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- Taking You with Me: Archer threatens this in "The Holdout" when the titular Japanese soldier tricks him into falling into a tiger trap with hostile insurgents closing in.note
Kentaro: You would rather we both die?!
Archer: I'm honestly kind of on the fence!
- Tag-Along Actor: One shadows Lana and turns out to be a Russian sleeper agent.
- Tap on the Head: Averted in "White Nights". Archer knocks Ray out with a punch, and then comments that he should see a neurologist, because getting knocked unconscious is really unhealthy. The next scene, Ray tells ISIS that he got knocked out, and Lana tells him he should see a neurologist. He already has an appointment.
- Played straight in Coyote Lovely, when Archer accidentally knocks Lana out with the wind-up of a punch meant for Cyril. Cyril says they need to get Lana to hospital, because she at least has a concussion. Archer's response is "So? You get, like, six freebies." Cyril does not believe him.
- Take That!:
- "Karate? The Dane Cook of martial arts? No."
- The Snacklesnap app in "Smugglers' Blues" is a parody of Instagram and one of its more popular uses: people taking pictures of what they're eating.
Malory: Why would anyone want a picture of someone else's food?
Krieger: Well...no, they don't.
Pam: Yeah, everybody hates it.
- Techno Babble: Lampshaded:
Krieger: His mind-brain is permanently rejecting his real identity!
Krieger: That's a thing, shut up.
- The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Archer has a habit of leaving prank messages on his phone using his voicemail, making people think he's actually talking to them with elaborate messages before revealing it's just a recording. ''Even in mid-mission. This eventually backfires on him in Season Four, when he actually does answer his phone while bleeding to death and being patched up by a drunk doctor without anesthesia. Malory just passes it off as Archer reaching a new high in his voicemail pranks.
- This nearly bites him in Season 3, until he points out that his voicemail couldn't call her.
- Season 6 has Malory pulling this on Archer when he called for her.
- Television Geography:
- In "Nellis", the eponymous Air Force base is stated as the location of Area 51. Nellis AFB is just north of Las Vegas while "Area 51" (in fact a detachment of Edwards AFB known as "Groom Lake" or "Homey Airport") is farther northwest.
- Graduate style; in "The Kanes" Archer and Lana visit her parents in Berkeley via a legal hassle free SFO equivalent. Why they go the long way over the Golden Gate Bridge in and out of SF is anyone's idea.
- Tempting Fate: Both invoked and predicted in "Pipeline Fever":
Archer: How could this get any— [alligator growls] LEMME FINISH! ...worse. There, see? You ruined it.
- Happens again in Space Race, when Pam starts asking how things could get any — Archer interrupts her, telling her not to finish that sentence. We then cut to Bionic Barry piloting a small shuttle up to the space station with the intent to kill Archer. Cutting back to the "heroes," Pam finishes "Worse. Is what I was going to say."
- Terrorists Without a Cause: In "Archub Y Morfilod", Archer accidentally dismantles two Welsh "freedom fighters'" cause by asking completely innocent questions. They claim they are rebelling because the British government flooded an ancient town that stood for a thousand years. Archer is horrified, until it's explained that it was done to create a reservoir to increase drinking water in the region. He's still a bit appalled that thousands of people lost their homes, only to find that exactly 48 people were affected. He's still upset to hear people were now homeless, only for it to be explained that everyone was compensated and in many cases were now living in much, much nicer homes.
- That's What She Said: Am episode does a parody of the movie Fantastic Voyage (see "Fantastic Voyage" Plot above) in which Archer and his team have been put into a small submarine that has been minaturized and injected into a patient so it can attack a blood clot in his brain. The ship uses a laser to cut into an artery to proceed through to the clot, the navigator tells the pilot "Okay, now just slide it in very easy," and the pilot lampshades it by says, "Is it all right if I say, 'That's what she said'?"
- Archer's usual version of this is "Phrasing!" After realizing in Season 5 that the team is no longer using this, he briefly switches to "Said Ripley to the Android Bishop!" The instance in "Drastic Voyage, Part II" seems to be Archer finally giving up on this recurring gag, as he defeatedly asks the rest of the team if he can at least use "That's what she said".
