After watching a promotional video for the luxury airship Excelsior, the captain, Captain Lammers, hopes that ISIS can discover who made an anonymous bomb threat. Sterling Archer refuses to participate due to not understanding that the airship is filled with non-flammable helium, believing it could easily explode. He changes his mind when he hears Lana Kane is to be assigned to the mission, as he still wants to separate her and Cyril Figgis. Malory Archer is also boarding the ship in first class, after her making sure her social rival Trudy Beekman is bumped. Lana Kane protests having to room with Sterling Archer since Cyril Figgis would disapprove but is forced to by Malory Archer, who hints at an attraction to the captain.
Aboard Excelsior, Cyril Figgis conveys his uneasiness with Lana Kane sharing a room with Sterling Archer, especially since the room is quite small. Malory Archer commands Cyril Figgis to leave before the airship takes off, meanwhile Pam Poovey and Cheryl Tunt load all of Malory Archer's luggage. Lammers points out Lt. Klauss Kraus, a German with an eyepatch over his scarred eye, as a suspect, since they were both aiming to be captain, though Sterling Archer claims it is too obvious. As the airship lifts off, Pam Poovey and Cheryl Tunt are revealed to still be onboard due to Cheryl Tunt lying about how much time they had. Cyril Figgis is revealed to still be aboard as well, disguised as a steward. Cheryl Tunt reveals she knew Cyril Figgis would stow away due to his paranoia while also revealing, much to Pam Poovey's amusement, that they had sex. Cyril Figgis runs away in a panic.
Captain Lammers says that Excelsior's stock price would plummet at the smallest indication of a problem. He urges Lana Kane and Sterling Archer to be discreet in their investigation, which the latter disregards almost immediately when he slaps a passenger, who is also a prospective investor before he can start smoking, as he still doesn't seem to grasp that the gas in the airship isn't flammable. Sterling Archer then points out Sandu Singh, a billionaire Sikh investor, as the bomber due to his appearance, though it's pointed out that he would lose millions if the flight went wrong. Cheryl Tunt hunts down and corners Cyril Figgis in the engine room, demanding he have sex with her or risk Lana Kane learning of their first affair. Despite some resistence, Cyril submits to her while Pam Poovey watches. Afterward, Pam Poovey deduces that Cheryl Tunt's reason for doing this to Cyril Figgis is a very futile attempt to make Sterling Archer jealous.
Cyril comes to Archer and Lana's room at an unfortunate time for the latterly, as she was in her underwear and rebutting Archer's comment about how she maintains her private area. "My vulva is smoother than a veal cutlet.....with terrible timing." Cyril storms off after Lana states they are on a break, though she appears to regret it. Archer tells her to go after him, though his reason is that they're almost out of fruit, and Cyril was with a basket of fruit as part of his disguise.
Lammers storms off from outraged due to a lack of progress, Mallory's unnatural calm about the situation, and Archer's behavior. At that moment, Archer slaps the same passenger from before when he tries to have a smoke again and stuffs his money into the man's mouth, demanding that he buy a nicotine patch. Archer attempts to gain information on the bomb from Singh through a game of baccarat, making a deal with the man that he may be allowed to sleep with his "wife" (Lana) if he wins. Archer loses immediately before he can even set terms for if he wins. He gives Lana a key to the Singh's room, claiming he strongly hinted at proof in his cabin, much to Mallory's surprise.
Out of paranoia, Cyril willingly has sex with Cheryl again, while Pam watches from the bathroom. He snaps out of it quickly and runs off to find Lana and apologize to her. Archer, in search of Cyril, runs into Kraus, who exited the cargo hold, much to Archer's suspicion. Cyril, in Mallory's robe, runs into Archer, who sends him to find Lana in Singh's room, once again attempting to separate them while he investigates the cargo hold. Cyril is angered when he finds Lana and Singh in their underwear and runs off again, much to Lana's dismay, who runs after him. Mallory finds Pam and a passed out Cheryl in her cabin. Pam explains the situation and how Cheryl became hysterical when Cyril left, forcing her to drown Cheryl in the tub, though not kill her.
