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"Three to Tango" is the second episode of season 6 and the sixty-fourth episode overall of Archer.

PlotEdit

An agent from the past causes tension between Sterling Archer and Lana Kane.

Slater arrives at Malory Archer's office with an assignment for Archer and Lana. Despite the everyday antics of the people who work there, he decides to entrust them with it. Slater informs them that a freelance agent of the CIA is stranded in Buenos Aires and in need of an extraction. The agent in question is revealed to be none other than Conway Stern (much to Archer and Lana's disgust.) Slater also reveals that the whisper drive Conway apparently stole to sell to the Chinese government was in fact a decoy set up by the CIA to ensure the safety of the real plans, and that Conway was not a traitor after all (much to Malory's delight.)

As Lana and Archer arrive in Buenos Aires, they begin to debate over who would be AJ's legal guardian in the event of their deaths. That argument is tabled as they make their way to the apartment where Conway is holed up. Lana begs Archer not to jeopardize their mission by attempt any kind of revenge rampage on Conway. Archer responds by kicking the apartment door down and attacking Conway. As the two struggle to the death, Lana decides to make some tea. While Archer is being choked by Conway, he tears the skin from his bionic arm  (courtesy of Algernop Krieger, to neither Archer or Lana's surprise). Just when it appears that Conway has the advantage, Lana brains him with a kettle.

As the tension between the three dies down (and as Archer discovers firsthand that Yerba mate and Caña smoothie with a WD-40 float does not make an enjoyable cocktail), Conway informs Archer and Lana that his mission is not yet complete. He was sent to retrieve a computer file with the real identity of every CIA operative operating in Argentina. Archer and Lana are forced to help him retrieve it from the Argentinian government in order to complete their own mission.

Back at the office, Malory attacks Cheryl Tunt in the bathroom, accusing her of kidnapping AJ. After learning that wasn't the case, Cheryl and Pam Poovey decide to help Malory find the baby.

Meanwhile, Archer, Lana and Conway commandeer a limousine to infiltrate the building where the computer file is being kept. Their disguises don't help much, as Archer is intercepted and assaulted by the guards. Lana and Conway, being locked in the limousine, watch on helplessly. Fortunately, Archer manages to hold his own and subdue the guards. With the situation thoroughly "Archerized", the three make their way to the computer holding the file.

Back again at the office, Malory recalls Krieger skulking around her office around the time AJ went missing. Fearing the worst, Malory, Cheryl, Pam, Ray Gillette and Cyril Figgis all rush to Krieger's lab. There, they find him, AJ, and what appear to be schematics of a baby-sized cyborg (to everyone's disgust).
Ruxpin schematic

Schematic for TB-800, Teddy Ruxpin lookalike

Krieger explains that the schematics were actually for what he calls "Cyberneddly Teddly", and that he simply needed AJ for market research purposes. He claims the prototype is somewhere in his lab, but no one believes him. Taking back AJ, Malory and the others decide it would be best not to tell Lana. After Malory warns Krieger not to approach AJ again, she and the others take their leave, just as Cyberneddly Teddly shows up to do a little dance.

Meanwhile, Conway manages to extract the computer file he was after. His mission accomplished, he shoots Archer in the back. He then explains to Lana that he planned to sell the file to the Russians all along. He had Archer and Lana assist him so he could have his own revenge for what happened to him during their last encounter. As he prepares to parachute out of the building, he assures Lana that he couldn't shoot her as well because she has a child to look after. After an unfortunate crack about baby weight, however, Lana slams the window on Conway, severing his non-bionic hand, which was conveniently holding the disc containing the file he was after. Conway is then forced to retreat, revealing that Conway Stern was, in fact, his real name.

