Archer: White Elephant, Season Premiere Review

Sterling Archer trades in the spy game for the cocaine racket in...Archer Vice? ARCHER VICE?! Let's all get a taste of that!

Did they just say Archer Vice? I think they just said Archer Vice. This is going to be sweeter than a tactical turtleneck on Burt Reynolds as he wrestles an alligator for all the white candycane in Miami…which is something that I fully expect to happen in a later episode.  Yes, Season 5 of Archer means more than a New Year or Lana’s pregnancy. Sadly, the euphoria of Sterling Archer’s espionage world got overturned early in tonight’s premiere like the sudden halting of Gioachino Rossini’s angelic ode to morning from the William Tell opera, which played throughout the Isis Headquarters, if only in Sterling’s eccentric head. Ballet leaps gave way to bullet sweeps as the entire gang came under attack by the…FBI?! In a totally unexpected, but entirely mundane, revelation, Mallory has been operating Isis as an espionage and secret service organization without the permission of the U.S. government. Whoops. The whole Isis workforce is arrested, save for Brett who, as Archer surmises, “Died doing what he loved. Getting shot.” Of course, Mallory’s plethora of yesteryear liaisons gave her some implicit leverage over the U.S. president, allowing the gang to skip out of prison time quite easily. Nevertheless, Isis seems to be shut down for good. So what is a group of workplace screw-ups left to do for a living, especially with about $50 to $60 million worth of wholesale Florida Snow? This is setting up to be just the kind of shake and bake (with a different type of white powder) the series is always looking for. The beauty of Archer has been the absurdity of its filthy workplace comedy shenanigans in a far-out premise like the world of spying. Yet, for the careful eye, the series has always been slowly mutating as it’s gone on. When Archer first premiered on FX, it was entirely a spoof of the Bondmania of the swinging ‘60s, and Sean Connery in particular. Despite all the characters rocking the random cell phone and having Internet access, the New York of Isis was a posh locale as much Mad Men as a modern world, with Cheryl and Pam being Joan and wannabe Joan, respectively. This is glaringly obvious even if the show never raises attention to the fact that they are fighting the Cold War era KGB or that Mallory met Woodhouse during spying missions in World War I. As the series has evolved over the past four years, the backgrounds of characters have shifted like the ageless Bond character from ‘60s cheese to ‘70s funk. Afros and moustaches were in, and stylish suits were out on everyone, save for the reliable, immaculately debonair Archer, who still lives his life like he’s on the Lacrosse Team. For Archer, time is a loose backdrop, but the decades keep turning. So here we are, in the 1980s when Bond was so very, very not cool—sorry Timothy Dalton, but the truth hurts—and Crockett and Tubbs were as ubiquitous as neon lights and jorts. Enter Archer Vice, when it is more admirable to be Tony Montana crossed with Gordon Gekko than a geriatric or charmless 007. The prospect of witnessing Archer’s climb from cocaine dealer to marginally successful cocaine drug lord opens up a whole new avenue of (white) comedy gold. The kind that one snorts right into the bloodstream. But no matter how high they rise in their new business venture, or how lurid Cheryl’s country-western career will inevitably get, they are still the perverted group of delinquents we have all come to love. Plus, we now realize that we have the Pierce Brosnan era of Archer to look forward to! Quotes from THE DAAAANGGGER ZOOOOONE:Fed: So if I were you—Archer: You’d get laid a lot more. Archer: We could ask the judge—Lana: You know prisons aren’t co-ed, right?Archer: What? Okay, we’ve got to get out of here! Pam: But ah, look at him! All tied up like a sexy little Christmas ham. Cheryl: In the ghetto…where Mac Davis sucks it. Lana: So what? We form a cartel?Mallory: Well, how hard could it be? I mean—Lana: Don’t.Mallory: If Mexicans can do it…  Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all news updates related to the world of geek. And Google+, if that’s your thing!


4 out of 5