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Headscratchers: Archer
  • Where does the name Archer come from? Mallory tells Sterling that his father was named "John Fitzgerald Archer" and presumably that the name comes from him... however, no such man exists. Did Mallory adopt a complete false name or simply bank on Sterling never wondering about his mother's maiden name?
    • Pretty sure Pam and/or Cheryl have addressed Malory as "Ms. Archer," meaning the latter. Given the level of parental neglect it's completely conceivable that Sterling never cared enough to find out about his maternal grandparents. Or, given what Mallory is like, they may be complete jerkasses and he avoids them.
      • "Ms" is a catchall honorific, and while most widows choose to remain "Mrs. [married name]" Malory's decision to use it is very obviously about indicating her sexual availability—so being "Ms. Archer" doesn't really indicate whether Archer is supposed to be her maiden or married name.
      • Archer mentions he knows about his grandmother at least, but it's possible he either didn't know her last name or never realised she was his maternal grandmother.
      • Malory hints that her mother is just as much of a bitch as she is.
    • A lot of children adopt the surname of their stepfather
      • Except Mallory married Ron in between seasons three and four, and Ron's last name is Cadillac (which he changed from Kaczynski), not Archer.
  • In the pilot, why didn't Mallory know about the mole? They touched on it but just let it go.
    • ...because he's a mole? If Mallory knew about him, he wouldn't be a mole anymore. He'd just be some dead guy who used to be an enemy agent.
      • The point was that she said "I would have known..." presumably because of her relationship with Nikolai. See the next point for an explanation, though.
    • I think it was sort of used to develop the relationship btwn Mallory and Nikolai. Later, in "Skorpio," we found out that while she tells him all things ISIS, he doesn't share all KGB details with her because he finds it "unprofessional."
      • Indeed, part of the joke is that Mallory is a mole.
    • Also, security at ISIS ironically sucks. For example, they apparently do not do thorough background checks on prospective employees, because the secretary working for the head of the agency was using a false identity for years!
  • "Benoit balls". Is this a pun or a reference or something? Could someone please explain the joke? Or is the running gag simply that Archer is obsessively committed to a joke that isn't funny to anyone else including the audience?
    • There's a type of sex toy called "ben-wa balls."
  • When exactly is the show set? Or is it just stylistically everywhere? 60's fashions, 80's tech, 10's pop culture.
    • "That is a good question." Though to be honest, none of the poltics, technology or ages match up at all, so it really doesnt have a year. If you wanted to be pedantic, calculating the Compound Interests in "Double Deuces" gives you early 1980s or so, but again,a meaningless statement.
    • Modern day, with some retro stylings.
    • It's pretty much everywhere. Its set during the Cold War, with 60's fashions, 80's tech aesthetics, 40's and 90's weapons, 10's tech capabilities, and 10's pop culture.
    • Doesn't Archer explicitly refer to the years 2008 and 2009 when he's listing recent alligator attacks?
      • No. He just refers to the attacks as happening 'last year' and 'two years ago' and 'three years ago'.
    • I'm thinking that it's impossible to tell, simply because of internal contradictions. For example, Burt Reynolds' appearance with silver hair would imply that the show is set in the present day. However, the episode "Double Deuce" implies that Archer was born around 1938 or 1939, although he appears to be in his early 30s and is stated to be 35 in the pilot. Furthermore, if that episode were in the present day, Woodhouse and his squadron-mates would be at least 110 years old. Not impossible, but not very likely, either. Perhaps They Just Didn't Care about the Anachronism Stew. Besides, it is an Alternate History.
    • It basically should be around 1975, given that Wodehouse is a WW1 vet, Malory is a WW2 vet, Archer age and approximate date of birth, and the Cold War is still going. But none of the tech or anything else fits with that so roll with it.
    • Bellisario's Maxim. They wanted to have a Mad Men feel to the show, but didn't want characters to search for a phone booth whenever they needed to call someone.
    • I think the "impossible to tell" answer was spot on, except that it is possible to tell. It's exactly that, a mashup of the 70's and 10's, and one perspective to understand that is as an alternate history. I think one can also easily see it as simply a mashup that freely takes whatever it sees as the best from both.
    • Word of God says the cell phones are there so the characters don't need to find a phone booth whenever they need to talk, and everything else is Adam Reed's personal preference.
    • In the episode in which he's being sold fake chemo drugs, it's observed that his IV bag is full of Zima. Zima was sold in the U.S. from 1993 to 2008. As part-James Bond parody, I take Archer's mix of time periods as a comment on the relative constancy of James Bond's age throughout the movies as time and technology progresses around him.
