ARCHER 3.09 ‘Bloody Ferlin’

Archer and Cheryl try to help Ray save his brother from a crooked cop in their home town. 

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "Bloody Ferlin"

Writer: Adam Reed

This week's episode of "Archer" took us on a side trip to Ferlin, West Virginia for an unexpected "Justified" parody. Although, as Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) points out, it could have easily been a spoof of some Burt Reynolds movie years ago.

"Bloody Ferlin" is primarily about Ray Gillette (Adam Reed), the former field agent for ISIS who was crippled earlier this season… or so we thought. In the opening scene, Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler) and Archer discover that Ray was faking the severity of his condition when they catch him in the act of raiding the ISIS armory. And Ray has a perfectly good explanation for the raid (if not his deception). Apparently, Ray's brother Randy (Jack McBrayer) is a drug dealer (farmer) who is being muscled out of his business by the corrupt Sheriff EZ Ponder (Michael Rooker), who used to bully Ray back in high school.

Surprisingly, Archer is gung-ho about accompanying Ray on the mission, but Lana correctly assumes that Archer is more interested in trying the local moonshine and the local girls. And to complete their trio, Archer and Ray hijack Cheryl Tunt (Judy Greer) as Ray's beard wife. Hilariously, Cheryl only needs to be told that she and Ray are married to completely believe it. This was one of Judy Greer's funniest episodes, as Cheryl later demonstrates her rooster killing skills and even some wit when she questions her marriage dowry.

Down on the farm, Randy turns out to be everything that Ray isn't: he's a racist, homophobe redneck who may have one the largest marijuana farms that Archer and company have ever seen. But Archer is more intrigued by Randy's beautiful wife, Janelle (Paula Malcomson) ; who seems pretty interested in letting Archer sample some of her pie as well. To everyone's surprise, Randy is more than willing to let Archer sleep with his wife, provided he gets a turn with Cheryl… who is very open to the idea as well.

The only person not down for a little wife swapping is Ray himself. And it's not that he cares who Cheryl sleeps with that makes Ray fly off the handle. It's the level of disrespect that he gets from his brother, who looks down at Ray's decision to abandon the farm for the life of an "interior decorator" in New York. And of course, Ray can't stand for Randy openly coveting his fake wife, so shots are fired and both men are hit.

Oddly enough, Archer gets the two brothers to reconcile by outing Ray's true job as a secret agent and offering to help Randy defend the farm. This may actually have been the most altruism that Archer has ever shown towards Ray. But I'll bet that the moonshine played a big part of that. Archer also uses the occasion to complain about not getting a chance to sleep with Janelle while also downplaying any blame he shares in the situation. Amusingly, Archer gets so drunk that he's not able to take part in the climatic firefight when the crooked cops arrive early. Cheryl was also comedy gold here, as she eagerly burned a slightly injured Janelle with a red hot poker to "cauterize the wound."

In the middle of the firefight, it comes out that Randy misled his brother and that Sheriff EZ may actually be the good guy in this situation. When Randy admits that he lied to Ray about EZ's intentions, Ray knocks out his brother and defuses the situation. Cheryl lies her butt off by pretending that she and Archer were hostages while Randy and Janelle are led away to face some fairly serious charges. Even though Randy is facing life in prison, Ray amusingly acknowledges that he probably won't visit him… possibly because not visiting Randy means that Ray would never have to come out to his brother. Earlier in the episode, Randy mentions ready Ray's old diaries and Ray notes that he must not have read the one with Miss Piggy on the cover.

Back at the office, things weren't quite as solid as Lana coerced Cyril Figgis (Chris Parnell), Dr. Krieger (Lucky Yates) and Pam Poovey (Amber Nash) to keep the truth about the ISIS break-in from Mallory Archer (Jessica Walter)… at least until Pam blurts out the truth. There are some good jokes scattered throughout these sequences, but this wasn't a real B-story. It was more like a collection of random scenes that all followed the same basic premise.

In the end, Ray becomes visibly uncomfortable when he realizes that EZ has taken a romantic interest in him after all of these years. The horror on Ray's face makes it pretty clear that he's not heading back to Ferlin any time soon. Although, if "Archer" ever revisits Ferlin or a similar setting, I'd love to see this show's take on Raylan Givens.

Here are your top "Archer" moments of the week.


Ray: "How did you afford all of this?"

Randy : "Farm subsidy."

Janelle: "He told the government he's growing corn for that high fructose syrup."

Randy: "But damned if I'm gonna contribute to the obesity epidemic!"

Archer: "It would be rude not to eat her pie; which I assume is not only hot, but also moist. Although, hopefully not flaky."


Archer to a clucking chicken: "Don't judge me… food."

Cheryl: "Jesus! What’s my dowry? Tetanus?"

Ray: "He what?!"

Archer: "Yeah, apparently it's in the bible."

Ray: "No it isn't!"

Archer: "It did sound too cool for the bible… Why do you care? A: You're gay and B: You and Carol aren't really married."

Ray: "But Randy thinks that we are!"

Archer: "Yeah, but… That's actually a really good point."

Ray: "I am going to beat him like a rented mule!"

Archer: "Now that sounds like something from the bible!"

Crave Online Rating: 8.8 out of 10.