This Barry review contains spoilers.
Barry Episode 7
While promoting Barry, Bill Hader has made it clear he doesn’t find the action element of the show to be interesting or cool. In Hader’s eyes, Barry’s day job should be mundane and not the focus. Take the stash house scene for example; Hader purposely made the initial assault on the stash house as uncinematic as possible. Instead of waiting armed and ready, the Bolivians are simply surprised, crowded around a TV. When they get shot, they don’t dramatically pulsate as their pumped with bullets, they just sort of slouch over.
Hader doesn’t want to glorify the violence whatsoever, which can be seen in the opening of “Chapter Seven: Loud, Fast, and Keep Going.” Though last week we may have gotten the dramatic cliffhanger, with a car flipping, crunching with impeccable sound design, here we see the same scene from the Bolivians perspective, and it’s far away and nonchalant. Not dramatizing the violence has multiple effects. After worrying all week, the slightness of the moment elicited a nervous laugh from me, but the understated approach also zaps this particular scene, and other violent moments in Barry, of its artificial quality making it seem closer to life and therefore scarier in its realness.
There’s a whole lot of “realness” in this penultimate episode. Barry and Chris survive their botched mission, but not before a shell-shocked Chris has to kill a Bolivian to save Barry. Chris’ reaction to killing isn’t at all like Barry’s, it’s more like Lady Macbeth’s. Chris immediately is overcome with guilt and fear of consequences. In his heightened state of panic, he babbles on about confessing, trying to take all of the blame, and how he’ll be unable to live with the horrific events. When Chris makes it absolutely clear that he intends on going to the police, Barry snaps. Chris realizes what he’s done, trying to walk back his statements, make sure that Barry knows that his wife thinks that they’re together, looking to lull Barry into a false sense of security, but it’s too late. Barry unceremoniously murders his friend and makes the whole thing look like a tragedy.
For some ungodly reason, Barry continues to go about his day after this, and heads to the class’ acting showcase, after blowing his scene earlier in the direct aftermath of the airstrip incident. Finally, the reality of killing his friend catches up to Barry just like killing Banquo finally tipped Macbeth over the edge. However, instead of derailing his one-line acting debut, the emotion allows Barry to finally nail his scene. It’s another moment where the show is able to score an uncomfortable laugh in the midst of the series heaviest moment. Afterward, Barry tears up the dressing room, and the communal atmosphere that once drew him into the class, the thing that sought to retie Barry to his humanity, now feels alienating. Only Sally, who’s able to use Barry’s raw emotion to help her in her scenework and impress a tentative agent, is able to get Barry to slightly come out of his breakdown when she compliments his acting. Now completely traumatized by his day job, acting looks to be the only thing that Barry has left.
He better get as much stage time in as he can too, because many people are after him. The Chechens appear to be back on the enemy side of things, after the Bolivian boss Cristobal connects with Goran following the failed “bum-rush.” Cristobal is as hilariously polite as NoHo Hank, it turns out, and the two even appreciate the same self-help reading material! Talk of the DHL bullet, babka, and The 4 Agreements isn’t even to talk Cristobal down, however, as he regretfully lets the Chechens know that they’re at war now, and the whole thing could have been avoided if they just hadn’t listened to Fuches and just picked up the phone. That makes Fuches, and by extension Barry, personae non gratae once again.
If the Chechens don’t get Barry, the police might. After intercepting Cristobal and Goran’s call, Detective Moss hears that a marine was involved in the failed hit on the Bolivians, which she immediately assumes must be Barry. However, the recovery of Taylor and Vaughn’s bodies, along with the Cousineau book that Taylor stole from Barry, but actually belonged to Ryan Madison, and the other half of the previously recovered money, ties Taylor and Ryan together and removes Barry from suspicion once again. Still, once Chris’ body is recovered and Moss discovers that Barry is going by an assumed name on Facebook and also that he and Chris are friends, along with Chris being friends with Taylor, Barry will be caught back in the thick of things once again.
With one episode remaining, it’s clear that Barry isn’t just one of the best new series on television, it’s in conversation as one of the best shows on TV period. The way Hader and Co. are able to constantly surprise and effortlessly toggle back and forth between jokes and drama is completely spellbinding. At this point, I’m bummed that next week will already signal the end of Season 1, as I can’t wait to see Barry continue to change and the stakes be raised once again.