Season 2 Episode 9

Placebo Effect

Aired Thursday 10:00 PM Mar 24, 2011 on FXX
out of 10
User Rating
105 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


Archer finds out that the drugs he's been taking for his breast cancer are counterfeit. Swearing retribution, he goes on a rampage, enlisting Lana to document everything on camera. Cyril discovers a dark secret about Krieger's family line, and decides to report it to Malory.

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  • Survey says...RAMPAGE!!!

    Sometimes it all comes together for Archer and they put out an episode that in nonstop laughs from start to finish. "Placebo Effect" was one of those times and one of the funniest episodes to date. Continuing the storyline established in the previous episode, Archer once again managed to do what many comedies wouldn't even attempt; make cancer funny. Particularly breast cancer, in Archer's case. It's certainly seen as an at least somewhat taboo subject for comedies. No matter what, you're going to offend, so if you can't make it hilarious for the people that actually have a sense of humor, a bad episode can become a famously bad episode. Luckily in the case Archer, that was never a problem. We learn in the cold open that the cancer meds Archer has been taking to treat his tumor are actually sugar pills and Zima("Which is probably why I've been in such a great mood"). This sets up the plot for the rest of the episode, as Archer seeks revenge on those responsible. As he, "Cries havoc and let's slip the hogs of war," we are introduced to Ruth, a geriatric who shares Archer's same affliction and whom he inexplicably forms a connection with. A storyline that by itself garnered some great laughs. Archer ascertains the whereabouts of the men behind the scam from a pharmacist terrified of having a knife shoved up his urethra("Which again, ick!"), as Lana captures it all on film for Archer's movie, "Terms of Enrampagement".

    Which truly kicks off with Archer interrogating a few Irish mob underlings, in what I felt, was the highpoint of an already brilliant episode. I mean let's face it; who hasn't wanted to host their own game of "Family Feud" where strikes bought contestants a kneecap full of buckshot? And living out that fantasy vicariously through Archer made for an uproariously funny scene. "Hmm...Vincent Van Go-F***-Myself? Survey says!" BLAM!!

    Back at ISIS headquarters, Krieger was finding himself in trouble over his past as Cyril starts suspecting him of being a Nazi(and here I was thinking cancer was going to be their hot button issue). As it turns out Krieger is actually one of "The Boys From Brazil." A reference to the 1978 film of the same name, as is Krieger's line(and flashback) about his pet doberman's accidentally eating his father. I know there might of been some people that didn't get the reference(I could not recall it until Pam mentioned the name), but one of the things I admire about this show are the not-so-pop-culture references(Where the Red Fern Grows, Three-on-a-match, and Checkov's Gun, to name a few). I love that they are willing to risk a few blank expressions from viewers if it means even bigger grins from the ones who do get it. I also loved Pam and Cheryl's scenes; their back-&-forth is something I look forward to more and more.

    The laughs were still coming steady as Archer continued his now chemo-filled rampage("Not a smart mid-rampage move"), by taking out some mid-level thugs and "chain smoking joints the size of tampons"(that's why he's in such a great mood). He also managed to score some revenge on Lana, of the eardrum shattering variety, for her doing the same to him back in "Movie Star", gotta love the self-referential humor. The episode's climax(and his movie's) saw Archer finally confronting the man at the top, who foolishly gave Archer even more reason to kill him by revealing he "had" Mallory for three days in Phuket("Zinnnnggg!") In addition to the great written material, H. Jon Benjamin's delivery was turning seemingly innocuous lines into side splitters("Freddy Delaney, stand your ass up!!!"), which he's always had a knack for. The only real complaint I have about this one was Cheryl's alternate movie titles, they just weren't that funny, and being they were the last lines of the episode, it soured it just a bit. They couldn't take too much away from this one though, as "Placebo Effect" was a classic example of everything that is great about Archer.moreless
  • Terms of EnRampagement

    Archer discovers that his supposed cancer drugs are fakes and sets out to find the people responsible. What's actually touching about this episode is Archer's friendship with Ruth, an elder breast cancer patient, and how they bonded before she died. As Archer moves through the Irish mob on a "rampage" while intermittently getting sick from his chemotherapy drugs and chain smoking marijuana to get rid of the nausea he and Lana confront the lead man, Delaney. While at the office Cyril discovers a dark secret about Krieger when he is questioned about where he grew up as a child and how German scientists are all the rage according to Malory. Good episode, with lots of laughs, perforated ear drums, and snarky possibly racist comments this installment of Archer is some good midseason fun.moreless
Lloyd Sherr

Lloyd Sherr


Guest Star

Joan Van Ark

Joan Van Ark


Guest Star

Darren Criss

Darren Criss

Mikey / Tommy

Guest Star

George Coe

George Coe


Recurring Role

Adam Reed (I)

Adam Reed (I)

Ray Gillette

Recurring Role

Lucky Yates

Lucky Yates

Doctor Krieger

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • When Krieger is burning documents in the toilet, the cover page says, "Streng Geheim." This is German for "Top Secret."

    • The translation from Archer and Krieger's Portuguese exchange:
      Archer: Sim. (Yeah.)
      Krieger: And you're taking tetraphenol orally, right?
      Archer: E também portuguese, em cdrom. (And also portuguese, on cdrom.)
      Krieger: Ah, boa sorte! (Ah, good luck!)
      Archer: Obrigado. (Thanks.) I dunno Krieger, maybe it's just because I'm a badass, but chemotherapy? It's kind of a breeze.
      Krieger: Yeah, that's my point. Two weeks of chemo with no hair loss and you're not experiencing any nausea?
      Archer: Nao, gracas a "doobie" medicinal. (No, thanks to the medicinal "doobie".)

