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Archer Wiki

"Fugue and Riffs" is the first episode of the fourth season of Archer.[1]



Archer is working at a burger shop, but can't remember any of the events that led to him working there. Fortunately, Malory takes the ISIS crew to a luxury spa and Lana helps Archer cure his amnesia.


Sterling Archer has suffered from amnesia for the past two months. During this period, he has been living as 'Bob Belcher' at Bob's Burgers with Linda Belcher and her kids.

When the KGB arrives at Bob's Burgers, Archer's training kicks in. Even though he had no idea what he is doing, or how he is capable of it, he dispatches the agents in a bloodbath. He then leaves the family and goes into hiding to protect them. From there, it is up to ISIS to track him and slowly remind him who he was.

They do this by having Lana Kane pretend to also be on the run from the KGB. When the real KGB shows up, though, the plan is thrown into disarray - but a swift blow to the head with a frying pan works just as well in restoring Archer's memories.

Archer, after taking down the hit squad, begins to remember why he ran off. Malory Archer was getting remarried to car dealership owner Ron Cadillac, causing a drunk Archer to commandeer the limo and drive off. Lana wonders how the KGB was able to find Archer in the exact locations during his amnesia, but he dismisses it as a coincidence. Unaware to the group, Barry Dylan has been watching every move on board Horizon, while waiting on a new spaceship to be built.


Cultural References[]

  • Bob's Burgers (2011-): This episode has a crossover with FOX's animated series, Bob's Burgers. H. Jon Benjamin voices the protagonist in Bob's Burgers, like Archer.
    • John Roberts guest stars as Linda Belcher, whom he voices in Bob's Burgers.
    • In "Bob's Burgers", new "burgers of the day" are devised with little puns for their names and those of their ingredients. The "Burger of the Day" at the beginning of this episode was the "Thomas Elphinstone Hambledurger with Manning Coleslaw." This was a reference to Thomas Elphinstone Hambledon of the Foreign Office, the protagonist of a series of spy novels written by British author "Manning Coles".
  • Émile Zola: Archer (as Bob) later devises an "Émile Gorgonzola burger with J'accusecumbers," after the famous French writer who was prosecuted for having published a letter entitled "J'accuse" accusing the French government of anti-Semitism.
  • Hamilton Beach DrinkMaster series: Is considered classic equipment with a long heritage. Apparently Archer can discern the model (in this case a 727)[2] simply by hearing the motor.
  • A History Of Violence: (2005): This episode also serves as an homage to this film - both have a scene where a seemingly normal man working at a diner has his training take over as he brutally disarms and kills his would-be attackers. Also, Archer's use of a coffee pot as a weapon mirrors Tom's use of a coffee pot as a weapon.
  • Hulk (1962) She-Hulk (1980): Archer remarks that Lana has "Hulk Hands". When she is about to angry retort, he corrects himself saying she has "She-Hulk Hands", before calling her by the sarcastic nickname of "Jennifer Walters", She-Hulk's alter-ego.
  • The Flintstones (1960-66): Krieger protests that, since it is not The Flintstones, a frying pan to the head will not suffice as a corrective for Archer's memory loss. It later turns out to do the trick.
    • It is uncertain at this point whether Reed was referring to a specific episode of The Flintstones, or just general cartoon slapstick tropes. Knowing his style, it probably is a specific episode: in which case, it is unknown which episode this is a reference to.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982): Barry's murder of the two scientists aboard Space Station Horizon is a reference to this film, where Khan also murders and hangs up several scientists, who were working on a high-tech project.
  • [1]Prelude, Fugue, & Riffs (1949) The title of the episode 'Fugue and Riffs' appears to be taken and or inspired by this musical composition Leonard Bernstein for a jazz ensemble featuring solo clarinet. The title points to the union of classical music and jazz: Prelude (first movement) and Fugue (second movement) – both baroque forms – are followed immediately without a pause by a series of "riffs" (third movement), which is a jazz term for a repeated and short melodic figure.