Lana gets to Mallory's cabin in search of Cyril, only to be lectured by Mallory for her actions. Lana states she was just attempting to stop the bomb. Exasperated with the whole thing, Mallory reveals there is no bomb, and that she knows this because she made the bomb threat to spite Trudy Beakman because of her apparent bragging over getting the last ticket for the flight. Lana calls Archer to inform him of his mother's actions. He states that is "classic her" and that he would laugh at the irony since he's found a very real, very large bomb in the cargo hold.
As Lana makes her way to the cargo hold, she runs into Archer, who is running to change into his turtleneck, refusing to defuse a bomb in a suit. He tells Lana to grab the newly arrived Kraus, labeling him as the bomber. Kraus claims to know nothing about the bomb and conveys offense to the accusation due to his appearance, then revealing that he received the scar while saving a Jewish girl from a gang of skinheads. Lana expresses her shame before asking Kraus to disarm the bomb anyway. He agrees, only to be shot immediately. Lana blames the newly returned Archer, though he reveals he didn't bring a gun, once again due to his continued ignorance of the ship's non-flammable gas. The shooter and bomber is revealed to be Captain Lammers, who did all this due to the low pay from the ship's low popularity, though he didn't consider what his actions would do to the other employees. Lana attempts to shoot him, only for Archer to knock the gun out of her hand. Lammers mocks Archer as he jumps out of the plane with a parachute, reminding him that the ship uses helium rather than hydrogen.
Lana contacts Ray for help in defusing the bomb. Unfortunately, due to Archer's incompetence, a miscommunication results in the wrong wire being cut and the timer speeding up. Lana shoots Archer in the foot for this, in the same spot as before, before asking Ray for further help. The only thing Ray can suggest is pushing the bomb off the ship. The bomb is too heavy for Lana to push off however and Archer can't help due to being shot. Cyril arrives, to Lana's elation, and is able to help her push it off. Cyril says he wants to talk, though this is interrupted by the bomb exploding on Ireland, or possibly Wales, according to Lana.
- Starring :
- Co-Starring :
- Title Explained: The episode's name is an obvious reference to the ill-fated ship Titanic.
- Excelsior is a commonly referenced interjection, for instance famously often used by Stan Lee. It means "ever upward" or "still higher" and has been historically used to name newspapers, hotels, ships, and is the New York state motto.
- This episode has numerous references to the Hindenburg, a rigid airship which famously and disastrously caught fire. Archer's exclamation, "Oh! The humanity!" is a well-known line from the newsreel of the event, spontaneously given by Herbert Morrison as he watched the ship burn. Being filled with hydrogen, which is highly flammable, the Hindenburg exploded after having caught fire during the landing procedure. The abundant availability of helium in the United States allowed US airships to use that gas instead of hydrogen. This is the case with the Excelsior. To Captain Lammers's exasperation, Archer continuously mistakes the properties of helium as being like hydrogen and referencing the Hindenburg.
- When Lana, Malory, Archer, and Lammers are discussing accommodations aboard the Excelsior, Lana suggests that she and Malory share quarters and "do the whole Oprah-Gayle thing," referring to the close relationship between Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King.
- When Malory tries to seduce Captain Lammers, she does so by reciting a line from the Walt Whitman poem "O Captain! My Captain!".
- Waiting for a refill of her drink at the Excelsior's bar, Malory complains the bartender is nowhere to be found: "Guy sees an empty glass, and all of a sudden he's Judge Crater." The reference is to Judge Joseph Crater, who disappeared after visiting a New York restaurant in the 1930s and became known as "The Missingest Man in New York."
- Sandu Singh is staying in the "Von Zeppelin suite," where he meets Lana. Ferdinand von Zeppelin was a rigid airship designer and the founder of an airship company called the Zeppelin Airship company. Zeppelin would later become a genericized trademark for similar rigid airships. Archer keeps referring to this room as the "Led Zeppelin suite," a reference to the band, which took its name from a reference to these airships.
