We’re now three episodes into Archer’s seventh season, which has seen the gang relocate to Los Angeles and set up shop as private investigators. Though Archer probably could have kept going with the secret-agent shenanigans, this new status quo has made an already great show even better. Here’s why.
With the move to LA, there are all kinds of new stuff to make fun of—and a completely new landscape of crimes. The first two episodes center around a case involving an aging (but still sultry enough to fluster Cyril, Archer, and Ray) screen siren and her lascivious lawyer (Patton Oswalt, perfectly guest-cast). We knew the Archer crew was more than capable of being starstruck (see: last season’s run-in with “TV’s Michael Gray!”), but getting a troubled movie star into the plot right away cleverly acknowledged the show’s new location while introducing some new types of characters that we haven’t seen before on the show. What’s more, it offered an homage to classic film noir movies. Archer is known for the random references in its dialogue, but the Sunset Boulevard shout-out was a nifty visual nod to its new setting, too.
But there’s more to LA than Hollywood, as we witnessed last night in “Deadly Prep.” The episode begins with Lana, Mallory, and Sterling scheming about how they’re going to land little A.J. a coveted spot in one of the city’s very elite private schools. This plot could have transpired back in New York, but only in LA could it have placed Archer in the path of someone he’s been avoiding since his own prep school days (“Swirling Archer! Remember how we used to call you Swirling, because of all the swirlies?”) This encounter affords a rare and surprisingly dark insight into Archer’s childhood—and how he became the, uh, unique way he is, something the show hasn’t poked into very much.
But unlike Archer’s fifth season—Archer Vice, which saw the agents becoming drug lords and country singing stars and going a wee bit off the rails—season seven has stayed true to the show’s original milieu, even if its boundaries have changed. We want to see these endearingly dysfunctional characters suiting up in catsuits and night-vision goggles, arming themselves with whatever exotic weapons Krieger has on hand, getting into arguments about stupid stuff while dodging sniper fire, or fist-fighting an entire gang of angry bikers. It’s one of the reasons why we love them.
Just one concern so far about season seven: Pam and Cheryl haven’t yet had much to do but hang out at the office. Pam, especially, had some great moments last season. (Remember the episode that took place alongside her sister Edie’s wedding?) And it would be nice to see her character continue to grow and get even weirder, if that’s actually possible.