Barry Episode 3 Review – “Chapter Three: Make the Unsafe Choice”

We get a glimpse at two possible futures for Barry in another excellent episode of the HBO comedy.

This Barry review contains spoilers.

Barry Episode 3

R.I.P. Stovka (apologies if I butchered the spelling of your name). The legendary Chechen assassin, who once took out a bird with a flick of his cigarette butt, was introduced to much fanfare and was extinguished faster than that cig, or that bird, in a wicked bit of pitch-black comedy. Barry is already so adept at living up to both ends of its dramedy ambitions. It’s easy to chuckle at the sight of this “legendary” assassin, at a not so spry “45 years-old,” not looking capable of even getting out of his chair let alone waging a war against some Bolivians, but it’s also clearly meant to show the viewer a possible future version of Barry, zapped of his humanity and ready to end it all.

But “Chapter Three: Make the Unsafe Choice” also gives us a glimpse of another possible future for Barry, one where he and Sally cuddle and shuffle down the soup aisle together at the grocery store. At this point, it isn’t clear whether Barry is actually committed to acting or if he’s just interested in being as close to Sally as possible. Performing clearly makes Barry uncomfortable, but he’s experiencing human connection through it for the first time in a long time, so he’s associated the two together. He can’t muster the confidence to select an imaginary soup on stage at Cousineau’s class, but he effortlessly imagines a choice while arm and arm with Sally, looking the most relaxed we’ve ever seen Barry. Barry’s mark’s last words were “You don’t have to do this,” and Barry instantly realizes it applies to his life as an assassin, which will save him from a Stovka-esque ending, but how long until he realizes it could also apply to acting?

This was another extremely well-crafted, tight episode. It was great to see the show stretching out, taking the focus off of Barry a bit more and exploring some of the other characters. Sally’s storyline further burrows into the life of struggling actors. She’s given a tragic L.A. backstory, a starring turn in a failed, unaired series with the unfortunate title “Bonnie and the Boston Bombers,” and is being somewhat taken advantage of by her non-agent agent. She gets the chance to audition for a part on a “millennial, female take on We Bought a Zoo,” a great toss-away joke highlighting a lame TV trend but is mortified when she learns that a former castmate is the show’s lead.

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Being forced to play the stereotypical female role of “Mom” while an inferior actress from the same background and of the same age gets to star as a “millennial” sets off a string of insecurities and petty jealousy that leads Sally right into Barry’s arms. Sally doesn’t need Barry, she just needs someone, anyone to pay attention and validate her due to the psychological tolls Hollywood puts a person through. Hopefully the narrowmindedness that comes with her goals of becoming a star doesn’t steamroll Barry and his feelings.

Speaking of narrowmindedness, Fuches doesn’t for one moment look at Stovka and think about the toll he’s placing on Barry, he just moves right past the thought and begins volunteering Barry to Goran to help him in his war against the Bolivians. Not only is Barry uninterested in continuing in the assassin game, it’s bad timing to get involved with the Chechens. Detectives Moss and Loach have connected Ryan’s murder with Goran and are smart enough to interview everyone that Ryan knew through his work and acting class. Barry’s interview with the detectives goes off without a hitch, but now they’ve aware of him. Any further connection to the Chechens will set off serious red flags.

Not that I’m hoping the Chechens go away, because that would mean no more Noho Hank. Hank’s goofy cheeriness, his ability to send “Hang in There” cat memes without a trace of irony in reference to a planned hit, is hilarious and I need more. What makes it even better is how much it annoys Barry. Hank’s bit about mailing a bullet, with its funny, weird DHL specificity, was a great reoccurring joke, like the stuff about Loach’s breakup last week. Hopefully we get something like that in each episode. There’s no reason to expect we’ll be getting anything less, based on Barry’s fantastic run so far.


4 out of 5