White Elephant
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Series Information
Series Archer                              
Season No. 5
Episode Information
Episode No. 1
Original Air Date January 13, 2014
Written by Adam Reed
Animation Directed by Bryan Fordney ( Animation )
Production Code XAR05001
Episode Navigation
Previous Sea Tunt: Part II
Next A Kiss While Dying

"White Elephant" is the premiere episode of Season 5 and the fiftieth episode overall. It first aired on January 13, 2014.

"Well, he died doing what he loved... getting shot."
Sterling Archer[src]


After ISIS headquarters is raided by FBI Agents, Archer and Lana work to break out the crew while Mallory works on a deal to get them all free.

Plot SummaryEdit

Sterling Archer arrives at the office on his mother's birthday. The office is in blissful splendor before an explosion suddenly rocks the building and it is swarmed by heavily armed and armored intruders. In the ensuing fire fight, Brett is shot and killed before the attackers are revealed to be the FBI. The agents surrender and the lead FBI agent Holly walks in finally announcing their identity, chastising the rest for forgetting to do so at the start. Archer questions why they attacked as Holly places him and the rest of the staff under arrest for numerous charges. They question the charges as Holly arrests Malory, and reveals that ISIS has been operating without sanction or permission from the government. The revelation shocks the agents but Malory is completely unrepentant over lying to them.

In the back of the police van Malory tells the staff not to say anything, as she might be able to keep them from going to prison. Archer and Lana follow her instructions, but Cyril, Pam, Cheryl, Ray, and Kreiger spill in exchange for plea bargains, revealing everything that's happened at ISIS. Archer and Lana start fighting in a ploy to lure and knock out their interrogators and free themselves. Still mad, Lana is surprised when Archer suggests she marry him, for the sake of her baby having a father. She rejects the offer by saying "I would rather lose the baby" and he walks out almost in tears, but reveals he's faking, annoying her further.

They free the staff just as they also realize they were not actually receiving plea deals, and bust into Malory's interrogation only to discover her signing a deal to get them off the hook (apparently due to her knowing an extremely influential person, referring to this individual as "him", probably the President of the United States). All the charges against ISIS and its agents will be dropped, however ISIS must close permanently, to which Malory agrees, much to everyone's shock.

Back at the office the staff debate their uncertain futures. Archer halts the conversation asking what they're going to do with the "Elephant" in the room, revealing a massive stash (a literal tonne) of cocaine in the wall behind Malory's office. Malory gets an idea and Lana skeptically asks if she actually wants to form a drug cartel. Malory questions how hard it could be. Archer envisions life as a drug dealer (showing highlights for the rest of the season) before he whispers the seasons name "Archer Vice".[1]


Cultural ReferencesEdit

  • William Tell Overture (1829) : The third part of the overture ( Ranz des Vaches ) plays as Archer first enters the office and interacts with his co-workers.

Running GagsEdit


  • Ray remains in a wheelchair to which he was confined as a result of Archer frying the CPU of his bionic legs by zapping him with a defibrillator in Sea Tunt: Part II (s4e13).


