The following is a review of the fifth episode of HBO’s Barry — Created by Bill Hader & Alec Berg.
In the fifth episode of HBO’s new half-hour dark comedy show Barry — Chapter Five: Do Your Job — the title character (played by Bill Hader) feels guilty and cornered at acting class, Fuches (played by Stephen Root) orders Barry to take out his new acquaintance, and the acting class pushes back against Sally (played by Sarah Goldberg).
The episode does an excellent job of blending the series’ tensest sequence yet, in which Barry and Taylor (played by Dale Pavinski) raid the Bolivian house, with Barry’s failed attempts to reclaim the nice feeling that his friendship with Sally gave him. This is what the show does so well, and it hasn’t been balanced this well since the series premiere.
“You should enhance this,”
In this episode, Detective Moss (played by Paula Newsome) also stops by* the acting class to present them with the intelligible* photo of the shooter and to talk to the men who could be involved with Ryan’s murder. These scenes also show off Paula Newsome and Stephen Root, when Root’s character hilariously tries to clear Barry’s name. The “This is Ramón,” line was just so perfect, even though we all knew something like that was coming.
“Because once you’ve started killing you can never just go back. […] She is stained forever.”
To me, the best scene in the episode was probably the one in which Barry, Sally, and Natalie (played by D’Arcy Carden) do a scene from Macbeth. Sally is upset here for two reasons. Firstly, she, understandably, feels like Barry acted out of line in last week’s episode, but, secondly, for her the most annoying thing about all of this is that she wasn’t given the Lady Macbeth role that she initially didn’t want to play again.
“I feel like Shakespeare whiffed it on this one.”
The scene is particularly excellent because it is a scene that works on multiple levels. The acting class gets into a discussion of how Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are marked for life — that they’ve done something they cannot take back. Taking a life marks your soul and that’s it. Obviously, that is something that hurts Barry. This scene works as an interrogation of Barry’s innermost secrets and undiscovered guilt that makes it all come to life.
Obviously, this scene comes at a moment when we are all still thinking about Ryan’s murder, so you are afraid that Barry may put his foot in his mouth, but he never does — at least not to such an extent that he reveals himself. As some viewers may have forgotten, Barry is a military veteran, which Cousineau reminds the class, and that fact combined with Barry’s emotional outburst — done really well by Hader — managed to turn the scene on its head. Then, of course, Gene calms down Barry only to reiterate that taking a life outside of war makes you irredeemable, thus hurting Barry once more. It all works really well.
It is no secret that last week’s episode wasn’t exactly what I expected from this show. It was still a fine episode, but it was not as inventive, funny, or well-balanced as the majority of the Barry episodes have been. It pleases me to say that Do Your Job, ahem, does its job. I don’t think I’ve laughed harder at the show’s jokes before, it hasn’t ever been this tense before either, and it hasn’t brought this much emotion from Barry — the character — since the series premiere. Do Your Job is an oustanding episode.
For my reviews of the previous episodes in the series, click here.
– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen