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'London Time' Does Right by Mallory Archer

By James Field | TV | September 8, 2021 |

By James Field | TV | September 8, 2021 |


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Remember last week, when I politely bitched about the lack of new Jessica Walter material in the second new Archer episode of the season? It turns out they saved it all up for episode 3, “London Time.” And while not one of the series’ absolute best, it does right by Mallory Archer, Iron Lady of ISIS.

Like Margaret Thatcher, Mallory Archer is a complex character with a multitude of ambitions and motives. Unlike Thatcher, Mallory Archer actually has a soul buried under all the racism, homophobia, and naked greed. Call it a lucky combination of great writers and great acting, but Mallory’s always been a more sympathetic character than she has any right to be. Being played by Jessica Walter helped, and being an animated character doesn’t hurt either. It’s much easier to forgive a cartoon its biases than it is a real person.

In “London Time,” the Agency realizes that if they can retrieve a bug planted by Mallory a few decades back that’s been gathering intel on the British government, they can turn it in for a significant cash reward. Mallory, never one to turn down a financial windfall or an opportunity to wear a catsuit, takes her team to London as she recalls her wild mission with agent Cornelius Varma (a hysterical Aasif Mandvi). Archer, meanwhile, is working against Fabian Kingsworth (Kayvan Novak) once again, and it’s still not going well. Lana is angry at Robert for pointing out the rather obvious fact that she’s not actually interested in being a mother. Cyril continues sliding down the competency scale like a greased-up chubby dude on a Slip ‘n Slide. Pam and Carol are supposed to be lookouts but instead tour London, with Cheryl interspersing truth bombs about British imperialism with conspiracy theories. Shenanigans ensue. But this is Mallory’s episode, and she takes a trip down memory lane that is a descent into psychosexual torture for her son.

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As I said, it’s not a perfect episode. We get some flashbacks but they’re devoid of dialogue. Fabian Kingsworth’s posh Elmer Fudd voice is incredibly annoying. The interwoven storylines are a fun return to form, but there’s still too much crammed into the episode without much actual plot. But Mallory is front and center and despite Jessica Walter’s loss, this was the first truly laugh-out-loud episode of the season. For a brief time, I forgot she was gone and just enjoyed myself. Mallory’s catsuit and constant carnal reminiscing might drive Archer insane but it’s good clean fun for us. And let’s be honest; Mallory’s a total GILF.

On the whole (phrasing) “London Time” is a worthy homage to Mallory Archer and the amazing woman whose voice brought her to life. Bless her cold, lusty, calculating, shrewish, mercenary, alcoholic heart for the laughs she gave us over the years. More episodes remain, but this was a proper goodbye to a pair of beloved women the likes of which we will not see again any time soon.

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Header Image Source: FX (screenshots)