The following is a review of the third episode of HBO’s Barry — Created by Bill Hader & Alec Berg.
In the fourth episode of HBO’s new half-hour dark comedy show Barry — Chapter Four: Commit… To You — the title character (played by Bill Hader) overthinks his relationships with the aspiring actor Sally (played by Sarah Goldberg), Fuches (played by Stephen Root) tries to pull Barry back into the violent and risky life of a hitman, and Gene Cousineau (played by Henry Winkler) goes on a date with Detective Moss (played by Paula Newsome).
With Commit… To You — the first episode not directed by Bill Hader — we are now already halfway through the short eight-episode season. Commit… To You was arguably not just the most dramatic episode thus far, but it was also the busiest yet, which is to say that it advanced the plot greatly. Unfortunately, this is also my least favorite episode of the debut season thus far.
My big issue with this episode is what they do to Barry here. While it isn’t far-fetched to think that someone as introverted-by-trade as a professional hitman would overthink his friendship and relationship with Sally and end up coming across as rather controlling, that entire subplot feels so trite, to me.
The potentially dangerous possessive boyfriend trope has been done to death, and I didn’t love the execution here, even though the party at which the possessive nature of Barry reared its ugly head did have a hilarious line.
“So I guess I have technically had my first audition, but it was just, like, in North Hollywood, in this guy’s apartment. And he was like, “Dance.” And so I was like, “What is this going to be on?” And then he said, “The Internet.””
What, on the other hand, really does work well is the entire subplot with Cousineau and Detective Moss. Last week, I noted how their noteworthy scene together was one of the highlights of that episode, and the subplot involving them this week is the saving grace of this episode. Henry Winkler is outstanding in this series.
Plotwise, this episode sets up the rest of the season quite well. Just as Fuches is pushing Barry in one direction, he is being pushed away from the acting class due to his disastrous behavior during the party shown in this episode. Meanwhile, the police department is finally in possession of the footage that could lead them to Barry.
Although this episode is my least favorite in the series, I have already seen enough of this show to know that I am a big fan. Hopefully, the coming weeks — the second half of the season — will prove that there is as much life and inventiveness in this series as the first three episodes suggested.
For my reviews of the previous episodes in the series, click here.
– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen