Barry Season 3 Episode 7 Review: Candy Asses

Barry season 3 takes a page out of The Sopranos' book with a dispatch into the surreal for its penultimate installment.

Noho Hank (Anthony Carrigan) in Barry season 3 episode 7
Photo: Merrick Morton | HBO

This Barry review contains spoilers.

Barry Season 3 Episode 7

Thank God for “ronny/lily.” The second-season stunner was not only furiously funny and craftily directed, but it’s also the moment that Barry tipped its toe into surrealism. Season 3 has taken advantage of this heightened reality in subtle ways, but “candy asses” takes things up a notch. Barry’s poison-induced, beach-set death fantasy instantly recalled The Sopranos, another HBO series led by an anti-hero that featured similar dream-like sequences.

Where Barry does more than simply pay homage to David Chase’s journeys into the subconscious is by having the whole sequence broken up by a grieving father’s chance at vengeance. George Krempf, Ryan Madison’s father, finds a wheezing, staggered, and slightly slipping away Barry wandering the streets and decides to toss him in the back of his car. What follows is a heartbreaking account of a peaceful man wrestling with the desire to get revenge, recounting the love he felt for his son and the emptiness he’s been left with. 

Delivered in the center of characteristically rapid-fire and funny episode of Barry, the Krempf scenes stand out for their earnest emotion. When Barry is finally fully revived outside of a hospital, it appears that George killed himself rather than going against his nature and delivering violent justice. Barry survived yet another attempt on his life, but there are more serious threats coming.

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A Sopranos-like dream sequence will always get a pop out of this writer, but “candy asses” delivers throughout, particularly when focused on Albert. Bringing in Albert, who had appeared in a pivotal flashback scene, as the only competent lawman in a sea of hilariously inept cops was a great idea by the writing team. Finally in the same room with Fuches, who was brought to the police by SERE Specialist veteran Jim Moss, Janice’s father, Albert gets the complete picture; Barry is a contract killer responsible for this entire mess. Interestingly, he decides not to tape Fuches’ confession, likely wanting to take out his former brother-in-arms with something resembling mercy. After only being mildly amused by Fuches inability to leave his vendetta against Barry alone, he finally figures into a crucial and appropriately climactic scene.

Elsewhere, Sally’s hellish new gig working under a juvenile, incompetent showrunner is made worse when she discovers Natalie is having the time of her life starring in and showrunning her own series. To make it even more personal for Sally, Natalie’s show is a watered-down, carbon-copy of Joplin. Going into berserker mode, Sally corners Natalie in an elevator and absolutely unloads a tidal wave of anger and bitterness. It’s another tour de force performance from Sarah Goldberg, hilarious before shifting into a genuinely frightening gear. Since its 2022, Natalie covertly films the entire encounter and posts it online. Sally then makes matters worse by posting a damage control, non-apology video. Her agent tries to chide her for the move, but Sally breaks again, bemoaning her agent’s self-serving behavior and the entire artificial insanity of show business. Sally’s rant is justified, but it’s still self-destructive and her agent quits on the spot.

At least Gene’s career is going well! We watch this week as he enthusiastically begins work on his Master Class. There’s so much humor in watching Henry Winkler’s purposely awful takes on iconic characters, but whatever Gene lacks in actual ability, he makes up for with enthusiasm and positive energy. It would be wholesome if it didn’t all come as a product of Gene staying silent about Barry. It reads as an example of how the lure of the spotlight can corrupt even the strongest of convictions. We also witness how Hollywood allows people to fake it until they make it and fail upward, as Annie is suffering near-constant anxiety attacks trying to direct after 20 years, but her instinctual work already has her pulling in more offers. 

Gene’s happy little redemption arc is shattered when Jim Moss comes asking questions about Barry Berkman. In a bittersweet, complicated moment, Gene completely covers for Barry. However, Jim is fixated on Gene’s nervous sweating. Perhaps the master needs more classes to outsmart Jim. How Jim proceeds from here, and how his actions intersect with Albert’s plans, will likely make up the meat of next week’s finale.

Finally, Hank travels to Bolivia to pursue Cristobal, and is easily captured by Elena’s men almost immediately. Some of the other Chechens, Akhmal and Yandar are in cells nearby and appear to be mounting an escape attempt. At this point, the series has slightly moved past the Chechen-Bolivian war, something that felt even more clear upon seeing Goran and Ester in Barry’s death fantasy sequence (among all of Barry’s victims). That said, Hank is such a beloved character that he deserves a definitive ending in his story with Cristobal. As much as I love him, I hope the series either finds a way to bring him back to the center of Barry’s story or concludes his in the season finale.

Barry has been moving at a break-neck pace while taking all its characters to darker, slightly stranger territory. The show has been providing big moments weekly, and with an already impressive history for shocking finales, next week’s episode has a high bar to clear. Luckily, Bill Hader and team seem more than equipped to deliver. The teaser for next week showed a makeshift gravesite like the one that opened the season. In that moment, Jeff was denied forgiveness. Will Barry meet the same fate?  

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