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TV Recap: ARCHER, “Bloody Ferlin”

Archer uses its fair share of pop culture references during its episodes, but it’s not as reliant on them like say Family Guy or Community. For the most part, viewers really have to pay attention to get some of the inside jokes, which makes watching this show so much fun. “Bloody Ferlin” was one of those episodes that as it poked fun at Archer’s FX stablemate, Justified, but it wasn’t as overt as it could have been which was appreciated.

Sterling and Lana have been notified that someone has broken into ISIS’ armory, and they were about to take them down when they realized that it was Ray Gillette (who’s apparently not paralyzed). The reason Ray was stockpiling on weapons was his brother in rural West Virginia, who’s a drug “farmer,” and the local sheriff was threatening to take over his business, so he was headed back home to help him out, and Sterling decided to tag along for his own nefarious reasons. Along the way, they picked up Carol so she could pretend to be Ray’s wife. Once they got to Ferlin, West Virgina, insanity ensued. As it turned out, Ray’s brother and his wife were in an open marriage so they tried to sleep with Sterling and Carol, he was in fact a drug dealer, and the local sheriff trying to shut down the operation and not take it over. While all of this was going on, Lana and everyone else was trying to cover for Archer, Gillette and Carol as Malory freaked out over the break-in.

If this had been Family Guy or Community, Sterling would have spent the entire episode pretending that he was Raylan Givens, and the episode would have hit the audience over the head with all of the references to Justified. Instead, Archer assumed that viewers had seen, or were at least aware of, Justified or other similar shows/movies to let the jokes speak for themselves which is what makes it so brilliant. Now, that’s not to say that Archer doesn’t have to spell out some of its jokes (it had to intentionally had to name drop White Lightning for those who hadn’t seen the movie), but for the most part it trusted that fans would pick up on all of the winks and nods.

The story itself was pretty great, at least the parts in West Virginia were, and it was nice to have some of the supporting characters get the spotlight for a change. Sure, most of Ray’s backstory was nothing more than cliches that have been associated with people from the Appalachian region, but it’s still character development which is always a good thing. Adding Carol to the mix was also a brilliant move because she’s dim enough to go along with it, but funny enough to hold her own, and the whole open marriage subplot was responsible for most of the laughs.

My only issue with the episode was everything that was going down back at ISIS. I understand that Archer‘s an ensemble show, so it feels the need to give everyone something to do, but I lost interest every time we went back to New York because things weren’t very interesting, and it felt like something we’ve seen time and time again. How many times are they going to have to lie to Malory about what Archer’s up to? That being said, the idea of Pam taking part in underground bum fights with electrified gloves has some potential.

Lines of the Night:

  • Sterling: “And this is Ray’s brother Lana. What’s more important than family?”
    Lana: “Hmm, getting hammered on moonshine and trying to bang skanky tailer chicks?”
    Sterling: “Um, trying?”
  • “What are you insane? ‘Hey ya’ll, here’s my big ole black wife.'”
  • “It would be rude not to eat her pie, which I assume is not only hot but also moist. Although hopefully not flaky.”
  • “Fifth thoughts!”
  • “It did sound too cool for the Bible.”
  • “Don’t judge me food.”

“Bloody Ferlin” gave us an actual plot and dialed down the insane jokes, but it was still able to work in some solid laughs. While I wish the writers were able to better incorporate the ISIS stuff, everything that took place in West Virginia easily picked up the slack. Ultimately, it was another solid effort from what’s becoming one of the better comedies on TV.

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The Author

Marcos Canales

Marcos Canales

Marcos is a recently converted television junkie whose gateway show was CHUCK, and has added shows like CASTLE, LEVERAGE, GLEE (don't judge), COMMUNITY, and THE VAMPIRE DIARIES to his must-watch list. While he does not have formal ties to the entertainment industry, he's been blogging about TV, movies, and pop culture since 2008. Visit his website - https://www.smallscreenhappenings.com