Title Explained: The episode's name is an obvious reference to the ill-fated ship Titanic.
Excelsior is a commonly referenced interjection, for instance famously often used by Stan Lee. It means "ever upward" or "still higher" and has been historically used to name newspapers, hotels, ships, and is the New York state motto.
This episode has numerous references to the Hindenburg, a rigid airship which famously and disastrously caught fire. Archer's exclamation, "Oh! The humanity!" is a well-known line from the newsreel of the event, spontaneously given by Herbert Morrison as he watched the ship burn. Being filled with hydrogen, which is highly flammable, the Hindenburg exploded after having caught fire during the landing procedure. The abundant availability of helium in the United States allowed US airships to use that gas instead of hydrogen. This is the case with the Excelsior. To Captain Lammers' exasperation Archer continuously mistakes the properties of helium as being like hydrogen, and referencing the Hindenburg.
When Lana, Malory, Archer and Lammers are discussing accommodations aboard the Excelsior, Lana suggests that she and Malory share quarters and "do the whole Oprah-Gayle thing," referring to the close relationship between Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King.
Waiting for a refill of her drink at the Excelsior's bar, Malory complains the bartender is nowhere to be found: "Guy sees an empty glass, and all of a sudden he's Judge Crater." The reference is to Judge Joseph Crater, who disappeared after visiting a New York restaurant in the 1930s and became known as "The Missingest Man in New York."
Sandu Singh is staying in the "Von Zeppelin suite," where he meets Lana. Ferdinand von Zeppelin was a rigid airship designer and the founder of an airship company called the Zeppelin Airship company. Zeppelin would later become a genericized trademark for similar rigid airships. Archer keeps referring to this room as the "Led Zeppelin suite," a reference to the band, which took its name from a reference to these airships.
When Archer asks Lt. Klauss Kraus where Cyril is, he says to check the "Kaiser Wilhelm suite." Kaiser Wilhelm was the name of twofamous revered German Emperors, or Kaisers. Archer suggests that the company should change the names of these rooms, because the reference to Emperor William IInd of Hohenzollern reminds one of WWI.
(**Spoiler Alert**) When Lana exclaims "Captain Lammers!" when he reveals himself as the bomber, and Archer says "Nice read, Velma", this is a reference to Scooby-Doo, where Velma (and usually the rest of the Scooby-Doo gang) would very dramatically exclaim the name of the episode's criminal mastermind when he was unmasked.
Sandu Singh wining Archer's supposed wife Lana for a night of passion is a loose reference the the novel Indecent Proposal by Jack Engelhard. Also the couple Sandu is with when he is first seen bare a striking resemblance to Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson's characters from the movie version of the novel.
This episode references the popular comedy Friends, when Cyril walks in on Archer and Lana in a sexually compromising position, and, in the ensuing fight, Lana exclaims, "We're on a break," to which Cyril responds, "fine by me!" This same exchange occurs in Friends, between Ross and Rachel.
Dog in a Manger is a metaphor for those who spitefully prevent others from having something that they themselves have no use for, ie. Cyril & Lana's relationship.
Danger Zone - Referring to Lana having to share a single bed cabin on the Excelsior, Archer proclaims that she is in the Danger Zone.
Lana, Lana!, Lana!! - Due to Lana ignoring Archer he keeps repeating her name in an increasing volume until finally screaming it prompting her to give in and yell back, what! thus allowing him to inform her that she is in the Danger Zone.
Trudy, mah, mah, mah - Since the Excelsior is fully booked for its maiden voyage Malory calls in a bomb threat in order to bump her neighbor and rival Trudy Beekman in favor of herself. This in the guise thwarting the bomber. Getting bumped causes Trudy to literally vomit with anger.
Over Packed - Malory again takes a huge amount of luggage for a relatively short trip. This time making Pam lug it all on board. At least 18 pieces of luggage can be seen in her stateroom along with what appears to be an additional 20 matching pieces in the cargo hold.
Choke Sex - Cheryl orders Cyril to choke her during sex.
