THE FIGGIS AGENCY – 7/10
You should literally, not figuratively, rejoice because everyone’s favourite spy has returned. Archer is back for its 7th season and it continues to be the most intelligently written comedy since Arrested Development. If you aren’t familiar with the show then you need to stop what you are doing and spend some quality ‘Netflix and chill’ time catching up on the last 6 seasons. Yes it still counts as Netflix and chill if you are on your own, at least that is what I tell myself. If you’re not familiar with the show then the simple but effective premise is that Stirling Archer is the world’s greatest spy and biggest jerk. He works for his controlling, alcoholic mother at her spy agency, ISIS (yes, that’s really what it’s called) along with a cast of loveable idiots and psychotics.
The episode starts with a flash forward featuring Archer’s apparent corpse floating in the pool of legendary actress, Veronica Dean. This will likely form the narrative thread for the rest of the season as we discover the events that led to that moment. Season 5 saw the gang try their hand at drug dealing without much success, and the show has once again reinvented itself as the ISIS team has now been blacklisted by the CIA and can no longer work as spies. Naturally, Archer convinces Mallory to relocate to LA and start a private detective agency. Unfortunately neither Archer, Ray, Mallory or Lana are able to qualify for a Californian PI’s licence, but Cyril can which is how Archer comes to find himself as an employee of The Figgis Agency.
Of course if the agency is going to survive then they will need clients, so it is a relief when an incognito Hollywood icon wanders in to the office. She introduces herself as famed actress Veronica Dean, which naturally causes everyone to lose their minds. She hires the agency to retrieve a computer disk that was stolen from her, the disc contains ‘sensitive information’ and is being kept at the home of a lawyer named Shapiro. She offers them $100,000 to retrieve the disc with the upmost discretion. Before the mission Archer pays a visit to Krieger who is as gloriously weird as ever and tries to arm them with a thermal lance and some tranquiliser filled doggy treats that he has named “Hush Puppies”, brilliant, just brilliant.
The break in begins well enough with Archer, Ray and Lana gaining access to Shapiro’s hillside condo. But things quickly begin to fall apart when they are attacked by two large Rottweilers who seem more interested in eating Archer than the Hush Puppies. Archer takes an incredibly large fall over the balcony and down the side of the hill, leaving Lana and Ray to get on with the mission without his constant distraction. He eventually makes his way back into the condo just as Ray is retrieving the computer disk from Shapiro’s safe. Unfortunately he has left a trail of blood that led Shapiro and his armed guards right to them. Lana asks how he could not realise that he was bleeding that much and he responds by admitting that he has been guzzling pain killers he found at the office, although he doesn’t have enough to share.
They fight their way out of the condo, running from a tirade of bullets and grenades. Archer tells Ray to use his cyborg legs to get Lana to safety (oh, Ray has cyborg legs by the way) while he escapes by once again flinging himself down the hill. Back at the office Veronica Dean shows up to reclaim her disc and hand over a check for $100,000 to Cyril. The gang is excited to have completed their first case. However the celebrations soon stop when the real Veronica Dean walks into the office claiming that she would like to hire the Figgis Agency to work for her. She reveals that she heard about the agency through a flyer that was left on her car, designed and distributed by Pam and featuring a beagle named Furlock Bones. Clearly The Figgis Agency needs to up its game.
This was a really strong return for a show that has never been anything but brilliant. If you’re a fan of Archer then you know what to expect from it and you will be happy to know that it hasn’t missed a beat. The dialogue was as crisp as ever with so many stand-out moments that it is hard to pick just one, but if nothing else we learnt that Lance Biggerstaff is the perfect name for both a gay porn star and wizard. Just as with the drug dealing season, brilliantly named Archer Vice, the PI concept allows the writers to explore new ground with the characters while still doing pretty much the same thing they have always done. But despite everything Archer remains the same, lovable, drunken, boorish pig that we know and love, welcome back Duchess.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- Who is the fake Veronica Dean and what part will she play in Archer’s downfall? I’m still not convinced that that was his body floating in the pool.
- It was a nice touch to see Ray using his wheelchair for most of the episode. He gets crippled so often it probably is easier just to keep the thing around.
- Awesome things that Archer thinks: chickens give birth to live young, gravity is a dick and Crabs isn’t technically a disease. What a guy!
- Cyril claiming to be the boss clearly isn’t sitting well with anyone. I wonder who will be the first to snap, my guess is Lana.