Everyone in the office hates and mistreats each other constantly. It's a very hostile work environment - because Pam is terrible at her job.
The whole place is a case of Incompetence, Inc. because Malory is a Bad Boss who pays the lowest possible wages she can get away with, diverting any money she saves to supporting her and Sterling's lavish lifestyles. Thus she cannot hire or retain top talent since any such people tend to get snapped up by other agencies, particularly ODIN, that pay better.
When combined with attrition (often because Sterling tends to get fellow agents killed) it makes sense that Malory ultimately had to cut a secret deal with the CIA, since ISIS was insolvent and without the resources to replace her shrinking staff they could not continue to take on enough assignments to bring in revenue to halt the downward spiral. By season four the entire agency seemed only able to handle one mission at a time, and that required using Cyril and Pam as field agents multiple times. Not to mention that the company is technically operating illegally, so more respectable (and higher-paying) clients wouldn't go to them.
In "Once Bitten" it is revealed that Archer's father gave him a stuffed alligator for his 6th birthday. But "Pipeline Fever" reveals the alligator as Archer's biggest fear. The answer to the quandry lies in the numerous glimpses of Malory's parenting style. When she finally met her son at age five (per "The Double Deuce"), he was resistant to her, so she overcompensated to make him dependent. But then, the very next year, she missed his birthday and along comes Dad. When she returned home that time he was probably excited about his present, and seeing this, Malory did what Malory does. She created his fear of alligators, caused him to repress the memory of his father, and once again bound him to her in a state of dependence. Malory really is a Manipulative Bitch. That doubles as Fridge Horror.
In "Legs", Krieger says "Me too!" to Ray's "I piss and shit in a bag". It's a lot less weird when you remember that Krieger's apartment has a communal bathroom that's a literal shithole and going in a bag is probably safer and more sanitary.
The title "White Elephant" refers to the cocaine: it is a valuable, but ultimately burdensome possession which the owners cannot easily get rid of.
Possibly a cleverly-constructed pun: the cocaine is the elephant in the room (and even named as such) that Malory is avoiding talking about, it's white, and there is a (literal) ton of it - the layman's estimation of how much an elephant weighs).
Fridge Brilliance moment in the Season 5 Finale, to close a Fridge Logic moment from the season opener. How does the FBI fail to announce themselves when entering a raiding a building they know is armed and just go in guns blazing? Why is their gear so irregular that the people they've opened fire on can't tell that they're FBI? Answer: They're not the FBI, they're the CIA and this is an elaborate operation to get ISIS personnel to get them to sell cocaine on behalf of the CIA.
Although, not identifying themselves and wearing jackets that don't say their department on the front is a Real Life problem with no-knock raids.
Another moment from the Season 5 finale: Archer's old 'Mulatto Butts' ringtone gets funnier when it's revealed that since Archer is Lana's baby's father, Abbiejean actually does have a black ass mama and a white ass daddy.
And the fact that Lana decides to reveal this to him makes far more sense when you consider how tender and loving he'd been regarding her pregnancy throughout the season. He studied various complications that can arise during pregnancy, got himself certified as a midwife in case she went into labor at the wrong moment, and had the same crisis of confidence that she'd had during the birth itself.
And while most of Lana's confession at the end of the episode is drowned out by white noise, implying that Archer is having a mild Heroic BSoD, it's actually his tinnitus acting up.
Isis in the Egyptian Mythology is a mother goddess who is often cunning and treacherous, who helps her son Horus to become king despite often mistreating him. Not unlike Malory Archer, head of ISIS.
Isis is also the Egyptian goddess of fertility. Just about everyone who works at ISIS Really Gets Around.
In "Sea Tunt Part 1", Malory orders ISIS to recover a Mk. 28 hydrogen bomb from a downed B-52 so she can ransom it back to the government, but the image she displays is a wire diagram of Little Boy, the gun-type fission bomb dropped on Hiroshima. This makes no sense until Cecil reveals there is no bomb or downed bomber, so it's understandable she would have an inaccurate image.
In "Palace Intrigue: Part Two" Mallory doesn't give Archer his gun back, saying she threw it away because he was being irresponsible in a delicate situation. The season finale shows that she didn't throw it away; she smuggled it onto the plane so she could threaten the CIA agents if they didn't go along with her plan to rebuild ISIS.
In "Pocket Listing", it is revealed that the Tunt mansion has a huge conservatory — which among other things houses a Man-Eating Plant. This explains why Cheryl had Babou locked away in an empty room, since he would have become plant food if he got into the conservatory.
In the two-parter season 6 finale, "Drastic Voyage", Ray is distressed over his rapidly decreasing number of natural limbs. However, his predicament may actually be karmic retribution, since in Season 2's "Movie Star" episode, he reveals to the group that he reported Randy Muckler's heterosexuality to the draft board, causing his loss of limbs, to be replaced by hooks.
Archer is aware of his own plot armor, and correctly assumes that he is invulnerable.
