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Archer 1×01 “Mole Hunt” Recap

Because my love for this show springs eternal (and because I suddenly have more free time on my hands than I know what to do with) I’ve decided to start recapping Archer episodes. Yes, from the very beginning. Yes, I’m aware that I’ve rewatched this show at least three times by now, meanwhile I have six or seven other shows I’m in the middle of that I could be finishing right now. What of it?

The World’s Most Dangerous Spy, also known as Sterling Archer (codename Duchess), has been taken prisoner by the KGB. He’s chained half-naked to a stone wall and is being threatened with electrocution by a torturer who’s very fond of giving intimidating monologues.

Photos: FX

Photos: FX

Instead of cowering in terror, Archer starts making fun of his captor’s shoddy Russian accent, and right away we get a sense of what this show’s gonna be like – that is, amazing.

Archer and his would-be-torturer’s bickering is interrupted by Archer’s mother, Mallory, and we find out that the whole thing is supposed to be a training simulation. Crenshaw, the guy dressed up as a member of the KGB, is actually an ISIS agent – as is Archer, the organization’s top spy.

Mallory laments the death of her prized dog (uncoincidentally also named Duchess) and then deems her son’s performance in the torture simulation unsatisfactory. Archer and Crenshaw bitch at each other some more, before Crenshaw gets pissed off and electrocutes Archer’s foot, knocking him completely free from his chains as a result. Haha, ouch.

Aaand credits!

We come back to Archer lying in bed with an unnamed woman. They’re awoken by a laundromat leaving a message on Archer’s answering machine – apparently Archer’s had shirts lying around at the laundromat for a week now, how rude – but instead of rushing off to pick the shirts up like any self-respecting laundromat-goer, Archer is more keen on scoring a morning quickie with his new lover. That is, until he sees that she brought her dog to his apartment and that it’s chewing on his blankets.

Archer unceremoniously kicks both her and the adorably dog out of his place and then yells at his poor sweet butler/maid/helper person Woodhouse for allowing the dog in. Never mind that Archer was the one who insisted on breaking his “No Dogs” rule because this particular dog could bark the tune to “Puttin’ On The Ritz.”


Oh, Archer.

Archer then goes to the laundromat to pick up his shirts, and we discover that the laundromat is a poorly disguised front for ISIS. A quick walkthrough of the workplace shows us that Archer’s coworkers are less than fond of him, save for the awesome Lana Kane, who outright hates Archer. Turns out Lana’s his ex-girlfriend, and she broke up with him six months ago because he is uncomfortably fixated on his mother. Basically, Archer is a walking, talking Oedipus complex.

Lana storms away. Out slinks a half-dressed Cyril, ISIS’ live-in accountant, who suspiciously enough just came out of the exact same room that Lana was just in. Hmm, interesting…

Cyril tries to talk to Archer about the “discrepancies” in his account, asking if Archer is embezzling money. No one wants to hear about dollar signs and decimals that early in the morning, so Archer shuts all of his attempts down and then in his loudest voice announces to the room that Cyril and Lana are banging. In the course of his flailing rant, Pam from H.R. (who is quite possibly my favorite of this bunch) is accused of being a loudmouth gossip. All of the above things are true.


Having successfully weaseled out of that awkward conversation with Cyril, Archer goes to his mother’s office and instead meets Cheryl, Mallory’s secretary, whom he stood up last night so he could bang that other woman instead. Cheryl is pissed, but she buzzes Archer into his mom’s office anyways.

Because Archer possibly has the worst timing in the world, he walks in right in the middle of his mother’s masturbation session. Awk-ward. Mallory covers up her flustered state by talking about Archer’s operations account and expense reports, which totally prove that Archer’s been using ISIS money to find his personal vacations. Man, I wish I could do that.

Mallory, of course, is less than amused, and orders him to pay off his expenses by Monday or he’s fired.