    • Modern day with specific details that would only work in a very specific time frame (i.e. Cold War stuff needing to be between 1945 and 1991) brought into modern time by Rule of Funny.
    • Matt Thompson addressed this in a Q&A at Uproxx. Basically, they make it up as they go along:
    Q: "I was also wondering why all the weapons used by the ISIS crew are modern day. Yet, judging by the automobiles, it seems the show is set in much earlier decade. Why is that?"
    A: "We pick whatever thing looks the best. Mix and match to make up our own time period."
  • In "Jeu Monegasque", Mallory says "Thankfully Gambling is one of the vices Archer doesn't have." And Archer's reaction to winning a hand confirms this. But...it was shown in the first episode that Archer was blowing money from his Operations Expense account on gambling. It feels kind of weird in a series high on Continuity Nod.
    • Archer being shown gambling doesn't mean he has an actual gambling *problem*.
    • His reaction to winning, though, heavily implies that he is unfamiliar with the very concept of gambling.
      • Or just Baccarat. And Archer not being familiar with more obscure upper-class games of chance fits in with the constant subversion of Martini-flavored Spy Fiction tropes.
      • Heart of Archness confirms that Malory doesn't know the extent of the fraud with Sterling's Operations Account.
      • What fraud? It was Ray, not Archer, who was defrauding ISIS. Without his expense account, Archer was broke and just getting by tending bar in French Polnesia.
  • Did they accidentally name the wrong cat in the script? Archer notices Cheryl's pet Ocelot...and says look at those tufted ears. Is he thinking of a Caracal or a Lynx?
    • Could just be Archer being an idiot.
  • If Calzado keeps exotic animals for the thrill of hunting them, why does he have two sloths?
    • To test his ability to spot a camouflaged, unmoving target?
  • Were they really planning to populate Mars with only one woman? The inbreeding would have caused problems, eventually.
    • It's pretty clear they aren't all there in the head.
    • They were also planning to use Pam, Cheryl and (possibly) Malory for the same purpose
    • There's also Trish, who is physically unappealing. There's also a chance there are other women; they chose to single Trish out for her unattractiveness.
  • It's been demonstrated that Pam is a veritable sex goddess. She gave Archer the best sex he's ever had, and he's had sex with, among other things, two princesses at the same time. So how come Lana's never had any similar revelation, or at least once referred to their season 1 finale sex-capades?
    • Well, there are two options here: either Pam isn't as great at homosex as she is at heterosex, or Lana just doesn't blab like certain others.
    • I'm pretty sure the joke there is that she grew up on a farm, where she most likely MILKED COWS.
  • In the episode where they ride on the blimp, it turns out that Malory faked the bomb threat in order to get a free ride on the maiden voyage, but then there really was a bomb, placed there by the captain. So if the captain planted the bomb, why would he have called in ISIS in the first place? It would have been smarter to not respond to the bomb threat at all, since he wanted the blimp to blow up anyway, and Malory couldn't have butted in because technically she wouldn't even have known about the bomb threat if she didn't make it herself and if the captain didn't say anything.
    • Perhaps he decided to make the phoney bomb-threat a real once it was called in; ISIS isn't known as being the best agency, so it would have been a convenient cover.
    • The opposite is also possible; he was planning on bombing the blimp all along. Suddenly he gets a bomb threat from Mallory and realizes that by calling it in he can deflect any suspicion that would be leveled at him after the ship blew up. After all, there was a threat, he did the responsible thing and reported it, why would anyone suspect him?
    • *Ahem* Rigid Airship.
  • I don't get why Mallory doesn't just make Gillette do the honey pot. I mean, yes, nepotism, but you'd think that would entail giving Archer a mission he actually wants. Does she really think he's not as trustworthy or competent as Archer? At the very least, you'd think she'd correctly think Gillette would be more willing and able, if for entirely bigoted reasons.
    • She probably didn't trust him with something this sensitive. Blood is the best security in the spy business, so she'd prefer that her son was the only person who knew about the mission.
    • They kind of say it outright at that precise scene in "Honeypot": she doesn't trust Gillette with something this personally sensitive, and she doesn't like Gillette. For Mallory Archer, that is more than enough reason.
