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"Tragical History" is the sixth episode of the second season and the sixteenth episode overall of Archer. It originally aired on March 3, 2011.



After being mocked as a failure one too many times by his coworkers, Cyril accepts an offer from a mysterious man to upload a computer virus into the ISIS Mainframe so he can "save the day" by stopping it, only to find out he's become a pawn in a scheme to steal a list of undercover ISIS agents.


A battle of the sexes ensues between the men and women of ISIS in the form of a game of darts at their regular bar. Archer's expert marksman skills close the gap for his team, and it's up to none other than Cyril Figgis to score at least two points for the win. However, the pressure proves to be a bit much for Cyril, who flashes back to a school spelling bee. While spelling onomatopoeia, a young and nervous Cyril succumbs to the pressure; wetting his pants for all to see, including his disapproving father. Back in the present, Cyril fares no better, as he has missed the dartboard completely.

The ladies triumphant and the men upset, they all leave, save Cyril, who is overcome with shame. He then finds himself in the company of one George Spelvin, who offers Cyril a drink. Cyril doesn't feel up to it, until Spelvin's sexy female Japanese companions coax him into staying. Grateful as Cyril was, Spelvin encourages him to save his thanks for tomorrow, "after Cyril Figgis saves the day."

The next morning at ISIS headquarters, a hung-over crew wait impatiently for Pam Poovey to unlock the door to the building; and a curiously chipper Cyril greets them with a smile.

Inside the office, Malory Archer is furious as she shows everyone the strange pirate virus infecting their computers. Though Archer finds the little sprite amusing, everyone else is annoyed at being assigned the task of de-worming the entire ISIS computer network. Cyril steps up to try his hand at killing the virus, but is immediately shot down by Malory and Archer.

Cyril then meets up with Spelvin at a nearby restaurant. He informs Spelvin that he successfully managed to infiltrate the ISIS mainframe and implant the virus, but was unable to use the 'secret code' to eliminate the virus and prove himself a hero to his co-workers. Unperturbed by the latter, Spelvin congratulates Cyril and offers him a dish containing a huge pile of cash. He explains to Cyril that he actually designs computer security systems for the most prestigious spy agencies. Apparently, his systems were foolproof enough that he couldn't get his clients to purchase any upgrades for him, hence why he created the virus. He hoped that by using the virus against ISIS, it would keep his clientele in his pocket for the foreseeable future. Cyril seems hesitant about Spelvin's intentions, until he learns that the cash on his plate amounts to $50,000; and he still remains confident that Spelvin's code can kill the virus.

That may prove difficult, however, as Algernop Krieger notices that the virus has mutated. What's more, the virus has infiltrated the ISIS mainframe's databanks, and is targeting its encrypted files, which include the identities of every single ISIS field agent. Worse yet is the fact that the mainframe is secured behind a steel vault that can't be opened.

Cyril returns to ISIS headquarters to find Pam and Cheryl Tunt hauling a wheelbarrow full of computers to be reformatted (read: dumped down the elevator shaft.) Upon learning of the virus' mutation, Cyril rushes to the mainframe, where Archer attempts to shoot the vault door open. After that fails, Cyril arrives to try and use his code, but is forced out again. Archer, noticing his "leftovers" (which is actually the $50,000), chases after Cyril.

Archer walks into Cyril's office as he tries to get in touch with Spelvin. Hastily covering his tracks, Cyril again insists he can destroy the virus. Archer finds that hard to believe, as Krieger can't even destroy it; and Krieger managed to build a holographic girlfriend so sophisticated, that he successfully lobbied the state of New York to legally allow him to marry her.

Speaking of which, Krieger takes a break from disabling the virus to pitch woo at his fiancee. An impatient Lana Kane decides to smash her projector to get Krieger to focus, but only succeeds in triggering the first of many of Krieger's "Heston moments." When Malory checks in, Lana confirms that the ISIS cover list is indeed the virus' intended target. Malory relays the news to the rest of the ISIS staff, making Cyril start to worry.

Cyril meets with Spelvin in his lavish apartment to try and get a grasp of the situation. Spelvin reveals that he intended to get the ISIS cover list from the very beginning, and plans to sell the list to the highest bidder. Cyril attempts to get a refund, but Spelvin demands 1000 times what he paid Cyril for the list. Cyril then tells Spelvin that he can use his "kick-ass" accounting skills to procure the necessary funds to pay for the list.

Back at ISIS headquarters, no one is having any luck killing the virus or bypassing the vault lock, which prompts Archer to don his turtleneck. On his way, he bumps into Cyril, who confesses everything. Archer reluctantly agrees to help Cyril thwart Spelvin (after receiving a $50,000 downpayment from Cyril, of course.)

