Archer: “The Figgis Agency” Shakes up the Show, But the Timidness is Palapable

Archer, the self-aware spy parody, has reinvented itself again!  Now, blacklisted by the FBI because of their colossal Fantastic Voyage screwup last season, Archer and his team have become a private investigation agency in Los Angeles, much to Mallory’s chagrin, but when they are enlisted by a famous Hollywood starlet to steal back a sensitive disk for her, things are looking up and up for the new… Figgis Agency.

While it hasn’t always been a complete success, you have to hand it to Archer to have the guts to shake things up and change the formula every other season.  What other show can have our heroes go from spy, to drug-runners, to FBI, to private investigators in only a few years?  True, sometimes the shakeups don’t work and putter out, but you’ve got to respect the spine to completely retool the series when other shows are scared of even altering the formula an iota.

Is this season going to be successful?  Well, it’s too early to say.

Archer certainly jumped enthusiastically into this season, wasting no time with boring transitions… they were just there in LA being a private investigator firm.  It certainly looks like the show is going to smoothly transition into the crime noir genre, but the first few episodes of the drug-running season were also full of piss and vinegar and we all know how that whole thing just kind of ran out of steam and farted to a stop.

“The Figgis Agency” isn’t what I would call Archer at its best.  It certainly stayed true to the characters and had moments of good comedy, but they were inconsistent as though it was trying to world-build and be funny at the same time.  Archer is funniest when he’s at his most incorrigible, but here he’s strangely restrained.  Sure, he complains and yells at people, but no where near as Aspergery as usual.

Indeed, much of the episode seemed muted as though they had just jumped in the pool and couldn’t remember if they could swim.  I’m hoping future episodes will bring the characters and writers a little more comfortable-ness with their new setting, but for now the timidness is palpable.

It’s not to say that “The Figgis Agency” was a bad episode because it most certainly wasn’t… but it wasn’t incredibly funny either and not that memorable.  There was something missing… the spastic way that Archer juggled plots until they crashed into each other.  I missed that.

But perhaps it just needs a little time as I’m sure the audience does as well.

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