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Archer Wiki

"White Nights" is the twelfth episode of the second season and the twenty-second episode overall of Archer. It originally aired on April 14, 2011.



Sterling Archer's search for his father's identity takes him to Russia where he is held prisoner by KGB head Nikolai Jakov; Malory Archer has to ask Archer's rival Barry Dylan to rescue him. This episode is part one of the two-part season finale, which introduces Katya to the cast.


Ray is being sent by cargo plane on a mission to kill a Finnish Double Agent. He talks with one of the crew members explaining that Archer wanted to go on the mission, but Malory gave Ray the mission, causing him to believe Archer only wanted the mission as an excuse to go to Russia and see if Nikolai Jakov is really his father. Surprisingly, Archer is disguised as one of the crew members Ray was talking to and knocks him out. Archer pays the rest of the crew hush money for this and jumps off the plane to confront Jakov. Unfortunately, Archer missed the drop-off point and landed at a Red Army camp where he's then captured.


Pam catches Malory using whipped cream.

Back at ISIS, Ray, injured with a broken Zygomatic bone, tells Malory and Lana what happened. Malory believes Archer could be going off to see Jakov, which Lana reveals that she and everybody (mostly the core group according to Cheryl) knows about her affair with Jakov thanks to Pam, who saw them one night during a phone sex session much to her shock. Cyril gives Malory a message from the KGB radio's that Archer is captured and detained in Vyborg. Malory says they need to rescue Archer, but unfortunately for her, Ray and Lana state they are unable to do the mission, the former's injury requiring medical notes, and the later stating her racial background would be too obvious for an undercover assignment. With no other options, Malory recruits Barry to save her son, which he agrees to on the condition that he and Lana have sex, much to the latter's disgust.

Barry manages to find Archer in Moscow thanks to ODIN's intel, and they disguise themselves as KGB soldiers. Archer still wants to talk to Jakov, but sees him arguing with Malory over him. Jakov reveals that he used some of Archer's hair to do a DNA test to see if he's really the father, but the chances might be slim. Archer and Barry leave the KGB office, while the rest of ISIS overhears the call, and worry over Archer's fate.

Archer and Barry are stopped at a KGB checkpoint, where Barry kills the guards, but are stopped by a spike trap which punctures their tires. A KGB squad finds them and opens fire at them, while the two run off. Malory begs Jakov to cease fire, but he reveals that the DNA test was inconclusive from tampering by Boris due to jealousy, and even if Archer's his son, he can't look away from the fact he caused two agents' deaths. Archer and Barry move up to a fire escape, but find the door is locked, and with the squad moving closer, they jump to the next grating only for Archer to grab the ledge, while Barry clings onto Archer's boots.

S02E12-Barry in hospital


Archer decides that he needs to leave Russia now and suggests to a fearful Barry that they split up. However, Barry slips off Archer's boots and falls into a dumpster. A now bare-footed Archer enters the apartment building, getting glass in his feet. Archer manages to outrun the hit squad, taking several soldiers out, before he's cornered by the squad in an elevator ready to shoot.

Archer PPSh 2

Katya saves Archer.

Malory is devastated to learn from Jakov that that her son is in hospital and is gravely injured. However, she realizes it's a case of mistaken identity when Jakov describes the patient has pins in his leg - Barry's condition. Facing execution, Archer accepts his fate but is saved by a KGB agent Katya Kazanova, who kills the firing squad. Katya then asks if she can escape to America with him, which Archer happily accepts.