Arriving at Spelvin's apartment, Archer hands Cyril a briefcase, which he claims contains counterfeit bearer bonds and a canister of knockout gas. Cyril enters the apartment, claiming he got the money needed to purchase the cover list, but Spelvin immediately sees through his ruse. However, both are surprised to find the briefcase only had a muffin inside, when Archer gets the drop on them. Archer then notices the server containing the cover list (as well as the sexy ninja twins guarding it). Failing in his advances and losing his gun, Archer is then forced to fight the twins as well as Spelvin. Archer holds his own, but not for long. He is eventually pinned down by the twins as Spelvin moves in for the kill.

However, Cyril manages to get a hold of Archer's gun, and demands Spelvin's surrender. Spelvin refuses, remaining confident that Cyril lacks the fortitude to shoot him. But after one taunt too many, Cyril opens fire. Archer is disappointed that Cyril didn't hit anyone, but then notices that Cyril did, in fact, shoot the server; destroying it and the information it contained. A vengeful Spelvin sets his sights on Cyril, who claims to have one bullet left, and it has Spelvin's name on it. Spelvin then decides to cut his losses and retreats with the twins.

Cyril becomes immensely satisfied with himself for saving the day. Archer, on the other hand, decides to see if Spelvin has a hot tub.


Cultural References[]

  • Stokely Carmichael (1941-98): When Cyril misses the darts shots, Archer says "Way to go, 'Chokely Carmichael'", a reference to this major civil rights activist.
  • Droopy (1943): An animated character from the Golden Age of American Animation: an anthropomorphic dog with a droopy face, hence the name Droopy. Archer anticipates Cyril's mood to be akin to "Droopy dog on downers", so pretty low.
  • X-Men (1963): Archer mentions the mainframe's vault door being made of adamantium, the material used on Wolverine's bones.
  • Alan Turing (1912-54): Archer sarcastically refers to Cyril as the famous computer scientist;
  • Elisha Graves Otis (1811-61): An American industrialist, founder of the Otis Elevator Company, and inventor of a safety device that prevents elevators from falling if the hoisting cable fails.
  • Stand By Me (1986): When Cyril points a gun at Spelvin and he, in turn, tells Cyril he can't kill them all, Cyril responds 'No, just you', which is a reference to this film.
  • Steve Jobs: Archer tells Cyril he was “holding it wrong” when he complains about dropped calls, a reference to a Steve Jobs email that went viral in response to the iPhone 4 "antennagate" incident.

Frisky Dingo[]

  • The muffin in the suitcase is a shout-out to the one in Xander Crews' briefcase.

Running Gags / Callbacks[]

  • Not-so-Secret Agent
  • Cyril Butt-Monkey
  • What! What!


  • Continuity Error: The name of the laundry business on the bottom floor of the ISIS building is still shown to be Four-Five-Six Laundry even though Popeye purchased it in "A Going Concern" and changed the name to Popeye's Suds and Duds.
    • However, in the "real world" this error is due to several episodes of season 2 airing out of their original production order. Although "Tragical History" (XAR02005) was the fifth episode produced it airs as the sixth episode. The episode in which Popeye purchases the business is "A Going Concern" (XAR02006) was the sixth episode produced but the second episode to air in the season.
    • A possible "in verse" explanation for this could be the fact that Popeye has just not gotten around to changing the business' signage yet.


