Well, surprise surprise. The show that loves to bring back characters from the past has brought back a character from the past. I won’t reveal too much about this token black Jewish character for fear of dropping unwanted spoilers, but I will say it’s not Christian Slater’s mononymous character Slater, who is neither black nor Jewish but does also appear in the episode. It’s not Barry, either.
A word on animation: it’s easy to do a lazy job. The show’s animators, in this episode, chose to do a marvellous job. The fight scene five minutes in is an excellent sequence, combining gorgeous movements with a stunning color palette. As with last season’s “The Rules of Extraction,” there are many scenes which just look good.
The plot, however, isn’t great. Neither the main story arc, contrived and reeking of “Un Chien Tangerine” (Archer and Lana performing an unusual extraction that doesn’t work out as planned) and “The Papal Chase,” nor the Krieger/Abbiejean subplot, are particularly exciting or original. There are plenty of references to “Diversity Hire,” as might be expected (haven’t figured it out? The returning character is Conway Stern), but the narrative ends up getting a little too close for comfort to the season 1 episode.
I did enjoy seeing the team’s plan get “Archerized,” with all the requisite irony resulting from Archer taking charge in a given situation. Watching him fight Argentines while Lana and Conway discuss hooking up in a locked limousine was enjoyable. Yet, events progress in a predictable and boring way throughout the episode, and at no point is there much question what will happen next. Let me guess: Archer survives his gunshot wounds and recovers completely. Why even shoot him?
This seems like an attempt to do an episode “like in the olden days.” That wasn’t necessary. Last season’s switching-up of things brought freshness and vitality to the show. “Three To Tango” might as well be a season 2 reject that got picked off the floor, dusted with references from recent seasons and injected with more baby talk from the new parents. Archer and Lana’s parenting storyline is the only thing moving forward here, and even those developments would be unnecessary if there was more continuity from last season’s finale.
There’s not a whole lot I have to say about tonight’s show. People who have never watched the program may enjoy it, but for me it felt like a disappointing rerun I’d never seen before. The visual gags work a lot better than many of the verbal jokes, such as Lana’s rebuttal to Archer’s questions about her sister, but even those aren’t enough to redeem the episode. I’m starting to become apprehensive about the rest of this season’s run, and I hope things become more exciting as we move forward.