Vision Quest, this season’s fifth episode may lack exotic locales, but it more than makes up for that in its verbal volleys.

by Rob Rector

In the world of television, there is a certain type of episode referred to as a “bottle episode.” These shows usually feature our characters in one singular location for the entirety of the program’s runtime. They are usually shot for budgetary reasons, in that it does not cost producers to design or use a number of settings for its characters.

When it works, it can be memorable (remember the wintry chill of the Sopranos Pine Barrens, or the hilarity of Jerry and the gang waiting for a table in Chinese Restaurant? It’s an while it gives those creating sets a break, it can create a challenge for writers, as we are forced to focus on the words and minute actions of the characters for the entire time. For Adam Reed, creator and writer for Archer, it’s a time to shine.

For as amazing as some of the animation has looked this season, still nothing remains as memorable as the backstabbing banter that is shared by the cast of borderline-sociopathic superspies that inhabit an office space atop a laundromat.

Vision Quest, this season’s fifth episode may lack exotic locales, but it more than makes up for that in its verbal volleys from the cast being crammed together in elevator and picking at one another’s scabs. It was exactly what the season needed, as it demonstrated just how fun this dysfunctional crew can be when they are left alone with each other. And by “fun” I mean “back-bitingly awful” and “rapacious.”
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There are no twists here. Hell, even the title refers to the 1985 Matthew Modine film of the same name that Mallory wanted them to watch as a team-building exercise. When they all get stuck in their office elevator, it takes very little time for things to spiral out of control and all to reveal their most primal instincts and dig into their deepest insecurities.

It also lets Reed page through the “Archer” archives and let fly a number of references to previous episodes that will immediately hit home with its audience. So, instead of the usual plot synopsis, let’s just skip right to some of the best lines of the episode (and the season this far!):

Favorite lines/gags:

Everyone teasing Cyril, claiming that he most likely wants to masturbate while being stuck with all of them. And, despite his vociferous objections, ends up doing just that seconds before the end credits roll.

Krieger, who has devised some demonic devices this season, even carries potentially life-threatening contents in his work thermos.

Pam’s lunch: a sandwich, a bear claw, and a 40 oz.

“Boom! Priapism!”
Archer (to Pam): “Said the pantless co-worker with the unkempt vagina.”

Episode Rating: A-