Barry Season 4 Episode 3 Cast Two Unlikely Actors as Hitmen

The action packed third episode of Barry season 4 features an Academy Award-winning director and a chameleon comedian.

Cristobal (Michael Kirby) and Noho Hank (Anthony Carrigan) on Barry season 4 episode 3
Photo: Merrick Morton | HBO

This article contains spoilers for Barry season 4 episode 3.

Since it first premiered on HBO in 2018, black comedy Barry has felt increasingly less like a comedy. Though he got his start in the comedic arts as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, show creator, star, and now full-time director Bill Hader has quite simply gotten too good at exploring the demonic depths of his title character to really let the punchlines fly.

The series’ bleak third season finale was one of the darkest half hours to ever compete in the “comedy” category at the Emmys and that shadow has hung over the early episodes of Barry‘s fourth and final season. With its third episode, however, Barry season 4’s comedy-drama balance finally starts to tilt back more towards comedy and it’s all thanks to two absolutely bonkers guest stars.

Episode 3 “you’re charming” picks up with Noho Hank (Anthony Carrigan) and his lover Cristobal (Michael Irby) purchasing the services of several hitmen. In true Noho Hank fashion, the hitmen are all weird goobers – made up of dispassionate handler Toro and his two Los Amigos Gadgets podcast-hosting killers Chuy and Nestor. Playing Toro is none other than acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro and playing Nestor is prolific comedic actor, SNL alum, and Hader friend Fred Armisen.

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According to Hader in an interview with IndieWire, naming the character “Toro” was an explicit attempt to secure Guillermo del Toro’s acting services.

“Guillermo sent me a funny text [asking], ‘Could I be in Barry?’ People say [they want to be in the show] sometimes, and it never happens. But then I thought, ‘Actually, there’s a part that he’d be really good in.’ I called him and said, ‘Yeah, I have a character for you. His name’s Toro.’ And he went, ‘Oh, man. Really?’

The Mexican director is best known for his love of monsters and practical effects as seen in films such as Pan’s Labyrinth, The Shape of Water, and Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. While not an actor by trade, he occasionally finds his way into brief guest appearances in TV shows and movies he’s a fan of, as previously evidenced by his role as Pappy McPoyle on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Per Hader, del Toro brought his own cane to set and impressed production with his character’s subtle but increasingly agitated reactions towards the disparagement of his employees’ podcast.

“[When] we were in the editing, we realized the funniest part about it was just watching him react,” Hader told IndieWire. “When we would watch his full takes, the way he was reacting was making me laugh really hard.”

While casting del Toro to play a monstrous murder broker named El Toro is funny enough, the real punchline to the director’s appearance doesn’t land until the arrival of the second guest star. In the episode’s final act, Barry Berkman notices a supposed FBI agent covered in sweat and visibly shaking and quickly and correctly diagnoses that the guy is here to kill him. The guy isn’t so nervous because he has to kill another human being necessarily but rather because he’s armed with one of Los Amigos Gadgets’ potentially malfunctioning gadgets.

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“Fred is just one of my favorite people in the world. And when I was writing that, I went, ‘oh man, it’d be so funny to cut to Fred, all sweaty, looking scared, kind of knowing that his thing’s not going to work,'” Hader told TVInsider. “None of their gadgets have ever really worked. And so he knows there’s like a 50-50 chance that the gun was going to work, the pin gun or whatever.”

Sure enough, the improvised gadget blows up Nestor’s hand leading to a trademark chaotic Barry action scene…all the while a former SNL castmember writhes in agony on the floor. Barry still has a ways to go before fully reclaiming the comedy side of its black comedy equation but finding the two unlikeliest hitmen in all of L.A. is certainly a start.

New episodes of Barry premiere at 10 p.m. on Sundays on HBO.