Review: Archer: 1999 “Happy Borthday”

Let’s put all the characters into a gladiator battle and see who comes out.


The crew has been captured by Archer’s nemesis, the robot Barry6.  He interrogates Archer into giving him the combination to his ship’s safe, using his giant evil robot turkey, Funbeak.  However, Archer is much more resilient to torture than they would hope.  Luckily, Mother shows up in time to help him escape as she takes over Funbeak’s body.

Meanwhile, the remainder of the crew is entered into a gladiator-esque competition.  They must fight each other in order to be released from imprisonment, and nearly end up killing one another.  Archer and Mother arrive in time to intervene and lead the charge for them all to escape back to their ship.


Our Take:

Am I the only one that keeps getting that Prince song stuck in their head because of this season’s title?  Probably not.  Though it is a good thing that we are rolling into episode two.  As exciting as last week’s premiere episode was, the new setting and character remakes were a bit overwhelming for the 20-some-odd minutes.  Now, we are settled in, introduced to the world we’ll be living in this season and ready to go.  And, go we do, as we are thrown into the aftermath of the last episode when Archer and crew were captured by Barry6 and Bort.

There is much more hashing out of certain characters in this episode.  Especially when it comes to Barry6 who didn’t arrive until the conclusion of the premiere.  Barry is still very much the same hilarious villain that we love, but with a sleek new look.  Something about the way he is illustrated and portrayed makes Barry come off as much more nefarious then previous seasons.  Armed with considerable resources through the galaxy, it’s exciting to guess where this character is going to go this year.

Speaking of Barry6, he also had the coolest looking torture robot.  Funbeak has an excellent design being half-turkey half-murder all-robot.  It is precisely concepts and illustrations like these that will help to separate this futuristic season into a memorable ride.  Having Mother take over the robot’s body would have been much more exciting if she had jumped into the gladiator battle and shown what that thing could really do.  Oh well, there are probably lots of unique things coming our way with this show.

The gladiator theme was a lot of fun, and it would have been fun to stay in this world a little longer.  The sci-fi meets gladiator concept may seem a little cliché at this point, but heck if I don’t get excited every time.  It’s easy to see how this idea could quickly become a reality as it’s always fun to watch space creatures murder one another.  And, for characters like Cyril, Pam and Cheryl to come all out and embrace the gladiator bravado are bold moves for each of them.

This was a fun episode no matter what season you placed it in, regardless of context.  What better way to explore characters then to put them in a literal fight for their life.  The humour is back on point especially when Barry and Archer share the screen, though Pam’s stinky boners had me cracking up as well.  The fun exploration of this gladiator world is an excellent lead-in to the season and the many different plots and planets we are sure to visit.  If you weren’t excited for Archer: 1999 before this episode, you will be now.


Jesse Bereta

Jesse (Green Onion) Bereta is a chef of words. Classically trained in the kitchen, Jesse changed careers in ‘015 to pursue his passion of writing (and being a full time pop culture nerd). Aside from his work as a freelance writer, Jesse also operates his own website, podcasts, and is a father of two budding sprouts. The Green Onion headquarters is located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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