    • The last 2 are correct, that she doesn't trust him. But to go further, I think it's obvious why she trusts Archer over Gillete in this specific scenario, not just that it's a crazy irrational general mistrust. Of those 2, who's more likely to publicize a sex tape? Her son who pukes at the thought of his food preparer, Woodhouse, having once seen his mother's vagina? Or might there be a greater risk of publication from basically anyone else. Keeping in mind she had exactly 3 options, and 1's gender didn't fit the profile.
      • I can understand her not liking/trusting Gilette, it's just weird that she trusts him less than Archer, who not one hour into his mission spills the beans to two random dudes he's known for a few minutes at most.
      • Again, this is Mallory Archer. She's irrational and insane, and hides it under a thin veneer of vodka, extreme personal competence, and sociopathy.
    • I think it's more the question of "Who is more likely to blackmail me if he got this." Gillette (along with the rest of the employees at ISIS), puts up with near-constant abuse and terrible pay from Mallory and would relish the chance to milk something out of her by getting her fired. But Archer is close enough to her that the fall-out could hurt him too and he lives in pretty extreme comfort. Plus he's too disgusted by his mother's sex life to ever mention it to anyone. His first instinct on hearing what the tape contained was to dry-heave.
  • Why does Malory hate the Irish for being neutral in WWII, since she clearly doesn't have an issue with Germans or Italians?
    • She probably just uses that as a way to excuse her bigotry.
    • You're asking why Mallory Archer irrationally hates someone? This is a woman who changes the labels on her medication with the justification that the servants will steal it but also can't read the labels. Mallory Archer needs no reason to hate someone.
  • Am I the only one who thinks that Archer's deplorable treatment of Woodhouse just makes no logical sense? He was RAISED by him exclusively for the first 5 years of his life (and by all appearances, Woodhouse was at least a competant parent if not a steller one), and yet he doesn't seem to feel any sort of affection for him until "Double Deuce" (and even that is quickly forgotten). Even Mallory treats Woodhouse with some measure of respect and dignity, so it's hard to believe that Archer learned this particular behavior from her.
    • Perhaps, Archer does like Woodhouse, but what we see as deplorable treatment is just Archer's dysfunctional views on human relationships. Even those who like and are personally close to their domestic servant have to keep a certain distance and occasionally maintain discipline. Archer simply has a misguided sense of those two things. Whereas someone might chastise their servants for talking out of line, Archer feels it's appropriate to make him eat cobwebs.
    • That's the whole point. In case you didn't notice, Archer is a tremendous asshole. He's an asshole to the point that his assholishness defies logic.
    • In "Double Deuce", he seems to have had a shattering Heel Realization at how horribly he's treated Woodhouse (though he might have a case of literal Aesop Amnesia, since that revelation was followed closely by a concussion). He also has a major character development after Katya dies, so hopefully we'll see him treating Woodhouse better.
    • Archer's been neglected or outright abused by his mother, and Woodhouse seems to be a big pushover. With Archer's uncaring, spoiled behavior and neglect from his mom, coupled with Woodhouse not standing up for himself, Archer never had a reason not to be mean. That, and the fact that Woodhouse still hasn't stood up for himself. Well, at least so far as Archer's aware.
      • Woodhouse stood up for himself three times IIRC. He bought his own date in the dinner "Killing Utne" and neglected to prepare Archer's clothes or tell him; He refused to open the door in "Dial M for Mother" and in the "Midnight Ron" episode, he refused to lend him money.
      • Or on the other hand, see the YMMV page for an Alternate Character Interpretation that thanks to his mother, being emotionally abusive is the only way Archer knows how to communicate familial attachment to someone.
    • I think Archer treats Woodhouse like shit since it's just another symbol of Mallory's neglect. Rather than spend time with him herself, she handed him off to the help, so Archer resents Woodhouse for having a bigger part in his childhood than either of his biological parents. Every time they're together it's just a reminder of how Mallory treated him so he lashes out. Plus it's funny.
    • To be fair, Woodhouse is a heroin addict and in a flashback sequence we see a young Archer alone (again) while Woodhouse is in the bathroom high on heroin. Who's to say Woodhouse was even remotely competent as a caregiver?
  • Is George Spelvin (pseudonym) Cyril's father?
    • Definitely not - aside from being roughly the same age, Spelvin looks nothing like Cyril's father in the flashback, and only knows that Cyril's got Daddy Issues, but needs to be told about the source of them after guessing.
  • Why in the world is there a fork frozen in a huge block of ice in the ISIS safe house freezer? Even assuming that more time passed than what was really seen on screen... that was a LOT of ice, and would've taken a long time to freeze... which would imply that someone had placed it in there before Archer left the safe house.