Lana strongly exhibits the All Girls Want Bad Boys trope, hence her fixation with Archer despite the fact that the majority of his personality traits annoy her (and it may be a case of All Amazons Want Hercules as well). In conceiving a child she chooses to use his sperm rather than the Boring, but Practical Cyril, who would at least be a more responsible father. But this is pretty obviously a case of The Baby Trap, as she not only uses Archer's sperm because of his admittedly impressive physical attributes, but also because she can capitalize on it to get more of his attention. Once they get back together she even outright states that this time he is more focused on her (not A.J.). Flashing back to "The Reason You Suck" Speech that Cheryl slammed her with, which set all of this motion, Lana is clearly trying to forcibly escape from being Married to the Job by both having a child in her life and compelling the man she is most attracted to to focus more attention on her.
In the season 7 episode "Deadly Prep" Archer is hired by his former bully, Ivy, to kill him under the guise of a mercy kill due to his stage IV liver cancer. It turns out Ivy is lying, and had actually hired Archer to kill his business partner, Whitney, also Archer's former bully. When Archer discovers that he's been duped, he tells Whitney that he thinks Whitney and Ivy will die in a bizarre murder-suicide. Ivy later shoots Whitney through the head, and begins a vehicle chase with Archer. When Archer jumps onto Ivy's car, Ivy attempts to kill Archer and himself by driving off a cliff. Archer jumps off at the last second, and Ivy dies by suicide, proving Archer's prediction entirely correct.
In "Deadly Velvet", Ellis Crane and Veronica Deane both had murderous intent. On the surface, Deane's motive for murdering Crane is ambiguous, until you consider that she was nearly killed by the runaway forklift which was actually part of his efforts to disrupt production. Since they were both involved in the Longwater scheme, it only makes sense that Crane would have wanted her dead so as to increase his share of the take and leave one less possible conspirator who could testify if things fell apart. After all, it was a massive gamble to assume that Archer would be right next to Deane and would react quickly enough to rescue her from the forklift in time. Enraged, Deane decides to kill Crane, and isn't feeling patient enough to do so in a subtle way. So she takes Archer back to her dressing room for use as an alibi and, after they have sex, she slips out and shoots Crane in his office. From there on she's improvising. When the LAPD detectives show a dislike towards Lana, who in turn had been beating on Archer, Deane realizes that she's a perfect target to frame. Hence, she didn't ask Shapiro to plant evidence until after the murder and the argument with the police.
Some people might be wondering why Archer didn't let his robot counterpart get shot first by Veronica when confronting her about Crane's murder, which is what characters in the stories by Red Witch have been saying a lot. Well this is because, earlier in the second part of Deadly Velvet, Krieger said that all his androids of everyone at The Figgis Agency have a digital recording in their Central Processing Unit, with the Archer android most likely being no exception. And when Malory shot the Krieger milkman android, Milky, Cheryl later said that his CPU is broken along with the digital recording. So Archer must've believed that if he let the robot get shot first, Veronica will destroy the digital recording inside that was needed to implicate her.
Burt Reynolds gets Put on a Bus after his first and only onscreen appearance. Malory continues to have an affair with him for a while, but he insists on keeping it on the down low. However, this makes sense in that a lot of the positive virtues that Burt insists that Malory has in "The Man from Jupiter" are only a superficial act on her part. Once he got to know her better he would have seen how much of an elitist snob, bigot and domineering mother she really was. She also tends to be all of those things in public, which probably led to more than one awkward incident and his decision to only see her in private.
In "Reignition Sequence", the next episode after Ray loses his right arm, he gets into a fight with Pam and is clearly swinging his stump at her. He has phantom limb syndrome and is instinctively trying to hit her with an arm he no longer has.
Lana states in the pilot that she broke up with Archer six months ago. From there to "Re-ignition Sequence", we see how much they still care for each other, even when they want to murder each other. That genuine affection, more than their obvious sexual attraction, makes their eventual getting back together feel more inevitable than forced.
The resemblance between Archer's school bully Trent Whitney and Barry Dylan might go some ways to explaining why Archer has such an irrational dislike of the latter. The fact that the sociopathic Ziegler from Danger Island looks similar to both men hints that Archer might subconsciously equate heterosexual blonde men with villainy.
In each season of Archer's coma-dream, there each setting appears to follow a specific theme around one of Archer's defining traits:
Dreamland obviously deals with Archer having to come to terms with Woodhouse's death but also his tendecy to "disappear up his own asshole" starting with a simple task that devolves into a massive shitstorm.
Danger Island focuses on the constant dangers in Archer's life and his complete irregard for his own mortality and safety and how it relates and endangers others.
1999 has every episode somehow be tied back into Archer's self-centerness and how it negatively impacts the rest of the cast. Notably unlike the the past two seasons, the episodes are less connected like the early seasons and Archer himself seems to be his most pre-Character Development self here.
In light of Season 11 revealing that Lana has moved on and entered a relationship with another man sheds new light on Dream!Archer's relationship with the Dream!Lana's in each season. The Dreamland version dying can represent her choosing to move on and ending their already fragile relationship with the Danger Island version entering a relationship with with Dream!Cyril the real one entering a relationship with someone new. 1999, where they're divorced, seems to be more about foreshadowing on how when Archer and Lana will now have to work together while being a Call-Back to the first season.