Cultural References[]

  • Let's Talk About Sex (1991): Ray starts singing Salt N Pepa's song in Malory's office.
  • Jake "Raging Bull" LaMotta (1922-2017): In response to Ray's singing, Malory tells him to "Zip it, LaMotta!", a reference to the boxer, whose signature style in the ring involved him taking a considerable amount of punishment. This is presumably a response to Ray's nasty black eye, a result of being knocked out by Archer.
  • Die Hard (1988): Archer walking around with glass in his feet is almost certainly a reference to this movie, given that he's wearing a white wifebeater whilst doing so.
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969): While on the run from the KGB, Archer and Barry make a running leap from one fire escape to another. As they take a running start, they both yell in unison. The scene and dialogue is likely a reference to a very similar scene in this film, in which the title characters jump off a cliff to escape their pursuers.
  • Pam sings "40 ounce in my lap and it’s freezing my junk" which is from the song 8 Ball (1987) by N.W.A.

Running Gags / Callbacks[]

  • Pam indicates she doesn't care about the vibrator in Malory's desk drawer which Archer had to handle in "A Going Concern".
  • Terrible Aim - Lampshaded by Archer.
  • Glue Up - Cheryl runs out of rubber glue.
  • Tinnitus - Archer yells at Barry for shooting right by his head.
  • Lana is reminded of her previous sexual encounter with Barry ("Job Offer"), as well as almost having sex with him to get Malory's job ("A Going Concern").


  • Malory and Jakov talk about her having sex with Len Trexler, even though Len was rendered brain damaged and unattracted to her when Jakov's mind control device was used to prevent Len from buying ISIS in season 1.
  • In a call back to the torture training exercise administered by Crenshaw in the debut episode "Mole Hunt" - which Archer ridiculed at the time - his interrogation by the KGB is nearly identical. During this episode, he wishes he had taken it more seriously.


  • Title Explained: The episode title, "White Nights," is a reference to the 1985 motion picture "White Nights", starring Gregory Hines and Mikhail Baryshnikov. This can also be a reference to White Nights — a phenomenon when during a northern summer evening, twilight is followed by morning twilight and full darkness never happens — although such a thing does not happen in Moscow, but is widely associated with St. Petersburg. It could also be a reference to a short love story by Fyodor Dostoevsky. White Nights is also the name of Menachem Begin's memoir of his year in a Soviet prison camp after being arrested by the NKVD in Lithuania while fleeing the Nazi invasion of Poland. Given Adam Reed's frequent literature references, Dostoevsky's short story seems right, but Archer's brief stint/torture in KGB custody links to Begin's memoir. Given how tightly Archer is written and produced, it wouldn't be surprising if the title references both.
  • Before jumping from the C-130 Hercules, the map on the back of the dossier Archer looks over is of New Orleans, possibly connecting this episode to "Pipeline Fever."
  • As Archer lands after jumping with a parachute, he clears his throat and speaks Finnish, saying: "Hei, jätkät! Tämä on Suomalainen laskuvarjoklubi?", which translates to "Hey, guys! This is a Finnish skydiving club?", as he states right after.
  • Pam is drinking Red Beer when she catches Malory and Jakov having video sex.
  • Moscow skyline is pictured incorrectly, showing St Basil church from a place where it can't be seen and overcrowding the skyline with churches and spires, most likely as a parody of the practice of using well-known landmarks to establish locations.
  • Word "Директор" on Jakov's door means "Director", but KGB chiefs are actually called "Chairmen", which would be written "Председатель".
  • The submachinegun Katya Kazanova uses is a PPSh-41, a World War II-era Soviet weapon, almost universally considered one of the best submachinegun designs of the war period and widely distributed to Soviet-aided insurgents and revolutionaries during the Cold War. The sound effect used, however, is inaccurate, as one of the most recognizable traits of the '41 is its fairly high rate of fire, about 900 rounds per minute.
  • Dr. Krieger does not appear.



Archer: Barry, wait, slow down.
Barry: Why?
Archer: So I can go past you.
Barry: Has anyone ever told you that you're profoundly self-centered?


Gallery of Images[]

There are 31 screenshots and images from "White Nights" on this Wiki, visit the category page for a complete gallery.

Here is a sample of images from the gallery:

External Links[]

Reference List[]

  1. Archer Season 2 Episode 12 Ratings on