Archer: Fugue and Riffs Review

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By Alex Hall (@AlexKHall)

Season 4 of Archer premiered last night and per usual for the series as of late: it was laugh out loud funny. There were great little scenes with Archer and Lana, great references and callbacks to earlier episodes and one of the best opening scenes in the show’s history.

It’s well known that the voice behind Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) is also the voice behind Bob Belcher on the Fox show: Bob’s Burgers. In reference to that fact, Adam Reed and the minds behind Archer opened Season 4 with their main character suffering from amnesia. Archer believes that his name is Bob and is working at a burger joint named “Bob’s Burgers” with cameos from all the main actors of Benjamin’s other series.

Obviously it helps that Fox is the parent network of FX to pull off a scene like this, but you never see shows reference other shows the cast might also be in anymore. It’s happened when one show has gone wrapped and an actor has moved onto a new show, but almost never happens when both shows are both still on television. The opening scene was a stroke of genius on the part of Reed and company.

The opening scene ends with a KGB hits squad bursting into the burger joint to kill Archer, who quickly disposes of the team; much to Archer’s surprise. This incident confuses “Bob”, who doesn’t understand way he could take down a hit squad or knew Russian.

Word gets back to Isis about what happened at Bob’s Burgers, and the team finally finds where Archer has been for two months and learns of his amnesia. In order to snap him out of the amnesia, Mallory and the rest of Isis decide to manufacture a dangerous situation in which Archer will rediscover who he actually is.

Things go wrong of course and the KGB storm after all of the Isis team, which leads to Archer somewhat discovering his true identity. Unfortunately for him, it took a smack from a frying pan by Lana to fully get back to his old self.

The frying pan was actually a great little callback to a throwaway line by Krieger earlier in the episode. The team was asking its resident scientist why everyone had to go through the trouble of “easing Archer back into things”, to which he says “this isn’t The Flinstones, we can’t just hit him on the head with a frying pan.”

Archer has always done an amazing job of having throwaway lines catch on to become beloved or actually coming back to play a significant role. It’s a series that makes its audience pay attention to every little line. You can’t fully appreciate an Archer episode unless you’re fully engaged and attentive and that’s part of what makes it great.

What was also done well was the way the episode kept less involved characters interesting. Even though minor characters like Pam and Cheryl weren’t the focus of the season premier, both had a great scene where they were relaxing at the spa and downing a bag of LSD gummy bears. Again, it all comes back to the fact there are no wasted lines or scenes on this show.

Overall, Season 4 of Archer really kicked off with a bang and I don’t expect the season to go anywhere but up from this point on.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

 


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