March 26th, 2015, 10:00 PM, FX Network
The gang is assigned by the CIA to fly to a top-secret mission in a top-secret laboratory in Phoenix. The target: Dr. Zoltan Kovacs, a scientist involved in a top secret invention that will perfect the process of molecular miniaturization. The mission: use Kovacs’ state-of-the-art miniaturization laser and a ship built by Cheryl’s family’s conglomerate to travel into Kovacs’ brain, laser away a blood clot impacting his brain and save his mind, all before being returned to normal size. If they survive, they’ll get a million dollars apiece. If they fail they’ll be permanently blackballed from the spy game. They’re given the assistance of Doctor Sklodowska, Kovacs’ lover, and a crack medical team. Complications pile up instantly: Slater and Archer’s season-long tension reaches a fever pitch, Archer must deal with jealousy after Ray (whose new black hand is somehow making him racist) and Cyril (whose intensity is growing more and more frightening) are named pilot and co-pilot; Lana worries that she and Archer will die, and that Abbijean will end up in Malory’s hands permanently while sparring with Doctor Sklodowska; and Krieger, who’s kicked off the surgery team is denied a trip in the shuttle, and thus plots his revenge at the worst possible time.
The biggest flaw “Drastic Voyage Part 1” is that it’s comprised almost entirely of set-up. We hear about the mission, take a trip inside of the ship, meet the scientists and end the episode with the entire gang injected into a scientist’s body, but nothing much happens beyond prep work and lots and lots of digressions. Pam and Cheryl in particular felt pretty useless in this episode (along with Malory, whose arc has been nonexistent for the whole season), and, of course, “Fantastic Voyage” has been parodied from here to heaven by every single animated television program on the planet.
Here’s the good part, though – those digressions are rock-solid examples of hilarity. Archer playing ‘Operation’ to train himself for the surgery, the entire existence of TV’s Michael Gray in the plot and Krieger’s climatic rant were all golden examples of the kind of humor this show excels at. There’s some solid tension in the fact that Lana’s afraid of orphaning her daughter, though I have no idea why her main concern is reminding Archer that her child’s custody will revert to her parents in the event of her death. If they’re foreshadowing Lana’s disappearance next season I’m not very enthusiastic about the very idea.
Next week this season will conclude, and we have so many dangling jokes. Will Archer and Lana be able to maintain their relationship? Will Krieger get his revenge? Will Cyril finally snap? Will Malory slip diet pills in AJ’s bottle? Will Ray make it through an entire season with his pride as well as his body intact? Is the CIA setting up Team Archer for a huge fall for a reason, or are they just having fun dicking them around? All of this and more should be answered with any luck during next week’s season finale.
- Slater and Agent Hawley appear once again in this season.
- Plot Hole: It was established two seasons ago that Pam is a licensed agent, and has gone on multiple missions with the team in that capacity. I don’t know if the big difference is that she doesn’t have CIA clearance but it’s still a glaring error.
- The episode’s main plot, naturally, is a parody of the 1966 sci-fi movie Fantastic Voyage, starring Raquel Welch. This production team already parodied this idea in a Sealab 2021 episode from season 4.
- “I was voted Best Milker!” “So was I!” “Eww!”
- “Krieger, those were Shrinky Dinks.”
- Carrie Brownstein, actress and Sleater-Kinney musician, voices Doctor Sklodowska.
- Lana ‘sucked at’ being an astronaut in the season 3 finale, “Space Race”.
- Michael Grey did indeed play Billy Batson on the Shazzam show. He retired from his career as a florist in the 0’s and lives somewhere in California. And yes, he did voice himself in this episode.
- Ron, Malory’s formerly-estranged husband, makes an appearance in a flashback.
- “Maybe I’d finally learn how to fly fish!”
- Cheryl plans on using her government money to buy and bulldoze an orphanage.
- “Lana, calm down. You’re making me really hard.” “God damn, dude.”
- “Oh, and by the way - if I were a clone of Adolf Goddamned Hitler, wouldn’t I look like Adolf Goddamn Hitler?!”
- Next Week: The voyage gets even more dangerous for the whole crew with Krieger in charge of the OR and the crew under pressure to make it from the good doctor’s foot to his tear duct and laser the clot before they demilitarize in the second part of the season six finale, “Drastic Voyage Part 2” < /li>
The episode’s a trip, and the humor in the dialogue and the scenario keep it afloat. If you look a little too close you might start scratching your head, but the laughs are still thick and juicy.