Archer, “The Holdout,” (6.1) - TV Review


Archer Holdout

Archer, Season 6, Episode 1, “The Holdout”

January 8th, 2015, 10:00 PM,FX Network

LAST SEASON: During a raid, our favorite gang of spies managed to lose their government funding (or rather discovered that they were never a government-sanctioned spy agency in the first place, oops Mallory) and their office. With only several kilos of coke Mallory had stashed aside for emergencies to serve as their bargaining chip and to ensure a comfortable living for all of them, they went about trying to sell their spoils on the black market. This mostly resulted in Pam developing a ravaging drug dependency and them squandering their funds while operating out of Cheryl’s swank ancestral mansion. Ultimately the CIA ended up hiring Isis officially for freelance work, and a back-door deal was stricken to reinstate the team’s funding, thanks to their (CIA-manipulated, it’s worth noting) takedown of Gustavo Calderon, the leader of a South American country called San Marcos which was in the middle of a political upheaval that displeased the US government. Meanwhile, Krieger microchipped Cheryl into overcoming her stage fright and she immediately set her sights on becoming the first lady of country music – but after cutting an album, duetting with Kenny Logins and appearing in one concert in Dallas she only succeeded in becoming the toast…of San Marcos. Oh, and Krieger’s microchip was actually the label from a Chiquita banana. Meanwhile, Lana’s pregnancy developed in real time, and she ended up giving birth in the San Marcos airport, aided by Pam, as the entire gang waited to be evacced from the country. Lana named her daughter Abbijean – and gave closure to a season-long mystery by revealing to Archer that she’d had some of his sperm unfrozen after his cancer diagnosis in season three and inseminated herself with it, making him Abbijean’s biological dad.

As Season Six opens, Archer’s run off on a six-week long tropical bender in reaction to Lana’s springing fatherhood on him (in spite of his initially positive reaction to the news) and Mallory’s decision to freelance for the CIA. He’s called back into service from his cobra whiskey-soaked vacation when Mallory decides that team’s first big mission should involve parachuting him into a Borneo jungle to salvage the onboard computer of a downed CIA aircraft, then blow up the plane to keep the communist insurgents from getting its hands on it. There, he meets General Saito, who’s been on the island since the war and is summarily unable to cope with the fact that Japan surrendered; the two men promptly bond over Archer’s status as a new dad and Saito help Archer comes to grips with his responsibility to Abbijean. Meanwhile, Mallory puts Cheryl and Pam in charge of renovating the office and they blow the money on a hologram system, Milton, a robot that makes toast…and a hidden Japanese-style jacuzzi. Mallory promptly has a breakdown when she realizes they’ve simply painstakingly recreated the old office down to the letter – including replicating Brett’s bloodstain on the carpets.

In the wake of the the controversial Archer Vice, “The Holdout” does a lot to restore the show’s status quo – to the point of lampooning everything that goes wrong and right when any show tries to undo its reboot. While the show’s braintrust undoes the changes done to the characters of Cheryl and Pam with a shrug, they then gives us a more realistic POV on change through Mallory collapsing into apoplexies at the sight of her grungy old office, replicated down to the last letter and Archer’s retreat back into Peter Panhood. It’s all very funny – and in the end a little touching, as Archer falls for family togetherness and takes it to an extreme.

So we’re back to basics – and what basics they are. The combination of character humor, outrageous action and outlandish action in exotic locales are all back in full effect - the gang’s all here, and are all back to their naughty, terrible, borderline sociopathic selves. In the end, Archer leaves us with the pithy notion that change is indeed hard, but sometimes it’s worth enduring. To a point.

The Roundup

  • This episode marked the end of the show’s use of ISIS as Mallory’s company’s moniker, for obvious reasons. The spy outfit’s name, however, won’t be changed in reruns of the show.
  • Archer thinks the square root of nine is “negative nine” – just kidding, he accurately answers correctly with ‘three’.
  • Abbijean’s nickname is AJ.
  • Pam’s been returned to her formal enthusiastic, booze-adoring, sex-lusting, food-loving self, presumably somewhat cleaner than she was when we last saw her. Yes, the show gives us a hole-filling joke.
  • ”And here’s a link to an episode of the Six Million Dollar Man!” Lampshading, guys, lampshading.
  • Archer sports an earring and an obviously infected earlobe plus a golden earring gained from his bender during the majority of this episode.
  • Next Week: Tension between Archer and Lana escalates when they’re required to work with former agent Conway Stern (Who LITERALLY stabbed Archer in the back, but whom Lana was attracted to) in “Three to Tango.”

Welcome back, team Archer –we missed you . This does a fine job of rebooting the series back to basics

  • GREAT 8.9

About Author

Staff Television Critic: Lisa Fernandes, formerly of, has been watching television for all of her thirty-plus years, and critiquing it for the past seven. When she's not writing, she can be found in the wilds of the Northeastern United States.