- That Came Out Wrong: Enough times that "PHRASING!" has become a Catchphrase.
- Theme Pairing: In-universe, Bionic Barry and Bionic Katya.
- They Called Me Mad!: Captain Murphy in "Sea Tunt, Part II".
- They Should Have Sent A Poet: Said word-for-word by Archer in season 5 when he finally encounters the tiger he's been looking for the whole season.
- This Explains So Much: This is the general reaction people have to stories about Archers childhood and Malorys parenting.
- A Threesome Is Hot:
- Throwing Off the Disability: A couple of times:
- Amputee Barry is rebuilt as a KGB cyborg.
- Wheelchair-bound Gillette was faking the whole thing. The first time around. His second time sticks for a while longer, but Krieger eventually gives him bionic legs. The third time, Krieger eventually remembers to reboot the CPU in Ray's bionic legs, letting him walk again.
- Throwing Your Gun at the Enemy: Cyborg Barry returns to ask the gang to help find his biological mother. Archer shoots him, forgetting — again — that Barry is a cyborg and Immune to Bullets. Archer then throws his gun at Barry's face. He later tries to punch Barry, who simply shoots Archer in the leg.
- Tonight, Someone Dies: Heavily used in the promotion of the fifth season premiere. It's Brett.
- Tontine: The plot of "Double Deuce" revolves around this, as Woodhouse is one of the last three surviving members of one and other members die mysteriously As it turns out, the whole thing was a Red Herring, as the supposed bad guy didn't care about it and the "suspicious" deaths were mundane, and the papers were using If It Bleeds, It Leads. Pam starts a tontine at the office as well, since active agents can get killed in the line of duty and the control room "is one big asbestos lawsuit waiting to happen".
- Too Kinky to Torture: Cheryl, who is turned on by the thought of being murdered and becomes a hardcore masochist in later seasons. When people slap or emotionally abuse her, she keeps asking for more.
Archer: Thanks a lot, blabber-mouth!
Cheryl: She beat it out of me! *Sexy growl*
- This showed up earliest in Season 2, particularly this exchange after Lana's just finished beating her up for mentioning Cyril's "character flaw".
Pam: Archer's got that bangin' pad.
Lana: Oooh, he'll hate that! I wanna come!
Cheryl: Ohhh, I think I just did.
- Too Much Information:
Lana: Just what do we know about this Conway?
Archer: Only that he's not circumcised.
Lana: OK...glossing over how exactly you know that...
Archer: We touched penises.
Lana: No! Glossing!
- Traintop Battle: Thoroughly deconstructed in "The Limited"; Archer's always wanted to do it but never realised the many, many impracticalities.
- Trademark Favorite Food: It's subtle, but Pam loves her some bear claws.
- Transhuman Treachery: Seriously, what did the KGB expect when they turned Barry into a cyborg?
- Trouser Space: Archer keeps an extra gun there.
- True Art Is Incomprehensible: An in-universe example. A painting in the presidential palace of San Marcos costs forty million dollars. It's just a solid white canvas. Evidently there actually is an incredibly elaborate painting underneath the layers and layers of white. When asked what the point of a solid white painting is the president goes off on a tangent that doesn't seem to really explain the point, though he's interrupted before he can finish.
- Truth in Television: The FBI agents raiding ISIS in "White Elephant" forget to identify themselves before opening fire and wear vests with FBI written on the back, and are immediately chewed out by their superiors. FBI and police failing to identify themselves, as well as wearing vests and jackets that do not have their department name on the front, are real problems with no-knock raids.
- Cases of Japanese holdouts like Sato in "The Holdout" actually did happen for several years after World War II, with the most recent confirmed case being Teruo Nakamura, who surrendered to an Indonesian Air Force search party in 1974.
- Tuckerization: Krieger is named after his body model, Dr. Ben Brieger.
- Turing Test: Archer puts Krieger's Cyborg Body Double through an impromptu Turing Test, asking it "what is love?". It immediately malfunctions and has to be put down.
- Tuxedo and Martini: Routinely parodied.
