Barry has always been a show about what it means to be human, to be honest with others, and more importantly to be honest with yourself. From the very beginning, we’ve witnessed Barry (Bill Hader) try to be a normal person after picking himself up out of a terrible depression. He was a hitman but doesn’t want that life anymore. The show has worked very well at capturing the character’s slow growth from a life of lies and death to being honest and this episode pushes that needle forward. After last week’s episode of over-the-top, practically surreal slapstick violence, the major threat of being caught by the police is over. And a new one rises. This episode is beginning to set up what will surely be a dramatic finish filled with twists and turns.
If episode five made it clear the detectives are off Barry’s trail, episode six opens with a major confirmation of that. It’s clear the show’s creators Hader and Alec Berg (who also directed this episode) very much want to shift focus to Fuches (Stephen Root) and his newfound place in Barry’s life. They’ve bonded over the last few episodes. But Fuches was selling Barry out, so maybe there’s hope for them yet? Don’t count on it. Emily Heller writes this episode and does a great job bookending it with an opening that relieves viewers and an ending that puts Barry in a far worse place than he was before. Barry only wants to continue on trying to act, being friends with folks like Sally and Cousineau (Henry Winkler), and to never kill again. It seemed like he was going in the right direction, but the old greedy Fuches from season one is back. The last episode did a good job showing at what lengths Barry will go to avoid killing, but the showrunners continue to show leaving a life of crime is next to impossible.
Speaking of a life of crime, Noho (Anthony Carrigan) appears in this episode and continues to surprise with how much care and consideration he gives to others. Especially considering he’s a gangster. It’s clear friendship is a high priority on his list — heck, Carrigan told me as much in our interview — and the way this episode goes I hope Barry does see him as some kind of friend or he’s toast. He’s basically the flip side of Barry. He’s a good person who wants to be a gangster, but sometimes who you really are deep down can’t be avoided. A major lesson of the series as a whole.
The scene in this episode everyone will be talking about is the rehearsal Barry and Sally (Sarah Goldberg) take part in about Sally’s life. This has been an interesting plot development this season since it has put into question how much is true and how much is false. We’ve seen that in how the other actors in the class have been making up their true life stories, or at least embellishing them. We’ve already seen Cousineau flat out tell Barry to not tell his story (and he reminds him, comedically so, it’s pretty crazy he got away with murder), but in a key scene, Cousineau gives Barry key advice to help act the abuser in Sally’s story the best he can. Cousineau tells Barry, “You don’t have to literally tell your story to use your story.” It’s a well-acted scene by Winkler and Hader and it helps us understand just how good Barry could be at acting if he opened up to himself and his past. It, of course, explodes out of Barry who is a character that is mostly reserved and introspective and it shows a whole other side to him. It’s a shock to everyone and yet, typically to Sally’s character, she only sees how it makes her look as an actor and not the truth lying underneath it all.
This episode continues to show how well it balances comedy with drama while developing its characters and the plot. It’s amazing to me it runs only 30 or so minutes since every episode feels dense with psychological storytelling and great bits of comedy. As Barry continues to understand his truth and use his inner turmoil his acting can only get better, and the show even more deep. Here’s to what is bound to be a great final two episodes.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!