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Archer: "The Handoff" Review/Recap - Cinema Shelf
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Archer: “The Handoff” Review/Recap

Rating: 8/10

The seventh season of Archer starting by setting itself up as one of the most unique seasons yet. While the show has seen the protagonists change setting and profession before, it has not delivered, or even really attempted, the kind of season-long arc hinted in the flash-forward cold open of the premier episode. The second episode picks up exactly where the premier leaves off: being hired by actress Veronica Deane to recover the same disc that they had stolen at the behest of her impostor, and which they have already given to the mysterious party that hired them.

Archer and Lana meet with Alan Shapiro, Ms. Deane’s lawyer (voiced by Patton Oswalt), whose very house they robbed (“burgled,” according to Sterling) just the day before. Shapiro had been contacted by the culprits with the disc, who have arranged to exchange the disc for $2 million. He is allowed to bring only his limo driver, which results in Lana dressed in a buttoned up chauffeur’s uniform, with Archer left in the trunk.

When they arrive to make the exchange at a Buddhist shrine (a nod to The Usual Suspects), they are met by a biker gang. Upon finding that the suitcase is filled not with money, but the pink fliers Pam had made for the new Figgis Agency, they take Lana, Alan, and (unknowingly) Archer to their bar/headquarters.

Back at the Figgis Agency office, the rest of the gang are all worried, having not heard from Archer and Lana. After Lana does not call back for hours, Mallory begrudgingly dials Archer’s number, expecting one of his elaborate voicemail hoaxes. His ringing cell phone attracts the attention of the biker gang. The resulting scuffle is only heard by the viewer, as we see the rest of the office all biding their time, waiting for what they think is the inevitable “beep” from the voicemail.

The extended sequence, devoid of all dialogue outside of the tortured screams heard over the speakerphone, is the kind of joke that can be difficult to pull off, but given the constant banter that usually exists, their surprising patience itself is almost a gag in and of itself. It’s the kind of thing that might not land for a new viewer, but for those familiar with the show’s dynamic, it’s perfect.

When we cut back to Archer, he is naked and bloodied, but the area is strewn with the battered and dead bodies of the bikers. As he rescues Lana and Shapiro, the office realizes that the phone line is still open, and that Archer is actually in trouble. Krieger uses his tracking technology to get the GPS location of Archer’s phone and the entire office immediately heads over. A final standoff ensues with the two remaining bikers, with Mallory’s badass laser-sighted revolver saving the day.

Back at the office, the gang assesses their first foray into P.I. work with a Pros/Cons list, which is devised with amusing democracy. The interplay in this scene is representative of these first two episodes, which do a great job at keeping par with the kind of sharp banter the show that is one of the highlights of the series as a whole. Despite the more serialized format indicated by the premier, the second wraps up pretty definitively, and most of the proceedings feel very similar. The “meet guest character – infiltrate place with armed thugs – defeat armed thugs” structure has been used plenty of times throughout the series, but the rapid-fire jokes are on point, as is the always great voice cast. For now, season 2 is on the good pace set by it’s premier.

Image above: zap2it.com

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