Welcome to Danger Island!
With Archer still in the coma from season 7, Danger Island moves the setting from 1947's Los Angeles to the appropriately named 'Danger Island', somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, in 1939. Nazi Germany is preparing to march through Europe, the world stands poised on the brink of total war once again, and on Danger Island, Sterling Archer - the one-eyed pilot of the cargo plane the Loose Goose - has just woken to find himself in hot water with pretty much everyone. Most of all with Cheryl Tunt, the newlywed whose marriage he just wrecked through a drunken one night stand, but also with hotel-owner Malory, local police chief Reynaud, as well as his co-pilot Pam. About the only one who isn't pissed at him is his Talking Animal sidekick Crackers.
Danger Island, like Season 8's Dreamland, once again re-imagines both the setting and the characters roles, this time creating distinct dream personas for each of the show's well-known characters as well as a rich tropical environment for them to explore. The most notable change is that Krieger is now a talking parrot named Crackers, often referred to only as 'Bird'. Other character changes include Lana being the crown princess of the island, named Mitimotu, which is occupied by the French. She has allied herself with a German agent, Cyril, in the hopes of getting Germany's assistance in driving out the French (not realizing exactly what the Nazis have in store for the world), in exchange for the mysterious tupua, or idol, hidden somewhere in the island's dense jungle. It is easier said than done as Danger Island is a virtual Death World... and the adventures are only just beginning.
Switching from Season 8's noir-theme, this season borrows heavily from the adventure serial genre, most notably Tales of the Gold Monkey which also inspired the Disney series TaleSpin, and in spite of being set in 1939, is filled with references to post-second world war cinema such as The Gendarmes of Saint Tropez, Casablanca, Catch-22 and more.
Archer Danger Island provides examples of:
- The Alleged Car: The Loose Goose is in pretty bad shape, with a faulty fuel pump and landing gear that can lower, but not retract, which prevents it from landing on water. It doesn't improve when Archer crashes it in the first episode and loses its wings.
- Anachronism Stew: Whilst the show is known for this particular trope, Danger Island takes it further, with references spanning at least 500 years earlier and 50 years later than it's supposed era, ie. the 16th century cartographer Hendrik Hondius, to Taken (2008).
- The references go back even further if you include the Babylonian Law Code of Hammurabi (1754 BCE) which demanded "an eye for an eye".
- Lampshaded when the characters discuss the precise publication year of The Hobbit (1937) as being the year immediately before their presently 'perceived' era (1938). Also...Archer: [...]So we gotta fly to make money, but we gotta have the money to fly, so...Pam: Yeah, that's a real Catch 22.Archer: Uh, I don't think that's a thing yet.
- An Arm and a Leg: Minor character Noah makes a reappearance as an anthropologist living with and studying the cannibal tribe. In return for letting him study them, he had to give up an arm for them to eat.
- Bait-and-Switch: After getting locked up in Reynaud's jail, the show implies that Cheryl has had a total nervous breakdown and descended into coprophilia. It's then revealed that what she has eaten and smeared all over the jail cell walls is just the chocolates from Reynaud's desk, which is why he was so pissed.Reynaud: I said you could have one!
- Bad Boss: Fuchs AKA Cyril. He shoots one of the soldiers under his commands for asking annoying questions.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Lana tells Cyril, a Nazi official, that she'll do anything to drive the French away from the island.
- Big Damn Heroes: Archer and Reynaud show up just in time to save Pam, Lana and Cyril from getting swarmed by hundreds of Komodo dragons in the climax of the first episode.
- Cannibal Tribe: One of these live on the island, and is finally introduced at the climax of episode 6. They were originally going to eat Pam and Archer, but change their minds after Archer saves them from one of the Nazi soldiers, and make them tribe members. They're still cannibals, but they're not intending to eat any of the main characters. They do sabotage Archer's equipment afterwards, just because.
- Captain Crash: The show portrays Archer as one of these. A German pilot calls him a "reverse ace" because he was shot down five times in the Spanish Civil War (by the same pilot, who became an ace from that).
- "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Pam points out the events of the first episode — Loose Goose stalling mid-air because of a faulty fuel pump, forcing everyone else to parachute into a dangerous jungle while Archer crash lands on a street because he can't land on water — wouldn't have happened if he had bothered to install a new fuel pump like he said he would.
