As we draw to a close of Archer Season 6, we are entering the now traditional two-part finale territory. With one final shot as CIA operatives, Archer and the crew are forced into an assignment of the shrink-ray kind. Like every TV show that has completely run out of ideas (Venture Bros and Doctor Who I am totally looking at you right now) Archer has decided to enter the realm of the Fantastic Voyage trope; yes, that 1966 classic film, famous for the idea of shrinking a crew of scientists and injecting them into the human body is yet again referenced in pop culture. While Mallory of course gets to sit this one out, Pam and Cheryl are actually invited on the mission because the CIA suspects they will just stow away anyhow. Krieger is left behind, sadly destroying his dream of being the Bones McCoy of this mission to boldly go into the brain of a scientist with a blood clot. Archer and Lana discuss what will happen to AJ if they die on the mission, though Archer has no concept of his own mortality. Of course, as soon as the mission starts things begin to go horribly wrong.
The first part of this episode uses the now familiar voice talents of Christian Slater. Joining him is Portlandia alum Carrie Brownstein, as Dr. Sklodowska, and TV’s “very own Billy Batson” from Shazam, Michael Gray. If you’re over 40, chances are you’re picking up the Shazam references on Archer. If you’re not, the show frankly doesn’t seem to care.
Lucky Yates performance as Krieger is particularly hilarious in this episode as he tries a variety of out-dated medical theories on the soon to be Fantastic Voyage-d patient. He tries phrenology, ear candles and is banned from using any sciences of the humors or bleeding the patient with leeches. History and Medical students prepare to laugh. Also strangely poignant is Cheryl’s very Carl Sagan/ Arthur C. Clarke-eque speech on the changes of science and what it’s like to be on the forefront of scientific history.
“Drastic Voyage: Part One” is very much a love letter to science and Sci-fi films and television of the 1960’s. Krieger’s obvious reference to Planet of the Apes is deeply appreciated, Shazam is over the top, Star Trek is a given and the Fantastic Voyage homage is obvious. If as a viewer you can get over the fact that the Fantastic Voyage thing has been done pretty much everywhere, you’ll likely enjoy the first step to boldly go where this Archer finale has decided to go.