Tonight marks the return of Archer, which may just be the best animated spy action-comedy in the history of animated spy action-comedies.
If you haven't seen our Archer season 2 preview, the second season of Sterling Malory "Duchess" Archer's misadventures comes with more witty banter, epic action, twisted and hilarious quotables and of course, 68% more sex than we saw last season (by my careful scientific estimate). And it all kicks off with the season 2 premiere, "Swiss Miss".
Again, if you aren't informed about the show, who the characters are, and where things left off at the end of Archer season one, be sure to check out our Archer season 2 preview, which will get you all caught up on everything you need to know.
In "Swiss Miss" Archer and the ISIS team travel to a Swiss mountain resort to protect an underage heiress from being assassinated. Archer vows to behave himself around the tempting youth, but when she tries to seduce him, the world's greatest spy finds himself at the wrong end of a "Boy Who Cried Wolf" scenario.
Amidst all the borderline illegal sexual tension, a pair of identical twin assassins hatch a plan to eliminate both the heiress and Archer. Epic spy action ensues.
This episode contained all the stuff I liked about Archer season one - great dialogue and banter; bawdy humor you almost feel demented for laughing at; plenty of animated sex appeal (because that IS a thing, apparently); and some cool spy action. Not only did "Swiss Miss" offer these familiar Archer tropes, it had them neatly ordered and polished to perfection.
It's clear that the cast and crew of the show have found a rhythm and comfort zone in exploring the many "danger zones" of Archer's spy lifestyle. Some of the season one episodes felt a bit disjointed in the execution of their multiple plotlines, and it was apparent that there was a lot of experimentation going on insofar as the amount of screen time that was alloted to the supporting characters.
In my opinion the show got exponentially better once it became more of a clearly-cut ensemble effort, and all of the best supporting characters were pushed up from the background to the forefront in the latter half of season 1. (For example, Judy Greer's character Cheryl was suppossed to die early on, but thankfully they kept her around.)
"Swiss Miss" continued to split up screen time wisely between the characters, and the sub-plot with Malory and Pam ending up in a cringe-worthy threesome after too many "green Russians" (Absinthe + milk) was some hilariously gross stuff. Can't wait to see if that running gag (Pam having a secret to hold over Malory) gets woven into the rest of season 2. I also enjoyed seeing Ray Gillette (voiced by show creator Adam Reed) being brought into principal fold of characters. After all, it makes sense to have Ray front and center since the voice behind his lines happens to be the same guy who thinks up all this twisted stuff in the first place. Might as well have all your best players out on the field.
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Finally, it was good to see an actual extended action sequence featured in the show (guess they've got the budget for it now). The banter between the actors always snapped like clockwork, but Archer is essentially a spy show, and season 1 admittedly squandered a lot of opportunities for some off-kilter spy action. Thankfully they keep the action quotient much higher this season.
All in all, "Swiss Miss" was a great start for Archer season 2, but trust me when I tell you that there is plenty more hilarity on the way. For example, it would be seriously irresponsible of you to miss the Woodhouse episode "The Double Deuce" when it premieres in a few weeks. It's an instant Archer classic.
Archer season 2 continues for twelve more consecutive episodes airing every Thursday @ 10pm ET/PT on FX.