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"Placebo Effect" is the ninth episode of the second season and the nineteenth episode overall of Archer. It originally aired on March 24, 2011.



After discovering his cancer medication is fake, Archer goes on a murderous rampage against the Irish mob with Lana in tow.


Archer is going over his breast cancer treatment and ultra-expensive chemotherapy drugs with Doctor Krieger. Krieger, disturbed by the lack of side effects related with chemo, does some tests and reveals that Archer's drug is counterfeit - consisting mainly of sucrose and (what Krieger guesses to be) Zima, with the only real thing being his medical cannabis. Angered over being tricked and the thought of other patients given fake drugs (mainly an elderly woman he befriended named Ruth), Archer goes on a rampage to kill the fake drug traffickers whilst Lana films it.

After threatening a pharmacist, Archer and Lana are led to a warehouse used by the Irish Mob where Archer kills several armed guards before capturing three members of the Mob and three Honduran janitors. Archer tortures the mobsters by shooting them in the knee with a sawed-off shotgun for information and learns that the mastermind behind the fake drug scheme is Franny Delaney. After shooting the mobsters, Archer finds the real chemotherapy drugs and (against Lana's advice) takes them immediately, causing him to become ill.

The next day Archer (now wearing a red bandana to cover his hair loss, wine bottle coolers on his feet because his toenails are popping off 'like pogs', and dragging an IV stand around) resumes his rampage, though he is vomiting constantly. In Lana's Car, Archer laments on his hair loss and is trying to keep from vomiting, leading to him to light a cannabis cigarette that causes him to have a flashback to memories of his time with Ruth in the hospital. Lana snaps him out of his flashback as they have reached their destination.

Elsewhere Krieger, feeling bad for Archer, is making Portuguese language flash cards for him. Confused, Cyril asks how Krieger, a German, knows Portuguese. Krieger tries to avoid the subject, only for Cyril to push more, causing Krieger to shout a Nazi saying before quickly leaving the room, which leads Cyril to believe Krieger is a former Nazi scientist. Cyril later finds Krieger locked in the men's bathroom, burning papers in one of the toilets. Cyril tries to question him more on his Nazi connection to which Krieger only denies any connection, causing Cyril to leave to tell Malory.

Archer and Lana barge their way into a back room poker game of more Irish mobsters where Archer handcuffs one of them to the poker table and shoves a grenade in the mobster's rectum and pull the pin, to get information on Delaney's location. After they get their information, Archer and Lana are about to leave when Archer says that the grenade is only a smoke grenade. The grenade then explodes (being a frag grenade) tossing Lana and Sterling out of the room and causing them some hearing loss. An aggravated Lana takes them to the hospital to have their hearing restored where Archer learns of Ruth's death from a hospital nurse. Archer then reawakens from another cannabis-induced flashback to find that they are at Delaney's compound, and Archer takes him in the woods to kill him while Lana holds the guards at gunpoint, who is also high from the hotboxing, which leaves her car smelling like "weed and rampage."

Back at ISIS Headquarters, Malory is looking through photo albums of Sterling and realizes that she and Sterling have never taken a photo together. Cyril tries to tell her about Krieger's Nazi roots only for her to brush them off, as Nazi scientists led to things such as NASA rockets and microwave ovens. She then reveals that Krieger is possibly a genetic clone of Adolf Hitler, and she is responsible for his father's death when Krieger was 15.

Archer is holding Delaney at gunpoint in the woods. Delaney mocks Archer and says that Archer won't kill him as Archer has too much honor to kill an old man in a wheelchair, and further mocks Archer by revealing that he slept with Malory at a single's resort in Thailand at some point. Delaney starts to wheel himself away when Archer stops him (Asking the same question Ruth ask him), turns slowly, and fires his gun and the video pauses is rewound and replayed at this point over and over again.

Everyone is shown in Malory's office watching the video footage which Archer has turned into his own film, Terms of En-Rampagement (working title). Which he has them watch every week and has so for the past 3 months. Archer is overjoyed with his awesome movie and that his cancer is in remission.


Cultural References[]

