Archer is back for it’s 7th season. In the 6th season finale the group was officially cut off from the CIA and blacklisted in the world of espionage. The episode ended with Archer giving a rather stiring speech about the CIA being wrong for the group. Archer declared that everyone works best when they make their own calls, and that instead of being ashamed of being underdogs they should embrace it. He claimed to have a plain for how the group would make money now. So how is the group making money? And will season 7 manage to keep fans interested despite them no longer being in the spy game.
The show opens with a bit of cliffhanger for the season. In a call back to Sunset Boulevard (and the many shows and movies to use this scene) the show starts with Archer face down, seemingly dead, in a pool. Flash back to the actual beginning of the season, and the group is in California to make their start as private investigators. Cyril, in a twist that no one is happy about, is the only member of the group that is actually able to get a license to be a private investigator, putting him in charge, or so he thinks. The group takes on their first case, to steal a disc with unknown information on it, that is being used to blackmail an actress. Archer believes that the group will have an easy time with this job, thinking that their spy skills will instantly make them the best. Lana is less convinced, and Cyril is worried about the money the group is spending on their cases.
The last time the show broke from it’s mold of spy agency comedy, it yielded interesting results. Overall Archer Vice was good, though not my favorite of the series. I say this, so that people understand that I am approaching this season with some trepidation. 7 seasons is actually a rather long run for a show, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Archer taking a bit of a down turn. Despite those fears, I also realize that Archer has lasted this long by being an extremely clever comedy, something that has remained consistent no matter how long the show runs.
Overall I was happy with this episode. The premise makes sense. From an objective standpoint the group would be great in the world of private investigation. It also sets up a wide variety of jokes and plot points. One of the major ones being, that it doesn’t matter how qualified they are, starting a new business is hard. Cyril is happy to try to take control, but fails at it, which should surprise nobody. He has no actual skills to apply to private investigation, but is so desperate to be in charge that he tries anyway. As a result he is constantly clashing with everyone (as always) and setting himself up to be ignored when he does have a valid point (as always).
The episode also gives several nods to the earlier seasons, and it’s something they openly point out. Lana, Archer, and Ray are seen several times using actual espionage skills, something that they haven’t done for awhile. It seems to set up that this season might be bringing back smaller scale missions, instead of the over the top feel the show has had lately. At the very least we might see more call backs to earlier seasons.
Jokes are still solid. It wasn’t the most laugh out loud episode, but everything landed well. The characters flow into their new roles with their same attitude well. It’s not the first time we’ve seen the entire group transition, and this one is smooth. Mostly though this episode sets up the rest of the season. The ending of the show highly implies one overall mission that will weigh over the group, and eventually lead us back to Archer face down in a pool. It won’t stand out in your list of all time favorite episodes, but does a solid job of setting up the season without being a throw away. At this point writers, cast, and crew have had 7 seasons to define the identity of Archer, and they are comfortable with it. At the same time they aren’t lazy. Old jokes are referenced without feeling stale, and new jokes work their way in easily.
An enjoyable episode. Again it won’t make my top 5 favorite Archer episodes, but it does hold it’s own. I think this is a great chance for Archer to step back a little, while still delivering a sold season. There is also a lot of potential with the group being in California. I am still proceeding with caution, when it comes to this show, though I am very excited to see what happens next.