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.