Running Gags / Callbacks[]

  • Glassassination - Malory drops her drink twice in quick succession. (see Trivia)
  • Shut up! Cheryl even tells herself to shut up.
  • Gummy Bears and Ostriches - Cheryl has a thing for ostriches in this episode.
    • They are called back visually when she hallucinates one at the end of the episode, after it is revealed that she has been eating her LSD gummy bears.
  • Danger Zone - subverted, as Archer's temporary memory loss means he is unconscious of saying it.
  • Lana's Hands - An amnesiac Archer comments "Hulk Hands... She Hulk then."
  • Encyclopedia Cocktailia - Archer's knowledge of cocktails is unsurpassed.
  • Core Concept - the limo driver.
  • Buckles - "spa buckles."
  • Phrasing - Pam, "Phrasing, first, boom!"
    • First in the episode, and the season, thus breaking (or leaning on) the fourth wall.
  • PaRayLasis - getting some mileage out of Ray's misfortune
  • Ahhh - a variety of inflections subtely alter it's meaning (Pam, Krieger)
  • One moment: Archer raises one finger while chugging (twice)
  • Burn! Cyril uses this a few times.
  • Duh! The gang are in particularly idiotic form.
  • Shitsnacks!


  • Title explained: "Fugue and Riffs," is a play on the word fugue. In music, a fugue is a composition in which a simple part or melody is introduced and then picked up by other parts. In psychology and psychiatry, a fugue is a period of dissociation in which one is detached from one's identity and is often coupled with a flight from one's usual environment (as in dissociative identity disorder).
  • The title may also refer to "Prelude, Fugue and Riffs", a piece by Leonard Bernstein, whose title "points to the union of classical music and jazz", in a way like the episode connects "Archer" and "Bob's Burgers" series.
  • The amusing crossover that places in this episode where Archer (as himself) supplants Bob Belcher in his own setting is meant to be humorous nod to the fact that H. Jon Benjamin provides the voice of both characters.
  • When Krieger first appears, he is holding a Baby Pigley II, and proceeds to hide him in his pocket.
  • Although they portray main characters in Bob's Burgers, Eugene Mirman and Kristen Schaal did not add their voices to this episode, despite their characters appearing being on-screen. They would, however, do guest voices in "Sea Tunt".
  • While by the pool, Malory reads a magazine with an ad for Sky Air on the back cover.
  • During their fight with the KGB, there is a callback to the events in "Space Race: Part II", as once again Archer renders Lana topless, destroys her clothes, and uses stickers as pasties. She corrects him when he says he is experiencing déjà vu because he is in reality recovering a memory of this past event.
    • Although, since "Bob" didn't experience this event, but Archer did, "Bob" is experiencing an Archer memory as deja vu. At any rate, it this ambiguity which is being played with.
  • Archer continues his trend of critiquing the bar craft of others when he berates a server for giving him a margarita made with sour mix. He correctly says a margarita should have "five ingredients: tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, ice, kosher salt."
  • After Malory drops her drink in the crisis room, she picks up another identical drink, only to drop it without taking a sip. If you rewind to before she drops her first drink, you can see she has a second (Tom Collins?) ready and waiting. I mean... Pam even goes "ahhh" about the drink (her head tilts down as she mourns it's demise).


  • After "Bob" smashes a coffee pot into one of the assassin's face, one pot is left on the coffee warmer. Later, as Bob warns that the health inspector is coming, the remaining pot has vanished.



Archer: Okay kids. Who wants Manning Coleslaw? And, or an explanation of why that's...[sees the KGB walk in] funny?


Malory: "Oh, Ron, thank you for coming so quickly!"


Malory: I'm off to get a seaweed wrap.
Ray: I didn't know they made sushi with dried clams.


Archer: Oh my god! What's happening?! It feels like my brain's exploding!
Lana: Krieger, what's happening?
Krieger: His mind-brain is permanently rejecting his real identity!"
Cyril: His mind-brain?
Krieger: That's a thing. Shut up.


Archer: Burger Bob...Bob Bob...Burger...Burger...
Lana: Bob, honey, I need you to get down.
Archer: Yes, down to the store for cheese... for the Emile Gorgonzola Burger...
Lana: Ok, I have had it!
Archer: Well, not with the Jaccusecumber...
[Lana strikes Archer with frying pan]
Archer: Ow.
[Russians open fire]
Archer: Ow. What the shit, Lana?! 
Lana: Archer? Wait - are
Archer: Yes I'm me, you dumb idiot!
Krieger: There goes the frying pan theory....

Gallery of Images[]

There are 12 screenshots and images from "Fugue and Riffs" on this Wiki, visit the category page for a complete gallery.