Archer Season 14: Episodes 1-4 Review

The Final Season of Archer: A Nostalgic Return to its Origins

The 14th and final season of Archer premieres Wednesday, August 30 at 10 pm ET on FXX, with episodes streaming the next day on Hulu.

Returning to its Spy-Spoof-Meets-Workplace-Sitcom Roots

FXX’s Archer has remained consistently entertaining by continuously reinventing itself, but for its 14th and final season, the writers have decided to bring the series full circle. They are returning to the original spy-spoof-meets-workplace-sitcom formula that made the show so beloved. In the first four episodes of the season, the characters find new ways to fit into familiar dynamics, showcasing their evolution or stubborn refusal to change over the years. This season is a bittersweet farewell to the smart and absurdist humor that defines Archer.

A Return to Classic Archer

After experimenting with different genres and dynamics, season 14 sees superspy Sterling Archer and his coworkers back to operating in the same way they did in season 1. They are forced to balance the world of espionage with mundane office problems, such as renovations and employee evaluations. The major change is Archer’s ex-partner Lana Kane taking on the role of leading the team. Lana now struggles to be a different type of boss than Archer’s mother, Malory Archer, but ends up replicating her behaviors. The season presents a feeling of history repeating itself and provides a sense that the story could continue indefinitely.

The Evolution of the Characters

While most of the characters have evolved, mad scientist Dr. Algernop Krieger remains hilariously unchanged with his outlandish ideas and unconventional statements. Pam Poovey and Cyril Figgis, who both became field agents, have returned to clumsily juggling their office jobs with dangerous missions. Cheryl/Carol Tunt is revealed to be both psychotic and wealthy, fitting perfectly within the new hierarchy. Lana’s absence in the field allows for the introduction of Zara Khan, who brilliantly fills Lana’s role as Sterling’s foil in the field. The characters’ roles may have shifted, but their essence remains true.

Sharp Writing and Smart Humor

The writing in season 14 remains as sharp as ever, blending Archer’s silly antics with extremely smart jokes. The first episode alone includes a jab at anglerfish reproduction and an extended riff on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado.” The limited animation style keeps the action sequences dialogue-driven, allowing for witty banter and creative solutions to their predicaments.

Exploring Action Tropes and Challenging Morality

The plots of the episodes range from James Bond spoofs to missions reminiscent of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning. The third episode, “Plaque Removal,” takes a different direction with a reverse Indiana Jones and a child sidekick. These episodes provide opportunities for on-the-nose jokes while also questioning the morality of the team’s missions.