Well, things came full circle in this last episode, but probably not in the way most might have imagined. Dreamland ended a lot like how it started; someone who Archer cared about died. Everything went tits up for Archer and crew in Auflösung. Worst of all, Lana even ended the episode seven bullets deep, one via mother and six courtesy of the finally gendered Mr. Poovey.
Nothing was exactly how it seemed during Dreamland. All those dark questions and grey areas finally came to light during Auflösung, you see, there was no money in the bag, Krieger was never really a bad guy Nazi, Mother didn’t really kill Woodhouse. Yet, if there was one thing that always seemed certain for the entirety of this season, it’s the fact that Barry is absolutely crap snacks crazy, again genuinely reaffirmed in the heat of the moment as Adam Reed and his noir obsessed team of meticulous writers dropped a particularly massive u-turn regarding what was thought to be the big reveal of Dreamland during it’s last episode. Before trying to pop Archer’s Adams apple out of his own throat (and quite casually), in all of that unholy robotic and leather clad glory, Barry finally solves the mystery that Archer and the audience set out to learn from this season’s first episode. Woodhouse didn’t die because of a dope tab to ANYONE, Woodhouse died because he cut off Barry in traffic. Sometimes, that’s just how life is.
If this seems shitty, things really get no better from here; when all hope seems lost at the apex of frantic madness, we fortunately do see a timeless lesson that everyone learns at one point or another; history repeats itself. While beating the living pulp out of Archer, Barry’s psychotic cyborg self meets the same demise as the nazi shitheads who threatened to kill Krieger during his WWII flashback. Of course, things go a step further when Krieger’s bizzaro robodogs meet a really graphic end at the hands of Gurk, the man whose undying love for Charlotte Vandertunt meets an even harsher fate via her rather characteristically harsh response to his revelation. Lana dies. Chaos and comedy ensue.
While that scene was REALLY good for a number of reasons, the moment that felt truly significant to the progress of Archer as a character (and our hope to snap him out of his coma) was to witness the moments of our title character at the cemetery. These were scenes that, to quote a line uttered by Poovey countless times throughout the season, humanized him. Archer always treated Woodhouse like absolute shit, especially for a man who practically raised him as essentially his father (and could very well just be his biological father, THINK OF THAT!), so to see him break some glass and end things with Archer in a deep state of reflection and recognition felt like a fitting way to end things; with a lesson. If you learned a lesson, it’s not a mistake, right? This was a teachable moment that makes this season not a waste but after so much rapid fire action to cap things off, Auflösung ends the season with an uncertain feeling that things could go anywhere from here.
Though this case is closed, some things feel a bit more uncertain than ever for the characters within Archer’s personal Dreamland. Archer got his clarity on one situation but he did have to drag his feet through a pool of blood via his lady love. Some of the dialogue that ended these final group scenes of Auflösung climb a bit close to the fourth wall regarding this situation but ultimately, stops just short and leaves a very meta mystery cut cold under strange circumstances.
Regardless of where we are in the Archer universe at this point in time, Auflösung was a fitting end for the season, the sharp execution served as a reminder of the ethos of this season’s core values, befitting the audience with a cold and comedic, bloody ending that fits like a golden glove alongside the dark noir whimsies partaken during Dreamland. Still, if there’s one thing that is certain after that end, it’s that much like Archer was finally able to admit, we’re all going to miss the shit out of Woodhouse.
As a whole, this season was a fitting tribute to honor that great dope fiend of a character and the incredible man behind him. The last words of this season were “I loved you so much”. We all did, Woodhouse.
RIP George Coe.