As Lana carries a wounded Archer out of the building, Slater drives by to pick them up. Slater also reveals that the CIA suspected that Conway would pull the stunt that he did, which is why they sent Lana and Archer to bait him. Not caring too much at that point, Archer tries to discuss their situation with AJ. Lana finally confesses that if anything did happen to her (and her alone), AJ would live with her parents. And if anything happens to them, she would live with Lana's sister. Curious, Archer inquires if Lana's sister was, in fact, her younger sister. Lana responds by pressing into his wounds.

Callbacks and Running GagsEdit

  • This episode makes frequent references to the plot and events of "Diversity Hire".
    • It marks the return of Conway Stern and refers to his figurative and literal backstabbing of Archer.
    • The Whisper Drive that Conway attempted to sell to the Chinese government is revealed to be a decoy set up by the CIA in order to protect the real plans from being stolen, revealing ISIS had unintentionally ruined a CIA operation Conway had been a part of.
    • In the episode "Legs" it is revealed beforehand that Conway Stern was given robotic hands by Krieger and the same clip of the surgery is shown in this episode.
    • This episode ending, with Archer bleeding after being (once again) double-crossed by Conway, and Conway losing his other hand courtesy of Lana before escaping, mirrors the conclusion of that episode: Conway loses his other hand to a sliding door (not cuffs), escapes via parachute (not helicopter) and literally shoots Archer in the back (doesn't stab) whilst figuratively stabbing him in the back.  Great effort is expended to draw the audiences attention to this literal/figurative device.
  • The fake office renovations from the previous episode are brought up again.

Cultural ReferencesEdit

  • Star Wars: there are several (at least 3) references to Star Wars:
    • Conway calls himself "Puke Skywalker" due to his having a robotic hand like Luke Skywalker,
    • Archer gives himself the fake name Col. Lando Calrissiano, in reference to Lando Calrissian, which fails to convince a guard.
    • Archer tranquilizes the guard and quotes Han Solo's line "boring conversation anyway" from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. This line had previously been used by Pam at the end of season 3.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968):  When Malory destroys the phone, Cheryl's voice sounds computerized as she says "What are you doing, Dave?", which is a quote from the sentient computer HAL 9000 in the film by Stanley Kubrick.  Kubrick's 1971 film 'A Clockwork Orange' was reference in 'A Going Concern.'
  • The robotic teddy bear has three references:
  • The Andy Griffith Show(1960-68)':  Archer refers to one of the guards several times as "Pyle", a reference to the bumbling mechanic Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors) on The Andy Griffith Show, and later, the bumbling Marine recruit and star of Gomer Pyle, USMC. This reference may be triple-pronged, as it could also refer to a pile, either one of feces or some equally vile substance, or an archaic term for a hemorrhoid.
    • After the guard referred to as "Pyle" is incapacitated, Archer complains about having to carry him to the biometrically controlled access door. Stern suggests that they slice out Pyle's retinas for scanning, but Archer refuses, stating "I can't. That would kill Lou-Ann," a reference to Gomer Pyle's girlfriend, Lou-Ann "Poovie." The basis of Pam's surname, Poovey, perhaps?
  • Public Enemy:  Conway says the word "base" like Chuck D says "bass" on the song "Bring The Noise" by the legendary hip hop act, Public Enemy.
  • Dick Van Dyke:  Conway calls Archer 'Dick Van Head' - a play on dickhead and TV and film actor Dick Van Dyke.  Given his extenisve career, this could be for any number of reasons.
  • Argentine coup d'etat (1976):  When Lana is unsure of the position of Argentina, supposed ally of the U.S., Conway mentions a "lovely coup" This happened between 1976 and 1983, during those years Argentine Army was in charge of the government, on an attempt to stop communism.  Many people say that it was mandated by the U.S. government.  Declassified files show Kissinger supported the 'dirty war' in which 30,000 people were killed.

