licking toxic toads, Archer making obscure references and debating the merits of cinematic montage, and jokes that run into other jokes in a fractal hodgepodge of manic excess.
It was bound to happen. Since Danger Island began, it has been maneuvering its various players into collision courses, pitting capitalistic excess against morality and expansionist domination against isolationism – or, perhaps more accurately, our heroes against themselves. “Comparative Wickedness of Civilized and Unenlightened People” might consist almost entirely of a battle between those competing forces, but it was really a battle between the various iterations of Archer across nine seasons and several reimaginings. It was blowing off the last month-and-a-half’s worth of steam.
And yet it all makes some kind of sense, at least according to Archer’s wacky internal logic, which can quite easily have Cyril – always a milquetoast maniac – go on a cybernetic nutcase rampage without really veering from his character. It might have been a bit much that the leftover meth on his top lip looks exactly like the Fuhrer’s Chaplin mustache, but whatever. If you look around, everyone else slotted neatly into their usual roles, too, both the ones assigned to them by Danger Island and the ones they’ve always had. Archer took charge in organizing the Mua Mua into a defensive force, once again only really coming alive in a situation that might kill him, while Pam, well-intentioned enough, was too dopey and high on toad toxin to prove all that effective. Lana’s righteous indignation has finally been given an appropriate context, Cheryl continues to stumble into situations where the idolatry of nearby men serves her well, and Malory spends most of “Comparative Wickedness of Civilized and Unenlightened People” looking for booze.
There’s only one episode of Archer: Danger Island left, and since Adam Reed has repeatedly said he’s ending the show after its tenth season, you have to wonder whether that might entail a return to reality or a deeper descent into delusion. At this point, it hardly matters – and besides, it’s a question for next week. Until then we can enjoy Archer at its Archeriest, with the nature of that much-talked-about idol still unclear and a drug-addled Nazi still at large.
“Comparative Wickedness of Civilized and Unenlightened People” was the seventh episode of Archer‘s ninth season. Check out our complete series coverage.