Related above, why are the episodes for Season 11 so much more disconnected compared to Dreamland and Danger Island? Because Archer is slowly waking up and possibly becoming aware he's in a dream demonstrated by his slow Sanity Slippage in the final two episodes.
Barry apparently pulling a genuine HeelFace Turn (that Lana hopefully didn't ruin) actually makes sense when you remember the Figgis Agency's last encounter with him before Archer's coma. They successfully located his birth mother and (not-so-successfully) gave him a new skin, where he leaves on more friendlier terms than usual and even thanks them for their work.
Barry being the first to ask Archer about his physical therapy, and being supportive of Archer's progress makes perfect sense. Before becoming a cyborg Barry himself would have gone through his own physical therapy after both times he fell off a roof.
The reason Barry shows up so much in the coma seasons, as opposed to other antagonist characters, is because Barry has been visiting Archer in the hospital.
Seamus, as a baby. He already has an implied addiction to alcohol, has a prostitute for a mother, doesn't know who his father is, has a tattoo of a man who frequently had sex with his mother on his shoulder (Of whom he can't be sure is his real father or not) before the age of one. This kid doesn't have a great start to a happy life already.
Which leads to Fridge Brilliance regarding his and Trinette's disappearance from the series: She doesn't want Archer causing any more harm to Seamus.
The Reveal in "The Kanes". The CIA is suppressing Lana's father's research into biofuel alternatives to continue US dependence on OPEC-sourced oil. Slater justifies this by stating "If you think the Middle East is messed up now, just wait 'till no one needs their oil." This is indeed a frightening thought.
Considering that the U.S. and other countries have been pulled into numerous conflicts in various Middle Eastern countries in the name of keeping that oil flowing, perhaps their being rendered irrelevant by that research would be a good thing.
Archer's fear of brain aneurysms makes a lot more sense beginning with Season 4, where the accumulated stress has him temporarily gain amnesia and according to Lana, display traits akin to an atypical autistic, not to mention his tinnitus causing a piercing ring in his ears. He's putting himself at risk of one every single episode because of all the crazy shit he has to go through.
So the FBI's raid on ISIS was actually pre-arranged with Mallory the whole time. That means Brett died in a shootout that was staged. Although that raises the question of why they were using live and lethal ammunition in such a raid.
The events that led to her causing Bilbo's heart attack were also staged, Could be a case of You Have Outlived Your Usefulness like what happened with the striking cleaning crew.
Woodhouse's disappearance in season six, no one knows where he is. An elderly heroin addict should not be missing for so long! Unless...
And that fear is realized as of season 8, which starts with Woodhouse's funeral. Even worse, Archer is in a coma after the events of the previous season finale and has no idea that his arguable father-figure has died, coupled with the first episode of that season featuring a coma-dream version of Woodhouse (as Archer's private detective partner in this new noir-ish setting) also dying—this time a murder—which will only make things worse when Archer wakes up since he'll presumably be relieved to find out that Woodhouse didn't really die like he'd dreamed about....
Gilette's missing hand is replaced by a black man's. Both Conway Stern's hands were severed but presumably recoverable during ISIS ops.
Except Ray loses his right hand mid-way up the forearm. Conway's right hand was severed at the wrist. Could be a bionic hand and the skin coloration is just Krieger being Krieger.
Mid-way through season seven, it's revealed Krieger has artificial faces and hands for all of the Figgis Detective Agency personnel, including a white left hand a black right hand, suggesting it is just Krieger being Krieger, like when he "forgot" to reset Ray's leg's CPU because of how grateful he would be and making him goosestep and heil for hours.
The situation of "Placebo Effect". You just found out the chemotherapy drugs you've been buying from are sugar pills and Zima with the really ones going to the head of the Irish Mob of New York. Oh and it gets worse. Lana states people like Archer have been taking those for awhile now, and Archer even thought that the fake chemotherapy drugs were chewable since kids can get cancer. This means that Delanely has indirectly caused the death of kids that took the fake chemo drugs!
Archer has been in a coma for three years which is bad enough but he's a father to a (no longer presumably) infant girl, meaning he has missed out on her most formative years. Possibly, she doesn't remember or know who he is and now that Lana has entered a relatuonship with another man in the meantime, this means that she could think he's her father and not Archer.
Even worse, Lana apparently took a page from Malory's book and sent A.J. away to boarding school, in Switzerland, at age five! While she rationalizes it as getting A.J. the best education in the world, the fact that she only had A.J. in the first place as The Baby Trap for Archer suggests that Lana got rid of her so that she could focus on her spy career and new marriage to a billionaire!
The " M, as in Mancy!" joke shouldn't have worked since Lana was there to hear what he'd said, but Rule of Funny presumably overrode it.
You can hear Lana trying to interject (Ray!), so presumably she was concerned that Ray had misheard .
Or he just didn't enunciate the first time.
It worked for me because the whole situation wouldn't have happened if they used the NATO phoentic alphabet. People, it's not that hard to learn. Also, Archer shows great vocabulary using the word mancy. For people curious, the NATO words for M and N are Mike and November.