Movie Review: Archer Season 14

As Archer returns for its fourteenth and final season, it’s almost time for The Agency to take one last excursion into the danger zone. Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) and friends have been making audiences laugh for more than a decade with their crazy antics as the world’s most absurd bunch of superspies. Season 14 seems to be the series’ final set of tasks, and if the first four episodes are any indicator, we won’t want to say goodbye come the end.

After a couple more experimental seasons in which the series experimented with parallel universes while Archer was in a coma, the tale saw the titular spy awaken to find that his pals had changed significantly while he was unconscious. Though there are still plenty of new components to look forward to, Season 14 of Archer seems like a return to form for the show, both in terms of the quality of the comedy and the consistency of the plot.


The sitcom returns on August 30 with a two-part season opening, and while we won’t disclose what occurs, it’s certainly one of Archer’s greatest two-episode arcs in a long time.

Following the loss of Emmy-winning actress Jessica Walter, Season 12 of Archer sent Agency matriarch Malory out in style. Following her absence, the gang spent the entirety of Season 13 taking turns in command, eventually reclaiming the agency from the International Intelligence Agency (IIA) and finally putting Lana (Aisha Tyler) in the leadership role that she’s been destined for since the series’ inception. Lana taking on the new job is a logical progression for the tale, and the transition phase provides lots of laughter as she embraces the role.

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Screenshot 15Lana manages to achieve, not exactly a perfect balance, but a completely Lana-style balance that makes her the greatest match to step into Malory’s shoes on her first day as the boss, despite having an actual body in the wall on her first day as the boss. Lana is easily The Agency’s greatest spy, so having her as the leader has been a long time coming; it’s bad we’ll only get to see her in that capacity for eight episodes.

The two-parter also introduces a new series regular in the form of Interpol agent Zara Khan (Natalie Dew), whose techniques make Archer’s usual tactics look childish. Zara is a terrific addition to the series and a great counterbalance for the wisecracking spy. Her presence throws Archer off balance, making him feel uneasy and forcing him to establish himself as a fresh member. Only time will tell if his instincts about her are true, but seeing them bounce off one other adds a rivalrous spark that many of Archer’s prior foils lacked.

In addition to new characters and power systems, Archer Season 14 returns to its roots. Not only does the crew spend more time in the office, but each character returns to the jobs they held when the series first began. Putting each of these people back in that context reveals how much some of them have evolved, while others have remained as mad as they’ve always been — yeah, I’m talking about Krieger (Lucky Yates) and Cheryl (Judy Greer).

Krieger is back in his lab making bizarre inventions and disposing of victims in entirely regular, non-heinously unlawful ways, while Cheryl has taken over as Lana’s assistant, demonstrating that her experience in the field only helped to make her more demented. Greer, like with all of her endeavours, is a natural standout when it comes to comic delivery, with some of Cheryl’s one-liners leaving you panting for air.

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Meanwhile, Cyrill (Chris Parnell) has morphed back into his previous function after peaking as the world’s finest spy during Archer’s coma. Archer himself is more adorable as usual, exuding huge himbo spy Kenergy as he drinks, flirts, and recklessly flies into danger zones. Pam (Amber Nash), on the other hand, must dust off her desk as The Agency’s whole HR department, and it’s instantly evident how much she’s developed during the season.

Pam, now a fully-fledged agent in her own right, is considerably more suited to spending her time as a super spy, although still knows the job through and out. As a fan of all of these characters, but especially Pam and Lana, I’m thrilled to see how far they’ve progressed since Season 1.

Screenshot 16Season 14’s comedy is refreshing, with the show allowing these characters to be as zany and outrageous as they should always be. The animation technique remains traditional and clean, giving the 2D figures a paper doll appearance that made me think, “This is what my Barbies would do, in Barbie Land.” Season 14 also brings back numerous familiar characters that will make longtime fans happy.

One lingering concern coming into the final episodes that has yet to be answered is whether Archer and Lana will eventually end up together. Though it appears that their romance has been put on hold for some time, that will-they-won’t-they vibe still lingers over the two of them. It’s also unknown if we’ll see Pam’s girlfriend Alessia (Alison Pill) again, though the two appeared to be quite happy together at the conclusion of Season 13, so it’s very conceivable they’re still long-distance dating.

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Screenshot 17While Season 14 is off to a great start, it doesn’t appear like the series is coming to an end. The first half of the season has given the programme fresh vitality, and the new team dynamics have an attraction that will undoubtedly survive the next eight episodes.

There’s so little time remaining in The Agency that it’s tough to foresee how Archer will end the series, especially given that it’s episodic in nature, with each operation lasting little more than one or two episodes. Hopefully, by getting things started well, it will end on a high note, leaving fans delighted with the final exploits of their favourite spy.