  • Julius Caesar by Shakespeare: Archer and Lana refer to the line “Cry 'Havoc!', and let slip the dogs of war”.
    • Archer incorrectly says "hogs" rather than dogs, for comic effect. It's also a potential reference to the video game "Hogs of War".
  • Boys from Brazil (1978): British-American science fiction thriller film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner.
  • Taxi Driver (1976): When tooling up Archer has a spring loaded gun identical to the one Travis Bickle uses in his rampage.
  • Operation Paperclip: Malory alludes to this secret program of the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) largely carried out by Special Agents of Army CIC, in which more than 1,600 German scientists, engineers, and technicians, such as Wernher von Braun and his V-2 rocket team, were recruited, after the end of World War II, in Germany and taken to the U.S. for government employment, primarily between 1945 and 1959. Many were former members, and some were former leaders, of the Nazi Party.
  • Sean Hannity: One of the Irish mobsters is named Mikey Hannity. This is likely a reference to conservative talk show host Sean Hannity and is intended to set up Archer's one-liner: "Hey, relax Hannity. It wasn't all that long ago that everybody hated the Irish for swarming over here in their potato-boats and taking all the jobs."
  • Woodsy Owl / The Owl Drug Company
    • Archer calls Lana "Woodsy the drug owl" which seems to be a classic double reference to Woodsy Owl - a United States Forest icon who was designed to a mentor to children, providing them with information and advice to help them appreciate nature - and The Owl Drug Company, an American drugstore retailer which sold medicines and pills before venturing into cosmetics, perfumes, and other goods. It was headquartered in San Francisco.
  • Regis Philbin: "Regis" may be referring to Philbin who co-hosted A.M. Los Angeles, a local morning talk show on KABC-TV, from 1975 to 1981.
  • Magnum, P.I.:This episode parodies the third season premiere of this show, wherein Magnum kills Ivan, a ruthless murderer given political immunity from his crimes. Cyril even suggests Archer call his movie Magnum, Pee-ew.
  • Family FeudThe scene with the Irish Mob and Honduran Janitors is a direct reference to this game show, including the team names displaying in all caps, the "Fast Money" round, chance to steal, and Lana being in an "isolation booth". In contrast, a wrong answer on the game show resulted in a "strike", whereas Archer shot them in the kneecap with a shotgun.
  • Vincent Van Gogh: one of the mobsters names his boss as "Vincent Van Go-Fuck-Yourself".
  • The SopranosSlattery's Meat Market looks very much like Satriale's Pork Store, as featured in this show.
    • The scarf Archer wears when he loses his hair is similar to the one worn by Steven Van Zandt, both a cast member on The Sopranos and member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band (which is  mockingly referred to by one of the mobsters).
  • Kenner Products: Delaney refers to Malory performing a trick with beads, which he describes as "just like an SSP Racer". This refers to a line of toys from Kenner dating to the early 1970s. An SSP Racer was powered by a plastic pull cord that was vigorously pulled out from a toy racer car with a characteristic "Zing" buzz.
  • Zima: which Krieger guessed was in Archer's IV bag actually stopped US production in 2008–though it is still produced in Japan. Also, the time period the series is actually set in is unclear.
  • Pogs: Archer says his toenails are popping off like Pogs, the name of a game originating from POG, a brand of juice made from passionfruitorange, and guava; the use of POG bottle caps to play the game preceded the game's commercialization.
  • Citizen Kane: Cheryl suggests Archer rename "Terms of Enrampagement" to "Citizen Dick-Bag" a reference to the movie Citizen Kane. She also recommends "Casablumpkin" which is a reference to Casa Blanca.
  • Team Livestrong: Archer makes it his own by uttering “Team Live Bad-Ass” instead. Livestrong was a popular cancer awareness brand with yellow stretch bracelets, popular until Lance Armstrong admitted to doping.

Running Gags / Callbacks[]

  • Lana's Hands - Several members of Franny Delaney's gang make comments about Lana's "monster hands" and in one case, believe she's a transvestite.
  • Duuuhhh! - Cheryl repeatedly uses this expression ironically, as she doesn't get the thing which is supposed to be so obvious. This is lampshaded when she says "I actually have no idea" and "I don't know why do that."
  • Medical Doobies - Archer chain smokes 'joints the size of tampons' at every available opportunity, especially with Ruth.
  • Ew / Ick - Lana's reaction to Archer threatening to insert a knife in the pharmacist's dickhole.
  • Idiot! - Archer keeps calling Lana one.
  • Tinnitus - Archer gives it to Lana, and they both end up with perforated eardrums after a grenade goes off.
  • Malory's Many Affairs - It is revealed that Malory had a brief affair with the villain Franny Delaney in Thailand.
  • Krieger's Containers - Containers in Krieger's lab have unusual items as usual.
  • You Say That...
  • Rampage - Archer is on a chemo-medicine and medical marijuana infused one, in revenge for all the cancer patients who were sold phoney medicines - and for his friend Ruth, who died.
  • Classic Him - Lana's car smelling of weed and rampage is classic Archer, according to Lana.


  • The events of this episode follow directly from the events in the previous episode in which Archer was diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Archer gets Lana back for giving him tinnitus in a previous episode.


