So, Sterling Archer has cancer. Like everything else, he does not take this well. And as usual, most of the humor in this week's Archer comes from his larger-than-necessary reactions.
Upon discovering that his expensive cancer medications are utterly useless, Archer recruits Lana and sets off on a self-described "rampage" to find out who's behind the deed. Carrying a half-dozen guns, some grenades, and a knife might be overkill for Archer on a normal day. Doing it while hooked up to an IV and smoking a large quantity of medical marijuana pretty much guarantees disaster. "Placebo Effect" does a good job of magnifying just how ridiculous Archer can be by mixing his usual antics (for example, not being able to tell a smoke grenade apart from a regular one) with his rapid deterioration (not being able to get his IV stand out of Lana's car). It goes to show that there is really almost nothing that will make him behave like a normal, sane human being.
I say almost because there's a surprisingly touching subplot about his bonding with an elderly cancer patient. This being Archer, it is still kind of hilariously inappropriate, but oddly sweet considering how Archer treats most people like they're disposable. Of course, these moments are intercut with him doing things which are insane. I never thought I'd see another scene involving the insertion of a grenade into a human body after Man On Fire, but I was wrong.
And if that wasn't enough insanity for you, Cyril exposes that Krieger is related to Nazis, causing the good doctor to go into a bit of a panic. Oh, and Carol/Cheryl still doesn't know what cancer is. I'm really surprised that woman doesn't need to wear a name tag lest she forget her own name.
There's also a few subtle jokes to be had here. One is a reference to one of the best scenes in "Movie Star." And I know this is because I've been marathoning Brotherhood for the last week, but I find it hilarious that this episode involves the Irish mob and a reference to Providence, Rhode Island.
"Placebo Effect" is a neat episode for Archer. It takes the contents of a typical Archer episode and makes us look at them just a bit differently because there's an entirely new set of circumstances. Yet by episode's end, it proves what you've probably guessed if you have watched this show long enough: even when he might be dying, Sterling Archer is still going to completely overreact, and we're still going to love him for it.
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