DANGER ZONE! For those of you who haven't seen the finale of Season 7, please avert your eyes! Spoilers lie below!
Season 7 of Archer was a roller-coaster ride that took our emotions through dark tunnels and loop-de-loops, ending by chucking the story off a cliff with reckless abandon. After a season of Hollywood starlets and P.I. storylines, the cavalier spy we know and love ended up with a bullet in his belly, drowning in a hotel swimming pool.
After more of a cliff jump than a cliffhanger, many fans were left flabbergasted, wondering if it could truly be the end for Archer. At this year's San Diego Comic-Con, show creator Adam Reed reassured everyone that the team would be back on FX early next year, but in a totally different way. Season 8, titled Dreamland, will open with Archer stuck in a coma and follow him as he dreams of traveling back into the 1920s to solve the murder of his servant, Woodhouse.
While coma storylines are usually associated with soap operas that have run out of ideas and need a cheap story device to buy some time, that need not be the case here. We're going to take a look at some examples of TV shows and films that used comas to enhance their narratives in clever ways and explore how Archer: Dreamland has the potential to be the funniest, most imaginative season yet.
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1. The Sopranos - Season 6, Episode 3: 'Mayham'
Tony Soprano made it to the top of the Mafia ladder by playing his cards close to his chest and never letting anything slow him down — not even the good men he lost along the way. The mighty mob boss was shot in Season 5 and slipped into a coma for a large chunk of Season 6. While Tony was in dreamland, he dreamed he was a traveling salesman, living alone and far away from the Mafia. Instead of slowing the show down, the coma storyline gave the audience a window into Tony's anxieties and his desire to leave the crime world. In the sequence above, we see Tony torn between joining the living or the dead he has left behind.
2. Coma As A Foundation In Life On Mars
Life of Mars follows a police officer in Manchester, England who hurtles back in time after a coma-inducing car accident. The coma becomes more than just a device to push the story forward, it is the story. The unnamed protagonist delves deeper into the imagined past, solving crimes and learning about the city and its characters as if he were awake. Using the car accident to frame the story, the audience questions everything they see a long the way as the line between reality and dream is constantly blurred.
3. The Drew Carey Show - Season 6, Episode 15 'Drew's In A Coma'
For those of you worried that Archer has run out of ideas or jokes, we need look no further than '90s classic The Drew Carey Show for reassurance. When the sitcom sent its protagonist into dreamland, it seemed to be a cop-out but ended up producing one of the funniest episodes of the series. Drew wasn't doing much soul searching in his coma world but he was having a whale of a time: Drinking from the beer fountain, eating from the pizza tree, hanging out with a city full of beautiful women who laughed at all his jokes. The poor guy refused to leave his coma, even when his doctor said he was awake — and who could blame him?!
4. The Bride In Kill Bill Vol. I
Kill Bill is Tarantino's beautiful, bloody homage to martial arts cinema that centers around The Bride, a deadly assassin who is betrayed and put in a coma by the man she loves. Here, the coma is used to draw a stark contrast between her past as a kung fu master and her present as a helpless victim. Tarantino establishes the long journey she must make to exact her revenge by showing her powerless after the coma, barely able to wiggle her big toe. Perhaps we'll see Archer come back to life even stronger and sassier!
5. Nadine Hurley In Twin Peaks
David Lynch took the soap opera genre to strange places with the demented TV series Twin Peaks. One of the secondary characters, Nadine Hurley, starts as a bored housewife, obsessed with making money from one of her domestic inventions. However, when her invention is rejected, she attempts suicide and enters a coma. When she awakes, she is convinced she is 16 again, full of life and lust. She starts dating someone younger, cheerleading for the high school, and starts living life to the fullest. Lynch used the coma to reset the character completely and explore her mental breakdown in the most absurd way. Maybe Archer will come back as a 16-year-old or as a Mexican? Quién sabe?
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Archer: Dreamland could use the coma to explore Archer's hopes and dreams or to start from scratch and completely change the characters. It could also just be used for lots of insane storylines and jokes that use both the real timeline and the fantasy one in a creative way. I think the coma could be the best thing to happen to the show and can't wait for the RAMPAAAAAAAAGE Season 8 promises!
Are you looking forward to the return of Archer?