Season Analysis: Re-branded as Archer: Vice, the season-long transformation of ISIS into drug runners did not produce laughs as consistently as in previous years, but it was always admirable in its ambition.

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“Arrival/Departure”
I will admit that my lack of laughs this season may have had to do with me watching the episodes at a time of night when I was tired and/or my mind was just elsewhere.  But I think the arch humor of this show has not really evolved and has thus lost some of its zest.  But as all the pieces came together in the season finale, and it was clear that this year had been designed by creator Adam Reed and his team like clockwork from the beginning, it began to click for me, and I was feeling the satisfaction that Archer: Vice was attempting to inspire in its viewers.  It was like a real-life dream (or nightmare) that the ISIS crew actually lived through, as everything essentially reset at the end.  The actual events at San Marcos seemed like they would have little long-term bearing (beyond the psychological effects), and that wasn’t because what had happened was going to be ignored but because everything was dealt with as it needed to be.  There was a bit of a deus ex machina feel to the machinations, but they were as narratively justified as they needed to be.  Then there was the surprisingly affecting final scene, in which Lana introduced Sterling to his daughter.  The slow fade out of the sound as he struggled to process the news was audiovisual storytelling at its finest.

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