TV Review: Archer "Filibuster" 5x12

With season five nearing a close, Archer: Vice is also nearing a close.

It's been a fun journey to see these characters get into absolutely ridiculous shenanigans even without being a spy agency, but the show just hasn't been the same since making the switch.

Thankfully, Adam Reed has found the proper footing over these last few episodes to give Archer: Vice the send off it deserves before it goes back to playing spy.

But instead of going for all out humor this time around, Filibuster is a much darker Archer episode, probably the darkest of the series.

For once, peoples actions have consequences and the gang of ISIS has to pay for these actions.

Picking up from where last week left off, Cyril has become dictator in San Marcos and has lead the San Marcos army and has actually helped to take on the rebels and defeat them.

Archer has been locked up in the palace prison for three weeks believing it to be for so much longer with his "Randy" beard growing out again.

Along with Archer is both Gustavo Calderon (Fred Armisen) and his wife Julianna (Lauren Conrad) and both he and Gustavo have become "swinger buddies." Lana let's Archer know all that's been happening and has been tasked to bring Julianna up to the new dictator.

With Juliana brought to Cyril, Lana tries to convince Cyril to let her head home but the airport is now the rebel army headquarters so that's a nope. Malory, followed by Pam, Cherlene, and Ray enter the room and she tries to convince that San Marcos is the place for them after being stripped of their livelihood in the U.S. so they can now start over and on a high note.

Cherlene tries to make her claim as the first lady of San Marcos (since she is technically married to Calderon) but as she screams "OUTLAW COUNTRY" she's sent to the palace prison in the cell block between Archer and Calderon. Trying to figure out how to escape the prison and help the rebel army take over Cyril's new dictatorship, Cherlene somehow has a key to get out of the cells.

How'd she get it? "Let's just say... I honestly don't know."

Unfortunately for Archer and Calderon, Cyril has a nuclear rocket in his back pocket created by Krieger and his clones. Making their escape in one of Calderon's fancy cars, they spot Calderon's zoo where he "of course, has a tiger" and they make a detour. In the palace, Cyril marries himself to Julianna because he can because he's the dictator while Pam admits that she's a coke addict so...it's a big day? Kreiger with his clone brothers get into an argument if they should actually launch the rocket. Krieger tries to prevent them from getting the launch sequence set, but the other three fight back.

As Krieger does his best, one of the clones is able to initiate the sequence. It makes for one of the darker sequences throughout the episode as they eventually all end up falling off of the ledge with at least two of them dead.

At the zoo, Archer, Cherlene, and Calderon find Shane -- the tiger. Cherlene let's Shane loose and Shane goes right for Calderon, eating and killing him.

Heading to the airport now, Cherlene and Archer make it there but are knocked out and detained right away by the rebels. When they wake up, they're sitting in a room opposite FBI Agent Hawley (Gary Cole from White Elephant 5x1) of the FBI and Slater (Christian Slater--drug smuggler from On The Carpet 5x9). Hawley and Slater lead the rebel army and reveal that they're not FBI, but CIA. At the palace, Krieger, back with the ISIS gang after three weeks (of no one noticing he was even missing), let's them know that there may be a rocket getting ready to launch in 151 minutes.

Ray, trying to figure out how to defuse it, accidentally accelerates the sequence rapidly. At this point, Lana convinces Cyril that they need Archer -- only to discover he's no longer in his cell.

Lana decides to head to the airport to get Archer back, only to be detained herself and to be just as surprised to see Agent Hawley. But at that moment, her water breaks.

It's rare that Archer goes into dark territory, but with Filibuster it does just that and succeeds in every way. Filibuster is an episode that doesn't fully advance the plot but instead pushes the pieces into place for an explosive season finale unlike any we've seen before. Sure, there have been space pirates, cyborgs, Bryan Cranston and Jon Hamm, but this just feels different.

For once, it really feels like the ISIS gang will have to fight for their lives while also dealing with Lana's pregnancy. It doesn't help that they're split up and the two best agents are being detained by the CIA. During these last few episodes, Archer: Vice has slowly morphed back into Archer, and when Lana speaks the truth saying they need Archer, Reed is admitting himself that it's time for the show to go back to its old ways. With one episode left of season five, I expect it to be fantastic while completely different from anything we've seen before.