Action fans have a good reason to tune into Barry this week as a raid takes place on a Bolivian stash house. This show continues to do a good job mixing in the ordinary life of a hopeful actor with the extraordinary life of a hitman. Barry (Bill Hader) continues to want to get out of the latter life and continues to daydream about being a father in an ordinary family unit, but this episode throws all that on its head as Barry begins to realize he can’t escape his demons — even in class.
This episode opens with Barry at an amusement park attempting to ask his old military buddy about Taylor (Dale Pavinski). Taylor knows about the raid and wants in, which is making Barry’s life a lot harder seeing as he’s the only one, so far, who knows about his hitman lifestyle. We slowly realize Taylor is a complete nutter and a huge threat to what Barry and Fuches’ (Stephen Root) operation, as he’s a loud mouth and could potentially get them all caught.
While the impending raid is lingering in the back of Barry’s mind (he really doesn’t want to kill anyone anymore), the class must go on. In a few quick scenes of high-value Barry learns the class will be putting on the play Macbeth. This forces Sally (Sarah Goldberg) and Barry to interact after their spat at the party in the last episode. In rehearsal, we get to see a side of Sally that we haven’t before, revealing she’s rather self-absorbed and selfish. In a moment where Barry reveals his true feelings for once, the cross between Macbeth and Barry’s life forces a debate on whether or not those who murder are psychopaths. Ben Smith’s scripting is phenomenal in this scene as it brings up the very real issue of a soldier taking orders to murder and whether or not their soul would be damned. In these moments we get to see Barry’s true self and Hader plays this impeccably as he’s filled with guilt, outrage, and fear.
It’s not until after class that we see the actors in class aren’t too happy with Sally’s actions. This scene is again very well written, dancing on the razor’s edge of moral ambiguity and uncertainty. There are no easy answers, and Smith has the actors bring up the concept of living in a bubble. It’s well-timed given the politics of today and it helps Sally possibly realize she’s being unfair.
Most of the rest of the episode involves the raid, which is directed well by Hiro Murai (who is credited as director for most of Atlanta season 1). It’s action-packed and realistically blocked as you get the impression Taylor and Barry have done this a thousand times. It’s an intense sequence that reminds us Barry is a trained killer and not just a dude dealing with anxiety and fear.
The episode also has some funny beats involving NoHo (Anthony Carrigan), who may be the funniest character actor of 2018. He’s ridiculous, over the top and always seems to add at least one gut-busting laugh to every episode, whether it’s his ridiculous way of texting Barry or his inability to understand the danger he’s in by just being associated with a mob family. At this point, I wish for a NoHo centric episode.
This isn’t the funniest episode, but it’s one of the most action-heavy, which gives the show a nice shot in the arm. Each episode is just under 30 minutes and yet it packs so much in with not a single wasted scene. It continues to develop its characters well too, which makes each installment all the more interesting.
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