As “Archer” continues to carve a name for itself as one of the most beloved animated comedies in TV history, people have a big reason to be excited this week. With the spy-themed series returning for Season 7 on Thursday, many fans may need a quick reminder of where the collection of secret agents left things off at the end of Season 6.
Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) returned with his cohorts in Season 6 as full-fledged CIA operatives after their very unsuccessful attempt to become a drug cartel in the fifth season, titled “Archer: Vice.” With their spy agency finished, the group did odd jobs for the government under the watchful eye of their handler Slater (Christian Slater). What ensued was a series of missions and debacles that were botched in a way that only Archer could. Fed up with cleaning up after the group’s countless messes, Slater gave them one final test.
It has become a tradition on the show to end each season with a two-parter homage to a famous movie. Season 6 was no exception with the gang shrinking down in a parody of the 1966 film “Fantastic Voyage.” Slater tasked everyone, including Cheryl (Judy Greer) and Pam (Amber Nash) since they often stow away anyway, with shrinking down to a molecular level. They had to take an experimental ship into a brilliant doctor’s brain to remove a blood clot that was killing him. If they succeed, they’d each be given $1 million from the CIA. However, if they failed or refused to take the dangerous assignment, not only would they be fired, but the CIA would ensure they’re all black listed and never able to work in espionage again.
Spoiler alert, they failed miserably. Although Archer demonstrates some stunning heroics, they fail to escape the body before coming back to size, killing the doctor and his entire medical team. The end result sees them stranded in the New Mexico desert as their intrepid leader, Malory Archer (Jessica Walter), laments the end of her espionage career with nothing to show for it. That’s when Sterling steps up to the plate and gives a tremendous speech cautioning them all from trying to get back in the CIA’s good graces.
“Why would you want to work for those Ivy League, white-shoed, D.C. p****s?” he asked. “That’s not who we are. We’re the outsiders. The scrappy underdogs. We’re Delta House, the Dirty Dozen, the Rebel Alliance, the Commitments. We’re the Bad News Frickin’ Bears!”
When asked how they’d make money, Archer put on a pair of sunglasses and told them he has an idea. As The New York Times reports, his idea for Season 7 is to take the team away from the spy game and become private investigators. Previously they were at their happiest and best while working for their unfortunately-named spy agency, ISIS (the organization title was abandoned by the writers after the real-life extremist group rose to the forefront of the national conversation in Season 6).
While fans wait for the gang to return with a new setting and job description, there’s a handful of things that happened in Season 6 that they may want to keep in mind. The first is that Ray (Adam Reed) is paralyzed once again. The character loses the use of his legs frequently on the show, but the last time viewers saw him he’d been hurled through some metal poles and, once again, couldn’t walk. That’s not the only serious injury Ray suffered last season. After losing his hand battling a strange plant monster at Cheryl’s mansion, the agent had to settle for a replacement bionic hand that was a significantly darker skin-tone than the rest of his body.
Additionally, after voice actor George Coe died in July 2015, the show no longer had the man behind one of its best characters, Woodhouse. Season 6 marked the first full run of the show in which the character never physically appeared. It’s revealed that he’s gone missing and, although they’re making a weak attempt to find him, his whereabouts are unknown.
Finally, it simply wouldn’t have been a season of “Archer” without the return of Barry Dillon (Dave Willis), the super-spy’s cyborg arch nemesis. The villain made the poor choice to try and bait Archer into a fight by kidnapping Pam, which she didn’t take kindly to and ended up blasting his exoskeleton away with explosive shotgun shells. The last time we saw Barry, he was down to just his mechanical bones, but still very much alive.
So, when we find the team on “Archer” in the Season 7 premiere, they’ll be trying their hand at private investigating with the CIA, KGB, the Cartel and Barry all carrying a personal vendetta against them. Fortunately, the “danger zone” is exactly where the characters all tend to thrive.
Will you be tuning in to the “Archer” Season 7 premiere on Thursday, March 31 at 10 p.m. EDT? Comment below or tweet your thoughts on the show’s return to @TylerMcCarthy.