I had a feeling that an episode like this was waiting in the wings for this season of Archer.
by Rob Rector
For five episodes, the series managed to maintain the series’ high bar for hilarity. But Sitting, the sixth season of the episode, feels like it does just that, and finally revealed the strain of its decision to add an infant to its cast. And while there were a few throwaway gags to be found, it was a rather tepid affair that felt more like a wheel-spinning episode than anything else presented this season.
Sterling (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) is charged with looking after his child (can it really be called “babysitting” if it’s your own child? Isn’t that called “parenting?”) as Lana goes on a weekend mindfulness retreat. His vow to not drink while caring for the infant is broken within mere seconds of Lana’s exit, and then things start to go escalate rather quickly.
An injured Slater (voiced by Christian Slater) bursts into Sterling’s pad with a Pakistani intelligence agent in tow. Farooq (voiced by Kumail Nanjiani) claims he’s looking to defect, but anyone who’s seen a single episode knows that his claim is most likely a crock. Sure enough, he’s turning a gun on Sterling and taking baby A.J. hostage, as they travel to Archer’s headquarters and disrupt the the gang’s weekly nude poker game.
The only true standout in the entire episode is once again Pam (voiced by the invaluable Amber Nash), who --literally -- goes ape, turning into a raging Queen Kong in an effort to rescue the endangered baby.
The end reveal is that it was all an elaborate ruse designed by Lana to test Sterling’s parenting prowess, and, frankly, it felt stretched far beyond its logical conclusions, even by the outrageous “Archer” standards. We already knew Sterling would falter miserably in the child care department, and Farooq was just not interesting enough to spark any interest in the main storyline. In fact, it added up to something that “Archer” rarely is : kind of boring and predictable.
The episode is somewhat redeemed by the further troubling antics of the rest of the office drones, as their approach to a friendly card game is closer to some sort of website you stumble on and immediately want to click out of to erase all history of every visiting. It’s dark and demented, but that is the show’s bread-and-butter. And in the final moments, when Sterling unleashes his righteous paternal rage at the mere thought of harm coming to baby A.J. is rather thrilling (even if we knew he had it in him, as witnessed with baby Seamus a few seasons back). Now, let’s hope they find a real sitter for A.J. for the rest of the season to allow the gang to get back to their antics once again.
Favorite lines and moments:
Sterling: “My default setting has been ‘half-assed.’ But now I have a child…Imagine as I literally beat you to death – wait. Yes, literally, that a giant hand has turned my dial from half-assed to quadruple ass.”
Farooq: “That’s a lot of ass.”
The drink “Rusty Krieger,” (tequila and breast milk)
Cyril: “What about Cheryl?”
Sterling: “Who cares?! ...I’m seriously asking!”
The phrase: “Goat-raping pig devil,” regardless of whether it uttered in English or Urdu.
Episode Rating: A-