The unquestioned leader of the gang formerly known as ISIS on Archer, Malory Archer (Jessica Walter) may be a cunning spy and a fierce businesswoman, but she’s not known for being a great mother. Over the years we’ve seen the psychological toll she’s taken on her son, Sterling (H. Jon Benjamin), either through her actions or through a series of traumatic flashbacks to his childhood. Regardless, these instances all point to one thing: Malory’s reputation for mothering has certainly been earned. With the recent announcement that we’ll be getting at least three more seasons of Archer, we’re sure to see more of Malory’s complete lack of maternal instincts in action (unless her granddaughter, Abbiejean, is involved, with whom her love is unconditional). Until then, here’s a look at Malory Archer’s worst mom moments.
When She Revealed Too Much About Her Personal Life
When Malory calls Archer, and the rest of ISIS to her aid, they find her in a hotel suite, along with the bullet-riddled body of the Italian Prime Minister tied to a chair and sporting certain… accouterments. While she isn’t particularly harsh toward Archer here, outside of putting everyone at risk so she can get help disposing of a dead body, she’s rather forthcoming with everyone about her sexual habits, which no child wants to hear about. Ever.
The Time She Shot Her Son In The Chest
After Archer’s kidnapped, brainwashed, and sent to assassinate his mother, her cold, unfeeling demeanor is somehow able to break through his mind-control, leaving him wanting nothing more than a grilled cheese (and some motherly love). The plan to kill Malory seems all but thwarted when her cell phone re-activates the transmitter implanted in his brain — along with an unpleasant memory from his childhood about being locked out of her bedroom after having a nightmare. As Archer comes after her once again, this time with a cleaver, Malory’s survival instincts kick back in, and she puts six bullets in his chest.
As she sits with him out in the hallway, she criticizes his susceptibility to the mind control before criticizing him for bleeding all over her good linens. Proving that Malory can purposefully shoot her son multiple times and it’s still not the worst thing she does to him that day.
Archer’s Origin Story
Malory begins telling Archer the story of how she gave birth to him in a Tangiers bar that was run by a young Woodhouse (the late George Coe), explaining in great detail everything that Woodhouse had done to get the three of them safely back to America. In telling the story of the noble and heroic Woodhouse, it really just makes her look that much worse, especially when she tells him that after they arrived in the States she skipped town. For five years.
When She Took Sterling’s Halloween Candy In A Game Of Blackjack
Assuming that her son has no gambling vice, amidst his myriad of other addictions, Malory entrusts him with $4 million in a casino, where he ends up losing $800,000 in about 20 minutes. When Ray (Adam Reed, who’s also the show’s creator) confronts him on the matter, Archer confesses that he had a bad experience with gambling while growing up. Specifically, a game of Blackjack that his mom (while dressed as Elvira) played with Archer (who was dressed as Charlie Chaplin… and not Adolf Hitler), which ends with her winning all his Halloween candy.
Clearly devastated by the ordeal (what kid wouldn’t be?), Malory’s only advice to her crestfallen son is don’t hit on 17, before giving him a bunch of liquor, which leads her to realize that he can’t play cards or drink.
When She Stole Sterling’s Bicycle (And Later, His Car)
What starts as a pretty uneventful birthday for Archer is brightened when he learns that he’s been gifted a Dodge Challenger, souped up by Krieger (Lucky Yates) to be the ultimate spy vehicle. When it’s stolen out of his condo’s parking garage, he and a couple of his co-workers go so far as to infiltrate the Yakuza to try and track it down. Thankfully, Malory shows up in time to save everyone’s life, even shooting at the Yakuza boss, Mr. Moto (George Takei), whilst letting everyone know that she is “trying to parent!”
It’s during this “parenting” that she reveals that she stole Archer’s car in an attempt to teach him a lesson, much like when he was a kid and she stole the bike he’d gotten for his birthday. All that was missing (from both instances) was, you know, an actual lesson, instead of just adding another instance to the life-long list of emotionally traumatizing moments she has inflicted on her son.
That Time She Left Her Son At A Police Station On Christmas Eve
You could really just file all the memories Archer has of his mother under the umbrella of ‘traumatic childhood,’ but no one story exemplifies how little she cared for him as a child than when she moved while he was away at boarding school and never told him her new address. After a nine-year-old Archer rides the train into the city for the holidays, he has nowhere to go, so he ends up sobbing at a police station.
Keep in mind, she reveals this little nugget after she was black out drunk and put a worldwide burn notice out on her son, which gave Archer another chance to cheat death, but also provides some real insight into Archer and Malory’s catastrophic relationship.
When She Dispensed Some Actual, Motherly Advice And Then Changed Her Mind
When Archer’s required to give a blood test to prove he’s the father of baby Seamus, he concocts an elaborate scheme to replace his entire liter-sized blood sample with Cyril’s (Chris Parnell) in order to avoid any paternal responsibility. In the midst of all his, Malory confronts her son about parenthood, specifically the fear of never being ready. It’s then that she actually sheds off her icy veneer and comes as close as she’ll ever get to admitting her mistakes, even pleading that, between the two of them, they could make for one decent parent for baby Seamus. It’s a solid pitch, and even Lana (Aisha Tyler) is moved by her words.
Sadly, in the end, they prove to be just that: words (words given after a few tall glasses of melon ball cocktails, but still). Despite Archer switching out the blood samples, he’s shown to be Seamus’ father, and is immediately locked into some heavy child support payments. Following up with his mother outside the office, particularly on her promise to be there for him, she shrugs off his request for help, blaming the economy, then heading off in a limo to go indulge in some shopping.