Episode: Archer 2.01 – “Swiss Miss”
Original Air Date: January 27, 2011
Feeling the effects of the recession, ISIS head Malory Archer (Jessica Walter) institutes pay cuts for all of her employees and seeks outside investment for the International Secret Intelligence Service. When she sets her sights on a wealthy foreign dignitary, the ISIS team is tasked with protecting the man’s sixteen-year-old daughter at a gala birthday bash in the luxury winter resort town of Gstaad, Switzerland.
Of course, nothing ever goes as planned when ISIS is involved, and the events of season two’s premiere, “Swiss Miss,” are no exception. While a trio of terrorists plot the young girl’s kidnapping, Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) discovers that sixteen-year-old Anka is far more trouble than she’s worth. As soon as the ISIS team arrives, Anka fixes her hypersexual gaze on the agency’s most infamous agent, forcing Archer into various compromising situations and making him genuinely uncomfortable.
The situation puts Archer in an interesting position, and one that viewers haven’t necessarily seen him in before: the role of sexual victim, rather than that of sexual predator. Sterling’s history of womanizing precedes him, however, and Lana (Aisha Taylor), Malory, Ray (Adam Reed), and Anka’s father are quick to believe the young German heiress’s claims about the ISIS agent’s alleged actions.
Personally, I think that “Swiss Miss” develops Archer’s character, giving him a new dimension not previously seen by viewers. The fact that Sterling is admonished again and again by his coworkers, the target’s father, and even his own mother, for making passes at a sixteen-year-old girl when he’s actually a victim of Anka’s unsolicited sexual advances makes me feel bad for Archer, especially after he suffers a rather embarrassing injury as a result of the girl’s actions.
One of the funniest moments in “Swiss Miss” — aside from Archer’s unfortunate shaving accident — is when Anka slips away from Ray, who is supposed to be taking the teenager for a skiing lesson. In what may or may not be a nod to Adam Green’s skiing thriller Frozen (2010), Ray finds himself stuck on the chairlift when the kidnappers cut the power to the ski resort, not only responsible for losing track of Anka, but also facing the very real possibility of freezing to death. “Double dukes!”, as Ray says.
Overall, “Swiss Miss” is not only an excellent start to Archer’s second season, but a great jumping-on point for new viewers. Even though the first season did a lot to establish the characters’ backgrounds, those new to the show don’t necessarily need to catch up on past episodes in order to enjoy the second season opener.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars