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"Viscous Coupling" is the fifth episode of the fourth season of Archer.[1]



Archer's former fiancé wants him to save her cyborg boyfriend who is trapped in outer space. Archer wants...other things.[2]


Malory Archer and Sterling Archer catch Lana Kane and Cyril Figgis "in the act" causing Sterling to get jealous and try to win Lana back. He is interrupted by a call from Katya Kazanova who wishes Sterling to help her get Barry Dylan back.

Sterling enlists the help of Algernop Krieger with the promise of an "epic robot fight", while trying to convince Katya that Barry (and Other Barry) is cheating on her, and planning to keep Barry in space. He creates a poorly made tape of "proof" seemingly convincing her that Barry was cheating on her. Sterling later finds out that Krieger helped Barry get back to earth for a promised robot fight between Barry and Ray Gillette. Sterling runs back to Katya's apartment to find her and run off with her.

It is then revealed that Katya knew Barry was in space all along, and she needed Sterling to bring him back. Katya orders Barry to quit trying to kill Sterling. Barry proclaims that he's the head of KGB and can do what he wishes. Without explicitly saying so, Katya reveals that she is the new head of KGB, with the trusty Boris serving her (and willing to be her bottom).


Cultural References[]

S04E05-Mitsuko reads mag-Excelsior

Ooo, deGrasse Tyson-san.

  • When Archer mistakenly believes Lana hears him from an incredible distance to her office, he says "Who are you, Jaime Sommers?" Jaime Sommers was the Bionic Woman.
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson: Mitsuko Miyazumi (Krieger's Virtual Girlfriend) thinks this astrophysicist is hot.

Running Gags / Callbacks[]

  • Phrasing - used to explicitly state that a sexual innuendo could be implied from the previous utterance.
  • Tinnitus - Archer complains about it after he blows a whistle.
  • Archer references Cyril's expensive scotch (Glengoolie Blue, a parody of Johnnie Walker Blue) that he had previously drunk in "Skin Game", where Barry and Katya first join forces.
  • AmPetCo. Katya is drinking AmPetCo brand Household Oil, the same company that hired ISIS in "Pipeline Fever".
  • Cheryl enters the room after her date with a fireman with bruises all around her neck, referencing Cheryl's enjoyment of being choked during sex.
  • When Archer and Pam are in the break room, you can see the chains on the wall from "Mole Hunt" with fresh bloodstains on them.
  • The boxes Lana is climbing on in the vault are labelled "Fort Kickass" in reference to Krieger's "fort" from "Skorpio".
  • Cyril awakes to find himself naked in a bathroom stall with Ray (also naked), and exclaims "Is it too much to ask, just once, to be unconscious in a bathroom without being sexually assaulted by -- you?!" referring to the events in "Blood Test" wherein both Pam and Ray take advantage of him while he is unconscious in the bathroom. However, Ray is innocent this time because both of them were unconscious due to tranquilizer darts.
  • Lana discovers that Krieger has placed nerve gas canisters throughout the air ducts. In previous episodes, he has repeatedly asked Malory if she wanted him to use the nerve gas. She is surprised to find there really are nerve gas canisters because she had thought this was a joke.
  • While working on their phony radio tape, Pam repeatedly calls Archer "dicknuts ." This is a callback to an episode of "Sealab 2021" (another Adam Reed show) wherein Captain Murphy starts a pirate radio station and calls people "fignuts".
  • When Sterling discovers that Barry is on his way back to Earth, he plans to "tell Katya to pack a bag and we'll move to, Alaska or somewhere else snowy, where he can't track us!" This is a callback to "The Wind Cries Mary", in which Archer expresses the belief that "Predator only hunts in tropical jungles. I assume. And desperately hope." Presumably Archer thinks all cyborgs, aliens, etc. follow the same rules as Predator.
  • The back cover of the "Astrophysicist" magazine that Mitsuko is reading has an advertisement for the Excelsior airship from "Skytanic".