- When Archer asks Lt. Klauss Kraus where Cyril is, he says to check the "Kaiser Wilhelm suite." Kaiser Wilhelm was the name of two famous revered German Emperors or Kaisers. Archer suggests that the company should change the names of these rooms because the reference to Emperor William IInd of Hohenzollern reminds one of WWI.
- (Spoiler Alert) When Lana exclaims "Captain Lammers!" when he reveals himself as the bomber, and Archer says "Nice read, Velma", this is a reference to Scooby-Doo, where Velma (and usually the rest of the Scooby-Doo gang) would very dramatically exclaim the name of the episode's criminal mastermind when he was unmasked.
- Sandu Singh winning Archer's supposed wife Lana for a night of passion is a loose reference to the novel Indecent Proposal by Jack Engelhard. Also, the couple Sandu is with when he is first seen bare a striking resemblance to Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson's characters from the movie version of the novel.
- This episode references the popular comedy Friends when Cyril walks in on Archer and Lana in a sexually compromising position, and, in the ensuing fight, Lana exclaims, "We're on a break," to which Cyril responds, "fine by me!" This same exchange occurs in Friends, between Ross and Rachel.
- Dog in a Manger is a metaphor for those who spitefully prevent others from having something that they themselves have no use for, ie. Cyril & Lana's relationship.
- Ray's "Crisis Vest" is a reference to the white vest that NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz wore during the Apollo 13 crisis. Closed captioning for the episode also reveals this is intended to be a pun, as it is spelled, "CrISIS vest."
- The energetic song "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins is part of the soundtrack to Top Gun - one of Archer's favorite movies.
- Danger Zone - Referring to Lana having to share a single bed cabin on the Excelsior, Archer proclaims that she is in the Danger Zone.
- Lana, Lana!, Lana!! - Due to Lana ignoring Archer he keeps repeating her name in an increasing volume until finally screaming it prompting her to give in and yell back, what! thus allowing him to inform her that she is in the Danger Zone.
- Noooooooope - Malory says Lana's famous catchphrase when she doesn't want to share a bed on the Excelsior with Lana
- Trudy, mah, mah, mah - Since the Excelsior is fully booked for its maiden voyage Malory calls in a bomb threat in order to bump her neighbor and rival Trudy Beekman in favor of herself. This in the guise thwarting the bomber. Getting bumped causes Trudy to literally vomit with anger.
- Over Packed - Malory again takes a huge amount of luggage for a relatively short trip. This time making Pam lug it all on board. At least 18 pieces of luggage can be seen in her stateroom along with what appears to be an additional 20 matching pieces in the cargo hold.
- Choke Sex - Cheryl orders Cyril to choke her during sex.
- Slightly Darker Black Turtleneck - Archer must change into a black turtleneck prior to defusing the bomb.
- Core Concept - Archer has trouble grasping the difference between helium and hydrogen.
- 934TXS - The serial number of the bomb detonator is 934TXS.
- Man Hands - Ray tells Lana to push the bomb off with her big ass hands.
- Hello- The Sikh man Archer initially believed to be the bomber while Lana is in his room and Cyril shows up the Sikh man says "hello" in the same way Cyril says it in the rest of the series when he's caught cheating on Lana. It's said for the first time in the series.
- Ray Gillette was last seen in Honeypot (s1e5)
- Pam discovers that Cyril & Cheryl had sex in Skorpio (s1e6).
- This episode establishes that Pam was raised on a dairy farm.
- This episode establishes Malory's willingness to call in a bomb threat to get what she wants.
- This episode establishes Archer's ineptitude at gambling with cards.
- Lana once again shoots Archer in the foot as she did in Skorpio (s1e6).
- Captain Lammers also continuously tries, without success, to correct the team's constant reference to the Excelsior as a blimp instead of a rigid airship. Rigid airships have an internal framework that forms and maintains its shape, whereas blimps maintain their shape due to the pressure of the lifting gas within.
