Barry: Season 3, Episode 5 – TV Review


  • Creator: Alec Berg and Bill Hader
  • Starring: Bill Hader, Sarah Goldberg, Stephen Root, Henry Winkler, Anthony Carrigan

Grade: B

There’s a brief, but important, moment in this week’s episode that sums up the themes neatly without hammering it home too hard. Barry, dejected after Sally broke up with him last week, aimlessly pushes a shopping cart in the grocery store and stops at the craft section, while Meredith Brooks’ “Bitch” is playing over the speakers.

“I’m a bitch

I’m a lover

I’m a child

I’m a mother

I’m a sinner

I’m a saint

And I do not feel ashamed

I’m your hell

I’m your dream

I’m nothing in between”

Dueling personalities have always been a prominent theme throughout Barry, and because of the recent developments for many of the characters this season, the song is a fitting encapsulation of where they’re at this week.

Barry; HBO

But strangely enough, Barry probably gets the least amount of screen time this week. Beyond the above-mentioned theme, “Crazytimesh*tshow” seems to mostly be about the effectiveness – or lack thereof – of saying sorry. Gene appears to be living on cloud nine after last week, receiving an expanded role on Barry’s show and gifting his son and grandson an extravagant home. He even gets an invite to dinner at a former friend and actor’s home, where it seems everyone is willing to bury the hatchet. Everyone but Annie Eisner, an ex who still resents Gene for blackballing her throughout the industry after they broke him. Things were going so well for Gene throughout the episode that I began to worry about how the shoe would drop. It’s unclear if Gene will face a further, more devastating, reckoning in the weeks to come, but based on Hader and Berg’s track record, happiness never lasts long in Hollywood.

Just as Hank and Cristobal, riding high on their newfound freedom to be open together, come to find out in a fairly frightening way. Strange as it is to consider Cristobal essentially brushing off Barry murdering his father, he’s jumping right in to a new life together with Hank, as they’ve already made plans to find a new place to live. But, as previously stated, happiness never lasts long. If Cristobal won’t avenge her father’s death, his estranged wife Elena certainly will, with ruthless efficiency. She touches down in LA and immediately sets out to eliminate the Chechens. Unfortunately for her, the LAPD, with a fresh spark of vigor from an intrepid FBI agent and former squad mate of one Barry Berkman (the one whose life Barry saved in Afghanistan, no less), who shows up to renew the investigation into detective Moss’s death. He points out all of the details that the LAPD missed and orders a full-on raid of the Chechen’s bogus plant operation, unfortunately at the same time as the Bolivians, leading to a hilariously staged gunfight.

Barry; HBO

Nobody knows the unflinching heartlessness of Hollywood better than Sally this week. Still seemingly distraught over her breakup, she rides high when Natalie shows her that Joplin has made it to the front page of the BanShe (a hilariously dumb name for a female-centric streamer) site. But when they discover, a mere 12 hours after the show launched, it’s nowhere to be found on the site, they confront the network brass only to find out it’s been cancelled. Apparently the company is literally run by an all-seeing algorithm that can determine if a show will be successful or not, based on an absurd set of standards. As funny – and, unfortunately, accurate – as the gag is, it does raise the question of why they ever gave the show a chance if they could have just known it would bomb from the get-go.

As it happens, Barry is in the right place at the right time when Sally comes home, needing a shoulder to cry on after all her hard work vanished so quickly. Turns out, his master plan to win her back involves letting her in to his inner life, bit by bit (the first step: creating a grade school-quality collage of all of his favorite things). She allows Barry to comfort her until he takes it a step too far and offers to get under the BanShe executive’s skin by playing a series of demented mind games. While the exchange is a patented example of the show’s dark humor, I found it just a bit too much of a stretch to portray Barry so out of touch with reality to the point that he would come off like a total psychopath to someone he loves. Sure, Barry’s a lost soul right now, but he’s always been cognizant of who he can and cannot reveal his true self to.

Barry; HBO

Believe it or not, it’s Barry that gets off the easiest at the end of this week’s installment. After Sally kicks him out, he unknowingly evades his own death thanks to the ineptitude of his would-be assassins. Yes, the mother and son (if you couldn’t tell, my Face-Blindness was in full force this week) from last week are still carrying out their plan of revenge – plus many more, thanks to Fuches’ unending crusade of recruitment. Only time will tell how many more will try to take Barry out this season, but he’s surely due for a reckoning from someone sooner or later. The past never stays dead on Barry, and “Crazytimesh*tshow” goes to show that it will almost inevitably come back to haunt you in one way or another.

Barry will air new episodes on HBO Sundays at 10pm

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