  • Title Explained: Krieger finds that at least one problem with Barry's ship was the "viscous coupling," which is the obvious reference to the episode's title. The title is also a double entendre alluding to the abnormal encounters - coupling with an octopus, between cyborgs and with holographic projections - which are implied throughout.
  • Grappa is a grape-based brandy that's anywhere from 70 to 120 proof (35%-60% alcohol).
  • Apparently the members of ISIS are all into "tentacle porn" including Dr. Krieger, Krieger's Virtual Girlfriend, Ray and Cyril to which Sterling exclaims "How is that even a genre?"
  • Doctor Krieger says the tentacle porn films he will be watching are "Fisherman's Wife I and II." (The Japanese title on the DVD cases he's holding say "漁師の妻" Ryōshi no Tsuma) "The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" is a 19th century woodcut of a nude woman entwined with an octopus, considered an early forerunner of tentacle porn.
  • When Ray and Cyril are tranquilized they were reading tentacle porn manga. Apparently, while they were unconscious, Pam made a porn film involving them and an octopus. Pam prevents Archer from entering the bathroom, while hiding her camera, and is later accused by Malory of making porn. Probably as part of her film hobby, she does this often, prompting Malory's accusation. When Ray and Cyril awaken they encounter the octopus in the toilet of the stall they are in and realize the horrible truth.
  • Doctor Krieger is almost caught out with his eagerness to help Barry, so he lies, saying that he hates Archer because he slept with his girlfriend - which calls back to something Archer did to Barry in "Job Offer" prompting the retort 'classic Archer!' from Barry. Krieger's virtual girlfriend says, "dattara Iinoni," which translates as a forlorn wish of "If only it was like that." Krieger retorts under his breath "keep it up" - this is an ongoing argument implying Krieger is not sleeping with his girlfriend because he can't perform.
  • The above joke is a good example of the dense writing style - where an apparently off-the-cuff lie from one character is a direct call back to behaviour of the main character, leading to a catch phrase, an innuendo, and a 'statement of truth' or explication of Archer's psychology and issues with his mother, followed by a confusion between being deliberately truthful in order to convince, or to be hurtful, or both. (see below for annotation).


  • A production error occurs when Archer tells Lana he'd be happy to bang her. From the back, Lana's gun and holster are on her right side. When the camera cuts to the front, it changes to the left.



Dr. Krieger: Bup-bup-bup. Stop. My penis can only get so erect.
Krieger's girlfriend: Hm. Honntou ne… (Very true…)


Dr. Krieger: I just want to help you finish your space ship - why is that weird? [in the ordinary context, it is weird, but 'epic robot battle']
Barry: (under breath) why is that weird? Because my sworn purpose in life is to murder your little buddy, Archer.
Dr. Krieger: Archer? No way man! I hate that guy!
Barry: Since when?
Dr. Krieger: Since, um, he, slept with my girlfriend... [inadvertant callback to'Job Offer' ]
Krieger's girlfriend: dattara Iinoni (if only it was like that) [implying she would like to have sex with Archer, even if it's physically impossible]
Dr. Krieger: Keep it up... [implying ongoing sexual tensions in relationship]
Barry: that is just classic Archer! [callback to 'Job Offer' / catchphrase]
Dr. Krieger: Right?  I mean, not a huge surprise from a self-centred alcoholic who feels compelled to sleep with every woman he meets because that's the only way to fill the emptiness inside where his mother's love should...
[punch from Archer]...ow! [statement of truth; rare explicit psychoanalyis of Archer's personality]
Barry: You what? [expression confusion at this candid statement of truth]
Dr. Krieger: One sec...
Archer: What the shit? [expressing frustration at being psychoanalysed in front of his sworn enemy]
Dr. Krieger: What? You said 'be convincing'! [confusing convincing with being truthful]
Archer: Convincing - not deliberately hurtful! [confusing truthful with being deliberately hurtful]
Dr. Krieger: Well! [truth is both convincing and hurtful; plays on ambiguous intention]


Barry: Tell Archer I'm coming for him, phrasing boom!, both Barry's out.

Gallery of Images[]

There are 16 screenshots and images from "Viscous Coupling" on this Wiki, visit the category page for a complete gallery.

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