Episode Title: "Drift Problem"
Writer: Adam Reed
If there's one thing that's been clear from the start on "Archer," it's this: Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) is a horrible person. And a lot of his hangups and character flaws can be traced directly back to his mother, Mallory Archer (Jessica Walter). But Sterling apparently needs this to be repeatedly pointed out to him.
"Drift Problem" begins on the morning of Sterling's latest birthday, as his faithful manservant, Woodhouse (George Coe) tries to serve him a fancy breakfast in bed… and he bungles the attempt. Usually this kind of thing is Archer's fault, but Woodhouse did the best that he could for the surrogate son who sees him as less than a butler.
At ISIS, Archer is initially upset that none of his coworkers or his mother remembered his big day… until they present him with a souped up Dodge Challenger, which Dr. Krieger (Lucky Yates) has turned into the ultimate spy car. Archer is so excited that he literally sports an erection and he even propositions his car when he thinks she has a female onboard computer. Sterling is so taken by the car that he barely gives his mother and coworkers the thanks that they deserve before speeding off. But he does hear his mother lay down an ultimatum: if the car gets stolen, Sterling won't ever get another one.
So, of course the car gets stolen and Archer freaks out. Woodhouse has to defend himself from Archer's wrath before Sterling has to go crawling to Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler) for help. Fortunately for them, Pam Poovey (Amber Nash) overhears their conversation and reveals that she's an underground drift racer with ties to the local Yakuza (who are well known as high end car thieves). Soon enough, Archer, Lana and Cyril Figgis (Chris Parnell) are posing as Pam's race crew when she comes face-to-face with Mr. Moto (George Takei) and his legion of Japanese mobsters.
Do you know the expression about no plan surviving first contact with the enemy? That should be changed to "first contact with Archer." Naturally, this means that Archer brakes their cover very prematurely and he starts his rampage while severely outgunned. When Moto demands an explanation, Archer hilariously tells everyone there about the time his mother bought him a five speed bike as a young child… before she severely punishing him after it was stolen. Hence his fear of Mallory's reaction this time.
Back at ISIS, Cheryl Tunt (Judy Greer) is unable to hide the secret of Archer's activities for long under Mallory's interrogation. And when Mallory slaps the taste out of Cheryl's mouth, Cheryl is suddenly very turned on. And I do mean sexually. Whereas Pam wants to sleep with everyone, Cheryl seems to only be attracted to people who hurt her physically or emotionally. Yeah… she's pretty screwed up too.
The action sequences with Pam behind the wheel of her drift car were all very well drawn, with some of the best animation of the season. Pam herself turns out to really be an expert at drifting and she is also overly concerned about her rep with the Yakuza when she amusingly stated "Aw… Man! I just totally lost face!" Thus it's appropriate that Pam got to ram Mr. Moto's car into the water after learning that her Japanese nickname was less than faltering.
Malory and Cheryl show up at the end, with Malory amusingly taking out Moto "for Pearl Harbor." But when she lays into Sterling for losing the car, the rest of the ISIS team realizes that she stole the car… and Sterling's beloved bike years ago just to teach him a lesson. Archer is so tramuatized by the revelation that he walks off in a stupor. And even Cyril thinks that Malory is "disgusting" when she reveals that she never returned Archer's bike… and that his car has a new owner.
Which brings us to the surprising return of Mr. Ford from "Frisky Dingo"! I'm sure that watching Mr. Ford drive around in Sterling's former car was a head-scratcher for anyone who hadn't seen Adam Reed's Adult Swim series, which apparently shares some continuity with "Archer." But now that it's established, I'd kind of like to see Archer take on Killface and Awesome X… provided they ever got back to Earth.
It should be noted that the Dodge brand was pushed so heavily in this episode that I can't tell if it's a brilliant satire on product placement or if Dodge really did pay the producers for inclusion and they were mercilessly mocked for their consideration. Sterling even shouted "thanks, Dodge!" before learning his on board bar had no actual liquor. And while Archer didn't get to keep his ultimate car for longer than a day, at least he got to use it to out run the cops and deploy his counter-measures.
"Drift Problem" wasn't quite as funny as the three previous episodes of "Archer," but the show remains strong in its third season.
Here are your top "Archer" moments of the week.
Archer: "What the s***, Lana?"
Lana: "I told you I was going to do it!"
Archer : "Sorry… guess I'm a BAD LISTENER!!!"
Archer: "What else does it do?"
Krieger: "Press that red button."
Archer: " I… Wait, is it going to kill everybody?"
Krieger: "Press that blue button."
Archer: "So… just a head's up. I'm starting the rampage."
Lana: "No kidding."
Archer: (he thinks about it) "Nope!"
Archer to his new car: "I hope this doesn't sound weird, but I kind of want to have sex with you. Is that alright?"
Archer: "I'm sorry, Woodhouse. Can I see that can for a second?"
Woodhouse: "No sir!" (he tosses the can away)
Archer: "Woodhouse, I just wanted to read the warning label about 'in case of eye contact.'"
Woodhouse: "You did not! You were going to spray me in the eyes."
Archer: (chuckles) "I totally was."
Crave Online Rating: 7.8 out of 10.