Archer season 13, episode 4 recap – “Laws of Attraction”

September 15, 2022
Jonathon Wilson 0
FX, Hulu, Premium Channels, Streaming Service, TV, Weekly TV
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This recap of Archer season 13, episode 4, “Laws of Attraction”, contains spoilers.

There’s a feeling of escalating chaos in this week’s episode of Archer that is enjoyable, especially once Pam takes over. But there’s also a feeling of dimishing returns, of a show essentially parodying itself – or at least parodying one character – for lack of any deeper insight or imagination. These conflicting effects give “Laws of Attraction” an odd vibe.

Archer season 13, episode 4 recap

On the one hand, more Pam Poovey can never be considered a bad thing. Since she’s the only member of the team – with the possible exception of Krieger – who isn’t tirelessly cynical about everything, her episodes always feel a bit off-kilter, like the inmates have taken over the asylum. But it takes half of the entire outing for “Laws of Attraction” to actually reveal itself as a Pam episode, so there’s a case to be made it’s too little too late. On the way there, it’s weirdly Archer himself who brings the whole thing down.

To be fair, I thought the mission was funny this week. Fabian wants the team to retrieve a magnet device that he stole from Krieger which the Swiss have subsequently stolen from him. Everyone has a good laugh at the idea of the Swiss being the villains, of course, but the root cause is banking, so what do you expect? “The Invisible Hand”, a Swiss intelligence outfit, plans to use the device to wipe out the banking records of the Cayman Islands so that billionaires looking for a tax break have to return to Zurich.

With Cyril in charge, Archer essentially goes bonkers and starts acting like even more of a maniac than usual for no real reason beyond that’s what Archer is known for. I generally like Archer’s penchant for getting excited and passionate about exotic animals, but not when he’s doing it every week, and him drinking at inappropriate times only matters if it amounts to something, which it rarely does since we still have to keep doing that bit about how he gets lucky and saves the day even when he’s determinedly trying to sabotage everything.

It doesn’t help that we don’t have anyone to really counterbalance his excesses – Ray is still recovering from Operation: Fang, and Cheryl storms out of the episode early on and never returns. That’s until Pam steps up, anyway. Eventually, she just gets sick of all the horseshit and takes matters into her own hands, and the episode becomes much better as a result. Pairing Fabian up with Krieger also makes for some novel laughs as both of them get involved in the actual mission against their better judgment.

There’s also a novel action sequence that features the attraction and repulsion of Krieger’s super magnet and gets the funniest lines out of almost everyone as well as being unique and visually interesting. So, kudos for that. But even as someone who never usually tires of Archer’s shenanigans and H. Jon Benjamin’s wonderful vocal performance, is it finally worth asking if Archer might be better with a little less Archer?

You can stream Archer season 13, episode 4, “Laws of Attraction”, exclusively on FX on Hulu.

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