- Archer seems never to have been trained in using the NATO phonetic alphabet or the many other conventions used to prevent misunderstandings on the radio. After Ray chastises him he tries, like many people, to use names. He makes things worse by saying "M as in Mancy," which Gillette is not sure of, then retorts "you of all people..." Ray thinks he said "N as in Nancy" (the term "nancy" is usually directed at an effeminate homosexual).
- This is the first use of the alphanumerical code 934TXS: The bomb's serial number is 934TXS. Although not seen onscreen it read out loud by Archer.
- New York City, New York
- Archer: "There's your bomber."
- (Prompting a chorus of who / whats from Lana, Malory & Lammers)
- Archer: "That guy, Beardsly McTurbanhead."
- Malory: "You idiot, that's Sandu Singh, the billionaire investor. He's a Sikh."
- Archer: "Oh, so if he's not a Muslim he just gets a pass. Well that's called profiling mother and I don't do it."
- Lammers: "Mr. Singh is Excelsior's majority share holder."
- Archer: "So?"
- Lammers: "If anything went wrong on this flight he'd lose millions."
- Archer: "It's the perfect cover."
- Cheryl: "Pick one. Either A, I tell Lana what happened on that scratchy green office rug or 2, you get inside me."
- Cyril: "Or C, maybe I just jam this mop into the engine and kill all of us!"
- Cheryl: "I don't think that's how blimps work."
- Cyril: "Darn, right, we'd just sort of float around. Stupid, naturally safe helium."
- Cheryl: "But I am liking the jamming imagery (rips open her blouse) and the killing."
- Cyril: "And are you just going to sit there?"
- Pam: "Yeah, until she tags me in."
- Cyril: "What?"
- Pam: (Laughing) "I'm kidding.... my back's all messed up."
- Pam: "So, you're ruining Cyril's life because, in your dream-the-impossible-dream world, it'll make Mr. Archer jealous?"
- Cheryl: "Oh, Pamela, you read me like a poem."
- Pam: "Yeah? What's the poem gonna be about when Cyril snaps and murders you?"
- Cheryl: "I dunno, 'world's gushiest orgasm?'"
- (Standing over a mostly naked and apparently dead Cheryl)
- Malory: "Well then what is it?"
- Pam: "Okay, so Cyril got in over his head."
- Malory: "Jesus, God, did he kill her?"
- Pam: "No, no, no, he ran from her to go confess to Lana. But so then this one starts freaking out and long story short I kind of had to drown her in the tub."
- Malory: "So you killed her?"
- (Cheryl suddenly coughs and spits up water)
- Pam: "Apparently not, so....good news."
- Malory: "Trudy Beekman booked the very last ticket on this flight, so it was all 'Meh! Meh! Meh! I'm Trudy Beekman, I'm on the co-op board and I'm going on a blimp! MEEEEHHH!!' So yes, I made a phony bomb threat."
- Lana: "So, what would you say if I told you that your mother made a phony bomb threat just to get a free ride on a blimp?"
- Archer: "I'd say that's fairly classic her."
- Malory: "Oh, shut up!"
- Archer: "And then I'd just sort of laugh at the, uh, um...the whatchamacallit..."
- (An actual bomb is seen right in front of Archer.)
- Archer: "Irony?"
- Ray: "Come on, people, talk to me! What are we thinking? What are we doing?"
- Bilbo: "What are we wearing?"
- Ray: "My crisis vest, Mister Fat Face."
- Lana: "Oh, my god! Ray, can I shoot him?"
- Ray: "In about five seconds, honey..."
- Archer: "Lana, be careful! Jesus, the helium!"
- Ray: "Right after he cuts the solid-green wire."
- Archer: "The green color is solid or--"
- Ray: "Roger!"
- Archer: "O-- Roger. Cutting the green wire."
- Ray: "ARCHER!!"
- Archer: "Jesus! God! What?!"
- Ray: "That's how annoying you are."
- Archer: "Lana. Lana. Lana! (shouts) LANAAAAAAAAA!"
- Lana: "WHAT?!"
- Archer: "Danger zone!"
Gallery of Images
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- "Skytanic" on IMDB