Archer Season 6 Episode 3 Review: The Archer Sanction

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This week on Archer Season 6 Episode 3, Sterling, Lana, and Ray go on a mountain-climbing expedition in the Alps to assassinate a foreign leader with the catch being that Archer can't remember who the gang is supposed to assassinate.

Was the plot whole ever addressed over why Lana didn't get the dossier file to begin with? The best defense I can come up with is that this is nothing new: Headquarters (or what's left of it) has a long history of being foolishly optimistic that Archer will bother to read the dossier.

Nonetheless, the gang gets to the Alpine lodge and Archer immediately starts being obnoxious to the guide Crash McCaren who, to be fair, is a little bombastic. It is such a close call here over whether Archer is being his usual self or whether there's a hint of jealousy over Lana.

Fortunately, that's the only Archer-Lana romantic tension we get this week. It might be due to the presence of a third wheel or the life-threatening (or at the very least unpleasant) conditions but the Archer and Lana interactions are consigned mostly to bickering. I'm sure the Lana-Archer shippers will have something different to say but antagonistic bickering is the sweet spot for humor with these two.

The clue that the assassin came from an Axis power comes across like Archer is talking to us as gumshoes on "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego." A little less sloppy on the exposition, guys?

Scenery-wise, the episode borrows the same Alpine backdrop from Archer Season 2 Episode 1, Swiss Miss, and while the exotic location is kind of nice, an excursion like this is ultimately about the foreign characters. None of the three mountain climbers of Axis nationalities had much of a chance to make an impression which seems like a lot of unused potential.

Could they have at least given one of them a hilarious tic? I'm sure at least a couple of the voice actors had crazy German/Italian/Japanese characters on their back burner they'd been dying to use.

The Canadian-Irish guide is still moderately amusing as one of the typical Archer bouncers. If you haven't heard of that term before, that's because I just coined it as "someone whose primary function in the scene is to be annoyed/perplexed by Archer's boorishness" so stay with me.

He then turns into the villain for about thirty seconds of screen time, which seemed like a more interesting direction to take the episode.

In fact, episodes like this remind me of how much of the humor from the show comes from the gang in fighting or problem-solving situations. This was a highly passive episode as Archer and the gang were responsible for none of the proceeding deaths leading up to the big reveal and didn't really do much except alternatively fawn over Crash (Ray and Lana) or begrudgingly ignore all of his instructions (Archer). Both the crushing and the begrudgingly ignoring were pretty hilarious.

At the same time, this is all indicative of how Archer can function perfectly well as a hangout show: The character dynamic is so strong that watching these guys do nothing of importance is still pretty satisfying. Now's a good time to segue to the B-plot which broke new ground in terms of sheer aimlessness.

But, hey, it was pretty funny. Seeing Cheryl throw out a little Archer at Cyrill by asking "Who am I?" was pretty priceless.

Cheryl: What the stupid shit are you doing??
Cyril: You said you wanted watermelon.
Cheryl: Watermelon's red?
Cyril: Yes. How do you not know that?
Cheryl: Who am I? Charles Frederick Andress?

Still, there's no reason a mission can't be exciting like Archer Season 4 Episode 8, "Coyote Lovely," or Archer Season 4 Episode 11, "The Papal Chase."

What did you think? Do you like Archer and Lana best when they're bickering or do you prefer more touching moments between the two? Do you think Ray gets abused too much? Did the episode reach its potential?  Don't forget you can watch Archer online here at TV Fanatic.

The Archer Sanction Review

Editor Rating: 2.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (12 Votes)

Orrin Konheim was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in October 2020. Follow him on Twitter and his personal blog at Sophomore Critic.

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Archer Season 6 Episode 3 Quotes

Cheryl: What the stupid shit are you doing??
Cyril: You said you wanted watermelon.
Cheryl: Watermelon's red?
Cyril: Yes. How do you not know that?
Cheryl: Who am I? Charles Frederick Andress?

Crash: I'm your guide, Crash McCarren. Um, I thought there were three of you.
Archer: One of us is weeping in the car.