Archer Season 8 Episode 1 takes place about three months since Archer was shot and left for dead. Woodhouse has died, Archer remains in a coma. Malory remains at Archer's side at the hospital, while Lana visits. Lana thinks it's good that Archer doesn't know Woodhouse has died, but Malory surmises that Archer could be hearing them.
Meanwhile, Archer is dreaming while comatose. His dreamland story begins with Woodhouse being killed, and Pam and Cyril as detectives at the scene of Woodhouse's murder. Archer vows to find who did this to Woodhouse, with whom he shared a private detective agency.
On his search for clues, he runs into Krieger, a waiter/drug-dealer who works for a crime lady named "Mother" (Malory). Malory offers to help Archer find out what happened to Woodhouse, in exchange for Archer's help in eliminating her competition, Len Trexler and his enforcer Dutch Dylan (Barry).
Archer almost refuses, but sees a beautiful lounge singer (Lana) and decides to take the job, the first mission being reconnaisance at Long Beach. He then tries to ask Lana out on a date, but is left hanging.
Archer returns to his office and finds an envelope that Woodhouse left for him in the event of his death. However, instead of reading it immediately, he locks it back into the safe and goes on the mission.
At the docks, he witnesses Dutch Dylan committing human trafficking. Accompanied by Pam, they foil the operation. Pam ends up responsible for housing the victims.
Archer returns to his office to find that it's been ransacked, with the safe broken into and Woodhouse's letter gone. Charlotte Vandertunt (Cheryl) then walks into his office, offering to hire him to murder her.