Season 5 of Archer, redubbed Archer Vice, split viewers right down the middle. Our beloved members of ISIS (not that ISIS, but more on that later) were transformed from bumbling, bickering spies were transformed into bumbling, bickering drug runners, each given a character arc that -- while staying true to the respective character's essence -- allowed series creator Adam Reed to color outside the lines. It seemed viewers embraced it and eschewed it in equal measure.
by Rob Rector
Personally, I found much fun in their coke-fueled follies, and felt that it lasted as long as it could and wrapped before its expiration date. But as much as I enjoyed last season, I admit I was equally excited to see the gang head back to their comfort zone (or danger zone, I suppose) for the start of Season 6.
The Holdout is almost akin to the whole Dallas cliffhanger, in which Pam Ewing awoke in the next season to find the previous season was nothing more than a year-long dream. While it’s not like the cheat that marked that nighttime soap, Reed does go out of his way to ensure things are returned to their exact-same staples before veering off into Vice.
Sterling Archer (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin), who we last left as a new daddy, has since buckled from the pressure and left for one of his drug- and booze- and sex-filled benders (this time involving cobra whiskey, Asian ladyboys and some sort of exotic baby deer wandering through the room). In other words, a typical day at the office for Sterling Archer.
He’s soon called into action by his mother Mallory (voiced by Jessica Walter), who is still head of the team, but is now overseen by the CIA. She wants him to destroy a downed plane on a remote island that contains sensitive data, and it’s back to the office for everyone else. When Cheryl (voiced by Judy Greer) shows them their new digs, the entire team is amazed and flabberghasted, but it’s a pretty killer little joke, so I will not reveal it here. You will notice the ISIS logo being dragged away by movers, this ending the awkward dilemma the series would face if they kept it’s acronym that has since been sabotaged by real-life terrorists.
The supporting cast is not given much here -- Lana (voiced by Aisha Tyler) is now in full mommy mode, Pam (voiced by Amber Nash) has kicked her coke habit and gained her pre-Vice weight back, Cyril (voiced by Chris Parnell) and Ray (voiced by Adam Reed) are given a total of a line or two apiece, but it’s s safe bet they will all be given their due in the weeks ahead.
Krieger is the only one who could possibly have returned with residual effects of last season when he momentarily blanks on Pam’s name when the two co-workers, um, “reunite”?!
And despite this return to roots, there still seems to be some signs of growth with the characters, in particular Sterling, who shares a tender moment with a soldier who has been separated from his wife and child for decades. It’s momentarily sweet (and I do mean brief, as this is Archer, after all), but it’s a hopeful signal that the series may have detoured but remains committed to its narrative.
All in all, it’s a comfortable, in not particularly eventful, return to it’s own warped world that made Archer accumulate such a rabid fan base to begin with, filled with the standard string of solid one-liners that Reed manages to cram into its 21-minute runtime. I have a strong feeling that the best of this season is yet to come!
Episode S6 Ep-01 Release Date:- 08 January 2015
Episode Rating: B
Sterling: “It’s a mixture of candy and painkillers. I call them Mike & Vic’s!”
Sterling: "Well, I hope you’re happy because I feel like a total dick. And also kind of racist. And I resent you making me feel like that so…I’m not a racist.”
Sterling: (to the two “possible” ladyboys in his hut): “There’s an extra 20 grand if you are both genetically female.”