Season Analysis: Brought to life by one of the most – if not the most – talented voice casts in the business, Archer is a truly unique animated vision, thanks a great deal to its retro vibe, which seems almost accidental, yet also integral.
“The Limited” – the wildest, fastest, most hilarious, most joke-filled, most hilarious, and best episode of Archer’s third season – was practically Shakespearean in its comedy. As in the Bard’s yukfest The Comedy of Errors, if something could make the situation in “The Limited” any funnier, then that something happened: there is an ocelot loose, the train will not slow down because Cheryl’s family owns the train and she wants to break the travel time record, a Nova Scotian separatist movement exists, etc. Also, just as Will Shakespeare employed doubles and mistaken identities, so did Archer include villains disguised as Canadian Mounties at the same time that the actual Mounties appeared. But Archer ups the ante even further, as its characters are not plainly the Renaissance stock comedic characters of the clown, the straight man, and the put-upon fool – they are bursting with their own idiosyncratic, slightly absurd, personalities: Sterling Archer is a spy who fancies himself the star of his own spy movie (a silly attitude to have when you are actually a spy) and thus he takes a self-aware view of his own life, in which he makes highly literate, obnoxious comments (“Thanks, Freddy Foreshadowing”) and leaps at the chance to live out a classic action-movie scenario, and pays the price for it (a standoff on top of a speeding train can be quite hellish for all parties involved). In general, the spies of Archer are all too self-aware for their own good, which means they are self-aware enough to be absolutely fascinating for viewers, and with all that there was to be acutely aware of in “The Limited,” there was almost too much to be fascinated by.