- Twisted Echo Cut: Used frequently. You might even call Archer "Twisted Echo Cut: The TV Series."
- Twofer Token Minority: Conway Stern is hired in Diversity Hire because, as a black Jew, "He's a diversity double whammy!" He's not really Jewish, and Archer even questions whether he's black.
- Two Scenes, One Dialogue: If a scene that ends with people talking is followed by a scene that opens with people talking, this is going to be used.
- Water Torture: One episode has Sterling, Lana, and Slater arguing over whether or not waterboarding is really that bad (Archer having managed to avoid the agency's mandatory waterboarding tests because he was hungover that day.) Lana and Slater finally goad him into undergoing waterboarding, after which he concedes that it is, indeed, torture.
- We Have Ways of Making You Talk: During Archer's Roaring Rampage of Revenge in "Placebo Effect", he threatens to slide a knife up a pharmacist's urethra unless he gives him answers. Needless to say, it works.
God, what a pussy. I could barely keep up, he was spilling so fast.
- He also interrogates a member of the Irish mob by shoving what he THINKS is a smoke grenade up his ass.
- In the very same episode, also gets information out of the mobsters by first shooting them in the knees with a sawed-off shotgun when they don't give him answers (phrasing his interrogation as though he's hosting Family Feud), then shooting them dead outright when they try and threaten the one good lead into not talking.
- We Named the Monkey "Jack": Sterling's codename, "Duchess", comes from Malory's beloved dog of the same name. Malory loved the dog so much she has a naked picture of herself in bed with the dog in the style of the famous John Lennon/Yoko Ono photograph.
- We Can Rebuild Him:
- Ray. Multiple times.
- Conway Stern (at least his hand).
- Likely Archer too, considering he was shown to be clinically dead at the end of season 7
- Weaponized Car:
- Archer gets one for his birthday that Q-branch would be proud of.
- His previous car, also a 1970 Challenger, was revealed to have an Ejection Seat in its first appearance.
- Weaponized Exhaust: In the season 3 finale Cyril uses the engines on the groups' getaway rocket to destroy Barry's ship, leaving him trapped on the station.
- Weapon of Choice: Many of the ISIS team have a fitting one.
- We Have to Get the Bullet Out: Subverted in 'Coyote Lovely' when Archer gets shot by border patrol. He is taken to an unlicensed veterinarian who removes the bullets from his back - only to admit he did more harm than good and they need to get Archer to a real doctor ASAP.
- Wham Episode:
- "Double Trouble": Barry gets turned into a cyborg and becomes Dragon-in-Chief to Jakov. Even more, he crashes Katya and Archer's wedding, and gets Katya killed in the process in one of the first real Tearjerkers of the series.
- "Crossing Over": Barry usurps Jakov as head of the KGB, and subsequently murders him.
- "Skin Game": Katya is revived as a cyborg, but runs away with Barry.
- "Viscous Coupling": Barry is rescued from the space station, thanks to Katya manipulating Archer, while Katya has become the head of the KGB.
- "Sea Tunt, Part II": Lana is pregnant from a sperm donor and Archer drowns in the sinking sealab to save her and her baby, confessing his love for her in his final moments. Luckily, he is resuscitated afterwards.
- "White Elephant": The Season 5 premiere literally changes the premise of the entire show. ISIS is not, and never was, an actual government-owned spy agency, and as such the headquarters are raided by the FBI. Brett is killed in the fight, and Malory is faced with having to disband ISIS to prevent her employees from being sent to jail. Abandoning their espionage work, the main characters form a cartel to sell a literal ton of cocaine Malory was storing in her office.
- "Arrival/Departure": The entire Vice arc is concluded. Slater and Hawley were CIA agents who hired Mallory to monetize their cocaine supply. Mallory regains ISIS as a CIA organization. Lana gives birth to her child, whose father is revealed to be Archer.
- "Edie's Wedding": Katya has dumped Barry for Boris. Barry is finally significantly injured, and his body is burnt, possibly to death, in a grain elevator.
- "Pocket Listing": After six seasons, Archer and Lana finally get together.
