Archer: The Man from Jupiter Review

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After a lengthy hiatus which followed a rather disappointing story arch, the animated spy-spoof Archer made a slightly-warmer-than-lukewarm comeback to FX Network tonight, with the ISIS gang’s neuroses on full display.

Sterling is up in arms after discovering his mother and his childhood hero, Burt Reynolds, out on a date. So shattered is he to see the mustachioed actor and his dearest mother having drinks with “sex implied,” that he conspires a typically Freudian plot to make sure this never happens again – by kidnapping Reynolds and faking his disappearance. Meanwhile, he also has to deal with a Cuban hit squad which is after him. Hilarity ensues.

While this episode has its fair share of laughs, it falls short by relying almost exclusively on popular culture references. The characters reference a host of (what I assume are) Burt Reynolds movies. Some of these jokes are accessible to all, but a host of them seem limited to Burt Reynolds fanatics and a lot of the time, I felt like I was missing something. Even now, writing this straight after seeing the episode, I find it difficult to think of a joke that doesn’t center around the “Burt Reynolds is a badass” motif.

Unfortunately, there’s a fairly action-packed car chase scene at the end of the episode which makes heavy use of 3D animation. I’ve always been a fan of Archer’s unique animation style, and I was rather disappointed to see the smooth 2D animation interrupted by jerky 3D renderings that make the show seem like a cheap video game cutscene. I do hope this is the last we see of 3D in Archer, as it completely ruins the show’s effortlessly “cool” style.

Still though, it was an entertaining enough episode and it’s good to see the Man in the Black Turtleneck – and the hijinks of his coworkers – once again. Lets hope they make a stronger showing next week. 6/10

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