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Saturday, Apr 13th, 2024
HomeEntertaintmentTVSeason 3, Episode 7, “candy asses”

Season 3, Episode 7, “candy asses”

Season 3, Episode 7, “candy asses”

Bill Hader in Barry

Bill Hader in Barry
Photo: Merrick Morton/HBO

Let’s start before the start. MV: Mild Violence flashes on HBO’s content warning slide. Mild? Sure, things got out of control last week with the motocross rampage on that L.A. freeway, riders plowing through windshields, flipping over cars, psycho Traci driving on top of a building and shooting at a crowd before being gunned down by the heroic used-car salesman. And, of course, Barry (Bill Hader) bit into a beignet poisoned by Sharon (Karen David), widow of Chris (Chris Marquette), the ex-Marine Barry killed in season one. “Die, you motherfucker!” Sharon hissed as Barry foamed at the mouth and keeled over. That was cool, guys! Don’t pull back now.

In lieu of grisly, graphic violence (Sharon torturing Barry in her basement?) we get an episode that continues the super-stuffed, kudzu-fast plotting we have come to expect all season, as well as a couple of crazy reversals, a Terrence Malick-y fever dream, and one of those big narrative ironies that make the series such a feat of engineering.

The latter element comes late in “candy asses,” when Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) finds himself face to face with the intimidating, no-nonsense Jim Moss (Robert Ray Wisdom), father of his dead lover, Janice Moss. Cousineau knows Barry killed Janice. Through Barry, Cousineau’s career has been revived. Jim has recently been told, by Fuches, that Barry killed Janice, and that Cousineau knows Barry did it. And yet, when Jim confronts Cousineau, he assures Jim that Barry is not the killer. As Cousineau babbles on, lying to cover for Barry, wishing Barry had had a gun there at the cabin so he could kill “those Russians,” the camera—Hader directs this episode, by the way—drifts upward to fix on Cousineau’s perspiring scalp. He’s not a good enough actor to hide the sweat of guilt. Jim, a Vietnam vet trained in PSYOPS, notes the tell.

Cousineau betraying the love of his life was perhaps the most heartbreaking sequence in an episode full of characters in despair. Ryan’s father (Michael Bofshever) is caught between ending the pain of his grief or having revenge on Barry. Sally (Sarah Goldberg) attacks Natalie (D’Arcy Carden) in the elevator, repeatedly screaming in Natalie’s face an ugly phrase that Sally was really hurling at herself. Sally’s vicious, unhinged rant, complete with smacking the wall right next to Natalie’s face, is a perfect copy of Barry’s explosion at Sally in episode two of this season. As with Cousineau, Barry has poisoned those around him, brought out their greed or violence or capacity to accept evil. It may be that those who have suffered most from Barry’s actions—the grieving—have greater capacity for good. Ryan’s father leaves the poisoned, dying Barry at an emergency room before he kills himself. Jim Moss is putting the pieces together and he seems a man of justice more than revenge.

Meanwhile, Hank puts himself in danger in Bolivia to find Cristobal, even though there’s little reason to think the lovers will be safely reunited. As for Fuches (Stephen Root), he seems to have reached the end of his road: He basically tells Albert (James Hiroyuki Liao) the truth about he and Barry’s working relationship. Still, it would be foolish to expect any of these characters to fade away, as Barry recycles the minutest of narrative threads.

As with last week, this was another episode that seems to test the audience’s patience with its wild happenstances. For example, I totally believe that Sharon, panicking after she poisoned Barry, would flee the house (will Albert find her there at the beginning of next week?). And I buy that Barry would survive, stagger out, and try to escape. But how did Ryan’s father find Barry passed out in an alleyway? How did NoHo Hank find the one guy in Bolivia who would take him to the Sifuentes crime family (after knocking him out with a blow dart).

Sarah Goldberg in Barry

Sarah Goldberg in Barry
Photo: Merrick Morton/HBO

How Albert finally connected Barry to Moss’ murder was straightforward enough: Jim Moss suspected Fuches, a.k.a. Kenneth Goulet, therefore turned him into the police. Chief Krauss and Burns think they’ve caught “The Raven,” but when Albert hears Moss say that Fuches fingered Barry Berkman—as Cousineau originally did—he goes in to interrogate Fuches himself, with cameras off. Albert reveals himself to Fuches as Barry’s wounded fellow Afghan vet, and Fuches spills the beans about his hitman operation with Barry.

The episode starts in a church with the congregation singing a hymn. We see Ryan’s dad, frozen with grief in the pew. It ends with Albert grabbing his gun and leaving, possibly for Sharon’s house. In between we see the gasping, wheezing Barry hallucinating himself on a beach, surrounded by the dozens he has killed: Goran, Chris, Esther, Fernando, and tons of Chechens and Bolivians. Out in the ocean, we hear an otherworldly rumbling and tumult of voices. Barry stands among these souls on the shore, bound for the afterlife. It’s hard to imagine Barry not surviving the season finale. “Barry’s a good guy.” The line’s spoken by both Fuches and Cousineau. Whether or not god forgives Barry, or sends him to hell, Albert is on his way.

Stray observations

  • The Barry opening logo runs without the usual burst of fanfare (Charles Bradley’s “Change for the World”). Instead, we hear the stage director for Cousineau’s acting show, followed by his cheesy intro monologue. Last time Hader/Berg did this was the final episode of season two, “berkman > block.”
  • Just a few juicy story points from The New Medusas’ whiteboard: “Abby buys hat to hide snakes,” “Abby and Calvin eat pizza WTF” “A + C Hook up Disaster,” “Abby feels ok about Cal Death”
  • LOL Hank line: He politely waits for Bolivian market guy to assemble his blowgun and tag him in the neck before chirping, “Yep. Okay. That’s what I thought you were doing but I did not want to be rude, so” and collapses.
  • Cousineau’s agent, Tom Posorro (the priceless Fred Melamed, who also repped Maria Bamford in Lady Dynamite) gets another list bit, this one where he gets to praise (not demonize) Cousineau. Under Annie’s direction Gene looks “masculine, virile, rugged, brawny, gallant, robust, lantern-jawed, un homme pour tous saisons
  • There’s a special place in hell for whoever dressed Cousineau (that bizarrely patterned tie, that plaid shirt).
  • Now that Natalie has her own Natalie, she’s keeping her busy. As they walk to the elevator, her assistant rushes to keep up: “Make me an appointment at the acupuncturist where Chloë Grace Moretz gets hers done, but make sure that it’s with the tattoo guy but not the fangs girl because I did not like her.”
  • As she angrily burns bridges with agent Lindsay (Jessy Hodges), Sally backs up into a dark, unlit room. The choreography echoes Barry’s moving into darkness at the end of season 2. They’re not so different, after all.
  • Stephen Root crushing a monologue is old news. Still, when Fuches tells Albert, “That switch you saw go off when Barry was avenging you? I harnessed that into a very lucrative job for him.” He cracks open his Pepsi on “switch.” Chef’s kiss.

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