    • The translation from Cyril and Krieger's German exchange:
      Cyril: Warum hast du umzug nach Brasilien? (Why did you move to Brazil?)
      Krieger: Weiter den kampf der mein Fuhrer...(To continue the fight of my Fuhrer...)

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Archer: For starters, you can apologize to my friend for your homophobic remarks.
      Irish Mobster: I'm sorry darlin', I had no idea you were a gay.
      Archer: She's not gay.She just has big hands.

    • Krieger: Leave me alone! I am not a Nazi!
      Cyril: Yeah? Well what about your father?
      Krieger: No! He was a...scientist!
      Cyril: Pretty sure the Nazis had scientists.
      Krieger: No, they didn't! That's why lost the war! Lack of science!

    • Cheryl: Seriously, what is cancer?

    • Archer: Shut up and kick in the door for me. And do it badass like I would if I still had toe nails.

    • Cheryl: How come you know Portuguese?
      Krieger: Because I grew up in Braz...istol...County...Rhode Island...Lot of Portuguese in Rhode Island.
      Cyril: Where you're from.
      Krieger: Born and raised.
      Cyril: Uh-huh. What's the state capital?
      Krieger: Of?
      Cyril: Rhode Island!
      Krieger: ...Dallas?

    • Pam: What the heck was that all about?
      Cheryl: Duh! (Pause) I actually have no idea.
      Pam: No shit.
      Cheryl: Yeah, I don't know why I do that...

    • Ruth: Does someone you love have breast cancer?
      Archer: Yeah, me.

    • Archer: So I've been treating my breast cancer with sugar pills?!
      Krieger: Yeah, you didn't think it was weird your chemo drugs were chewable?
      Archer: No! Little kids get cancer!

    • Ray: My momma told me how much she loved me all the time.
      Malory: Exactly, look how you turned out.
      Ray: Uh, with high self esteem?

  • NOTES (2)

    • Crew Additions and Clarifications: Jeff Fastner (Associate Art Director)
      Eric Sims (Background Director), Chad Hurd (Illustration Director)
      Mark Parsons (Lead Animator)
      TJ Buford (Lead Illustrator)
      Claire Almon (Illustrator), Jon Bass (Illustrator), Rod Ben (Illustrator), Pierre Cerrato (Illustrator), Myke Chapman (Illustrator), Chi Duong (Illustrator), Jonathan Floyd (Illustrator), Kelton Hamm (Illustrator), Tariq Hassan (Illustrator), Jason Li (Illustrator), Ji Li (Illustrator), Reese Lloyd (Illustrator), Andrew Miller (Illustrator), Brian McGee (Illustrator), Dan Murdoch (Illustrator), Merritt Pedrick (Illustrator), Dagny Stumberger (Illustrator), Kat Shea (Illustrator), Ron States (Illustrator), Katie Stockton (Illustrator), Adam Toews (Illustrator), Fernando Vazquez (Illustrator)
      Scott Sims (Theme Song)
      Michael Kohler (Music & Sound)
      Kat Shea (Costumes & Styling)
      Neal Biggs (3D Modeling & Backgrounds), Cody Cobler (3D Modeling & Backgrounds), Justin Hoover (3D Modeling & Backgrounds), Chad Koerner (3D Modeling & Backgrounds), Jim Lammers (3D Modeling & Backgrounds), Mary Shields (3D Modeling & Backgrounds), Matt Tyree (3D Modeling & Backgrounds)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      United Kingdom: June 28, 2011 on 5*


    • Terms of Endearment/Family Feud/Magnum, P.I./Citizen Kane/Casablanca
      There are a bunch of movie and TV references in Archer's Terms of Enrampagement (itself a reference to Terms of Endearment, which contains themes of cancer and loss). Archer plays Family Feud with the Irish mobsters, complete with shouting, "Survey says..." and telling Lana she's in the isolation booth. The ending of his film is a parody of a famous Magnum, P.I. scene in which Tom Selleck kills an unarmed villain after asking him, "Did you see the sunrise this morning?" Alternate names suggested for the film include "Magnum, P.U.," "Citizen Dickbag" (Citizen Kane), and "Casa Blumpkin" (Casablanca).

    • Julius Caesar
      Archer: Cry havoc and let slip the hogs of war.
      Lana: Dogs of war.
      This refers to a line from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

    • Boys from Brazil
      Krieger is apparently one of the Boys from Brazil, which is a 1978 film (based on a novel by Ira Levin) about a scientist who creates 94 clones of Hitler and has them adopted by parents who match the profile of Hitler's parents. The episode also makes reference to the Doberman attack which occurs in the movie.

    • The E Street Band
      Irish Mobster: Oh, you just missed him. Shame, too, cause he just loves The E Street Band. Archer: Did he just rag on my scarf?
      The E Street Band are famous for performing and recording with musician Bruce Springsteen, though they have recorded with many other artists as well. Guitarist Steven Van Zandt, a.k.a Little Steven or Miami Steve, has a signature look that includes a bandana or head scarf. He was in a car accident when he was young, and his hair never grew back in correctly, so he always wears some sort of head covering.

    • The Clone Wars
      Pam calls Krieger "Clone Wars," because they think he might be a clone of Hitler. The Clone Wars is an event in the Star Wars film series; there is also an animated TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

    • Woodsy Owl
      Archer: Thanks, Woodsy. (Pause) The drug owl?
      Woodsy Owl is an environmental conservation mascot for the US Forest Service. His motto used to be, "Give a hoot, don't pollute!" and has evolved to, "Lend a hand, care for the land!" Archer seems to have him confused with someone else.

    • Sean Hannity
      Archer calls the racist Irish guy "Hannity," referring to the conservative talk show host Sean Hannity.