TriviaEdit

  • After Ray blows cigarette smoke into Cyril's face, Malory calls Ray "Virginia Slim", a brand of cigarettes marketed towards women.
  • The license plate of the limousine Archer is driving reads 934 TXS. The front license plate of Slater's getaway car also reads 934 TXS, but this is likely a goof, as the back license plate reads KZT 7R9.
  • Archer made himself into a verb: to archerize.
  • Lana's family is mentioned for the first time in the series. She has a sister (though we are still unsure if she is older or younger than Lana), and her parents are still alive.
  • The password Conway uses to retrieve the list (44454D414E4420464C554F5249444521) translates to "DEMAND FLUORIDE!" (encoded in ASCII hexadecimal).
  • Archer suggests that Conway already knew the password because Conway is a cyborg and the password was probably Gaius Baltar's zip code.
  • Conway reveals he was lying about the name Conway Stern being an alias in his first appearance.
  • When Conway Stern is revealed as the operative to be rescued, the File/Serial number listed is the hexadecimal representation of "tiny.cc/pigly".
  • At approximately 1 minute in, Malory's drink disappears from her hand and reappears in the next shot.
  • During the "revenge rampage," there are probably many references to other things of unknown origin: the cymbals, the gravity defying choking, the other choke scene with a cloth draped over Archer's head like a veil.
  • The title is 'Three To Tango':
    • there are 3 sci-fi references:  Star Wars, Terminator and 2001: Space Odyssey
    • Applying the comedic 'rule of 3 ': there are 3 Star Wars references and 3 references for the robot teddy

QuotesEdit

Slater: "Wait, what happened? I thought you were gonna renovate this place."
Malory: "As did I. But I was betrayed, by a lying little country music wannabe!"
Cheryl: "Was that directed at me?"
Malory: "YES! Who else?"
Cheryl: "I DON'T KNOW WHO ELSE LIES TO YOU!"
Lana: "And what operation is the CIA conducting in Argentina?"
Slater: "Oh, sorry, it's called'Operation: Nunya'."
Lana: "I..."
Archer: "As in 'beezwax', Lana?"
Lana: "Yes, I--"
Archer: "Doctor Kane, report to the burn unit."
Lana: "To help a patient who's been burned?"
Archer: ".......No."
Lana: "Look, don't worry about AJ, okay?"
Archer: "Well I think ONE of us should. "
Lana: "No, I--"
Archer: "And I vote Mother and Woodhouse."
Lana: "To raise my child?"
Archer: "OUR child Lana. And yes. And--"
Lana: "Can we talk about this later?"
Archer: (knocks on the door) "Oh we are definitely gonna talk about this later, I can promise you that."
Lana: "And can you promise, that even though Conway..."
Acrher: "LITERALLY..."
Lana: "...Stabbed you in the back, That you won't do anything revenge-y and stupid when he opens the door?"
Archer: "Hmmm... I wanna say... NO!" (Kicks down the door) "REVENGE RAMPAAAAAAGE!"
Cyril: "You think... okay, wow. You think that in the event of their deaths that you would be AJ's legal guardian?"
Malory: "Who else would they possibly choose?"
Ray: "You've met yourself, right?"
Pam: "Hey, is it too much to ask, during the goddamn workday,  for two separate sessions of eighty uninterrupted minutes each of quality dump time?"
Cheryl: "I mean, I'm not a labor attorney, but--"
Malory: "Yes, it is entirely too much to ask!"
Pam: "I thought so... yeah... so I'll pass that on to who or whomever asked."
Lana: "What the hell are you doing?!"
Archer: "I'm Archerizing this plan!"
Lana: "What? Nooooo! No! Uh-uh! You can not make yourself a verb. I will not allow it!"
Archer: "I'm a verb now, Lana. Deal with it!"
Conway:"And hey, give me a call if things don't work out with the kid. And you lose the baby weight."
(Lana slams the window shut, severing his right hand.)
Conway: "ARE...YOU...KIDDING ME?!?" (falls from the window.)
Lana: "Yeah, lose that weight, Conway Stern or whatever your real name is!"
Conway: (parachuting to safety) "I lied! That is my real name!"