    • Maybe Barry prepared it earlier, and brought it with him.
      • I'm pretty sure he did. He brought a cooler into the safe house.
      • I think it even shows him fiddling with the freezer before he turns the gas on.
  • Were Swiss Miss and A Going Concern aired out of order? In the first season finale, Dial M For Mother, Manfred and Uta put a malfunctioning chip in Archer's head. It's shown to be pretty disruptive, and causes subjects to go into homicidal rages when hear cell phones, and otherwise just barely function. In Swiss Miss, he's unaffected by the chip and can basically be a One-Man Army against El Frente Rojo and protect Anka, but in the Cold Open of A Going Concern he says Kreiger found it in a CAT scan after his unexplained weird behavior, and removed it (with a drill), and Archer is back to normal.
    • Yes and no. "Swiss Miss" and "A Going Concern' were 2nd and 6th, respectively, in production order, but "A Going Concern" was never meant to be the season premiere or air before "Swiss Miss". It's never specified when Krieger took the chip out, so he could have removed it pre-"Swiss Miss". And the psychotic effects had mostly dissipated by the end of "Dial M For Mother".
  • What is not difficult and real about running a sorta-secret marijuana farm?
  • Why would Lana and Cyril get back together? Don't get me wrong, I think it creates a lot of creative plots and opportunities now. But for in-universe justification, why? Especially since Cyril has been more incompetent or weird in later seasons.
    • Probably because she hasn't gotten laid in 14 months. In a show like this it's as good a reason as any.
    • She has serious trouble getting dates, much less relationships, outside of ISIS.
  • If Gandolf is destroying power plants to preserve the environment, why would he destroy the pipline if that would also completely destroy thousands of acres of swampland? And for that matter, why would he destroy a hydroelectric dam if hydroelectricity creates zero emissions?
    • Hydroelectricity is not universally popular with environmentalists-it's zero emissions but interferes with the local wildlife, especially salmon.
  • Aren't alligators an invasive species?
    • In Louisiana, alligators are non-invasive and are useful for containing the even more invasive nutria.
  • Archer was banned from entering Canada at the end of "The Limited", so how could he be in Montreal at the beginning of "Midnight Ron"?
    • He probably snuck over and was somehow lucky to have not been identified as a criminal. The authorities he ran into after breaking the phone would probably do a background check after they apprehended him for smashing the payphone.
      • And even then, that's assuming he wouldn't just give them one of his fake names, like Chet Manly or Cyril Figgis.
  • How the hell does Archer know that Dickie (Woodhouse brother) dead? last i check he was in mexico with no way to contact them
    • They would have tried to contact the next of kin or emergency contact when Dickie died.
  • How was Ray supposed to lift a jeep even if he had used his bionic legs, the rest of his body shouldn't be able to support that kind of weight.
    • He wasn't. It was Archer being an idiot, and Ray picking up his Idiot Ball. Plus, he only technically has bionic legs in that the signal to his legs is fixed using a power source - he specifically told Krieger he didn't want vanadium alloy legs.
      • This is Krieger we're talking about, you really think he wouldn't have installed the vanadium legs just for the hell of it?
      • Good point, considering Krieger was able to control Ray's arms and legs with a remote control, which wouldn't be possible if he had only fixed the signal to Ray's legs.
  • From "The Papal Chase", how is ISIS legendarily incompetent (which is the cardinal's whole reason for hiring them)? They're not the best spy agency in the world, but it's not like they were certain to fail at protecting the Pope.
    • ...have you seen the show? They really do screw up nearly everything.
    • Not to mention that Season Five's first episode basically has every single failure and every single illegal operation ISIS has carried out summarized in about five minutes of FBI interviews.
  • If ISIS has a coal furnace (since it has a fuel door, which a natural gas or oil furnace doesn't have or need), how do they set it to 90 over the weekend? And how does it need replacement if the janitor would have been stoking all weekend? And how would that wreck it in the first place?
  • Okay, at the end of "Dial M For Mother," Archer actually says that his mother was always there for him and sincerely thanks her for it. Doesn't this basically go against every other single thing we've heard about his childhood?
    • Archer was abused so horribly, and for so long, that ANY praise from his mother is a rarity. When you're treated like crap all your life, being treated halfway decently is like Christmas come early.
