‘Archer’ Season 5 Premiere: Is A New Direction the Right Direction?

Published 1 year ago by

Archer Season 5 Premeire Reviews Archer Season 5 Premiere: Is A New Direction the Right Direction?

[This is a review of the Archer Season 5 Premiere. There will be SPOILERS.]

Even the best shows can hit a plateau by the time they reach season 5 (see: It’s Always Sunny, Supernatural). On average, the middling seasons (5 – 7) of a ten-plus season show are the best time for the writing to get lazy and the episodes phoned-in, before the show either limps toward the syndication line or somehow finds a revitalizing spark (see: It’s Always Sunny, Supernatural).

Sometimes that new kick-start comes in the form of some creative shuffling (new writers, that sort of thing) and sometimes it comes from some major narrative recalibration – say, taking the characters out of their usual paradigm and putting them into a new one. And that is exactly what Archer is doing in season 5.

The Season 5 premiere episode, “White Elephant”, was both a quick and effective re-introduction to the gang from the ISIS spy agency, as well as a card-shuffle that set up what looks like – from an extended preview sequence included in the episode – a pretty far-out-there season that will essentially take Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) and friends “on the road,” after ISIS was shutdown by the FBI. (Apparently Mallory (Jessica Walter) never really got official sanction to open a spy agency in the first place. Wah Wah. Time to form a drug cartel.)

Archer Season 5 Header Archer Season 5 Premiere: Is A New Direction the Right Direction?

This change of pace from the usual spy agency sitcom setup could go either way. The series has flirted with the idea of altered status-quo in small doses (season 3’s “Heart of Archness” trilogy) and has done “road trip” episodes a-plenty; but no other season has taken the concept as far, for as long, as this one seems to. The flipside, of course, is that there is now potential for so much more beyond the usual wicked sharp banter, deep-dish callback humor and hilarious quick-edits –  all of which were alive and well in the season 5 premiere.

Quick flashes from the seasonal preview promise all of those usual Archer gags, with the added promise of more action and better opportunities for pop-culture references (“Suck it, Mack Davis!”) and parodying. The season 2 episode “Placebo Effect” (a personal favorite) was a great example of how the show can use (for example) classic movie tropes to create a fantastic outside-the-box episode. If season 5 delivers more of that experience, consider me all in.


  • CALLBACK: Poor Brett, always getting shot. Is he gone for good this time?
  • CALLBACK: The entire four-season sordid history of ISIS, recapped in that hilarious quick-edit montage of the gang spilling their respective guts to the FBI.
  • MOST OMG LINE: Lana telling Archer she’d rather lose her pregnancy than marry him – a twisted line which was immediately deflated by Archer.
  • MOST WTF VISUAL: Pam in the FBI van “self-stimulating” to Cheryl’s taser-porn monologue.
  • MYSTERY: Who is the “Him” that Mallory called to get out of the FBI jam-up?

“Archer Vice”

Archer Season 5 poster Archer Vice Archer Season 5 Premiere: Is A New Direction the Right Direction?



Archer now airs Monday nights @ 10 pm on FX.

Follow Kofi Outlaw on Twitter @ppnkof
TAGS: Archer
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. At least he died doin what he loved, getting shot. Ill miss brett.

    The whole Archer vice sequence felt like an entire season in 3 minutes, wonder if any of that stuff will actually happen.

  2. Dear fans/ viewers…

    How good is this show? I’m curious. Comparisons would be great if possible lol.

    • i don`t watch alot of animated stuff but hard to compare it…the main character is like a cross between James Bond and Don Draper but a tool also

    • It’s like watching ‘Arrested Development’ as a raunchy animated spy sitcom.

    • If you like running gags and manboy humor then look no further.

    • Like if a poem… could be pants.

    • Search up archer reviews on google you lazy s***

  3. Did anyone catch the reference to Frisky Dingo? Killing Fat Mike too?….

  4. Sorry, all, but this was absolutely the most lame archer episode …and I’m a big fan. If the “heart of archness” was a 10 in this series, then this season 5 premier was a 3 at best. It felt like the writers from “Friends” wrote this episode. If you’ve watched any dof season 1 or 2′ then please tell me your opinion of this latest installment.


