My love for Sterling Malory Archer and the exploits of the gang at ISIS knows no bounds. Last night the second season of Archer came to a close and greatly exceeded my expectations, particularly impressive for a series that already made my best of 2010 in television list.
In its second season, Archer effectively expanded the world it inhabits both in geography but also in character development as well. We got to know Lana, Malory, Cyril, Cheryl, Pam, and Woodhouse much more in depth than the first season, often getting episodes that primarily put these secondary characters front and center with the star of the show effectively inhabiting the margins of the episode. In particular “El Secuestro” and “The Double Deuce” were string episodes that built the back story. However the most important development of all was the maturing of Archer himself from petulant man-child to a character, while still absurd, to one with real emotional weight.
Archer also established an effective foil for Archer (other than his mother and Lana) in ODIN agent Barry Dillon who after being shot and captured by the KGB has now been reborn as a cyborg double agent of the KGB. Which brings me to last night’s episode. Archer has fallen for KGB defector Katya Kazanova only to lose her to the now revenge crazed Barry. Katya dies and Barry lives on, no doubt to return next season while Archer will have to deal with the pain of losing the person he loved (if for only a short time).
This plot development will likely provide our main narrative thrust for next season’s sixteen episodes in addition to the still lingering question of who is Archer’s father, two story lines that will no doubt become intertwined. As for the third season, Archer is one of the better success stories on television by increasing its ratings year-over-year making next season’s pickup relatively painless versus last year. Archer over the course of two season has remained true to itself, making me look forward to what next season brings.