- "Reignition Sequence": Archer finally chooses Lana over Katya, and he makes amends to Katya before she leaves. His relationship with Lana is still significantly damaged. It's also revealed that Woodhouse has gone missing.
- "Drastic Voyage": The CIA threaten to disband ISIS once again if they fail one more mission - being shrunk down to the size of a blood clot and inserted into the brain of a brilliant scientist. They actually end up failing the mission, killing the scientist and all other people in the room, leaving the gang without work once more.
- Deadly Velvet, Part II: It looks as if Archer has nicely used a cyborg double to get shot by Veronica Deane in order to trick her into confessing to murder...only for the live Archer to be revealed as the cyborg, thus the real Archer is the one lying dead in a pool.
- Wham Line:
- Two in "Sea Tunt, Part II":
Lana: Yeah, a pregnant woman.
Cyril: When were you going to tell me?
Lana: When I finally figured out how to tell you it's not yours.
- In "White Elephant":
Archer: What are we going to do with, literally, not figuratively, a ton of cocaine?
- In "Filibuster", after Archer drops a quick Exposition Dump on Lana:
Lana: Yeah, no, that is, um, news, uh...but my water just broke, so...
- Two in "Arrival/Departure":
Archer: We've been selling cocaine for the CIA, so they can buy arms from Iran?!
Lana: Sterling Archer, I'd like you to meet your daughter, Abbiejean.
- At the end of "Reignition Sequence":
Lana: Then why... is there a vagina... in the SINK?!
- At the end of "Deadly Velvet, Part II":
Archer: Lana Kane,- *robot malfunctioning sounds*
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- The last we see of the German assassins hired by Jakov, Manfred and Uta, is them driving away after implanting a chip into Sterling's brain in the Season 1 finale, "Dial M for Mother".
- Trinette and the wee baby Seamus haven't been seen since "Stage Two." Probably because of Archer's horrific babysitting in "Stage Two".
- Many shots and episodes in early seasons (most notably the workers' union in "The Rock") showed ISIS having many, many employees. These "drones," as Mallory calls them, were gradually dropped from the series, and while Brett and Bilbo were killed off, the rest just appeared less and less as the show went on. Finally addressed in Season 6 by Lana, who confirmed that the main gang are the only current ISIS employees and the others never returned after, and the very next episode we discovered what happened to Rodney - he stole all of the ISIS weaponry and became a wealthy Arms Dealer.
- Pam's dolphin puppet appears in the opening of every episode of the show (since Season 2) and prominently in marketing but hasn't really been seen in-show since the first season. Could be justified due to it being a tool she used for HR mediation, and with her becoming a field agent, and the gradual disappearances of all of the ISIS drones (see above), she would rarely have a use for it these days.
- ODIN. It's unknown who, if anyone, is still working there (Framboise was fired by Barry in "Job Offer", Barry himself defected to the KGB, Lucas Troy faked his death after killing several of their agents and was then crushed by a falling tree, and Head of ODIN Len Trexler had a microchip implanted in his brain and was in no mental state to run a company), and they haven't directly appeared in the plot in a long while. They have to still be a functioning company despite what happened to Trexler, as ODIN agents played a part in "Blood Test"note , and again in "The Wind Cries Mary", where the aforementioned death of ODIN agents is a recent occurrence.
- The aftermath of "Movie Star". The KGB attempts to assassinate the new Soviet Premier to start World War III. Rona Thorne turns out to be the sleeper agent and assassinates the Premier, then escapes after drugging Archer and Lana, but it's unknown what happened afterwards.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Archer delivers one to Lana in "Pipeline Fever" for wishing Archer would have an aneurysm in the alligator-infested swamp.
- Pam delivers one to the entire cast at the end of "El Secuestro" for showing a sociopathic lack of concern for her well-being when she gets kidnapped.
- "Drift Problem" is a definite one for Malory. Sterling leaves his beloved Spy Car birthday present unlocked, so she steals it to teach him a lesson in responsibility. Said lesson doesn't involve giving it back. She sold it to Mr Ford.
