Archer 4-1: Fugue and Riffs

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By Nicole Walker

The season four premiere of FX’s Archer was a prime example of the greatness this hilarious, risqué, ribald, offbeat animated spy spoof comedy attains in its weekly outings.

Giving fans of voice actor H. Ron Benjamin a good laugh, the show opens with an amnesiac Archer having set-up shop as a guy named Bob. As in Bob from Bob’s Burgers another animated series that currently airs on FOX prime where H. Ron Benjamin also lends his unique pipes as the titular character. The Archer and Bob’s Burgers worlds collide in ultraviolent fashion when KGB agents come in search of the missing Sterling Archer and despite Archer believing himself to be simply a burger flipper, he dispatches the would be assassins in gory fashion before taking off and leaving his newfound family for their own protection. And to take a spa day.

We are then in Jason Bourne territory as Archer’s Isis cohorts- his concerned but exasperated mother, Mallory; concerned but not so exasperated ex-girlfriend, Lana; an apathetic Cyril; a really pissed off and currently paralyzed due to Archer’s antics from last season Ray; the ever ready for freaky experimentation Krieger; and mellow Pam and slightly high Cheryl/Carol- track Archer down at his choice spa and engage in a bit of playacting to prod his frightened brain into rebooting back to full spy Archer only to have another swarm of KGB agents give Archer the real push he needs (along with a frying pan to the back of the head by Lana) and Archer saving the day without his head exploding as Krieger feared.

It’s then that we’re clued in on what made Archer lose him memory and run away from home (again) in the first place- Mallory is (gasp!) newly married and poor Archer with his Oedipal issues just couldn’t handle it. He carjacked the newlyweds’ limo and took off for parts unknown.

And that’s the end of this saga. Except for the delicious reveal that Archer’s cybernetic nemesis, Barry (and his alternate persona, Other Barry), who was left for dead in last season’s finale on the USS Space Station is still alive but more than a few screws loose and still gunning to take down and kill Archer. Undoubtedly, Barry will return to Earth for yet another final showdown later this season.  That is if in his impulsive fits of brutal madness he doesn’t kill all the rocket scientists slaving away on his ship home.

As always with this show it’s not usually in the story that you find the real gold, but in the absurd, slightly unPC one liners and banter so expertly delivered by the talented voice actors. H. Ron Benjamin, Jessica Walters, and Aisha Tyler (Archer, Mallory, and Lana) are back in good form and as always give it all they’ve got in their ability to bounce from emotion to wild emotion alternating between startlingly sincere moments and eyebrow raising potty mouths. If this premiere episode is any indication we’re in for another stellar funny envelope pushing season with the most ineffectual spy agency on earth.

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