After a seemingly directionless season, the writers of Archer pulled an Albert Camus and managed to wrap everything up neatly in the waning minutes of the show’s fifth installment.
In truth, it was surprising. I had this review written in my head for weeks. The article was going to discuss how this season was nothing more than a half-baked stopgap solution that bought the writers enough time to come up with new story lines for the future when everything returned to normal and Isis, unlike Brett, would be resurrected from the dead.
The comedy I so looked forward to each week quickly became disposable and begged the question, why did the show’s creator, Adam Reed, not take a cue from Flight of the Conchords and call it quits when they ran out of original material?
Fortunately, Reed did not do so.
The finale ended in somewhat of a predictable fashion — but I will not spoil it by discussing the details for those who have yet to watch the show. Despite this fact, the final episode of season five opened up a lot of potential story lines for future episodes (CIA relations, clone Krieger, the baby, etc.) and made me feel foolish for glancing over previous episodes.
As Archer’s tinnitus kicks in and he asks if he just woke up from a coma, the viewer is left to believe that, not only will things return back to normal, but a re-viewing of the entire season will reveal all of the hidden jokes, carefully planted foreshadowing, and subtly developed subplots.
In this regard, this season was akin to the fourth season of Arrested Development.* It was far from the funniest of seasons and did not contain the most memorable lines or moments. Rather, it was an intricately woven one-off that requires multiple viewings.
Kudos to you, Archer. Although this season may have, in fact, bought the writers more time to come up with better Isis/mission material, the season finale piqued my interest and left me excited to see where the show will go from here.
* All of the guest stars and cameos from Arrested Development do not hurt this case either.