Sterling Archer is no stranger to deadly scenarios. He's survived countless gunfights, kidnapping by pirates, KGB torture; basically any adversary that would make the stoutest spy quiver in their tactical turtleneck. So when Season 7, which has the squabbling crew leave the international spy world behind in favor of starting their own investigative agency, opened with two police detectives bantering over the bobbing corpse of the world's (former) greatest spy, I couldn't believe it. Thankfully, after five fantastic episodes, we've gotten our first major hint of how Archer survives his watery demise. Don't know what it is? Then you back, I'll try to refrain from making too many puns, and we'll begin with the mystery that starts it all: Longwater.
When we first see the offices of The Figgis Agency, they've been operational for three months without landing a client. As luck would have it, a famous actress by the name of Veronica Deane blows in on a gust of destiny and sets the team on a mission to retrieve a confidential disk marked with the moniker "Longwater". Archer, Lana and Ray brave high-tech security and vicious guard dogs to steal it from lawyer Alan Shapiro's house, and return it to a grateful Ms. Deane. Unfortunately the real Veronica Deane arrives minutes later, unknowingly revealing to the team that they had actually stolen the disc for an impostor after Veronica entrusted it to Shapiro. Over the next few episodes the actress and her cryptic disc are central to the action and intrigue: a biker gang tries to ransom the disk, files and other disks marked "Longwater" turn up in the safe of one of Archer's boarding school acquaintances, and a color-coordinated posse of clowns crashes a gala to steal Ms. Deane's extraordinarily valuable necklace.
Now that covers four of the five episodes currently out. Episode 4, titled Motherless Child, focuses on the return of cyborg Barry Dillon instead of Veronica Deane. After being reduced to something akin to a Terminator in his last bout with Archer, Barry has left his Odin/KGB past behind in favor of tracking down his mother, who left him at an orphanage shortly after his birth. He can't do it alone, so he kidnaps Mallory and uses her as an incentive to get the rest of the agency to help. After some thorough web searching, fuse box vandalism and a rather horrifying account of Thomas Edison killing an elephant, Barry's mother is located. Before he can leave, Cyril points out that Barry shouldn't meet his mother for the first time in his current state: he's essentially a human consciousness and a robotic endoskeleton. That's when Dr. Krieger decides to show everyone one of his side projects.
After a few disgusted quips, Barry is outfitted with a new face (Cyril's) and departs. The takeaway from the episode lies past the final jokes, though. What matters is that we now know that a highly detailed and realistic mask of Archer's entire head exists, along with matching hands. The man in the pool is buttoned from chin to toe: the only exposed skin is of a smaller size than Krieger's creations. Archer doesn't die in the pool because he isn't the one who was shot: someone is wearing the mask.
Who could be under the disguise? Is it someone after Longwater, or could it be one of the other Figgis Agency employees? Chances are we won't know for a while: in the meantime, who do you think it could be? Do you have a theory about what Longwater is, or who posed as Veronica Deane? Write about it and let us know!