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I watched the second half of Archer: Vice (Season 5), and across multiple episodes one ISIS employee would pelt another with a quick flurry of slaps punctuated by a final larger blow. It seems like it just started out of nowhere, so I might have missed an episode, but when did this slapstick routine start?

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@mmatthews is correct, it just started in Season 5. The other seasons had their own "thing" like holding up a finger while downing a bottle of booze, saying the word "Phrasing", etc. Each season has it's own quirky thing. – DustinDavis Aug 2 '14 at 21:10

This slap pattern started in Season 5. I'm not sure exactly what episode, but it is definitely in Season 5. I think it is within the first 4-5 episodes.

I've watched Seasons 1-4 many times over (as they are on Netflix), and while there is slapping, the pattern of many light slaps ending with a larger slap is not present.

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