    • Also, in a perverse sort of way, she is - in the background, controlling his life. In fact, her involvement in (i.e. efforts to control) Archer's life have only increased over the years, to the extent that she puts out a burn notice on him when he tried to take a job at ODIN and she sent a bounty hunter to bring him back when he ran away after Katya was killed by Barry at their wedding.
  • Archer has to sleep with a fan on because he has mild tinnitus? Wha?
    • For the white noise. It makes the ringing less obtrusive.
  • So... If Cheryl Tunt is secretly rich, why does she care about the Tontine in the Double Deuce?
    • Because at that point her parents were still alive so she was only worth $50,000, most of which was likely in bonds and funds, and she has a sick sense of humour.
  • If Cecil Tunt was really in control of Cheryl's half of the estate, as she claimed in "El Secuestro", then why did he need to prove her insanity to gain control of the money in "Sea Tunt"? Cheryl also claims that he has to approve her spending, but at various times she makes casual use of the family railroad and hotel chain apparently at her own whim, and employees respond to her in a manner that suggests that she does this quite often. Given that Cecil spent his own half of the fortune on charities within a couple of years of their parents' deaths, was his position as executor ever real, or just one of Cheryl's random excuses?
    • I'm thinking she lied about needing Cecil's approval, since Malory gets pretty grubby (to the point where people acknowledge that she's been tyring to get her hands on Cheryl's money for years) and Cheryl wouldn't want to give any money to her horrible boss. We've seen Malory try to guilt her into paying to solve all of ISIS's problems, with Cheryl making excuses as to why she can't. ("I have to take it up with my board of admissions!", then turning around and laughing that she doesn't need them.)
    • More likely he has power of state, which means that he can control what she does with the money, but can't actually spend the money himself. Similarly, Cheryl has access to all of the less liquid assets, since those don't require his approval.
  • Whatever happened to Wee Baby Seamus? Yeah, Archer doesn't care much about him and the mother admitted that he isn't really the father. But when Archer had breast cancer it was implied that that he was growing fond of the child, and it seems a little OOC that he wouldn't occasionally show up in a cameo to have some kind of adventure like when Seamus and Archer got tattoos with each other's name. Last time we heard from them too, Archer still had mandatory child support payments.
    • After the stunt he pulled in "Stage Two", she probably doesn't let him anywhere near Seamus. Considering Archer fed him alcohol, let him play with a straight razor and gave him a tattoo (and that's just what we've seen), Archer is lucky Trinette hasn't sued him and had him charged with child abuse.
  • Cyril constantly gets shit from both the show and the fandom for cheating on Lana, but why doesn't anybody remember (in both the show and in the fandom) that Lana also cheated on Cyril in the episodes Skorpio and Job Offer?
    • Lana didn't cheat on him in "Job Offer" (that was a flashback to her 'history' with Barry), but it's likely the amount of cheating Cyril did, and the frequency at which he did it.
  • In her condition, should Lana really be in a job where she could easily inhale cocaine by accident?
    • No, no she shouldn't. Next question!
  • What happened with Ray's eye? In 'Heart of Archness", he gets stabbed in the eye, but later in the season, he has both eyes intact. Does he have a glass eye, or did he have corneal transplant surgery to replace it?
    • Rip was stabbed in the eye, Ray was shot in the spine.
      • They were both stabbed in the eye. Ray was accidentally stabbed by the manicurist when the boat hit a rough patch, and as revealed in "Bloody Ferlin", Ray was shot in the abdomen, not the spine; everyone just assumed he was paralysed because the hospital made him leave in a wheelchair.
  • Where in the hell did Mallory get a literal metric tonne of cocaine?
    • She didn't, apparently. She just assumed Sterling bought it, while Sterling assumed Malory bought it. Which raises more questions than it answers...
    • Finally revealed in the season finale: Malory lied. She obtained the cocaine in a drugs-for-arms deal with the CIA, and Archer was in on it from day one.
  • Why did Lana (who has always been shown as the most moral law abiding member of ISIS) so easily accept a career as part of a drug cartel? Yes she isn't all that happy with her new job but she still does the work for all her complaints.
    • True Companions?
    • Most likely because, like the rest of ISIS, all her assets were seized by the government, leaving her for all intents and purposes destitute with a baby on the way.
  • How does Cyril, who seems rather competent at being a lawyer throughout season 5, not make absolutely sure that there's an immunity on the table if he rats out ISIS. I can understand how Pam, Cheryl and Ray could screw that one up, but with the reveal that Cyril is a former defense attorney, how does he mess that up ?

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