'Archer' Season 11 Ending Explained: Has Archer been in coma all this time and only dreaming that he's awake?
While saving the world at the tail end of a murder mystery, Archer sees some things that lead him to believe he may never have left his coma
Spoilers for 'Archer' Season 11 Episode 8 - 'Cold Fusion'
When a murder happens at an Arctic facility researching ways to save the planet, it's up to Sterling Archer (H Jon Benjamin) and his team to get to the bottom of the murder mystery, save the ice caps, and most importantly, make sure that everyone he works with knows he's the most important agent on the team, irrespective of whether or not that's true. Saving the world might be just a little bit too outlandish to be real, and towards the end of the episode, Archer has a real reason to question whether or not he actually woke up from the coma, or if he's still inside it.
As with all mysteries, what at first seems unsolvable soon resolves itself into a straightforward explanation. Bob, the murder victim, was actually the employ of millionaire tech company CEO Trip, who was using the McMurdoch labs area to smuggle in hydrogen bombs. Trip was planning to use the bomb to explode the polar ice cap, hastening global warming and flooding the world, which would immediately make his floating cities innovations the most profitable places on the planet. Unfortunately for him, Bob was discovered by fellow scientists Rex and Maddox, and he immediately attacked the pair, who killed him in self-defense.
Maddox was, naturally, shifty about the whole affair, but she was murdered by Trip's henchmen, who were searching for the hydrogen bomb that Rex hid. Using Maddox's notes, they were able to find the bomb, and almost blew up the flaw in the ice sheet to drown the world but for the intervention of Archer and his colleagues. Archer himself made the final heroic play by stripping down and planting a jury-rigged pickle-bomb to Trip's getaway submarine. Ultimately, Trip took himself out, attempting to land a helicopter on ice too thin to take its weight.
It's while underwater that interesting things began to happen to Archer. He began hallucinating, seeing his teammates as versions of themselves from his coma dream. He even dreamed that the parrot Crackers from Season 10 saved him when in reality it was the penguin Lamont. However, the question is whether Archer's hallucinations are brought on by his own sick brain, or is it trying to tell him that he's still in a coma?
According to executive producer Casey Willis, Archer's very much awake and out of his coma, though Archer himself may not believe that's the case. In an interview with Den of Geek, Willis said of the coma tease, "We didn’t want to use the tease too much because we wanted to assure viewers that Archer is back and this is reality. However, Archer himself may have some doubts, especially when unbelievable things happen to him constantly. In the finale, we wanted to play with Archer’s mental state a little more since this was the most unbelievable adventure he’d been on since he woke up."
So while Archer is definitely back to reality, he himself is viewing the world with a certain sense of doubt, something that will likely be explored further in Season 12, which has already been renewed. For now, however, Archer can rest happy knowing that he not only saved the world but got to gloat to the agency about how much they need him to be there.
This was the final episode for Season 11 of 'Archer.'