    • Yea, I’m a big fan also and was very disappointed with the way the season is going. Drug dealers, really !!!

    • Sigh. It’s my favorite show, which is saying a lot. But this season has been flat. It feels like someone else is writing. I usually laugh out loud throughout an episode. I have yet to do so this whole season. I don’t know what’s wrong, but it isn’t that funny this season.

    • Agreed. Terrible, terrible new season. And I was the biggest fan of seasons 1-4, was looking so forward to this. Ugh.

      Shockingly, after giving Chozen a chance, it’s replaced the humor Archer is now lacking.

  5. This was a fine episode, but it’s definitely a transitional one. While a lot of shows would drag out a major game changing event, this episode did two things and did them well…

    I recapped the history of the previous seasons and it threw the whole show into another direction and format. While the show has been somewhat serialized, this season looks to be one long, freaking amazing looking story with a lot of twists and my expectations are high as hell.

    I think the tease did just that, and I’m excited to see what these people do when untethered from what little morality they had.

  6. Archer well done in every respect. Irreverent, callous, malicious, somber, FUNNY, well it’s life the way most have a hard time conveying it! VICE!!!

  7. That was a great episode! I can’t believe Brett is dead!…or is he?

  8. Another down vote. FBI? Arrests? This season is so bad. The Miami drug deal was so predictable. And spend a little money and hire animators who can make characters that might look Japanese.

  9. I think this is a GREAT season so far. I have to say that season 4 in particular was getting stale. A lot of forced humor, lazily written episodes. I think the series creators felt it also, hence the major shift in perspective for the show. I love it. Keep it up!

    One thing though, am I the only one who wished they hadn’t summed up major plot points to come in that season premier montage? Weird self-spoilers aplenty.

  10. I agree that this season is just totally off… I too used to laugh all the way through each episode, and now I yawn through if I make it at all. The writing is different for sure, and has anyone else noticed that the production value seems different too? They don’t sound as full or seem as action-packed as they did in seasons past. The plot shift was a misstep!

  11. Mmm.. having the same experience as many others. Loved archer’s first 4 seasons. Now it just doesnt seem that funny anymore and boring even. Can’t recall myself laughing watching the first 4 episode’s. It’s all still “sort of funny” but no longer hilarious.

    I really think this show can work in the current setting, but right now it isn’t. The improved graphics are great, but I’d rather have them put more effort to the plot and dialogues. Because something is missing that used to be in the previous 4 season’s.

  12. This is a very sad start to the season. The plot change can definitely work but the show has lost it’s sharp banter that made the first 4 seasons some of if not the best comedy on television.

    Skinny Pam is horrible. She was quite possibly my favorite character and shows that the writing is distinctly different. Most of her responses are the same Pam “tag line” to an awkward pause on to her eating a muffin/coke. Sad days are these. Hope they get the act together.

  13. Glad to see we’re all in the same boat… I’ve been beyond disapointed with this season, just an awful waste of time to even watch, I’m just holding out hope that they’ll bring ISIS back in season 6 (assuming it doesn’t get cancelled)

  14. Archer Vice is the biggest shark-jump EVER. It’s gone from the greatest satire, to the absolute worst. To begin with, they were originally engaged in espionage, which at least has some legal basis; but now they’re involved in DRUG-PEDDLING? And how is it “Archer Vice–” as in “MIAMI vice–” if he’s the one doing the vice via selling drugs?
    Also, have they ever ONCE left Tunt Manor yet? BORRRRRING!
    Again: SHARK-JUMP.

    • I think it’s meant to be more along the lines of GTA Vice City, as they’ve adopted the same typography/color of/on ‘Vice’

  15. Makers of Archer, if you can’t be original like in S01-S02 then at least copy a real espionage tv show like Alias instead Miami *sucks balls* vice…

    • I think it’s more GTA Vice City than Miami Vice. Not that it’s blatantly obvious or anything.

