I enjoy Archer. I do. I really, truly do. But my love for Archer is not forgiving, or kind, or sweet-natured.
No, my love for Archer is what people call “tough love.” And I’m about to serve up a heaping helping of this toughened love. Right here. Right now.
Frankly, I thought The Limited was just okay.
While you’re reeling from that heavy blow, you can go ahead and hit “Continue Reading.”
If you’ve read my previous Archer writeups, you’ll know my take on the show is “the more banter, the better.” And there was plenty of banter here in The Limited- Babou the ocelot, George the porter, raw steaks, train-top fights- the agents from ISIS had a whole mess o’ topics to draw from last night as they shot zingers back and forth amongst the actual gunshots.
But something about The LImited just felt lifeless. And I’m pretty sure that something was Bilko, the Canadian terrorist who serves as our villain of the week. Bilko’s goal is a free Nova Scotia, but that’s really his only defining characteristic, and without anything else to build up his character he comes off as very tame (that may be subtle shot at Canadians- it’s a little hard to tell). Even when his cohorts show up on board, there’s never a sense that this guy poses any threat whatsoever.
Archer himself even supports this with a running gag about how he’s never actually in any real danger because everyone trying to kill him is Canadian. Yes, this is a comedy and yes, H. Jon Benjamin gets some great one-liners out of his Canada-bashing, but the weakness in these action segments was still noticeable.
And while we’re on the subject of racial jokes (Canadian or otherwise), Bilko has a repeated gag in which he mistakenly thinks Archer is a racist murderer after a bizarre coincidence involving George the porter (a black man) and a large piece of raw steak. The whole thing is a little blunt and not particularly funny, and lends itself to a few clunkers like:
“They just killed the black guy. I know, right? Only in America.”
And later, when Archer proclaims to Bilko that he’s really starting to get angry, Bilko’s response is:
“Why? Did you see a black woman sitting at the front of the bus?”
If you’re going to go to the well of American stereotypes, why not pick something that’s actually a stereotype? Fat Americans. Uncultured Americans. This whole thing feels totally out of left field.
Okay, I’ve finished my rant- now to move onto what I enjoyed in The LImited.
The grand prize winner in this category, of course: Babou the ocelot. I, like Archer, love that little guy’s presence, and Archer’s willingness to drop any and all spy activity to focus on a jungle cat is never not funny. Just look at the way he lights up once he realizes Babou’s on board- the whole thing’s endearing as well as funny and Benjamin nails every ocelot-related line in the episode.
Plus we get more of Cheryl as a billionaire heiress (a side of her we don’t see as much) and Ray gets in a few good ones about his sad, paralyzed life in the background of the show.
Now the last thing I’d like to bring up is what seems to be happening with Cyril as a full-fledged ISIS agent. Last week we saw a Cyril who was still hopelessly naive but could also be a semi-competent field agent. This week, we get all of the naiveté and none of the competence. While it makes sense that Cyril’s never going to be an all-star like Archer or Lana, I’m intrigued to see where they take him into this new development. Will he be talented in an on-again, off-again kind of way? Will he always be a bumbling doofus? Will they go for a radical change and actually have Cyril transform into a top agent?
That last one sounds a little extreme, but it’s worked before- Venture Bros fans will recognize that exact same character arc happened with Henchman 21.
So, Archer fans, as we come to the very last sentence of this article, I pose to you a question- what do YOU want to see happen with Cyril?