- During a high-stress mission, other members of the team will frequently give one to Archer. Barry does in "White Nights," Lana in "El Contador," and Cyril in "Drift Problem," all because of Archer's ridiculously selfish behavior.
- Done by Rodney (the new ISIS armorer) in "Legs", when Archer slaps Cheryl to stop her rambling about Skynet and the plot of The Terminator after he fired an RPG in the Armoury waiting room.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa. Not cool, man, that is not at all cool."
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Lampshaded in "Mole Hunt":
Archer: Would you pick an accent and stick with it?
- When Harry Met Svetlana: Archer's fiancee, one of the few non-evil Russians on the show.
- Where da White Women At?: Race and gender-swapped. Malory is writing her screenplay about a middle-aged spy mistress who seduces a black man and her advances on Conway in "Diversity Hire".
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Archer's greatest fear is being killed and eaten by an alligator. To that effect, he has looked up and memorized every recorded fatal gator attack in the US. Guess what he meets on a mission in the Louisiana swamps?
- He also goes on to say that the only reason he hasn't memorized every recorded fatal gator attack in China (the only other place that has them) is he can't get the records concerning that. Not that it's stopped him from still memorizing the physiology of both types (commenting that the Chinese variants' armored underside compensates for their smaller size). One can imagine he's done similar research regarding crocodiles (his second greatest fear).
- Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Said word-for-word at both ISIS and ODIN on a regular basis.
- Women Are Wiser: Mostly averted. Of the few relatively sane characters (Cyril, Gilette and Lana) Lana is the most Hot-Blooded. Played straight when it's just her and Archer, though.
- World of Ham: The entire main cast are Large Ham, the Villain of the Week can give the main characters a run for their money, particularly in the season finales.
- World of Snark: Sterling and Malory are the largest snarkers, but everyone else isn't far behind them.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Malory is so insistent in pairing her self-insertion with a black male interest in the reworked script for Disavowed that it draws the inevitable comparison to the 1975 movie Mandingo. Her Hollywood contact finally accepts it under the change of making it a romantic comedy named Mandingo 2: The Enslavening.
- Pretty much the whole driving plot of Archer: Vice. Turns out no, covert espionage experience don't translate well into drug trafficking.
- X Called; They Want Their Y Back:
- Archer is incredulous at Rip's old-fashioned lifestyle.
Rip: This had better not be a ruse.
Archer: A ruse? Brrrring, brrrring! "Hello?" "Hi, it's the 1930's. Can we have our words and clothes and shitty airplane back?" "Call you back, 1930's! And hey, watch out for that Adolf Hitler. He's a bad egg!"
- Yakuza: "Drift Problem" and "Archer Vice: A Debt of Honor".
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Happens to Archer at the end of "Stage Two" when he's told that his breast cancer is cured, only for his idiot doctor to call back to tell him that it has actually spread to his lymph nodes. This happens back and forth four times.
- You Do Not Want To Know: In "Lo Scandalo", when an officer arrives, only for Krieger to chop up and hide the corpse and evidence quickly:
- You Kill It, You Bought It: In "Heart of Archness", Archer is captured by pirates and kills their captain. By their laws, this makes him the new captain.
- You No Take Candle: Bucky the pirate talks like this. Apparently it's by choice, though, as Bucky is familiar with the rules of English syntax.
- You Wouldn't Shoot Me:
- Spelvin taunts Cyril that he doesn't have it in him to shoot someone.
- Franny Delaney tells Archer he wouldn't kill an unarmed, crippled man. He's wrong.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: When Archer "trains" Cyril to be an agent and surprises him with the unexpected ice cube attack, his reflex is to use the call girl as a human shield to block it. Cyril is mortified when Archer proudly cheers on this untrained reaction.
- Zeppelins from Another World: In "Skytanic", a startup company is trying to resurrect air travel by zeppelin. Archer, despite repeatedly confusing inert helium with hydrogen, points out how inefficient a slow-moving airship with one fixed destination is when compared to jet airliners, and what a niche market luxury airships travel would be, as it only slightly out-competes cruise ships.
- Zero-G Spot: Archer and Pam in "Space Race Part 1".