TV Diary | Archer: “Bloody Ferlin”
TV Diary | Archer – Episode 3.09 – “Bloody Ferlin” – Original Airdate: 2/23/12
Episode Grade: A
With each episode that passes, it’s becoming ever clearer that Archer’s in the midst of one of those mythical seasons where everything clicks and an already-great show ascends to an even higher plane of existence. Breaking Bad did this in its third season. Louie did it last year in its second. And now, it would appear, that it’s Archer’s turn because “Bloody Ferlin” was merely the next in a string of series-best episodes that seem ever more to be the norm with the show since its third season continued in January. Imagine if Archer and Justified got drunk and did it – “Bloody Ferlin” would be their offspring and it was every bit as good (and disgusting) as that tantalizing mash-up sounds. It took Ray – a secondary character whose sole purpose to this point has been to throw out catty putdowns every now and then – and fleshed him out, as every good show needs to do with its supporting players. After Archer and Lana respond to a possible break-in at ISIS, they find Ray going shopping at the armory because he’d received word that his brother Randy, a drug dealer  in the backwater town of Ferlin, WV is about to be killed by the town’s crooked sheriff because the sheriff wants to take over Randy’s operation. Despite his distaste for returning to his home, his familial bonds are too strong and Ray decides to travel down Country Road to help his brother with Archer tagging along because the whole scenario sounds “eerily like the plot to White Lightning” while Lana hangs back and runs interference at the office . While Lana’s futile attempts to keep everyone in the dark at ISIS with regard to Archer and Ray’s whereabouts (“He’s tracking down leads… from the clues… that there were some of.”) had their moments, without question the bulk of the laughs came from the West Virginia setpieces, which featured the voices of 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer as Randy and veteran character actor Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead) as Sheriff EZ Ponder. Since Ray had never informed anyone in his family that he was gay – naturally – he and Archer enlist the services of Cheryl to serve as Ray’s fake wife, who proves to be waaaay too into the idea of being married . What follows is the expected (and genius) preponderance of jokes at the expense of rednecks and hillbillies while Archer predictably attempts to bed Randy’s attractive wife Janelle… with Randy’s consent since he and Janelle have an open marriage and he has an eye for Cheryl himself. Ultimately, that Randy completely misrepresented the situation and Sheriff Ponder was merely trying to help him out of a bad situation until being forced to arrest him for possession was definitely the smarter route for the show to travel but there were so many jokes and lines in this episode – as there were in most of this season’s other top-shelf installments – that it was yet more proof that Archer is on top of its game as ever. My only regret is that there are just four episodes left in the season after this one. I’m nowhere near ready for this to be over yet.
 Excuse me… drug FARMER.
 Almost forgot – the armory scene establishes that Ray is not, in fact, paralyzed. I’d been on record as supporting the show’s decision to stick with the storyline continuity of keeping Ray in his wheelchair but the way that the revelation came about (“I never said I was paralyzed. Y’all just assumed I was.”), with everyone making the assumption because they saw Ray being transported out of the hospital in a wheelchair as per procedure, was so thoroughly Archer that it completely fit.
 Archer, after Cheryl wonders in the car if the marriage has been “consummated”: “I’ll drive if you wanna hop back there and… enter her.”
*No joke – I may have laughed harder at the following line of dialogue than I have at any other in the show’s history (or any line in any show in recent memory, for that matter). After hearing that Janelle has some “nice hot pie” for him, Archer responds with the following: “It would be rude not to eat her pie. Which I assume is not only hot but also moist. Although hopefully not flaky.” My abdominal muscles still hurt from laughing at that one.
*Some have criticized his appearance, but I found Jack McBrayer to be incredibly funny as Randy in this episode and feel that he’s a great addition to the show’s universe. I wouldn’t be averse to another trip to Ferlin in a future season at all.
*Archer’s a little slow on the uptake on what someone being in the armory means. Because of course he is.
*Lana’s offer to be Ray’s fake wife is immediately turned down because, well… I’ll just let Ray take it: “Hey, y’all… here’s my great big ol’ black wife.” Which then, naturally leads to Archer ripping on her size: “Oh, come on. You’re gigantic.”
*Kreiger’s “new awful thing,” as Malory puts it: Ultimate Bum Shock Fights.
*Completely gross yet hilarious touch when Sheriff Ponder takes waaaay too big of a sniff of Ray’s car after Ray introduces Cheryl as his wife.
*Other than making use of the facilities, Pam also apparently enjoys tagging the inside of her bathroom stall.
*One of the many effective weapons that Archer has in its arsenal is the ability to set up wicked running gags throughout an episode (or episode). Here it’s Archer having second thoughts (and third, and fourth, et al) every time he changes his mind on something.
*More evidence of the effective extended gags? Yet another great Archer voicemail fakeout. So good.
*Randy is in possession of a government subsidy to grow corn for high-fructose corn syrup production but turned to growing pot because, “I’ll be damned if I’m gonna contribute to the obesity epidemic.”
*”That was sarcasm.” “No way! Really? Because so was that just now.”
*”So, what’s *in* the armory?” “Burglars, Lana. That’s why I’m here and not up to my ears in stewardess.”
*”Ooh… or maybe Ray would run over them with his wheelchair. That was also sarcasm since apparently now we’re saying whenever we do it.”
*”What’s more important than family?” “Mmm… getting hammered on moonshine and trying to bang skanky trailer chicks.”
*”I swear to God… if Kreiger was doing his… what’s his new awful thing?” “Ultimate Bum Shock Fights.”
*”And where’s that? Six Flags Over The Shittier Parts Of Chernobyl?”
*”I usually put my feet up on the grab bars.” “Eew.”
*”And why does it always reek of paint?”
*”Jesus, what’s my dowry? Tetanus?”
*”I’m kinda surprised to see you married. Homeboy knows what I’m talking about. A New York City interior decorator? I bet you’re up to your eyeballs in poon tang!” “Oh, yeah… just so many… vaginas.”
*”Plus, I’d rather kill myself. Nothin’ up there but a bunch of you-know-whats.” “Well, there are a lot of ’em.” “Don’t see how you stand it.”
*”So… is there like special chicken shaving cream, or…” “First of all, that is a rooster!” “Yeah… like Kenny Rogers Roosters.” “ROASTERS!”
*”Would you like to have sex with my wife? Because we would be amenable to that. Well… why do you look so nonplussed?” “Because I wasn’t sure if you actually knew what ‘amenable’ meant. Until you followed it up with ‘nonplussed.’”
*”I told him I’d get Pam to fight in his Ultimate Bum Shock Fights.” “Is it called that because paying homeless men to fight is shocking?”
*”Well, Janelle… obviously the actual scripture is open to interpretation but what I took away from it is that we should go in the barn and screw our brains out on a huge pile of marijuana.” “It didn’t say nothin’ about a rubber, did it?” “It did NOT.”
*”Don’t judge me… FOOD.”
*”Bronze medal is not losing!”
*”And yeah… I’m something… equally hard to believe is true.”
*”Yeah… I’m pretty furious about not getting to bang Janelle. Plus, I want to unleash the power of moonshine!”
*”What’s happening? Do I have cancer again?” “You drank too much!” “That’s a thing?!”
*”Well that’s just great… everybody gets laid in the holler but me.”