Episode Title: "The Double Deuce"
Writer: Adam Reed
After last week’s slightly disappointing outing, this week’s "Archer" explores the origins of Archer’s put-upon manservant Woodhouse (George Coe); who until now has been the member of the cast that we knew the least about. I suspected Woodhouse had a great backstory in him, but this was fantastic.
While Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) is stuck babysitting his "son," the wee baby Seamus (who I thought we would never see again), Woodhouse is unnerved from reports that nearly all of the members of his "Double Deuce" flight squad from WWI (!) are being killed off over a tontine — which is essentially a death lottery with the proceeds going to the lone survivor of the squadron. With the arrival of his compatriot, Stinky, the two older men fear for their lives and Archer is reluctantly drawn into their "geezer murder mystery."
The bulk of the story takes place in the past as we meet Woodhouse as a young man (and the personal assistant) of Reggie, an airman whom Woodhouse has what can only be described as a homosexual crush on. Despite the fact that Woodhouse may not be homosexual. But we’ll get back to that. The main point is that Reggie is killed by a German sniper, inspiring a homicidal rage in Woodhouse that sees him slaughter the enemy and collect their scalps offscreen. Basically, the incident made Woodhouse a war hero.
Archer also learns how his mother, Mallory (Jessica Walter) first met Woodhouse in a dingy bar as she gave birth to Sterling. More surprisingly, he realizes that Woodhouse raised him by himself for half a decade before his mother reentered his life; which actually inspires an unexpected reaction from Archer: Love. For that moment, he actually seems to care for Woodhouse and races back to save his life. Sure he endangers a baby and kills an innocent man in the process, but that’s about as altruistic as Archer has ever been.
Woodhouse himself is interesting, in that he’s been so devoted to the Archer family despite Sterling’s ill treatment of him. And he clearly never got over Reggie, naming his boat and bar after him before suggesting that Archer’s middle name should also be Reggie. And we actually see a young "hippie" Woodhouse sleeping with two women at once while crying over Reggie. So, my theory about him is that he really did love Reggie, but probably no one else romantically. And Sterling is more or less his son, even if Archer doesn’t usually appreciate anything that Woodhouse does.
The coda for the episode reveals that Woodhouse isn’t the pushover that he appears to be and we learn that he routinely bashes Archer in the head and covers it up by pretending that he slipped while chasing an Asian hooker. After this, I’d kind of like to see Archer maintain some of his newfound respect for Woodhouse. He’s a funny a**hole, but he can be a more rounded character and still be hilarious.
And speaking of hilarious, the bits with the wee baby Seamus were classic. Already, we’ve seen the kid playing with a razor, eating Archer’s shaving cream and probably developing a nasty alcohol habit thanks to the piss poor parenting skills of Archer, Mallory and Seamus’ mom, who left town to go to a Pimps and Hoes ball. Yeah, that kid is going to be really messed up even before he learns that Cyril (Chris Parnell) is the one who really fathered him. I wouldn’t have believed that "Archer" could be improved by adding a baby to the cast, but I can’t wait to see what they put Seamus through next time.
This week’s top five "Archer" moments are:
Archer: "So, how much are we talking here?"
Woodhouse: "Oh… nearly 1200 pounds."
Archer: "What?! Nobody is getting killed over… however much that is in real money."
Archer: "So don’t be surprised if you end up eating a whole bunch of spider webs."
Archer: "You want me to take a baby to a murder."
Mallory: "Wherever. Just out of here. I have no more love to give today."
Archer: "Yeah, but what is it? Like 2:30?"
Mallory: "Don’t shoot! Please, I just killed a man and I think my water just broke. So, I could really, really use a drink."
Reggie: "Woodhouse! You came for me!"
Woodhouse: "Of course I did sir! I’m a…"
Reggie: "Have you got one? Dying for a smoke."
Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.