Now that the transition period is over, with Archer and the gang successfully out of ISIS and trying to sort out their lives, the beginning of what will undoubtedly be a long series of unfortunate events with familiar past characters began to rain down with Monday night’s episode.
We catch up with Mallory Archer trying to get the group organized with a set of cocaine deals that should bring them out of the red with the government, and get back in business. Archer has been thrown out of his penthouse suite, along with Woodhouse (Who has moved into an empty pool). Lana is struggling to move about with her pregnancy, and Ray has been forced to tutor Cheryl’s ridiculously awful singing. Pam, two episodes in, is now addicted to cocaine. As if her personality wasn’t overly intense as it was. The only one who seems at home is Cyril, who is back to studying law and money laundering in an effort to help ISIS wiggle out of legal trouble. Why he is willing to go through all of this to help a group of people he really doesn’t like, I have no idea. But it seems as though he is going to be the voice of reason for the season.
The gang has their first deal to sell some of their nefariously accumulated cocaine with one of Archer’s old friends from season 1’s “Honeypot,” in Ramon (Voiced by Ron Perlman, of all people). The awkward sexual tension between the two characters is the butt of most of the jokes, though we are re-introduced to a somewhat, ah, flamboyant pair of roller skating criminals from the same episode.
The deal, inevitably, goes sour and ISIS ends up with a suitcase full of counterfeit bills for their trouble. It wasn’t that the episode wasn’t funny; it was, but I think they could do to cut down on the self-referencing a bit. Almost every scene a character references something funny that happened in a previous season. It might prompt you to go: “I know, I watched it, it was humorous,” and hope that at some point the show makes some new jokes to stand on its own legs.
The season has not disappointed so far. But if you are going to do what the writers dared to, and change plot completely, they will need to keep adding new characters, new situations, and jokes, rather than leaning on what they have already done. Not every returning bad guy is as funny as Barry. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is the last of the old bad guys we’re going to see. I wouldn’t be shocked if we saw armless diversity hire Conway Stern return at some point.