  16. This is my theory. With talks of a live action movie (maybe in the early stages) I realized if they did a movie it would kill the animated series which would be a loss. In fact just seeing photos of the live actors in the sound booth has sort of killed it for me. A peak behind the curtain. Season 5 I can almost invision the actors sitting around a table going over the lame script. So my theory, they are killing the animated series in purpose so in 2 years time they can turn out a hopefully extremely stylized live action movie that in comparison with season 5 will be 200% better as opposed to only 50% better than seasons 1 – 4 (and really rake in the bucks). This has to be the reason.

    • Please try to refrain from pulling this stuff out of your ass and coming up with completely misguided and totally uninformed ‘theories’. There are no talks of a live action movie, only of an ‘unreboot, or whatever’ for the next season because of how hard S05 has flopped.

      • Sorry Alex, didn’t mean to tread on your life of being the Archer spokesperson. Perhaps just chiming in to say Season 5 stinks was what I should have wrote. Accidents happen, creative differences take a detour; the fact is Season 5 is such a lame attempt I would have guessed the writers were on strike and the cast was adlibbing. Like many programs before it, this one suffers from taking itself too seriously thinking the audience cares about the characters, back story and reality, which is why season 5 fails. Have a happy life, keep smiling and eat some solid food.

  17. I love the show so much after watching the first season that i bought all the dvds and watched them non stop . Unfortuantely this season SUCKS period. archer is a wimp , lana hardly does or says anything . Pams cocaine addiction was funny at first but now it’s just lame . I agree i think there must be some new writers , too bad

  18. Yeah, it seems they jumped the shark with the whole “Archer Vice” thing. I’m very disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, a paradigm shift in the setting doesn’t have to be bad, but usually is not a good thing. It reminds me a little of “Facts of Life” when Mrs. Garrett and the girls decided to move in together and open a quiche shop when the school closed. Granted, plausibility is irrelevant in Archer. However, after watching the first few episodes, it seems the magic is gone. The chemistry between the characters is lost. I don’t know, but it seems like there must have been some sort of shakeup among the writers. There is nothing there that makes me want to keep watching like the first five seasons did. And I see now I don’t have to. That crap preview sequence made sure that the surprises you’ve come to expect in Archer are deader than Brett.

    • ^ I meant “… like the first four seasons did.”

  19. Frat boy humor at best.

    The writers don’t even have to try, just have a bunch of lame jokes mixed in with obscure references and cliché one liners. What the creators fail to realize is this type of brain dead humor only goes so far.

    Archer is a sinking ship. Good riddance.

  20. I like this season tho, I am mystified that at the end of episode 1 where they previewed all the clips for the whole season, except for the last few flashes where Archer has a lion on his desk, part where everyone is stuck in a life raft with a tiger, and the part where archer was invading Laos with a tiger by his side. That did not become real episodes but instead the storyline changed to the rebellion of San Marcos. Sad, I would love to see the lion. It would have been so cool!

  21. I know I’m late commenting, but since season 6 is close I thought I’d share my thoughts. The writers HAVE to introduce new & viable characters to the show. They killed off Nikolai jakov & Len trexler. Then they ‘introduced’ us to Mallory’s husband Ron (who we had never seen before), just to get rid of him the end of the same season. Where’s Bub, Mallory’s mom? Or Trudy Beekman? Put these people & some others into th show. Bring back Conway stern for an episode or 2.

    Look at South Park (14/15 seasons?) & how they’ve given new characters pretty consistently, yet they’re not going stale th way Archer is after only 4 seasons. If they don’t soon, I don’t see it lasting past season 7

  22. I was super excited to see that season 5 was on Netflix I watched the last half of season 4 and laughed all the way through. Then season 5 came and I about cried when I saw that Lana was pregnant! The back and forth bickering between her and Archer is almost gone! Why did they make her pregnant?! She is suppose to be a super badass and the new headband she is rocking – what is this?! Nothing is being accomplished (no missions or other countries to make fun of). I don’t get what the writers were trying to do with this! Its totally bumming me out as this is my favorite show!

    I have binge watched 1-4 twice and couldn’t even get past S.5 Episode 4 (which btw I watched with no sound). Please tell me this is a horrible nightmare and when I wake up ISIS will be in business, Lana unpregnant, and all the laughable satire and sarcasm I crave will come back.