  • Title Explained: A "White Elephant" is a phrase describing a possession which its owner cannot dispose of and whose cost, particularly that of maintenance, is out of proportion to its usefulness. This describes with particular accuracy the experience the ISIS agents will have with the cocaine throughout the season. The title is also in reference to Archer's comment on the coke being "the elephant in the room" as well it's physical properties (large, heavy, and white colored). Also a reference to Ernest Hemingway's short story Hills like White Elephants, which discusses life changing and being unable to return to the way things once were.
  • Agent Holly chastises the agents about when to announce they were FBI by saying it should be done before "Other Fat Mike" is shot. This is not only a call back to the episode "Midnight Ron" (one of Ron's crew is named Fat Mike), but also a reference to "Frisky Dingo" (after Awesome X kills Fat Mike--and a few others--in what he believed was an ambush, more Xtacles are later hired on, of which one is called "New Fat Mike.")
  • Agent Holly's FBI symbol flips backwards when he accuses Archer and Lana of treason, but corrects itself when he accuses and arrests Malory. This is, perhaps, to symbolize how the FBI has it backwards to arrest Archer and Lana for treason, but they get it right when they arrest Malory.
  • ISIS is officially shut down in this episode. 
  • Everyone (except for Lana, Archer and Malory) confessed to the FBI the events of seasons 1-4 as well as some previously unseen events.
  • Archer refers to prisons as "unisex" but this is incorrect, as "unisex" implies something that is not gender specific.
  • There is a continuity error when Brett's surname is revealed to be Bunsen. "El Secuestro", Brett's last name is listed as Buckley.
  • Brett Bunsen/Buckley is shot for the ninth (and final) time.
  • Cyril recites the couplet from "In The Ghetto" about the young man who steals a car. Cheryl chimes in with the chorus, while reiterating her hatred for Mac Davis, the writer of the song.
  • Archer briefly breaks the Fourth wall at the episode's end, directly calling the show's 5th season by its name: "Archer Vice".
  • In the highlights montage at the end of the episode, a majority of the clips shown are events that actually take place in the course of the season. However, several are also either deviations as to how the season ends, delusions on Archer's part, events that slightly happened but in a different way, intentional red herrings or concepts that could've taken place in the season. They include:
    • Archer buying a tiger, similar to the desire of Tony Montana from the movie Scarface, which almost happens when he and Cherlene hesitate to go back for Shane.
    • There was a Sons of Anarchy reference during the motorcycle chase.
    • Cheryl/Cherlene's country singer career gets her on to #14 worldwide in rankings (she performs once, then is never shown again).
    • The group get stranded on a lifeboat with a tiger in a reference to Life of Pi (doesn't happen at all).
    • Archer standing in the dam drain with Agent Holly in a reference to The Fugitive (doesn't happen at all).
    • Lana's water breaks in a Central or South American city while her and Archer are in a firefight (Lana's water breaks in the San Marcos Airport; this scene also bears reference to when Malory had Archer).
    • Archer can be seen in a jungle. He says that he accidentally invaded Laos. The Asian woman he is with, Chi, also appears in Season 4's 'The Honeymooners' episode as Archer's manicurist. (Doesn't happen in the season)
  • When Mallory says that for Ray, prison is "one big, sexy briar patch", she is alluding to the Uncle Remus story "The Tar Baby", the parallel being that the patch that Br'er Rabbit is flung into is full of prickly briars, which is assumed to cause him pain, just like prison is supposed to be a form of punishment. In the story, Br'er Rabbit is not hurt by the briars as he is able to navigate around them and escape from Br'er Fox, and in the case of Archer, Mallory is assuming Ray will enjoy prison rather than feeling punished, because he is gay.
  • When Cheryl is getting interrogated she says she faked her own kidnapping that one time which isn't actually true Cyril actually did kidnap her to ransom her.

First AppearancesEdit

Characters (in order of appearance)Edit



Cheryl: "No! Move! Get away from us!" 
Pam: "Yeah, they're shooting at you!" 
Archer: "Who?" 
Cheryl: "The storm ninjas!" 
Archer: "What? That's not a thing idiot! Oh. I stand corrected." 


Lana: "Son of a... Bitches, I am pregnant!" 
Cyril: "Yes! Who could forget, with the bastard spawn of a total stranger." 
Lana: "Okay, first of all... Cover your eyes and ears!" 
Cyril: "You're not the boss of me! Meep? Meep?" 


Archer: "Well he died doing what he loved... Getting shot."


FBI Agent: "Uh Sir? It's like you said. He's dug in there like a tick and..." 
Krieger: "Never! You'll never take me alive!" 
Agent Hawley: "Okay breach it." 
FBI Agent: "Roger that." 
Krieger: "On second thought, I very much prefer to be taken alive. Just let me clear the ol' browser history and... No, no, no, no, oof! Oh come on!"


Ray: "I said Ms. Archer had an affair with the head of the KGB for like 30 years." 
Cheryl: "Yeah, until he got blown up. Which was actually my fault."
Cyril: "Because she was busy having choke-sex with a murderous cyborg who then became the new head of the KGB."
Krieger: "Until I built a sexier one out of illegal Soviet parts. And a corpse."


Cyril: "Oh, Jesus I forgot about the..."
Cheryl: "Giant pot farm in West Virginia."
Pam: "And this whole other thing with the Yakuza." 
Ray: "Irish Mob."
Cheryl: "Piracy."
Cyril: "White Slavery."
Pam: "No actual piracy. With, like, boats."


Krieger: "Defiling a corpse."
Cyril: "Defiling a different corpse"
Pam: "Kidnapping the Pope..."
Cheryl: *laughs* "Faking my own kidnapping! Arson..."
Pam: "Bum fights! You know like when you pay bums to..."
Cyril: "Destroy an oil pipeline in..."
Cheryl: "I wanna say Burt Reynolds!"
Cyril: "Turkmenistan?"


Lana: "Oh Screw YOU, Mr. 'My mom's a lying bitch and I'm too stupid to realize my life's a pathetic joke!' "
Archer: "Oh, nice to meet you, Mrs. 'Hello My Kid's From A Sperm bank since I cant keep a man, because in addition to my gillion neuroses, l have a weird looking vagina!' "
Archer: "l thought you were going to shoot me"
Lana: "Day's not over"
Lana: "Archer, l can start smoking crack today and he'd still turn out better than you!"
Kreiger: "I'll be your doctor."
Lana: "Well if l want Hitlers DNA spliced into him I'll give you a call!"
Kreiger: "Yeah I'm around."
Archer: "Archer Vice." 
Lana: "What?" 
Archer: "Nothing. Shut up."

Gallery of ImagesEdit

There are 16 screenshots and images from "White Elephant" on this Wiki, visit the category page for a complete gallery.

Small sample of images from the gallery:

External links Edit