Back to IndieWire

Review: ‘Archer’ Season 6 Episode 3, ‘The Archer Sanction,’ AKA ‘Archer Ice’

Review: 'Archer' Season 6 Episode 3, 'The Archer Sanction,' AKA 'Archer Ice'

“I swear to God I had something for this.” (Episode Summary)

Archer, Lana and Ray head up a Swiss Alp to assassinate — er, excuse me — to perform an “extrajudicial killing” of an assassin. Difficult? Sure. What makes it darn near impossible is the fact Archer not only skimmed the mission dossier (standard), but also left it on the back of his toilet. (To be fair, Ray’s refusal to share gum is a much more egregious excursion foul than Archer’s lack of preparation.)

Back at base, the gang is trying to relax in their secret jacuzzi room — along with a mysterious missing creature from Krieger’s laboratory — when they’re forced to break into Mallory’s apartment looking for baby AJ. Luckily for the young’n and Mama Archer, they were out of the building while it was being bug-bombed…but that means Cyril, Cheryl, Pam and Krieger all suffered a near-fatal dose of airborne insecticide.

Meanwhile, the spies-turned-outdoorsmen search for the target among three possible suspects, narrowed down from four based on Archer remembering the assassin is native to a WWII Axis power. Of course, his memory was as reliably unpredictable as ever. Though he was right about thinking the target was an Axis power, he was wrong in thinking Ireland sided with the wrong team in the second world war. At least Archer got to cross off “surviving an avalanche” from his bucket list. I’m sure that made it all worthwhile for Lana and Ray.

“Bloody Mary, full of vodka, pray for me now…” (Best Drinking Reference)

Archer’s Peppermint Patty will be discussed later, but this prize would probably go to the fishbowl our hero sucks down at the cabin the night before he ascends a Swiss Alp. Why? Because the blue mixture contains not only four straws, lemons, limes, cherries and what I’m guessing are Swedish Fish, but also a plastic shark! How great is that? It was well known since before Archer tattooed his thought-to-be illegitimate son on a spontaneous trip to Vegas, but it still bears repeating: No one vacations better than Sterling Archer.

“Danger Zone” (Most Action-y Action Sequence)

No matter what you thought of the episode as a whole, everyone got their money’s worth during the climactic avalanche sequence. “Archer” continues to push the boundaries of its already alluring animation in Season 6 — an opportunity provided by the two-season pickup allowing for more planning and animation time — providing the third memorable action scene in as many episodes. The speed of the event was matched only by its well-captured scope, creating a riveting moment of destruction capped off by the obliteration of the log cabin — though the initial cascade over the mountain’s edge may have been our favorite part of the short sequence. 

(Best) “Phrasing”

“Dibs on snacks.” – Cheryl
*Cheryl opens the door to the apartment and collapses into the foyer.*
“Looks like Pam’s lucky night.” – Pam
*Krieger and Cyril look at Pam skeptically.*
“Because of the snacks you dickholes!”

“Tactleneck” (Archer Innovation)

The “Peppermint Patty.” Archer invented the admittedly delicious-sounding drink this episode, describing its contents as “hot cocoa, dark creme de cacao, a hint of creme de mint and peppermint schnapps.” Don’t let the deceivingly tempting ingredients fool you. Indiewire reached out to our resident alcohol expert — a four-year veteran of the industry, mixologist and brand ambassador of one of the top two beer companies in America — and he claims the drink is so rich anyone consuming it would “die of a sugar coma.” Obviously, Archer has a higher tolerance than any of us, so if you want to try his Swiss beverage of choice, our expert suggests leaving out the creme de cocoa and using a candy cane instead of the schnapps. 

“That’s like killing a unicorn!” (Best Quote)

“Who am I? Charles Frederic Andrus?” – Cheryl

– Charles Frederic Andrus was a plant pathologist during the early 20th century. While working for the U.S.D.A., he developed the first anthracnose-resistant watermelon, a variety of the fruit which made a dramatic impact on the watermelon industry. It helped eliminate the damaging disease from Southern states where watermelons were greatly affected by its debilitating effects. 

“Can’t or Won’t?” (Analysis)

Though hampered by Crash McCarran’s not-so-secret identity as the mission’s target, “The Archer Sanction” did its best to overcome its plot contrivance by piling on the jokes. Many worked quite well, even some of the sillier ones (like Archer’s suggestion to “call the Ghostbusters” when a dark storm was on the horizon). Episode 3 marked one more throwback entry in a season that’s felt all-too-familiar by design. Very little effort was put into the “B” story, as Cyril, Pam, Cheryl and Krieger were again concerned about the well-being of Archer and Lana’s baby while the new parents were off on a mission (same as last week).

Still, it worked. The beauty of “Archer” has always laid within its characters and carefully choreographed dialogue, the latter of which is often crafted around immortal catchphrases. Neither element has seen any slippage, even if the overarching story has after last year’s venture into “Vice.” “Archer Ice” — as this episode very well could have been titled had Adam Reed not wanted to pay homage to an obscure Clint Eastwood film from 1975 — shares none of its predecessor’s daring characteristics, but it’s still a solid entry in the canon. Binge viewers may forget it even faster than the rest of us as they catch up on Netflix later this year, but they won’t stop laughing during its 20-minute stretch. 

However, one could argue “The Archer Sanction” wasn’t even the best “Archer” episode to come out this week. On Tuesday night, Conan O’Brien was set to interview the spy himself on his late night talk show, but was instead treated to an animated five-minute thrill ride. Check it out below, and you tell us if you think the shorter entry topped its full-length counterpart.

Episode Grade: B-

Short Grade: B+

WEEK 2 REVIEW: ‘Archer’ Season 6 Episode 2, ‘Three to Tango,’ Brings Some Old Friends to the Dance

WEEK 1 REVIEW: ‘Archer’ Season 6 Episode 1 ‘The Holdout’ Reboots the Reboot with Mixed Success

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged , , , , , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox