Archer: El Contador

Continuity on animated series is an interesting thing . On the one hand, the easy thing to do is just keep everyone in the same place forever- no one’s aging and nothing will ever change unless there’s a conscious decision to do so. Why not take advantage of that and never change anyone’s status at any point in the show?

And most cartoons do just that. As I type this, I’m trying to think of a list of animated series that actually use elongated story arcs to some degree. It’s a very short list. Frisky Dingo, sure. Futurama dabbled in it just a little bit (the story of Nibbler fighting the giant brains spans several episodes, and Leela and Fry actually fell in love- even though the show’s done a terrible job of keeping them in a relationship). And that’s about all I can think of.



Which brings me to Archer, because in El Contador-

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-the big news is that Cecil gets promoted to field agent, replacing the now-in-a-wheelchair Ray Gillette. Frankly, my initial gut reaction to this was not a great one- I think Adam Reed (the voice of Ray) is a much more talented voice actor than Chris Parnell (the voice of Cyril) will ever be, and my opinion on Archer is still “the snappier the dialogue, the better.” Cyril, as a character, is not conducive to snappy dialogue in the slightest.

Case in point: the moments in El Contador where I found myself laughing the most were the times when Cyril disappeared (or was being savagely beaten and couldn’t talk) and we were left with just Archer and Lana. This show thrives on chemistry and fast-paced pop culture references (like the Predator’s telltale shimmer) and Cyril as a character just can’t hold his own in this regard.

So here’s the question- If Archer plans to make “Field Agent Cyril” a regular thing, what’s the motive behind all this? Does Adam Reed have too much other work to do in other aspects of the show and wanted to cut down on his voice acting duties? Are the creators of Archer more confident in Cyril then I am?

I honestly don’t know. And honestly, most of this is just due to my love of Ray as a character and Reed as a voice actor. If Ray continues to have a significantly lesser presence on this show (as he did this week), I’ll miss him dearly.

And with that out of the way, allow me to move on to the episode itself. In El Contador, Archer, Lana and Cyril head down to South America to play bounty hunter and catch a notorious drug lord (as ISIS is running dangerously low on funding and could use the reward money). Archer and Lana are captured, but Cyril is able to finagle his way into the drug lord’s good graces and ultimately proves himself to be a decent field agent.

And while I spent a good portion of this review ragging on Cyril, the way his character develops here actually works pretty well. I figured what we’d get was Cyril being a terrible field agent, only to miraculously save everyone in the end (or, alternatively, just fail miserably at anything and everything). Instead, what we get is a Cyril who’s field agent skills match his character pretty well. He can’t shoot or fight or do anything athletic at all, but the mere fact that he’s responsible, pays attention to detail, and doesn’t spend all his time (hilariously) bickering like Lana and Archer do means he picks up on things that the other characters couldn’t. He’s still no Ray. He never will be. But he’ll do in a pinch.

Also, hearing the drug lord cry out “what the hell, damn guy” (a catchphrase lifted from Adam Reed’s previous show, Frisky Dingo) made my smile until my face hurt. Thanks for that one, everyone who works on Archer.

And you know, I think that about does it. This wasn’t my all-time favorite Archer, but El Contador had its moments. Really, I think everything I’m in contention with will get resolved as the show works through this new Cyril-intensive plot development. And I can live with that.

Also, I didn’t really touch on the sub-plot of Krieger testing his new drug on the rest of the staff, but it honestly didn’t make much of an impression on me at all. Normally, I feel like if Lana, Archer, or Mallory aren’t really prevalent in a scene then the writers tend to go overboard on outlandish weirdness until it feels like we’re watching a totally different show. Swing and a miss.

And I think that about does it. Thanks for reading everybody!


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