TV review: ‘Archer’ premiere hits target

By Joe O'Leary

As “Archer” dives into its third season, having premiered Thursday night on FX, it’s brought out its biggest gun yet. The show has referenced Burt Reynolds in dialogue from characters many times, and Archer himself adores him, so it made perfect sense for Burt Reynolds to come onto the show to voice… himself?

Yes, “The Man from Jupiter” featured the mustachioed man playing a cartoon version of himself, as Archer begins the episode meeting him at a bar (and nearly getting into a fight with him). Archer’s dreams of meeting Reynolds are shattered, however, when he finds out that Burt’s dating Mallory. His issues with his mother, due to their ridiculously messed-up relationship, bring out Archer’s more desperate side, leading him to kidnap Reynolds. During this, the rest of the team tries to save Archer from a Cuban hit squad that the secret agent doesn’t seem to care about.

The episode played off the dynamic of Reynolds’ introduction well, as every character’s dialogue mentions him. Archer wavers between being a gleeful Reynolds fanboy and vindictive towards the man who’s dating his mother. Reynolds, in return, gives him life lessons and co-creates a sequel to Reynolds’ film, “Gator,” offering Sterling a writer’s credit. Their characters come together in a frequently hilarious conversation of “pim’s cups” and “pimp cups.”

Mallory’s angry throughout the episode because she thinks Reynolds left a note dumping her, though it was done by Archer. Her reaction, to cry heavily and drink, leads to some great spiteful putdowns and comments. Jessica Walters is as good as ever as Malloy Archer, and in the face of the “Arrested Development” reunion – if it happens – it’s awesome that we’ll get to see both of her great comedic TV characters on television at the same time. Pam and Cheryl are tasked with watching their boss, while they both gush over Reynolds. Mallory is feisty in this one; she threatens to throw Cheryl “in a mental ward with total amnesia under someone else’s name,” and that’s even before she finds the note, which she finds is signed “Regards!”

Lana, Cyril, Krieger and Gillette are tasked with stopping the assassins out to kill Sterling, but in yet another Archer bonehead move, the Cubans mistake Gillette for Archer, and end up getting into a firefight. The meat of the jokes were in the plot, as Gillette’s wheelchair equipment prevents the group from escaping, leading the group to make some really messed up jokes at his expense. Cyril is especially great in the episode, as he fires his tiny handgun out the window randomly during the firefight and accidentally turns on Krieger’s anime girlfriend.

“The Man from Jupiter” takes a gamble introducing Reynolds as himself, but it largely succeeds with the gimmick. Every character has something to do, the plots hilariously merge at the climax, and the little side jokes provide laughs. Everything in the episode just works, and the show is firing on all cylinders so far in season three. I’m excited to see the rest of the season, which holds promise and will also feature an appearance from Walter White himself, Bryan Cranston.

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