- Death by Adaptation: Cyril and Archer
- Death World: It's not called Danger Island for nothing, the entire island is teeming with, among other things, Komodo dragons, giant snakes, cannibals, and that's not touching on the fact that the whole thing is one big volcano.
- Didn't Think This Through:
- In Episode 1, Lana, Cyril, and Pam parachute out of Archer's plane, only for them to point out to Pam that they don't have the slightest idea how to land with a parachute.
- In episode 3 Pam and Archer sends Crackers into Cyril's cabin to open the door from the inside so he won't realize someone broke in, only for Pam to point out once he's inside that Crackers doesn't have any fingers and cant open the door
- In episode 6, Lanaluakalani's father points out to her that since she has already given the map to Fuchs he won't have pay her for it. Cue the Oh, Crap! reaction.
- Drugs Are Bad: Cyril is shown to be a rather heavy drug-user, at first hinted at when he shoots up amphetamines to replenish his "lebenskraft" after sleeping with Lana, and in the last few episodes he's constantly snorting a mix of meth and cocaine (Truth in Television as many real life members of the Nazi government were heavy drug users to let them work for days on end). He understandably grows increasingly unhinged from his drug use.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Setting foot outside the settled part of the island is not recommended.
- Eye Scream:
- In the first episode, we get a rather unpleasant view of Archer's empty eye socket. In episode 4, we get a first-hand view on how he lost it — glass shrapnel from an aerial fight.
- In episode 7, Cyril loses an eye after he gets hit with one of the log traps Archer had the cannibals set up.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Adolf Hitler of course. He does not appear as a character, but Fuchs is seeking the idol on his orders. Plus, this is set at the beginning of World War II. He's also heavily implied to be a Bad Boss (well duh) and Cyril sharply tells Lana to never point out any of the Fuhrer's bizarre obsessions such as his interest in the occult, or his resemblance to Charlie Chaplin.
- Giant Mecha: Cyril pilots one of these in the last episode, armed with machine gun and flamethrower.
- Gratuitous English: Fuchs' troops become smitten with Cheryl and ask to practice speaking English, because Cheryl doesn't speak German. Fuchs reluctantly agrees.
- The Hero Dies: See Heroic Sacrifice.
- Heroic Sacrifice: As Pam is hanging off a cliff over some lava, Archer is hanging on to her foot and Fuchs in a giant mecha suit is hanging onto his. To save Pam and the others Archer lets go of her, killing both Fuchs and himself when they fall into the lava.
- High-Class Call Girl: Cheryl is forced to become one of these by Malory in return for room and board due to being stuck on the island. She creates a workaround using a jar of coconut oil.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The cast takes part of the feast held after the fight against the Nazi troops in episode 7, where the meat consists of the killed Germans. Pam is shown indulging in it, much to Crackers shock.
- It's All About Me: When Archer commandeers one of the German seaplanes and forces Pam to be his tailgunner to challenge his former nemesis to a rematch on equal terms, Pam shoots down the enemy plane, but Archer immediately takes credit.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Archer, upon learning of the idol, starts imagining what it's like before insisting it has to be a gold monkey. Pam's insists it's not, and at one point looks directly to the viewer to insist it's not a monkey.
- No Ending: A justified example. As this is all a dream the real Archer is having it abruptly cuts to black when his dream avatar dies.
- Rock Beats Laser: Archer and Pam helps the cannibal tribe defeat Cyril's Nazi platoon. Downplayed because the tribe would almost certainly have been slaughtered if Archer hadn't warned them and helped them set up traps and defensive positions.
- Small, Secluded World: Danger Island is very remote, and in episode 2, Malory mentions that ordering replacement parts for a broken radio took three months.
- Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Apparently Nazi technology in 1939 includes Powered Armor.
- Tropical Island Adventure: It's pretty much implied in a show name like "Danger Island"; it's a South Pacific, tropical, French-colonial island, and of course it's full of adventures for the main cast.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Cheryl is the only one who comments (or in her case, freaks out) over Crackers ability to speak intelligently. The others just brush off his ability to talk as due to him "being a parrot".
- Lana and Cyril are also taken aback by Cracker's when they first meet him, though definitely not as much as Cheryl.
- Villains Out Shopping: The German pilots, who are on the island on leave (though secretly helping Cyril) and not as part of the Luftwaffe. As such, they spend their time drinking and carousing in Malory's hotel while spending their backpay.