  • There is an “SCBA is required” danger sign on a door in Krieger's office.
  • The x-ray image of Archer's tumor from Stage Two (previous episode) is clearly reused, showing it unchanged and calling into question the nature of his surgery. Normally a tumor would be excised, and a biopsy would be run along with blood work. Which are used to determine if the removal was successful in putting the patient into remission. Thus this may be a continuity error.
  • Archer's weaponry in this episode is as follows:
    • Two Walther PPKs. One kept in an ankle holster, one kept in on a sliding holster on his forearm (A reference to the film Taxi Driver.) Neither are used.
    • A Colt M1911A1 tucked down the front of his pants. Used to kill Delany.
    • A sawn-off shotgun kept in a shoulder holster under his left arm. Used to kill three unnamed henchmen. This is one of Woodhouse's weapons in the Reggie's bar flashbacks in "The Double Deuce".
    • A Walther WA2000 Sniper rifle, attached to shoulder holster with a hook under his right arm. Used to kill three Irish Mob guards.
    • A Mk 2 Fragmentation Grenade. Used to threaten and kill a high ranking member of the Irish Mob
    • Two knives. A stiletto kept in a scabbard on his back. only used to threaten the Pharmacist. And a small push dagger concealed in his belt buckle, Unused. 
  • Archer uses a Sky Air air sickness bag in Lana's car.
  • Both Delaney & Malory mispronounced Phuket as "Fu-kett", the correct pronunciation is "Poo-ket".

  • Krieger's origins begin to be established:
    • During Malory's flashback about how she acquired Krieger on his 15th birthday, the man standing next to the car that Malory is in looks like Gregory Peck, who was the villain in the movie Boys from Brazil.
    • In attempting to lie to Cyril, Krieger awkwardly asserts there are "a lot of Portuguese" in Rhode Island. This is actually somewhat true as Portuguese is the third most common language in Rhode Island after English and Spanish. Specifically, Krieger claims to be from Bristol County, RI, which is one of the few counties in the United States where a plurality of residents report Portuguese ancestry.
    • The Portuguese written on the card Dr. Krieger makes up for Archer says "Good morning, I have breast cancer."
    • On the papers burnt by Krieger in the toilet is written "Streng Geheim", which is German for "Top Secret".
  • A light is shone on Archer's relationship with Malory: it turns out that she wasn't at all the keystone events in his his life - including his Christening - and in the face of his cancer diagnosis can't bring herself to say how much he means to her.



Krieger: "So there's your breast-cancer tumor and the portacath through which you take cyclophosphamate intravenously."
Archer: "Sim." (Yeah.)
Krieger: "And you're taking tetraphenol… orally, right?"
Archer: "E também Portuguese, em CD-Rom." (And also Portuguese, on CD-ROM.)
Krieger: "Ah, boa sorte!" (Ah, good luck!)
Archer: "Obrigado." (Thanks.)


Krieger: "Two weeks of chemo with no hair loss, and you're not experiencing any nausea?"
Archer: "Nao, gracas al 'doobie' medicinao." (No, thanks to this medicinal doobie.)


Archer: "And why couldn't it be the Brazilian mob? Estou aprendendo Portuguese, Lana." (I am learning Portuguese, Lana.)


Archer: "And I'm pretty sure — and guys, feel free to correct me — that "beaner" is a pejorative term for a Mexican. Esta correto ou nao?" (Is that correct or no?)


Cyril: "Warum hast Du Umzug nach Brasilien?" (Why did you move to Brazil?)
Krieger: "Weiter den Kampf der mein Führer! Scheiße!" (To continue the fight of my Leader! Shit…)


Malory: "Do you like powered orange breakfast drink?"
Cyril: "No, not really..."
Malory: "How about microwave ovens, Neil Armstrong, hook and loop fasteners?"
Cyril"OK, you lost me."
Malory: "None of those things would've been possible without the Nazi scientists we brought back after World War II." [Operation Paperclip]
Cyril: "The Nazis invented Neil Armstrong?"
Malory: "Rockets! Which put him on the moon! After the war ended we were snatching up kraut scientists like hot cakes. You don't believe me? Walk into NASA sometime and yell "Heil Hitler!" - whoop - they all jump straight up!" 
Cyril: "But... "
Malory: "Cyril: I know all about Dr. Krieger' I also know that nobody likes a tattle-tale."
Krieger: "Yeah Cyril!"
And if there's one thing I've learned in all my years as a spymaster it's that you keep your friends close..."
Krieger: "YEAH! Cyril."
Malory: "...and possible genetic clones of Adolf Hitler closer."
Krieger: "Yeah Cy- wait, what?"
Cyril: "Yeah, what?"
Malory: "Hmmm?"


Thanks to, MirrorForce, and Matt for the transcripts and translations.

Gallery of Images[]

There are 24 screenshots and images from "Placebo Effect" on this Wiki, visit the category page for a complete gallery.

External Links[]

Reference List[]

  1. Archer Season 2 Episode 9 Ratings on