Instead, Archer decides to worm his way into Pam’s good graces (remember her? Archer called her a loudmouthed gossip a few paragraphs ago. Also, he beat her with a stuffed dolphin during the Lana/Archer H.R. counseling days six months ago, poor sweet Pam) so he can access his accounts and wipe his debt clean.


He even brings her a box of cream filled donuts as a peace offering. And then he calls her a hippo. Predictably, Pam refuses to let him access the accounts.

Lana doesn’t even let him get a word in before slapping the box of donuts out of his hands and storming away again. Cyril, who is chopping veggies for Stir Fry-day instead of doing accounting stuff, also refuses to help, but he does give Archer a “brilliant” idea: break into the ISIS mainframe! Which is a no good terrible idea, of course, so naturally Archer immediately latches onto it.

We next see Archer wining and dining Cheryl the secretary, monologuing over how difficult it’s going to be to break in without her help, but she also turns him down. He’s forced to zipline across building rooftops to enter the inexplicably unprotected and completely unlocked and open roofway entrance to ISIS, totally unaware that a few floors below him, Crenshaw has also broken into ISIS headquarters after-hours. Dun dun dun!

Lana gets a call that ISIS has been broken into, and she and boyfriend Cyril go to investigate. Meanwhile, Archer uses the age-old trick of using a recording of Cyril talking to get past the voice recognition software protecting the ISIS mainframe, and goes to work deleting all records of his debt. While he’s doing that, though, Crenshaw sneaks up behind him with a gun drawn… and reveals that he actually is a KGB agent, at work as a mole within ISIS.

Crenshaw forces Archer to give him $50,000 out of his own account and then takes Archer as a hostage. Luckily, Lana walks in at just the right time to save Archer. Too bad that’s not enough to actually take Crenshaw into custody, though, because the minute Archer opens his big mouth to call Lana baby crazy, they’re too distracted screaming at each other to notice that Crenshaw has escaped.



They hurry down the elevator to see Mallory – when did she get here? – get taken hostage by a desperate Crenshaw. Crenshaw tells Archer to imagine what his life will be like without mommy dearest, and… uhh… there’s no non-awkward way to say this. Archer gets totally hard at the thought of his mother dead. A disgusted Crenshaw is momentarily distracted, which is enough for Archer to take him down.

Later, Archer shows the others that Crenshaw stole the $50,000 from his account and manages to convince them that the mole had been stealing it all along, hence the extravagant expenses. Mallory, however, is confused about why there was even a mole in the first place – apparently she should have known about it because she’s having phone sex with the leader of the KGB.

Memorable Quotes

Archer: It’s a short list, Woodhouse. Two things we don’t allow in here, what are they?
Woodhouse: Dogs and your mother.
Archer: That’s a very short list, isn’t it.

Archer: I have to go. But if I find one single dog hair when I get back, I’ll… rub sand in your dead little eyes. I also need you to go buy sand. I don’t know if they grade it, but… coarse.

Mallory: ISIS isn’t your own personal travel agency! It doesn’t exist just so you can jet off to Whore Island!
Archer: That’s not a real place.
Mallory: I have fifty agents who would literally kill to move up to your position. And if you don’t square your operations account by Monday, they won’t need to. Your position will be vacant! …Sterling?!
Archer: Hm? Sorry, I was picturing Whore Island.

Lana: Not to mention how messed up he is about his mother. Do you know he called out her name once while we were fu-
Cyril: Ahhhhhhhh!

Archer: Just how deep in the red am I… out of my mind?! Oh no. How? How did I spend that much money?!
[flashback to Archer in a clothing store]
Archer: Yeah, I know it’s sexy, Woodhouse, that’s why I bought ten of them. Now arrange those by color.
Woodhouse: These are all black.
Archer: Oh, are they? Or are five in a dark black, and five in a slightly darker black?

Lana: I dumped you because you’re carrying around a thirty five year old umbilical cord!
Archer: See?! All you talk about is baby shit, because you’re baby crazy!

Mallory: The thought of me dead gives you an erection?!
Archer: No! Just half of one! The other half would have really missed you. …I mean.