  • The title of this episode may be a reference to "The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus", the 17th-century play by Christopher Marlowe. The story of Dr. Faustus, or Dr. Faust in some tellings, is a well-known European tale in which a man, bored with day-to-day life, makes a pact with the Devil, exchanging his soul for wealth, power and the love of a woman.
  • In the "-01" dart game, the only target on the board that Cyril can hit to get the two points needed to win is a double one, colloquially known as, "The Madhouse." Archer's "Black Hat" (aka three double-corks/bullseyes in a row) was worth 150 points.
  • In the flashback to Cyril's spelling bee, Cyril misspells "onomatopoeia" before wetting his pants - onomotoPEEa.
  • The official website for Archer was briefly "taken over" by the pirate virus a week before this episode aired.
  • Lana hits a device used to store and project an image of Dr. Krieger's virtual girlfriend, thus destroying the device and his virtual girlfriend. Dr. Krieger reacts to this by screaming, "No, you maniac! You blew her up! Damn you! Goddamn you all to hell!" This is an obvious reference to the 1968 film of Planet of the Apes.
    • Lucky Yates, Krieger's voice actor, said that it was his favorite line in Archer to date, because, according to him, "it was a nerd's dream come true".
  • George Spelvin is a widely used pseudonym. Famous actors use it when they want their appearance in a play to be a surprise or a secret or when they are touring with the road company before the play goes to Broadway. The porn star Georgina Spelvin took her porn name from this artifice.
  • The ransom "money" trick Archer uses on Spelvin is called a MacGuffin, and inside the briefcase that was supposed to contain the $50 million and knockout gas was a muffin. This is a play on the MacGuffin plot technique, as it is a MacGuffin Muffin.
  • The multiple X-Men references (see above) combined with the reference to Alan Turing / Alan Cumming (Archer confusing the two) may also be a play on words: after Turing plead guilty for indecency for homosexual activity he agreed to chemical castration - a form of "treatment" which left him impotent. In other words, he was an Ex-Man.
  • After Cheryl has dropped a cart of computers on top of the elevator, Pam asks "How's the elevator supposed to work with a jillion pounds of computers on it!?" Cheryl replies, "Who am I, Elisha Otis?"
  • When Cyril destroys his phone because it allegedly kept dropping calls, Archer says "You're probably holding it wrong." which is a reference to Steve Jobs' explanation when the Antennagate controversy happened.
  • The Japanese characters hanging on the wall in George Spelvin's apartment (愛痛) symbolize Love and Pain.
  • Office Drone Sighting - Bilbo, Bryan and Jane are in the crowd as Malory and Lana break the news that the mainframe worm will decrypt and expose the identity of every ISIS field agent.
  • This is one of the few episodes in which the Office of Malory Archer isn't seen.



Archer: "Hey Pam, wait up! C'mon, get me drunk enough, and I might have sex with you."
Pam: "Really?!"
Archer: "No, it's a Catch-22. The amount of alcohol I'd need would literally kill me."
Pam: "Dick."


Krieger: "Because if the worm gets into the mainframe's encrypted files--"
Lana: "Holy shit! The identity of every single ISIS field agent is on there!"
Archer: "So what?"
Malory: "So, most secret agents don't tell every harlot from here to Hanoi that they are secret agents!"
Archer: "Then why be one?"


Pam: "Every single one of these has to be wiped, reformatted, the whole shmeel."
Cyril: "What? But it's just a little cartoon pirate!"
Cheryl: "'Was', but it mutated, and now we're like, on the brink of World War Two."
Pam: "Three."
Cheryl: "It's not a competition, Pam!"


Cyril: "Hated that phone, y'know? Always dropping calls..."
Archer: "You were probably holding it wrong."
Cyril: "Oh yeah, just like Cyril Figgis always does everything wrong! Is that what you mean?!"
Archer: "Basically."
Cyril: "Well, for your information, Cyril Figgis knows how to beat the worm."
Archer: "Yeah, I bet."
Cyril: "AUGH! The computer worm!"


Cyril: "What if I get you the fifty million?"
Spelvin: "One is inclined to ask how."
Cyril: "Well, I happen to be... a KICK-ASS ACCOUNTANT!
 Spelvin: "Did that sound a lot better in your head?"
Cyril: "Yes, it did."


Archer: "How much did he pay you?"
Cyril: "Fif-- forty thousand."
Archer: "Cyril..."
Cyril: "Fifty thousand."
Archer: "Mine."
Cyril: "But...but I already spent,like, three thousand on new suits and shoes and--"
Archer: "MINE! Take the suits to my tailor and the shoes to my shoemaker."
Cyril: "I... you have a shoemaker?"
Archer: "Do you not?"


Spelvin: "All right, Archer, you win this round."
Archer: "No shit, Spelvin."


Cyril: "So, do you have to tell anybody?"
Archer: "Depends, did you learn anything?"
Cyril: "Oh God, yes I did, I swear, I learned a huge, valuable lesson that I will remember for the rest of my life!"
Archer: "Which you will spend never knowing if I'm gonna rat you out."
Cyril: "What?!"
 Archer: "Yeah. Now what did you learn?"
Cyril: "To never confide in you?"
Archer: "There you go. See, as long as you learn something from it, it's not a mistake."


Archer: "At least I have a...
Computer Virus: "Hunch, hunch.
Cheryl and Pam: What? What?


Archer: Not really my legerdemain.
Lana: You mean bailiwick?
Archer: I don't know. Whatever.


Gallery of Images[]

There are 19 screenshots and images from "Tragical History" on this Wiki, visit the category page for a complete gallery.

Sample of images from the gallery:

External Links[]

Reference List[]

  1. Archer Season 2 Episode 6 Ratings on