by Rob Rector
Next time you find friction within your workplace, consider the drones within the Archer universe. To prevent two of their co-workers (Sterling and Lana, who actually have a CHILD together, mind you), from trying to establish a sound relationship together, the rest of the gang spend the majority of this week’s episode doing everything within their power to tear them apart -- which includes calling a mostly robotic sex machine/ex-fiance from Russia to have sex with Sterling for nothing more than spite.
It makes leaving the coffee grounds in the maker seem like small potatoes, doesn’t it?
This week’s episode, Reignition Sequence, is no more complex than that setup. And while it is rather skim in story, it does mark a milestone in the emotional development of our lead spy, one which is oddly heartwarming by “Archer” standards.
The couple is seen making all kinds of kissy faces with one another as the episode opens, much to the disgust of their co-workers (Ray, Cyril, Pam, Cheryl and Dr. Krieger). In fact, it bothers them so much their romance-sabotaging mission is given the same time and zeal they would as if they were planning an overseas CIA mission.
Both Lana and Sterling are cautiously optimistic : Lana must learn to trust a man that, by his very nature, seems to let her down on countless levels; and Sterling must leave behind the countless casual flings with random women (?) he has had the opportunity to bed during (or before… or after…) his missions. For fans of the show, it marks a Moonlighting-like moment of “Will They or Won’t They?” that has lastest the series for six seasons.
The rest of the crew’s hijinx involves summoning Sterling’s former flame Katya, now living with the most stupid man in Russia, to interrupt a night of planned passion between him and Lana, as they know Katya has always been an achilles heel for him, regardless of how many robotic prosthetics she has required over time.
But then, it happens. There is a moment where Sterling realizes just how strong his feelings for Lana are, and the rapport between voice actors H. Jon Benjamin and Aisha Tyler (as Sterling and Lana) seems truly inspired, meaningful and fitfully dirty fun.
Benjamin has led the lion’s share of good lines this season, but having Lana unleash her dirty animal side (an ocelot, maybe?) provides Tyler a chance to shine as well.And as filthy as the acts they wish to do to one another can be, we get a sense that there is a current of mutual affection for one another that flows strongly underneath.
Favorite lines and moments:
Cheryl’s sketchpad flipbook, that takes up about a two-minute animated sequence.
Katya: "I’m listening. Go ahead baby. They’re jingling baby."
Sterling: "I didn’t know you were a fan of early crossover mainstream hip hop. Or that you were that strong. Oh my God, I’m glad I’m not a woman." (a reference to an ‘89 LL Cool J song “Jingling Baby.”)
Pam, on Krieger’s hologram wife: “How do you not kill her every day?!”
Krieger, whispering: “…I do.”
Lana: “ Why is there a vagina in the sink?!” (referring to Katya’s robotic ladyparts).
Sterling’s “Lost” poster for his manservant Woodhouse, which states: “Responsible for my meals, dressing, grooming” and “Needs medicine: Heroin.”
Episode Rating: B+