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ARCHER, “Once Bitten” Episode Recap

“Once Bitten” was an odd episode of television. On one hand, it felt like a trippy throwaway half-hour where nothing really happened, but on the other it gave us some vital insight into these wacky characters we’ve come to love (or tolerate).

After getting stranded in the middle of Turkmenistan while on a mission, Sterling was being his usual pain in the ass self until he took a potty break and got a pain in his own ass (i.e. a cobra bit his taint). Ray and Cyril had to figure out how to take care of Archer while figuring out a way to get found, which led them getting captured by a warlord who ended selling them anti-venom. Oh yeah, they had a bunch of cash because they were supposed to pay to have an oil pipeline destroyed in order to hurt the Russians. While Ray and Cyril were dealing with the serpent aftermath, Sterling started hallucinating and reliving his life, which filled in some of the blanks on how he became the man that he’s now. He also got a glimpse of his real father, but the anti-venom kicked in and he couldn’t remember who he saw when he woke up. Back at ISIS, Mallory tried to have Krieger get in touch with the ground team when it failed to check in while also putting up with a high-and-mighty Lana.

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At first, I thought that “Once Bitten” was going to be another zany episode that really didn’t add to the overall show, but Archer started tripping out and things got interesting. Sure, the revelation that his tumultuous relationship with women, Mallory in particular, has shaped him as an adult was far from ground-breaking, it was still fun watching a Sterling Archer origin story. Plus, it got us back to the larger mystery surrounding his father. I don’t know if I care all that much anymore about who he is at this point, but I do appreciate any plot elements that span across the entire series.

As for everything that didn’t involve Sterling’s hallucinations, I could’ve done without most of what went down. Admittedly, it was nice to see Cheryl/Carol call out Lana on why she sticks around ISIS even though she cannot stand it there (she wants to take over when Mallory dies), but it all came off as routine and repetitive. Heck, even the botched mission in the middle of the desert was going through the motions until the snake bit Sterling’s ass. Thankfully, the tid-bits of character development were enough to save the episode and made it fairly entertaining.

Other Odds and Ends:

  • Making fun of Lana’s larger than normal features is getting stale.
  • Now that we know that Ray killed a bear and ate its hear, we need his origin story episode sooner rather than later.
  • A rat wedding? Really, Krieger?
  • “You can’t tourniquet the taint.”

So, “Once Bitten” was more of the same Archer until it wasn’t and actually took time to deepen our understanding of Sterling and Lana. Just when I thought I had this show figured out… What did everyone else think?

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Find Marcos Canales directly on Twitter @poppas2cents and remember to follow @ScreenInvasion!

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The Author

Marcos Canales

Marcos Canales

Marcos is a recently converted television junkie whose gateway show was CHUCK, and has added shows like CASTLE, LEVERAGE, GLEE (don't judge), COMMUNITY, and THE VAMPIRE DIARIES to his must-watch list. While he does not have formal ties to the entertainment industry, he's been blogging about TV, movies, and pop culture since 2008. Visit his website - https://www.smallscreenhappenings.com