Slightly Darker Black Turtleneck - Archer must change into a black turtleneck prior to defusing the bomb.
Core Concept - Archer has trouble grasping the difference between helium and hydrogen.
934TXS - The serial number of the bomb detonator is 934TXS.
Man Hands - Ray tells Lana to push the bomb off with her big ass hands.
Captain Lammers also continuously tries, without success, to correct the team's constant reference to the Excelsior as a blimp instead of a rigid airship. Rigid airships have an internal framework that forms and maintains its shape, whereas blimps maintain their shape due to the pressure of the lifting gas within.
Archer seems never to have been trained in using the NATO phonetic alphabet or the many other conventions used to prevent misunderstandings on the radio. After Ray chastises him he tries, like many people, to use names. He makes things worse by saying "M as in Mancy," which Gillette is not sure of, then retorts "you of all people..." Ray thinks he said "N as in Nancy" (the term "nancy" is usually directed at an effeminate homosexual).
This is the first use of the alphanumerical code 934TXS: The bomb's serial number is 934TXS. Although not seen onscreen it read out loud by Archer.
Pam discovers that Cyril & Cheryl had sex in the previous episode, Skorpio.
This episode establishes that Pam was raised on a dairy farm.
This episode establishes Malory's willingness to call in a bomb threat to get what she wants.
This episode establishes Archer's ineptitude at gambling with cards.
This is the second episode in a row that Lana has shot Archer in the foot.
(Prompting a chorus of who / whats from Lana, Malory & Lammers)
Archer: "That guy, Beardsly McTurbanhead."
Malory: "You idiot, that's Sandu Singh, the billionaire investor. He's a Sikh."
Archer: "Oh, so if he's not a Muslim he just gets a pass. Well that's called profiling mother and I don't do it."
Lammers: "Mr. Singh is Excelsior's majority share holder."
Lammers: "If anything went wrong on this flight he'd lose millions."
Archer: "It's the perfect cover."
Cheryl: "Pick one. Either A, I tell Lana what happened on that scratchy green office rug or 2, you get inside me."
Cyril: "Or C, maybe I just jam this mop into the engine and kill all of us!"
Cheryl: "I don't think that's how blimps work."
Cyril: "Darn, right, we'd just sort of float around. Stupid, naturally safe helium."
Cheryl: "But I am liking the jamming imagery (rips open her blouse) and the killing."
Cyril: "And are you just going to sit there?"
Pam: "Yeah, until she tags me in."
Pam: (Laughing) "I'm kidding.... my back's all messed up."
Pam: "So, you're ruining Cyril's life because, in your dream-the-impossible-dream world, it'll make Mr. Archer jealous?"
Cheryl: "Oh, Pamela, you read me like a poem."
Pam: "Yeah? What's the poem gonna be about when Cyril snaps and murders you?"
Cheryl: "I dunno, 'world's gushiest orgasm?'"
(Standing over a mostly naked and apparently dead Cheryl)
Malory: "Well then what is it?"
Pam: "Okay, so Cyril got in over his head."
Malory: "Jesus, God, did he kill her?"
Pam: "No, no, no, he ran from her to go confess to Lana. But so then this one starts freaking out and long story short I kind of had to drown her in the tub."
Malory: "So you killed her?"
(Cheryl suddenly coughs and spits up water)
Pam: "Apparently not, so....good news."
Malory: "Trudy Beekman booked the very last ticket on this flight, so it was all 'Meh! Meh! Meh! I'm Trudy Beekman, I'm on the co-op board and I'm going on a blimp! MEEEEHHH!!' So yes, I made a phony bomb threat."
Lana: "So, what would you say if I told you that your mother made a phony bomb threat just to get a free ride on a blimp?"
Archer: "I'd say that's fairly classic her."
Malory: "Oh, shut up!"
Archer: "And then I'd just sort of laugh at the, uh, um...the whatchamacallit..."
(An actual bomb is seen right in front of Archer.)
Ray: "Come on, people, talk to me! What are we thinking? What are we doing?"